Re: DSM: Re: TCS (Taking Children Seriously): Non-coercive Schools?

Date: Tue Feb 26 2002 - 10:20:11 EST

To list,

    I have not had checked my mail for some time. Hence, I stumbled upon this
discussion in the midst of a slew of e-mails.
    The issue is one that has been raging in one form or another among the
many other topics that concern the debate over the Sudbury Valley School.
    I think that the reason for the all-to-common misinterpretation is very
simple. The fact is, there are those people who, upon hearing even a tidbit
about the school, lazily and unfairly label it to be "on the side" of their
particular issue.
This issue may be anything from environmentalism to liberal activism to
anarchism, or what have you? Perhaps more important, as in the case of the
article in question, the following mistake is often made:
    When a person learns about the school, instead of accepting the school
for what it claims to be and in turn disagreeing with its inherent goals,
they label it. It appears obvious that these people have an attitude that
postulates either "with or against." They interpret the Sudbury Valley School
as claiming that it is in favor of their individual agenda (or group agenda
if you will).
    This is the crux of the problem. This misinterpretation, which is the
reason for articles such as the one in question, is a plague that perhaps
will never cease to exist. There is a reality to Sudbury Valley. As I have
said before, it is not simply a place were parents are expected to apply
their individual parenting styles/beleifs. It is not a consensus oriented
collection of people.
    How to convey the urgency of the founders and others to be seen as a
legitimate educational institution, not just another liberal army. It boggles
my mind that there are those who can say things along the lines of "Sudbury
is claiming to be a certain thing, but not living up to it."
    Sudbury Valley is exactly what it claims to be. Just because it doesn't
fill the criteria of some extremists, and this is key, does not mean that it
affects the validity of what the school actually is.
    A school. Indeed, Sudbury Valley postulates the application of freedom.
Furthermore, it believes that by giving this freedom, along with a
democratic-style structure for the school government, you educate students
for existence in a democracy. I challenge those who contest the validity of
Sudbury Valley to find in the by-laws were it claims be a place to publicly
parent children. If you disagree wholly with the concept of having to educate
a child at a school, that is one thing.
    But be wary of the tendency to assume that Sudbury Valley is analogous
that school yard lad who is constantly saying "Look at me, I am X!" whilst
everyone knows he is not.
    To often the mistake is made of totally misusing the word "education." It
does not necessarily have to apply to anything in the ball park of the Public
School style of education.

-Travis W.


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