DSM: RE: Re: living death

From: sambo (sambo01@pacbell.net)
Date: Fri Mar 01 2002 - 16:21:38 EST


More from Sam -

>When talking about the living death- I was talking about the 33% of the
>gifted that dropped out of high school or didn't make it in society. This
>was a statistic that was quoted to me by my son's 4th grade teacher in
front
>of a dozen education professionals of various types.

I read a statistic in a trade journal for Mental Health Professionals that
indicated that over 85% of the population have mental illness of some form.
What this tells me is that clearly mental illness is a condition of
normalcy. If a majority of us are there, then that is normal. What this
also tells me is that we define terms and numbers to mean what we want them
to mean depending on our biases. Statistics is another way of lying. I am
extremely skeptical of statistics from one special interest group to other
members of that group who have already bought in to the underlying premises.

Dropping out of high school is NOT a bad thing - I encourage it. To lump it
in the same statistic as not making it in society as an equal partner is
plain wrong. If you look at them as separate issues, how many drop out and
make it, and what percentage of non-gifted stay-ins don't make it in
society? This separation via labeling, and lumping of dissimilar but
possibly overlapping issues into one, serves little purpose in the struggle
to allow everyone the opportunities to educate themselves in the manner that
works best for them. It only clouds the issues, and takes credibility from
the real progress.

>I am
>talking about the gifted who became mentally ill. The gifted who became
>substance abusers.

What of those unfortunate enough to have been saddled with a label other
than "gifted", don't they have similar problems, and why give preferential
treatment because of arbitrary labeling?

>I am talking about the gifted
>who won Nobel Prizes in spite of the educational system because they were
>able to circumvent it- and their anger. (for the anger see:
>http://learninfreedom.org/Nobel_hates_school.html)

Eleven against and one pro pedophile out of over seven hundred twenty Nobel
recipients somehow makes a case that those labeled as gifted were successful
despite the failings of the educational institutions? This is pretty vague
and a leap of thinking to consider that their problems are vastly different
than the general population. I suspect a sampling of the general population
would give an even higher percentage of people who succeeded despite
maltreatment by the system and are angry about it. I am having difficulty
agreeing with the point here.

>I am talking about a society that refuses to integrate existing knowledge
>about giftedness into an educational system despite years of research. As
>an example see : www.gifteddevelopment.com where she details the
significant
>risk factors of many gifted.

What I have issue with is the label of "gifted". I was stuck with it and
the label caused enough problems in and of itself. What my life experience
has shown me is that the world is populated with gifted individuals, they
are the majority. Their gift just may not coincide with the educational
establishments limited definition. These people have risk factors as well.
What about them?

>For a really scholarly work on how we, as a society, do not incorporate
>existing knowledge into programs to solve real problems see: Jeffrey
>Reiman's The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison. In my opinion, the
>only problem with this book is that it doesn't look at how ALL the systems
>of the society, including the educational system, perpetuate the same
>biases. The book points out that if we went and designed a criminal
justice
>system to keep the poor in poverty and a significant portion of the poor
>committing the types of wrongful acts that we define as crime, based on
>available research, then we would the criminal justice system exactly as it
>exists now.

You get no argument from me on this. To say that our society favors the
wealthy or culturally elite at the disadvantage of the poor, or even the
mainstream is patently obvious. To see that lawmakers pass laws restricting
the freedoms of the less well connected, thereby increasing the likelihood
that there will be more incarcerations of that group is obvious. To see that
this leads to expansion of a police state that requires more funding to
maintain is obvious. To see that the results of this process then scares
the elites into believing that crime is increasing and more laws need to be
passed to protect their assets is obvious. It is a vicious cycle we allow
to happen. Show me the relationship between this happening and angry gifted
folks dropping out of high school. They may both be part of the bigger
picture, but I am struggling with a cause and effect relationship here.

>Have you ever thought where you would be if you had grown up in Sudbury
>schools where your talents were nourished and encouraged, rather than the
>public education system where hours every day is wasted on maintaining
order
>and where you are actually kept out of the library because you refuse to
>participate in learning exercises that are too easy for you?

Actually, I have not. What I have thought about is how much how much
happier I would have been, not where I'd be now. The past is but a bucket of
ashes. There are uncountable ways my life could have turned out. But it not
productive or even interesting to me to spend a lot of time fantasizing on
what did not happen. My life is too interesting now.

I discovered my talents and found ways to nourish them despite the public
education system. My time in school was not totally wasted, I found ways to
do what I wanted anyway. Yes, the system did me a disservice, I loathe what
it does to kids. These bad things should not be happening to kids. What I
see is that you are not accepting that many, if not most normal and "gifted"
children succeed despite the bad things that happen to them.

>My opinions are just my opinions. But they are based on years of research
>into what I can do to help my child avoid the fate of his fathers. I have
>always believed that my child will be the Walt Disney of the 21st century.
>He'd rather be more avant garde but that's OK- we live in a more avant
garde
>century. It's more than OK if he did something else, but this idea was
>based on his talents, abilities, and interests- which have always supported
>this idea in my mind. If he had remained in public school then he would
>have missed the things that he learned from months of designing amusement
>parks, months of studying the physics and mechanics of amusement rides,
>months of studying the directorial styles of the world's directors, and now
>some time trying to develop his drawing style. He's taught himself to write
>at the college level in the process.
>
>How can you take a child who goes to bed with his cherished books and turn
>him into a child who hates learning and reading within 1 month of starting
>kindergarten? Then have him love to learn again within a year of being
>unschooled? How can you not say that school has damaged him?

I am not nor have I ever said that school does not damage. My point was
that you took an all inclusive view that society "condemns those who cannot
fit into our educational system to a life of poverty, substance abuse,
mental illness, and early death." when there is ample evidence to the
contrary. I had issue with the all inclusive point that "All the
major leaders and innovators of the 20th century, were those who were able
to circumvent the public education system in some way" when it is untrue
that "All" have done this. To prove your point you reference a web page
that at best proves 1.6% have done this. A figure of 1.6% is hardly "All".

> I only argue that to not have any alternatives for those gifted and
>talented- those children who require more development time than normal- is
a
>tragedy of unbelievable proportions and something that I would like to
>remedy in some way.

No, that is not what you were arguing, there was much more. On the point
that you just made, I agree. This gives us a common reference point to work
together to achieve common goals.

>And even though you made it, you do admit being damaged, and you do admit
>that you didn't make it as far as you might have with the economic
>advantages.

Not exactly what I said, but even so - how is that different than anyone
else?

Sam.

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
[mailto:owner-discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org]On Behalf Of Mary Rose
Murrin
Sent: Friday, March 01, 2002 6:15 AM
To: discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
Subject: DSM: Re: living death

Sam from Sacramento saying - WHAT!

Reply:
 When talking about the living death- I was talking about the 33% of the
gifted that dropped out of high school or didn't make it in society. This
was a statistic that was quoted to me by my son's 4th grade teacher in front
of a dozen education professionals of various types. I am talking about my
father, my brothers, my ex-husbands, some of my sisters. I am talking about
the life the educational system was ready to pronounce on my son. I am
talking about the gifted who became mentally ill. The gifted who became
substance abusers. I am talking about a friend of mine who is able to build
a clinical practice treating substance abuse, depression and PTSD (all three
in combination) just on those gifted who blame the educational system for
their problems. She wants to write a book on the tragic waste of life on
those who are the what she calls the 3%ers. I am talking about the gifted
who won Nobel Prizes in spite of the educational system because they were
able to circumvent it- and their anger. (for the anger see:
http://learninfreedom.org/Nobel_hates_school.html)

I am talking about a society that refuses to integrate existing knowledge
about giftedness into an educational system despite years of research. As
an example see : www.gifteddevelopment.com where she details the significant
risk factors of many gifted.

For a really scholarly work on how we, as a society, do not incorporate
existing knowledge into programs to solve real problems see: Jeffrey
Reiman's The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison. In my opinion, the
only problem with this book is that it doesn't look at how ALL the systems
of the society, including the educational system, perpetuate the same
biases. The book points out that if we went and designed a criminal justice
system to keep the poor in poverty and a significant portion of the poor
committing the types of wrongful acts that we define as crime, based on
available research, then we would the criminal justice system exactly as it
exists now.

Have you ever thought where you would be if you had grown up in Sudbury
schools where your talents were nourished and encouraged, rather than the
public education system where hours every day is wasted on maintaining order
and where you are actually kept out of the library because you refuse to
participate in learning exercises that are too easy for you?

My opinions are just my opinions. But they are based on years of research
into what I can do to help my child avoid the fate of his fathers. I have
always believed that my child will be the Walt Disney of the 21st century.
He'd rather be more avant garde but that's OK- we live in a more avant garde
century. It's more than OK if he did something else, but this idea was
based on his talents, abilities, and interests- which have always supported
this idea in my mind. If he had remained in public school then he would
have missed the things that he learned from months of designing amusement
parks, months of studying the physics and mechanics of amusement rides,
months of studying the directorial styles of the world's directors, and now
some time trying to develop his drawing style. He's taught himself to write
at the college level in the process.

How can you take a child who goes to bed with his cherished books and turn
him into a child who hates learning and reading within 1 month of starting
kindergarten? Then have him love to learn again within a year of being
unschooled? How can you not say that school has damaged him?

I agree that this does not apply only to gifted children- and that all
children deserve this kind of education.
This cut from a recent post is great-

To me, the challenge is to give everyone -- not equality but -- equal
opportunity: the "gifted", the "average", the "learning disabled". . .

" . . . Each of us, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, has our own unique contribution to
make to the development of human culture . . ."

" . . . Every person I have ever met has some special interest, something he
or she is really good at. It is that special spark in each human being that
makes them interesting, and ,makes us want to seek out their wisdom and
counsel . . ."

 I only argue that to not have any alternatives for those gifted and
talented- those children who require more development time than normal- is a
tragedy of unbelievable proportions and something that I would like to
remedy in some way.

Sorry not to provide more facts in the midst of my passion and in a
relatively short e-mail, but to make the point would take many, many books.

And even though you made it, you do admit being damaged, and you do admit
that you didn't make it as far as you might have with the economic
advantages.

That's my point.

Mary Rose

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