Hi Bill, Mary and others,
I would like to voice my agreement with what Bill wrote in this regard, especially with his last paragraph (his entire
message having been re-quoted below by me for ease of reference).
And in addition I would like to add something, namely that "education" and "freedom" have got to be defined as each
individual experiences them within himself or herself.
To give an analogy: a slave's definition of "freedom" will obviously be different from the slave-master's definition!
And if the slave-master has written the dictionary in which "freedom" is defined, the dictionary definition will also be
different from that of the slave's definition.
Yet no one can possibly doubt that it is each individual slave's definition that should really count: not that of the
slave-master, or even that of the dictionary written by the slave-master or by his cronies and sympathisers.
Indeed even the definition of "freedom" given by any individual slave may differ from that of "freedom" given by any
other slave. That's because freedom, to have any value, must be actually experienced, not merely intellectually
I use this "slave" analogy most advisedly: the majority of students in most schools in most of the world are little more
than slaves: having virtually no say in how they are treated.
If, therefore, a student -- or a group of students -- intellectually understand Sudbury Valley as "education", even
bolstering their arguments by quotations from dictionaries which wre written by adults -- that still does not make it
"education" ... unless of course it is, in which case, as I said earlier, Sudbury Valley ought to smarten up, and that
too, in a hurry!
[ORIGINAL MESSAGE FROM BILL]:
> Dear Mary,
> Thank you very much. You basically wrote that if the "proponents and founders" of Sudbury believe it to be education
> then it would be disrespectful to not agree.
> The core understanding of Sudbury is that it allows as much respect and freedom to children as possible given the
> norms of the Sudbury community. It is also clearly a social and cultural institution in which children are full
> partners. (Here I think it best to pause and consider if we even know of any other social institution in which
> children are full partners.)
> Now the people who actually spend their days at Sudbury are the staff and the children. And as such the children
> comprise about 93% of the full partners in this social institution. To me it is clear that the most profound
> definition of Sudbury is as the children live it. Since they themselves basically decide their own activities all day
> every day week after week month after month year after year, the children have operationally defined Sudbury as
> freedom. Indeed, the children are full partners even to the extent of defining the institution.
> And yes there is a paradigm shift between seeing Sudbury as freedom and seeing it as education; they are not the same.
> Best Regards,
> Bill Richardson
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