Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model]definition of democracy

From: candy <highland_at_RURALNET.ORG>
Date: Thu Oct 3 19:13:01 2002

Hi Joe,
    I'm stuggling with what needs to be included in a definition of
democratic education in preparation for the IDEC in Albany. When you
say "democracy does not necessarily respect the rights of individuals or
minorities" it sounds like an oxymoron to me. Democracy MUST respect
the rights of individuals/minorities or it is not democracy by my
definition. I'm aware of abuses of individual rights which have
occurred in schools calling themselves "democratic", but I don't think
the fault is in the concept of democracy. Democratic school
communities view liberty for individuals and equality between school
members as intrinsic parts of what constitutes democracy. I don't
believe that democracy is ever an end in any case; rather it's a process
- a way of living that promotes individual development, diversity of
ideas, and free interactions among community members. Thanks for
listening - Candy Landvoigt

Joseph Roach wrote:

>Does this mean that democracy is the end itself? Or is there some other driving reason?
>I do not see democracy as a good end in itself, because democracy does not necessarily respect the rights of individuals or minorities. Tyranny can exist as easily in a democracy as in a monarchy.
>If the reason for education is to encourage liberty for individuals and equality between members of the school, then democracy is the best method of rule. Democracy, as an end in itself, is empty.
>David, was this what you were getting at?
>Best regards,
>Joe Roach
>The New School
>Newark, DE
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Scott David Gray <>
>Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2002 11:38:13 -0400 (EDT)
>To: <>
>Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model]definition of democracy
>>On Tue, 3 Sep 2002, Default wrote:
>>>would you kindly define democracy.
>>Many people would check a dictionary, but I can understand
>>the reason for your question. Many schools claim to be
>>democratic, but don't really mean it.
>>The word "democracy" is rarely used in the context of
>>education to refer to actual government by the governed or
>>equality before the law.
>>Anyway, here's the definition I get from --
>>which applies perfectly to any Sudbury Model school:
>>>de·moc·ra·cy Pronunciation Key (d-mkr-s)
>>>n. pl. de·moc·ra·cies
>>> 1. Government by the people, exercised either directly
>>>or through elected representatives.
>>> 2. A political or social unit that has such a
>>> 3. The common people, considered as the primary source
>>>of political power.
>>> 4. Majority rule.
>>> 5. The principles of social equality and respect for
>>>the individual within a community.
>>How does this work in practice in a school? Check
>>The bizarre disconnect between our nation's schools, and our
>>cultural and national support of Democracy, was one of the
>>reasons for the founding of Sudbury Valley and the Sudbury
>>School movement. One of our first books -- the Crisis in
>>American Education -- addresses this head on. See
>>--Scott David Gray
>>reply to:
Received on Thu Oct 03 2002 - 19:12:33 EDT

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