RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Complexity Interpretation...

From: Joe Jackson <>
Date: Sun Dec 1 10:20:01 2002

Hi, Victoria. No, I don't believe the US federal government always does
what the people of the US want. But the actions of the US federal
government represent the defacto wishes of the American people (as a
whole) in that they created it and elected the representatives that act
to form the policies.
I don't share your concern about the US government moving in the
direction of regulating the curriculum of every child in the US; I feel
the pendulum in the US has swung towards standardization of education as
far as I think it possibly can, and there is still plenty of room in
most states to open non-standard schools, and home schooling now
represents a huge swath of school-aged American children.
Germany? I can't say that just because something happens there it might
happen in the US - they have a whole 'nother pendulum over there...
Moreover, First Amendment Constitutional challenges on the part of
established schools (like SVS or Fairhaven) to the right of a parent to
educate their children in the manner they see fit will squarely meet any
attempt by the NEA and the Federal/State Governments to interfere in my
view, much as in The Community School of Sante Fe v. The New Mexico
Supreme Court.
Can you speak more about the new tight controls on schools in Canada? I
find that interesting as Canada seems to be the country wherein the
Sudbury model is by far having the most per capita success.

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Victoria
Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2002 12:27 AM
Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Complexity Interpretation...

Dear Joe,
You really believe that your government (I am Canadian) does what the
people want? Is that why George Bush got elected by cheating, then
started a war (maybe more) for oil, etc.?
I am glad that right now the Bush admin. allows schools like SVS to
exist, but in the future I am concerned that there, as here in Canada,
more tight controls may be placed as in Germany or other countries to
ensure that children learn what the government wants. Right now I don't
feel that the "authorities" are truly representing the people, and may
continue to take back the rights that had been previously accorded.

Joe Jackson wrote:

 Fortunately, the existing Sudbury Model schools have found ways to
exist as purely democratic (non-authoritarian) schools, mostly in
communities that don't support the ideals. The energy is spent in
startup; the nature of our American culture is that it takes a great
deal more energy to shut something down than to block it from
opening.And I don't necessarily agree that American culture is
authoritarian per se. While there are structures and mechanisms built
into our society and government that are *authorities*, they exist
because we as a people put them there. And the fact that it is a
reality in 99% of the cultures of the world that authoritarianism is an
essential part of raising children, there is plenty of latitude in that
as well as a healthy amount of respect for a parent's right to raise
their children in the manner they wish in the U.S.joe jackson

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Victoria
Sent: Saturday, November 30, 2002 4:41 PM
Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Complexity Interpretation...
Dear David,
Yes, I do believe it is compromising. There is usually a compromise in
how much to have societal approval for an enterprise, for the more
societal approval, the more likely to have the ideas further spread. If
the community doesn't support your ideas, there will be more struggle to
exist and promulgate the ideas. The more energy it takes to exist, the
less energy is left over to pursue the dissemination of these ideals. I
think it is only natural, even when one believes in
non-authoritarianism, to want to circulate ideas that people may
possibly want to understand and consider. Therefore, each person or
group must find their own place to put their mark on the line graph of
following the ideals totally verses doing what is accepted in society.

David Rovner wrote:

 What do you mean by:>I think in this area, as in life, it is important
to balance extremes.<Is that compromising? ~ David

----- Original Message -----
From: Victoria Serda <>
Sent: Friday, November 29, 2002 8:25 PM
Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Complexity Interpretation...
 Dear Darren,
I am just finishing up my thesis on something similar--how schools like
SVS are optimal for learning and producing the kind of citizens that
society needs. I also have experience starting an SVS-type school.
I think in this area, as in life, it is important to balance extremes.
It is not possible right now to have fully non-authoritarian structures,
because society is authoritarian. Therefore, the goal should be to
minimize coercion and maximize freedom. In order for a school to exist
without being closed down by the government, it has to follow the rules.

The end result of granting children a much healthier option must be
balanced with the detriments to working in the current system.
Victoria Serda

Darren Stanley wrote:

Hello All! I am presently going through the numerous stories and
articles that I have on SVS - shaped mostly through the writings found
in the SVS books that are available to anyojne through the SVS website.
As part of my PhD dissertation (in Education), I am attempting to
show/illuminate how "schools" might be healthier in how they function,
following the actions of SVS (as an example of what might be possible).
SVS strikes me as akin to a deeply living, biological entity. Framed in
this way, and using what researchers and scholars from a diversity of
fields have had to say about complex systems, I wonder what might *in
principle* be present to help make SVS *work*. It seems to me that
there is plenty of diversity present; interactions across many
time/space scales (e.g., no restrictions on age/subject/interest level).
The types and strengths of interactions may bring forth a variety of
different/novel emergent events...and so on... In my work in the
non-profit health sector (another cap I wear), I have an implicit
understanding of what a "healthy" organization might be like. >From
what I have read and know about SVS and other related matters, SVS is
IMHO the epitomy of a healthy educational setting - speaking rather
broadly. Here are some questions I've been pondering...any thoughts out
there?!? The school seems to have this sort of "self-organizing" feature
to it: no authoritarian leaders (leadership is shared/distributed?); no
external constraints? but can there be NO external constraints? There
are, of course, state regulations, but how or do these regulations play
out? Or might it be better said that the school is "influenced" by
state regulations? Is influence the same as coercion? Sorry for all the
questions...I do have more tho', but I will stop there! On another
note...I don't know if Daniel Greenberg is on this list, but I've
recently read your/his essay on human interest. What a remarkable
piece. Not only did it help to illuminate a completely new view of this
phenomenon for me, I have also shared it with my work colleague who has
in turn shared it with a number of other "dissatisfied suburban
housewives" (her words, not mine). In every instance, everyone of these
people "get it" and see how traditioanl schooling works so hard to
ignore and work with the "interests" of others. thanks! Darren Darren
StanleyUniversity of Alberta, CanadaPlexus Institute, Allentown,
Received on Sun Dec 01 2002 - 10:19:36 EST

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