Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] sudbury/summerhill

From: candy <>
Date: Thu Feb 27 16:31:00 2003

Hi Alan and Scott,
With the International Democratic Conference in Albany some months
ahead, it occurs to me that we will be dealing with issues of democratic
philosophy as well as practical applications. As democratic schools we
are allowed to operate (and on rare occasions) are supported by the
society around us. In most countries of the world, children's rights
are extremely limited - for the most part children are treated as
"chattel". We can "give" children rights in our schools only to the
extent that the surrounding society will tolerate. As you once pointed
out, Alan, "giving" rights means you can also take them away. So we
write constitutions and lawbooks stating that our schools will act as if
children are equal. Our attorney pointed out long ago that should
problems arise either with the state or private interests, the adults of
the school would be the ones held responsible - regardless of who was
the Chairperson of the General Meeting or who made up the majority of
the school. We have experienced the limitations imposed by the state
more than once. As Sudbury Valley School had to make a rule keeping
children under 8 on campus - a violation of the previous open campus
policy - in order to satisfy the state authorities in MA, so too did we
at Highland have to choose between supervision by our county
superintendent and yearly standardized testing for the state. The
process we used was democratic, much discussion and decision by majority
vote, however the state held (and still does hold) the ultimate power to
allow us to operate. I think that when we make distinctions between
ourselves and other schools from around the world, we need to decide
which battles are worth fighting. We need a strong coalition if we are
going to make a dent in current social attitudes about education. Candy

Alan Klein wrote:

>I don't disagree with anything Scott says here. I would say however, Scott,
>that you had the advantage of reading Summerhill AFTER you had been a part
>of SVS. For most of us old-timers, Summerhill was a glimpse into a new
>possibility and provided us with lots of guidance and vision as we forged
>our own philosophies.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Scott David Gray" <>
>> When I was 14, I read Summerhill, and I was stunned
>>(and frankly disappointed) by how undemocratic Summerhill
>>seemed to be in Neill's _own_ words. <snip>
>Discuss-sudbury-model mailing list
Received on Thu Feb 27 2003 - 16:30:27 EST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Mon Jun 04 2007 - 00:03:05 EDT