RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Is there such a thing as a semi-democratic school ?

From: Alan Klein <alan_at_klein.net>
Date: Sun Jun 20 11:14:00 2004

Dan,
 
Once again, I think we are all in "violent agreement" on this point, or
set of points.
 
You raise an interesting question for me when you say, "Nor is it, in my
opinion, a democracy if there exists, outside or any accountable agency
that is democratically set up, an authority that can make decisions for
the entity involved." It is my experience and understanding that the
Assembly at SVS and other Sudbury schools was not created by vote of the
School Meeting. Isn't this an example of such an outside or accountable
agency which is outside of the SM that can make such decisions?
 
~Alan Klein
 
-----Original Message-----
From: Dannyasher_at_aol.com
There is something strange about this string of postings.
    Of course one can quibble about democracy, and about its definition.
But to say a democracy isn't "100%" because another, inclusive
democratic body makes some decisions, is like saying you can't have
levels of democratic government in society, such as town, state, and
federal, or something like that, which is nonsense. Layers of
democratic governance do not mean absence of democracy.
    As for "motions that cannot be made", any society that has a
constitution places its own limits on its freedom of action; and that
includes every democracy that ever existed, whether its constitution is
written or, as in England, oral. To say that this is not democratic is
again absurd. Sudbury schools are embedded in a larger democratic
framework wherever they exist, and take cognizance of that fact.
    So to measure purity is indeed a vain exercise, often. However,
that does not mean that everyone who says they are democratic is in fact
a democracy. Unless one believes that the various "Democratic
Republics" of the Soviet eras were, because they said they were, and
because they held elections (one party ones, of course) with 99.9% of
the population approving everything they did.
    Nor is it, in my opinion, a democracy if there exists, outside or
any accountable agency that is democratically set up, an authority that
can make decisions for the entity involved. For example, a school
director who can hire and fire staff, or make budgetary decisions (while
the "other decisions" are made by a general meeting), does not meet my
definition of a democracy in any way. If this is quibbling, so be it.
That is what I firmly believe, and where all the Sudbury schools I know
firmly stand.
Received on Sun Jun 20 2004 - 11:13:55 EDT

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