Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Encouragment.

From: Marc Kivel <marckivel1_at_yahoo.com>
Date: Wed Apr 6 10:54:01 2005

Hi, Scott.

The extraordinary care and concern with which staffers
have been non-renewed is assumed. But if you have so
much care and concern, then wouldn't it make more
sense to work with the staffer quietly and in a
supportive measure BEFORE it becomes a meeting topic?

You go on to say

> I think that when one lessens power of an
> individual, an unintended consequence is that one
> lessense the sense of responsibility that the
> individual feels.

True. And since the individual must therefore bow to
the will of the majority, what prevents a competent
but fallible adult from being terminated by nothing
more than temporary pique of learners at a mistake or
misjudgement? You may say that the meeting is
extraordinarily careful and sensitive - have any of
the readers of this posting been terminated by a
democratic school? How did it feel to be fired by a
mass meeting as opposed to being let go by an
individual boss? How was your dignity after being
faced down by those to whom you had given an
irreplaceable part of your life?

You continue

>The School Meeting is careful and caution and gentle
> precisely *because* it is a body with power.

I seem to sense a constant refrain among adult
advocates of democratic schools - the importance of
power for the youth. Not learning, which is taken for
granted, but who wields the power. We should be
honest if that is the true agenda of the schools, to
raise disciples of pure democracy or communal
anarchism (yes, a bit oxymoronic I know). I have to
wonder how many parents would find that truth
acceptable and be willing to support it when stated so
baldly?

> Motions for contract which deny a contract to a
> person who had been a staff member, create as heavy
a > heart in the meeting as motions for expulsion.

I am sure it is emotional for the learners, but it is
not nearly as threatening as it is to the adult who
has financial obligations that must be met and who
suddenly finds him or herself the target of criticism
which may not have been previously expressed, or
expressed in a concrete manner,nor allowed an
opportunity to be righted.

> Why do you presume that 'youth' would be cavalier in
> how they took their responsibilities in the School
> Meeting?

It is not a matter of being cavalier; it is a matter
of not being able to walk in some one else's shoes
because of lack of experience or ability to see beyong
maintaining the purity of a school model or having the
power to "do" an adult as the adults have "done" them.

I am under no illusions about the basic nature of
people for good and for evil. It may be lovely in
Camelot, but Camelot was built on the backs of serfs
as Athens was built on the backs of slaves. Sudbury
has been built on the backs of a lot of hard working
well-meaning adults who pay with hours of their lives
and lost opportunity costs in order to pursue a dream
for youth AND themselves...it's a great thing to be
prime philosopher-king in a republic of
philosopher-kings. But I am not sure if those released
by Sudbury would all say the dream was worth the cost
to their lives...would you?

Marc
Received on Wed Apr 06 2005 - 10:53:11 EDT

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