Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Some facts

From: David Rovner <rovners_at_netvision.net.il>
Date: Fri Apr 8 03:39:00 2005

In "one word":
who sets the standards, and how standards are set ?

~ David

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Rovner" <rovners_at_netvision.net.il>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org>
Sent: Friday, April 08, 2005 8:51 AM
Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Some facts
>
>
> And, if somebody do tell other people what to do,
> does he/she get a fine ?
> he/she doesn't get elected next term ?
> the parlament scolds him/her ?
> he/she feels he/she failed ?
> etc., etc., etc.
> What happens ?
> If something happens, at all.
>
> ~ David
>
> ----- Message Was Originally -----
> From: David Rovner
> To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
> Sent: Monday, April 04, 2005 11:36 AM
> Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Encouragment.
> ------------------------------------------------------
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Scott David Gray" <sgray_at_sudval.org>
> To: "Discuss-Sudbury-Model Mailing List"
<discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org>
> Sent: Friday, April 08, 2005 4:38 AM
> Subject: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Some facts
>
>
> > This conversation has devolved into a set of debates over
> > words that is worryingly abstract and academic and off-base,
> > and frankly bizarre. It has also led to some serious
> > misrepresentations and misunderstandings, and also some just
> > plain misquoting. A set of thirteen relevant items, in no
> > particular order:
> >
> > 1) Yes, in fact, Sudbury schools are very supportive
> > communities for all School Meeting members -- staff and
> > students. People of all ages find people who are ready to
> > help them with various challenges and questions and projects
> > in their lives.
> >
> > 2) No, Sudbury staff don't actively advertise potential
> > activities for students. We don't say things to students
> > that an adult wouldn't happily say to an adult in a similar
> > relationship. We *certainly* never announce to a mass of
> > people something as artificial as "I am going to be working
> > in the darkroom at X time. Anyone who wants to join me is
> > welcome to do so." On the other hand, I might quietly
> > mention to a kid who has *already* expressed an interest in
> > working with me, that X time would be good for me because
> > I'm working then anyway.
> >
> > 3) Public activities do exist at the school. The activities
> > directly related to the governance of the school (this or
> > that meeting at this or that time) are placed on a common
> > central bulletin board, just as local town meetings are
> > announced in the paper. And social things (from plans to
> > bake pies, to history seminars, etcetera) are sometimes
> > arranged *by*students* and -- after the fact of the event
> > being arranged -- announced on the board.
> >
> > 4) At Sudbury Valley, people of all ages are sovereign over
> > themselves. However, the students and staff are equally
> > subject to the will of the community, as expressed through
> > the School Meeting's laws. This is called respect. We do
> > this, because we feel that respect is and freedom the ideal
> > environment in which to grow up respectful, responsible, and
> > fulfilled. We have not been disappointed. The act of
> > violating that respect -- of treating a child as a different
> > animal from an adult -- dooms that entire method. The
> > presumption that adults know better for children than those
> > children do, is at the heart of school systems oriented
> > around curricula. But it is at odds with what we do at
> > Sudbury Valley.
> >
> > 5) It is just as disrespectful to carefully thought out
> > philosophies of education which use a curriculum, to suggest
> > that Sudbury schools could have *some* curriculum or *some*
> > staff who are proactive on academia, as it is to the
> > carefully thought out philosophies of education which are
> > practiced by our School Meeting. I mean no disrespect to
> > systems that use a curriculum when I say that the two cannot
> > be combined. I do regularly criticize traditional education;
> > but I at least respect them as operating under a consistent
> > philosophy. When one talks about 'blending' 'elements of
> > Sudbury' one is abandoning any clear educational philosophy
> > for some sort of wishy-washy desire to have it both ways.
> >
> > 6) Sudbury Schools *have* no doctrine. No formal definition
> > of a Sudbury School exists, anywhere, to my knowledge. On
> > the other hand, different people involved in schools define
> > key elements of what they are doing. And different schools
> > choose to have associations with one another. There are
> > several schools that Sudbury Valley keeps an association
> > with, and several that we do not keep a collegial
> > association with because their philosophies and aims are too
> > far from ours. And most of the schools that we keep
> > associations with *themselves* keep associations with other
> > schools -- which may or may not overlap to a greater or
> > lesser degree with our list.
> >
> > 7) Alumni from Sudbury schools seem to be doing just fine --
> > by any measure. Whether you look at income or higher degrees
> > (questionable measures of success), or self-reports of
> > fulfillment and happiness, or numbers who get into career of
> > first choice, our alumni do very well. The question isn't
> > 'aren't you harming those kids?' but 'isn't that neat, how
> > does it work?'
> >
> > 8) When you treat people with respect, they treat you with
> > respect. This is why the staff hiring process is, as I
> > mentioned before, very gentle and respectful. Placing power
> > in the hands of younger people does not make animals of
> > them. Particularly when it is *equal* power. People who
> > manage and govern in unequal environments do sometimes
> > relish their power a little much, but when an entire
> > community is taking care of it's own the process can be much
> > more human.
> >
> > 9) Students at Sudbury schools are 'exposed' to plenty of
> > things. They are not missing out, because they are not being
> > formally introduced to them by an adult, in a classroom
> > setting or otherwise. A review of classroom policies in
> > *any* traditional school gives the lie to the idea that
> > people are exposed to more in that environment than in a
> > Sudbury environment. In a traditional environment, you are
> > listening to one stream of factoids from one person, without
> > counterbalancing opinions, or the free market of ideas. In a
> > Sudbury school, you have dozens of conversations you could
> > be part of -- many of which are in earshot of your other
> > conversation so you can't help but be 'exposed' to the
> > biology/theology/ethics/whatever discussion going on 'over
> > there.' You also have Internet computers not behind the
> > *exceeding* restrictive CIPA firewalls that prevent students
> > even from viewing want-ad sites, and TVs, and books books
> > everywhere on any subject you could dream of. On the other
> > hand, traditional schools do everything in their power not
> > to *present* information but to *limit* information. Their
> > philosophy of eduction is 'tear down and build up' -- remove
> > *everything* from the child and then rebuild the child with
> > a set set of factoids. Sudbury's philosophy is in my opinion
> > more humane and more realistic -- the child has already
> > started growing, let him/her continue!
> >
> > 10) Do critical stages of development exist? Yes, they do --
> > Todd's critique of another post notwithstanding. Most of the
> > evidence is in language. For example, deaf children in
> > Nicaragua(?) were denied sign language for several years
> > because of A) lack of funding for a massive amount of
> > deafness that passed with a particular virus and B) some
> > wise-acre educationists' horrible life-destroying idea that
> > it would keep them from actually learning to read lips. The
> > children who never were allowed to be exposed to signing
> > were otherwise treated very well -- but the ones who didn't
> > get any exposure to signing before age 6 simply never were
> > able to learn grammar *at*all* even after being intensely
> > exposed to sign language. And deaf children who got to spend
> > time together before age 6 but had no language access, and
> > were *allowed* to do so, actually *developed* a sign
> > language with grammar and all. Does this mean that people
> > should be sure to be 'taught' language before age 6 comes?
> > No -- it means that the mental processes for acquiring
> > information (play, curiosity, role modeling, watching) are
> > innately wiser than any professional educators. We may know
> > a lot about the mind, but there is *MUCH* more that we don't
> > know, and not only do people learn more when their own minds
> > set the theme and pace, but in fact people are happier.
> >
> > 11) Yes, students know how to make use of the democratic
> > process. I didn't do a head count in School Meeting today,
> > but there were at least 80 people of all ages. The meeting
> > dealt with several difficult issues, but was respectful
> > throughout. The debate from all corners was at the highest
> > level and very interesting. And everybody understood the
> > procedures.
> >
> > 12) Democracy means -- government by the governed. Equality
> > before the law means -- all people being held to the same
> > standards. Liberty means -- the governing authority only
> > takes from people's time to meet a clearly defined need and
> > then only does so in a limited way and/or with a heavy heart
> > (jury duty, or a military draft), and activities are only
> > limited from very clear cause and only with a heavy heart.
> > These three together are the foundations of Sudbury Valley;
> > I personally feel that this is what people of all ages
> > deserve, and because it doesn't get in the way of their
> > learning and in fact seems to help, why the blazes not treat
> > children with this same human respect and decency?
> >
> > 13) When expenditures of resources are done, they are not
> > based on whim. They are based upon the desire for
> > this-or-that in the school, balanced against it's cost. When
> > the school decides to get x86 computers that run windows and
> > Linux, it is expressing a decision based upon the relative
> > demand for different products by persons in the school,
> > balanced against the relative costs (not only money, but
> > also space and time). The school meeting is neither
> > discouraging people from or encouraging people to play with
> > Macintosh or VMS or Alpha computers by these choices. To be
> > sure, when a community decides to find something to serve
> > the common good (building a public park, or a library) some
> > individual people get more benefit than others -- but that
> > does not make the community any less pluralistic. On the
> > other hand, when a community actively supports the idea of
> > people paid with it's resources knocking on the doors of
> > people to try and actively cajole them to do this-or-that,
> > the community is most certainly *not* respecting differences
> > of opinion or pluralism.
> >
> > --
> >
> > --Scott David Gray
> > reply to: sgray_at_sudval.org
> > http://www.unseelie.org/
> > ============================================================
> > A great many people think they are thinking when they are
> > merely rearranging their prejudices.
> >
> > -- William James
> > ============================================================
Received on Fri Apr 08 2005 - 03:38:12 EDT

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