Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Slave analogy for public schools.

From: Ann Ide <ann.ide_at_rcn.com>
Date: Mon Oct 10 10:09:00 2005

I agree, Danny. We can't abandon our moral judgements. The point I was trying to make was that sometimes, in my experience, there is a certain tone to how "we" speak about public schools that goes a bit to the extreme. For me, anyway. Perhaps this relates to the compromise issue. Is the moral question of public schools one of it just is, or is not, morally right/wrong? Or, for this case, can we ask in what ways and how much? Like a sliding scale, perhaps ? I don't want to send my kids back...ever. However, if they choose to go back; I'll contend with respecting that choice. ( Not without debate,tho'! :-) ) However, if they choose to murder, or buy a slave.....well.....that's not even up for consideration, is it ?

I'd rather hear people argue for their opinions about Sudbury schools, as one would for, say, being a vegetarian. I would not be so rude as to put down the vegetarian's personal choice. I would respect it, while sharing my perspectives point by point.

For the most part, I listen that this is how most people try to handle our discussions ( on and off the forum ). It is just my personal experience and listening that sometimes people get a bit global, extreme and righteous about it. I think there is a fine difference between speaking confidently about one's opinion, and being righteous. Wish I could articulate it better. But I think I have heard others express a similar distaste on the forum; and I don't think such an approach helps our cause when it does happen.

Ann Ide
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Dannyasher_at_aol.com
  To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
  Sent: Sunday, October 09, 2005 1:40 PM
  Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Slave analogy for public schools.

  In a message dated 10/9/2005 12:02:37 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, ann.ide_at_rcn.com writes:
    I'd like to add that I get concerned when I hear
    any Sudbury person speak with a "better than thou" tone. It starts to sound
    rather righteous and arrogant to me. With such an attitude, how can we
    maintain open minds for contiunual self reflection, learning and growth ?
    Mind you, I am not saying that everyone does this. However, I hear it often
    enough. It really bothers me when I start hearing Sudbury kids speak that
    way, even my own :-( . Nothing is all good, or all bad.

  First of all, "better than thou" is not at all the same as "all good or all bad." One can say "better than thou" without feeling that one is "all good." That is an important distinction, and one that is well to keep in mind, especially in discussions that involve judgment, which in my opinion, all discussions do.

  That said, are we to abandon all moral judgments? If I concede my many faults, and yet claim that I definitely live an ethically better life than a Gulag superintendent or a Concentration Camp Commander, is such a statement a cause for concern? In general, a claim made by someone that s/he is "better" than someone else, or that his/her situation is "better" than someone else's situation, should not so much be a cause for concern as a starting point for discussion. The obvious question to ask, and deal with, is "why do you think so?"

  There are people on this list, myself among them, who believe that Sudbury schools, while not being at all perfect (or near perfect), are morally better in their approach to children than are traditional schools (public or private). I hold this belief despite our adherence to compulsory attendance policies, which have pros and cons that are also valid subjects for discussion. I also believe that the fact that Sudbury schools share compulsory attendance with traditional schools does not, ipso facto, mean that the two types of schools are on equal moral grounds.

  Dan Greenberg
Received on Mon Oct 10 2005 - 10:08:55 EDT

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