Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Better than thou? Well, yes

From: Kenneth Winchenbach Walden <>
Date: Mon Oct 10 21:02:17 2005

Ryan Singer wrote:

> I think exploring the assumptions you use here helps the full
> conversation, and is thus on topic. The society in which these people
> live is by definition alone no more than it's constituent parts. In the
> example, these three people are *all we know* about that society.
> Societies cannot *provide* anything, for providence is the province of
> decision and action, which can only be done at an individual level.
> This woman can choose to leave, which is taking the risk that she cannot
> provide for herself as well as the abusive hubby, or she can decide that
> his providence is worth the abuse. This has nothing to do with any
> third member of the "society", except, perhaps, the advising friend.

I wasn't talking about a situation involving only these three people. As
I said, I agree that the individual offering the advice is not acting in
an elitist manner. But as I said, if the aggregate of all the people
offering this advice, and all the people that together make up her
society can not offer her an actual way out of the situation she finds
herself in, due to her lack of resources or privilege, that that
aggregate group of people constitutes an elitist system, in an
unintentional sense. Again I am assuming a situation here where some
people find it impossible to leave the situation without some additional
resource or aid. I am not assuming that this woman's problem is simply
her choice to stay.

So, my point is that it would be appropriate for someone in that society
to point at the collective situation created out of all these individual
choices, and to point out that an unfair system has risen that does not
provide equally for those with a lack of resources. That does not
condemn any one person in that society, it simply points to something
lacking which needs attention. Perhaps then someone would wish to direct
attention and effort to that lack.

> To bring this back on topic, a parent is in a similar boat to this
> woman. An aware parent knows that the public schools are abusive.
> There choice is simple, does the value provided by public schools
> (environment mostly safe from physical harm and kidnapping, and access
> to social peers) exceed the harm of the abuse? There is no elitist part
> to that decision, nor is any other member of "society" necessary to it,
> although by providing a place like the SVS, another member(s) can help
> make the decision easier by providing the same value without the abuse.
> Bringing in "society" without defining which other people matter just
> confuses the debate in order to back away from objective criteria.

I don't think the original point was about a parent choosing to send
their child to a public school or not. The question was whether Sudbury
schools which might have restrictive tuition requirements were elitist
in the sense that they could not offer democratic schooling to those
without enough money.

Ken Walden

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Received on Mon Oct 10 2005 - 21:01:33 EDT

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