Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Reading Suggestions

From: Scott David Gray <>
Date: Mon Sep 25 20:08:01 2006

     Killing Monsters is a great book, through and through -- heck
Gerard Jones (the author) is a great comic book writer.

     Everything Bad is Good For You has a peculiar problem with it...
     The author doesn't remain committed to his thesis. In the last
chapter (or two?) he expresses doubts, and back-peddles, offering no
explanation or evidence for his back-peddling. It is *conceivable*
that he is being ironic, and doing so poorly -- but it seems more
likely to me that he is either buckling to "political" demands by his
publisher to get his book published or giving voice to his own inner
demons. It really reminds me of Augustine's confessions -- applying
reason humility and humor for pages, and then suddenly announcing with
no clear explanation "but of course the scriptures tell us this,
instead, so you can ignore the other arguments I built."

     Judith Harris's book over-sell its point I think, and makes a
too-big deal of a relatively simple point. And, in fact, the book
reads like an opportunity for neglectful parents to excuse themselves.
Her thesis is that there *are* no parenting techniques that work.
However, a careful review of the social science literature finds no
clear *proactive* parenting strategies (cultural outings together,
reading aloud, family mealtime, banning video games, playing video
games together) that make any statistically noticeable difference in
future happiness or misery or "success" by any various criterion --
but finds a plethora of parental *attitudes* and *circumstances* that
*do* seem to make a difference on various measures (whether or not the
parents are respectful or disrespectful to one another other adults
and children, whether or not they show sincere concern and caring,
whether or not they find are employed, whether or not they find their
outside jobs fulfilling).

     Not precisely books on how people learn, but books from which one
can take away a great deal of relevant information, as well as a sense
of how the current traditional education system was established: David
Nasaw is an historian of the family and children's life, and wrote two
spectacular books that come to mind -- Schooled to Order, and Children
of the City.

On 9/25/06, Melissa Bradford <> wrote:
> Along the lines of "Killing Monsters", I'd also recommend "Everything Good
> is Bad for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter",
> by Steven Johnson". I really enjoyed this book! I was glad to find out my
> favorite TV shows are good for me. :-)
> Along the lines of parenting books, "Raising Self-Reliant Children in a
> Self-Indulgent World" by H Stephen Glenn was one that resonated with me when
> I was a new parent, and certainly helped me be open to the ideas of Sudbury
> education.
> Melissa
> Illinois
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> [] On Behalf
> Of Mimsy Sadofsky
> Sent: Monday, September 25, 2006 5:38 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Reading Suggestions
> "Killing Monsters"
> Mimsy Sadofsky
> On Sep 25, 2006, at 2:17 PM, Joseph Moore wrote:
> Joseph from Diablo Valley School here.
> We're celebrating the 10th anniversary of our school this year. One event
> we're sponsoring is a monthly reading group at a local library, which we
> hope will attract some parents. The tentative title is: How Do Kids Really
> Learn? A Fresh Look at Education.
> Here's why I'm pestering you all: we need about 8 - 9 books/readings, and I
> thought the people on this list would have good ideas. The plan here is to
> NOT hit people over the head too much (which is hard for me, personally,
> given what a horror traditional schooling is), but to ease into the topic at
> first, then move on to more pointed stuff over time. So, what books or
> readings would you reccommend that shed light on why it's a good idea to
> trust kids, to recognize and nurture their responsibility for their own
> education, and to lay off the little butts in desks model of education?
> We've already got several (this is all still tentative, so if you've got a
> better idea, fire away)
> 1st month: The Scientist in the Crib. We thought we'd start with something
> about how really small children learn, to lay the groundwork for reexamining
> how we all learn. Plus, one of the authors is local, and we'd like to get
> her for a panel discussion later in the year.
> 2nd month: The Myth of the Lazy Mind.
> Later, we'll do a couple Sudbury Valley books - Reflections on the Sudbury
> School Concept, Kingdom of Childhood? Plus, right at the end, one of the
> John Taylor Gatto books.
> Thanks,
> Joseph

-- Scott David Gray
Received on Mon Sep 25 2006 - 20:07:36 EDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Mon Jun 04 2007 - 00:03:15 EDT