Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] First Amendment Schools

From: Scott David Gray <>
Date: Mon Nov 13 21:43:01 2006


I am proud of American democracy, as are you. Political democracy,
with pluralism, and the great liberties, It is a satisfying modern
answer to many ancient problems. I think that few people will disagree
with you that American freedoms and traditions are great things.

This pride came to me young, because I grew up in liberty and
equality. But it almost passed me by.

The notion that one can learn anything *useful* about the right to
freely assemble without *breathing* the air of liberty seems silly.
And probably counter-productive. Being *told* about rights that one
supposedly has (by flag waving but pedantic do-gooders in the First
Amendment project), but which one clearly *doesn't* have, is a sure
way to breed cynicism.

I know. I was on that path while I was in school. Beginning to think
that liberty, equality, and the bill of rights were pie-in-the-sky
crock. The words felt more like bread and circuses, than sincere
values of the culture *I* was in as a child in grade school. It took a
while after being plunged head-first into a *real* pluralistic culture
of respect, for me to shed my armor and accept that it was something
other than a crock.

I can say, unequivocally, that had I remained in traditional school,
and then been introduced to a "First Amendment" curriculum, I would
have been lucky to believe that *anyone* in this world (besides the
strong) had real liberty.

If one is going to deny liberty and human dignity to children, it is
better to be up front about it than to *pretend* that they enjoy the
great freedoms. At least then, they can look forward to *becoming*
full Americans at some later point of their lives.

I'm with Woty. Free Speech as guaranteed by the first amendment
depends upon Free Assembly, also guaranteed by the First Amendment;
which in turn means nothing without the freedom to *not* assemble (and
when you are forced to go to your "First Amendment" class at a certain
time, you certainly do *not* have the freedom to not assemble).

On 11/13/06, <> wrote:
> Despite its inherent contradictions, the First Amendment Schools project
> seems like a good idea: it appears to encourage student participation in
> decision-making (though it's hard not to be cynical about the possibility of
> students actually having any power over important decisions).
> For that matter, though, it's hard not to be cynical about corporate and
> American democracy. Certain corporations, such as the New York Times, have a
> voting structure that gives certain shareholders 100 votes for each share
> they hold, and other shareholders 1 vote per share. That is pretty much the
> way American democracy works, too: people with power and/or money get 100
> votes, those who lack them get 1.
> Though I am pretty darn cynical, I will take American democracy over the
> forms of government that exist in most of the rest of the world. Similarly,
> I would probably prefer to attend a First Amendment School over most
> non-First Amendment Schools.
> Stuart Williams

-- Scott David Gray
Received on Mon Nov 13 2006 - 21:42:07 EST

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