RE: DSM: about Sudbury model

Joe Jackson (
Fri, 23 Mar 2001 09:10:12 -0500

> Mike Sadofsky wrote:
> > But I am concerned about the level of
> > discussion of this topic in this forum, because from what I have read,
> > his premise appears to have no context here.
> I'm not sure if I understand you right here. Are you saying that what
> I'm suggesting has nothing to do with Sudbury Model and thus shouldn't
> be discuessed here?

I don't interpet that from what Mike wrote above, but in any case I would
like to go on record as saying that I think the ideas you have put forth
here belong on this list and have promoted lively discussion, of which I am
heartily in favor.

Am I concerned that the casual newcomer will read your list of norms and
assume that those are community norms encountered in the Sudbury model?
Yes. Do I think that your list of norms was designed to paint "norms" per
se in a negative light? Certainly. So do I think your biased list of norms
provides a reasonable premise on which to base a discussion of community
rulemaking? No way. For every silly norm you post I can post ten that you
and I rely on to survive and thrive.

But none of this means your conversations are out of place, it just means
that folks have to first agree with your premises and assertions about the
model as it exists now before they can even begin to consider your
alternatives, and I for one feel like I have questioned many of your
assertions about the model without hearing any responses from you. I know
you're probably busy up there, but I can't follow your "chain of deduction"
if the first link is broken...

> If so, I'm very puzzled that what people here (IYO)
> _should_ be discussing... And I still argue that what I've proposed all
> can be implemented in a Sudbury Model School without braking the
> underlying philosophy, unless people see democratic decision making and
> the JC as essential parts of a Sudbury Model School.


1) you and I disagree as to what "democratic decision-making" means, OR

2) I *do* see democratic decision-making as an essential component of the
Sudbury Model.

I see "democratic decision-making" loosely defined as a process in which the
majority makes decisions. Hopefully that majority is a unanimous majority,
but lack of unanimity does not exclude a decision-making process from being
described as democratic, in my view.

How do you define "democratic decision-making"?


 But in that case I
> really have to re-evaluate my thinking about Sudbury Model.
> > Should anyone reading this post and participating in a discussion of
> > the sudbury model feel that these phrases (I don't know where they may
> > be cultural 'norms') represent the mores at sudbury schools, let me
> > explicitly say that this is not the case. In my 33 years of exposure
> > to the model, I can unequivocally state that I find not one of these
> > as having any validity within the sudbury model.
> Yes I agree. The phrases don't have anything to do with the Sudbury
> Model, but they have a lot to do with people working as staff members
> and with students there. Sudbury Model schools aren't isolated from the
> bigger society and the norms of the bigger society find their ways to
> the Sudbury Model schools. And if the staff doesn't fight the norms they
> find irrational, then one aspect of freedom is missing (IMO). And with
> this I don't mean that the staff members of current Sudbury Model
> Schools don't fight the norms, of course they do, but I just want to
> emphasize this aspect because I think it needs to be emphasized.
> Marko

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