Re: DSM:

From: Todd Robinson (todd@ClinicalSoftware.net)
Date: Tue Oct 23 2001 - 15:57:24 EDT


Great rant, as usual, Joe.

Todd Robinson

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joe Jackson" <shoeless@jazztbone.com>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 7:32 AM
Subject: RE: DSM:

> Hello William, I hope you had a good summer!
>
> I would hope we would all agree on the silliness of the underlying point
> behind your questioner's "notion", which would seem to be that
> democratic schools don't produce famous people. My reactions are,
> respectively, What?, Huh? and Who Cares?
>
> First point: In today's world, there exist no standard of what "someone
> who has helped create a broad cultural change in understanding or the
> way we see things in art, writing, science, politics, etc." even means,
> or who would fit it. The concept is nonsense.
>
> Almost 20 years ago, I was lucky enough to attend a then very
> Sudbury-ish Arts Magnet High School with Roy Hargrove, one of the
> greatest and well-known jazz musicians of our time. Fifty years ago he
> would have probably fallen under most people's definitions of someone
> who has "created a broad change" regarding art in America. But in
> today's world nobody will ever agree on what "art" is; most people today
> don't even listen to jazz or know who Roy Hargrove is.
>
> There were 250 jazz artists in 1950 who were great enough to shape the
> world's view of art. Today there are 2500, but the world doesn't really
> listen to jazz. So is the questioner saying that it's more important
> for schools to crank out Michael Jacksons (who has had *way* more effect
> in changing the world's perception of music than anyone else in the
> world over the last 20 years) than it is for them to crank out
> Hargroves?
>
> And did anyone catch themselves just now bridling at the idea that
> Michael Jackson created a "broad cultural change in understanding or the
> way we see things in art"? You see the problem.
>
> Fame is opportunity. The relationship of fame to greatness is usually a
> matter of opinion, and when it is not are occurrences that are so
> statistically rare as to preclude a relationship with the type or form
> of schooling.
>
> Just for fun, someone name me five people in the world today who are
> changing our culture in the same breadth and degree of unequivocality
> that Julius Ceasar, Johann Sebastian Bach and Albert Einstein did in
> their respective cultures.
>
> Second point: There's a math problem here. Over the past 50 years
> Sudbury schools have produced maybe 6-8 hundred students. Over the past
> fifty years all the other kinds of schools in the world have produced
> billions of students. So, at this rate, if the all these other schools
> in the world have (arguably) produced one or two thousand of these
> people that can change our culture today (if there are that many we can
> all agree on), then
>
> 2,000/2,000,000,000 = x/800 per fifty years
> .000001 = x/800 per fifty years
> x = .0008 per fifty years
>
> So Sudbury schools only need to produce one U.N Delegate or Pulitzer
> Prize winner every 600 centuries to easily surpass all other schools in
> this all-important category? What a cakewalk!
>
> Third point: While the criteria of "someone who has helped create a
> broad cultural change in understanding or the way we see things in art,
> writing, science, politics, etc." is nonexistent due to its
> equivocality, what is the relevance?
>
> Does the world need Nobel Prize winners more than it needs
> veterinarians? Is someone who is a great writer a better and more
> present parent than a reporter for the local paper? Because it's the
> billions of anonymous people who live their lives with joy & integrity
> that make real contributions to our culture.
>
> Back to the jazz music analogy. In order to follow the track of a jazz
> musician who is at all "known", one essentially has to dedicate their
> entire lives to becoming known. Is it possible to be a good parent and
> be involved with social issues and volunteer for charities when you're
> out on the road ten months a year? No, I tried it, it's not possible.
>
> The relationship of fame to how good a person is is nonexistent.
>
> And much thanks should go to public schools for the fact that the impact
> art has on our culture today is negligible compared to sports. The
> impact of writing on our culture is far less than that of television and
> movies. So your questioner's categories seem a little out of date with
> regard to the real-life culture of today, unless "culture" to them means
> a bunch of college professors and art & music critics sitting around in
> a coffee shop in Geneva sipping cappuccinos while discussing Thomas
> Pynchon's latest book.
>
> Sorry. To me the point, which amounts to "has Sudbury/Summerhill
> cranked out anyone famous?", is so juvenile I am incapable of even
> comprehending whatever legitimacy the questioner intends.
>
> I would tell the questioner that while democratic schooling doesn't
> necessarily help kids to become famous, that every single graduate of
> Sudbury goes on to make *untold* contributions to our civilization, and
> that getting famous is probably not among the top ten reasons parents
> send their children to a Sudbury school.
>
> Rant over.
>
> -Joe
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
> [mailto:owner-discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org] On Behalf Of william van
> horn
> Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 6:41 AM
> To: discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
> Subject: Re: DSM:
>
>
> I was in a discussion on the state of the school system here in the US
> and someone brought up the notion that no one that has made a
> significant contribution to our culture has ever come through democratic
> schools such as Summerhill or Sudbury. By significant contribution he
> meant someone who has helped create a broad cultural change in
> understanding or the way we see things in art, writing, science,
> politics, etc.
>
> Does anyone know of a SUdbury alumnus who has gone on to help make such
> a change?
>
> William M. Van Horn
> http://www.angelfire.com/art/inmystudio
>
>
>
>
>
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