Re: DSM: about Sudbury model

Mike Sadofsky (
Thu, 22 Mar 2001 19:58:50 -0500

I've stayed away from this discussion because I couldn't see it going
anywhere. Marko seems to be suggesting that he wants to determine
what norms of the culture are rational and which are not, and then
establish a school -somewhere- where people (students, perhaps staff)
have the freedom to disregard the norms of the culture that they or he
consider not rational.

Perhaps he'll succeed at this. 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.

He wrote:

>Some norms that I consider totally irrational are e.g. following:
>- "to achieve better results and to be more efficient, people should
>- "boys shouldn't cry"
>- "girls should look pretty"
>- "nobody should be fat"
>- "it is a sign of weakness to show emotions"
>- "people of same sex shouldn't get too close to each other"
>- "sex is dangerous"
>- "emotions aren't rational"
>- "unanimous decision making isn't possible" =)
>- "guilty people should be punished"
>- "everything will go fine if the economy is fine"
>- "I'm not responsible of what my brother does"
>and so on...

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.


On Thu, 22 Mar 2001 16:16:21 -0500, you wrote:

>Joseph wrote:
>> How about leaving people free to choose which norms they consider
>> irrational, and to fight against them if and how they wish? Why should it be
>> the staff's responsibility?
>I admit that it's not an easy and simple question. But as I've said IMO
>everybody's responsible of practically everything. What I want to
>accomplis with my school is to give as much freedom to the young people
>that attend as possible. And because the cultural norms are usually
>pretty strong and usually restrict the freedom of the people in certain
>culture, I consider it rational to stand against all irrational cultural
>norms as much as possible so that the young people could see that
>alternatives are possible and could make those decisions more freely. Of
>course everybody should be free to stand against whatever norms they
>choose to stand against or be free not to. But I just consider this a
>rational way of behavior in order to accomplis as much freedom as
>And it's not possible to stand visibly against some of the norms in
>order to keep the school going. For example standing against the sexual
>norms would probably provoce so much opposition that the school would be
>closed. But there are means of reaching for more rational behavior
>amongst a group of people and that is what I'm supposing.

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