Re: DSM: about Sudbury model

Mitch Berg (
Sun, 25 Mar 2001 13:05:53 -0600

While I try to stay out of some of the endlessly-recursive philosophical
discussions that make this list, "active", I couldn't pass this one up.

At 09:26 AM 3/25/2001 -0800, John Axtell wrote:

>First and foremost in our country you do not have the right to vote until
>you are
>18 and by the time you are 18, as you said, you have been paying a lot of
>without being able to vote.

Let me give you a counterexample: when you learn a musical instrument -
say, cello - you don't jump into a chair in a concert orchestra as soon as
you know where to hold the bow. You learn the instrument. You learn to
handle it, generate a tone, read and play music, and even how to behave as
a member of a concert orchestra (how to sit, concert manners and
discipline). You don't have the "right" to play in a concert - but you
spend your years learning the instrument knowing that the concert is your
goal. The same example holds for sports, flying fighter planes, being a

Why should children NOT grow up *practicing* their rights? Not in a
meaningless, contrived way - kids aren't stupid - but in a way that affects
their lives in the same proportion that they will in adult life?

>In our country, in most
>states, you do not have the right to drive until you are 16 and have
>passed a test.

BUT! Most kids learn the "rules of the road" while riding their
bikes. And they have many of the same responsibilities as drivers - "don't
get killed" being a big one.

>My point is that I am still troubled by the concept of letting individuals
>who have
>little or no knowledge of the realities of life should somehow be part of the
>decision making model. Certainly they may express their opinion but to
>allow them a
>vote is a bit much for me.

That's sort of like teaching a musician how to read sheet music, but never
allowing them to actually play their instrument. When the time comes to
finally exercise "grown-up" rights, making the jump from theory to practice
will be that much more incongruous.

Mitch Berg
Saint Paul

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