MAY
21 BALTIMORE MD
22 WASHINGTON DC
23 PHILADELPHIA PA
25 NEW YORK CITY
26 PROVIDENCE RI
27 ALBANY/TROY NY
30 DETROIT MI
31 CHICAGO IL

JUNE
1 BLOOMINGTON IN
2 NEW MARKET TN
6 DENVER CO
9 SAN FRANSISCO CA
11 PORTLAND OR
14 SEATTLE WA
15 OLYMPIA WA



About the Documentary

In March and April of 2006, we visited 23 free schools, community centers, after school programs, summer camps, skill shares, charter schools and private schools. We interviewed students, parents and teachers about their experiences with creating and sustaining radical learning spaces. We define this as non-compulsory, non-coercive physical spaces set up for various types of learning and projects. The documentary outlines a history of both conventional and radical education, explores peoples definitions of learning, highlights some interesting spaces as examples, identifies major themes common between spaces, and addresses the role of these spaces in the wider movement for social change.

Project Summary

As people inspired by various philosophies of radical education, we have related a project aimed at exploring the deschooling/ radical education movement in the United States. Through conversations, interviews, field recording and other audio documentation we hope to illustrate this movement,and its overlapping, multi-faceted ideologies and manifestations, using living examples from a variety of progressive, alternative, radical, and free learning spaces. We hope to form this research into a cohesive, informative, creative, and accessible radio program for alternative/community/public radio with the following goals:

    1. To support and legitimize the radical schooling movement.
  • To create a resource and connection for people involved in this movement.
  • To increase discourse a sense of cohesive community movement.
  • To explore and compare how involvement in various types of learning and education has affected peoples lives.
    2. To inform a larger audience of the existing trends in radical schooling and show the potential for growth in this community movement (including a call to action).
  • To show the many interpretations of deschooling and inspire new interpretations.
  • To find the best examples of people holistically celebrating life and learning.
    3. To investigate for our own future benefit, and the benefit of listeners and educators/deschoolers, what approaches to radical education (techniques, infrastructures, curriculums, and degree of structure (or lack thereof)) seem successful or unsuccessful.

List of Schools Visited:

    The New School in Newark, Delaware
    Upattina's School in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania
    The Brooklyn Free School in Brooklyn, New York
    The MET Center in Providence, Rhode Island
    Albany Free School in Albany, New York
    Dane County Transition School in Madison, Wisconsin
    The Zoo School in Minneapolis, Minnesota
    The Missoula Free Skool in Missoula, Montana
    The Purple Thistle Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia
    The Windsor House in Vancouver, British Columbia
    Puget Sound Community School in Seattle, Washington
    Clearwater School in Seattle, Washington
    The Olympia Community Free School in Olympia, Washington
    The Village Free School in Portland, Oregon
    Trillium Charter School in Portland, Oregon
    Not Back to School Camp in Eugene, Oregon
    The Santa Cruz Free Skool in Santa Cruz, California
    The Berkeley Free Skool in Berkeley, California
    Making Changes Freedom Center in San Pablo, California
    Oak Grove School in Ojai, California
    Paulo Freire Freedom School in Tucson, Arizona
    The Living School in Boulder, Colorado
    Harmony School in Bloomington, Indiana

Common attributes to "radical learning spaces": Qualitative criteria for selecting places to visit and document (we are interested in documenting schools with any or all of these qualities):

    1. Places where living is equated with learning (recognition that learning is constantly taking place no matter what one is doing).
    2. Locally based (educational needs of particular community addressed by the place).
    4. Opinions of people of all ages are respected and valued.
    5. Public and private places that operate with free, work trade or sliding scale tuitions that accommodate people from all economic backgrounds.
    6. A self-directed approach to curriculum ranging from completely individualized (i.e. a student desires to learn about dinosaurs and is directed toward resources and tools) to student-input (i.e. while studying biology and evolution, a student wants to spend a day focusing on dinosaurs).
    7. A democratic, community approach to governing and decision-making (rules, structure, conflict resolution, etc.).
    8. A life-long approach to learning (i.e. kids can teach adults, students are not completely segregated based on age, and encouragement that learning goes beyond time spent in the place).
    9. Involvement of greater community (i.e. kids volunteer locally, parents help teach classes, local mentors are involved as guest speakers or teachers, students orient school projects outward toward local community, such as murals or oral history projects).
    10. Emphasis on experiential, holistic, interdisciplinary learning (all different learning styles and interests are valued and encouraged, hands-on experiences, contact with outside environment).
    11. Non-competitive atmosphere and assessments with alternative measures of success (without simple reward-punishment systems).
    12. Sense of belonging to or commitment to a broader concept of social change.

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