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GR Free School: Not another brick in the wall

July 30, 2010

GR Free School at RRFM

Sunday August 1

Wealthy Street & Fuller Avenue SE, Grand Rapids

1–1:30 p.m. Yoga workshop. Basics of yoga and stress management.

2–3 p.m. Sling-making/primitive tools workshop. Learn how to make useful and fun primitive tools, specifically slings!

Free from tuition. Free from authority. Free to participate. That’s how the folks from the new GR Free School describe the new project they are launching in Grand Rapids this Sunday at the Really Really Free Market. Free schools operate outside the market economy. So, kicking off GR Free School  at the Really Really Free Market makes perfect sense.

G.R. Free School is dedicated to community-based education free from tuition and authority where anyone can teach or attend classes. “We believe that everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn. Where state/private education exists to prepare people for a life of obeying orders, being productive workers and not resisting authority figures, a free school consists of people freely participating in creating, sharing, and learning together collectively as equals.”

GR Free School is offering these classes throughout August:

  • Tuesday, August 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th: Special Topics: Feminism discussion: 2 pm – 3 pm. At Cherry Park: 725 Cherry St. SE. A series of facilitated discussions on feminism today, in the past, and towards the future.
  • Saturday, August 7th: Know Your Rights Against Police workshop: 1 pm – 3 pm. At The Bloom Collective in Steepletown Center, 671 Davis St NW, room 7. The first in a series of “know your rights” classes, this workshop will give you the knowledge you need when dealing with police at home, on the streets, in a vehicle, and more.
  • Sunday, August 8th, 22nd: Yoga class: 3 pm – 4pm. At Cherry Park: 725 Cherry St. SE. A bimonthly beginner level yoga class for breathing and stress management.
  • Wednesday, August 11th, 18th, 25th: French language course: 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm. At Cherry Park: 725 Cherry St. SE. An ongoing French course taught by two skilled speakers of French. Continues every Wednesday at the same time. Will continue into September.

A free school is a collectively organized, community-based organization of people who freely participate in creating, sharing, and learning together as equals in a safe place. Anyone can teach a class, and anyone can attend one. While today’s government sanctioned schools and universities focus on turning out law abiding citizens who will dedicate their lives to “successful careers,” free schools foster self-reliance, critical consciousness and a learning community free of hierarchy and its school-chums: patriarchy, racism and sexism.

The first anarchist free schools were organized in the late 19th century in Spain in reaction to the church controlled schools of that day. Today, many free schools operate throughout North America. California’s Free Skool Santa Cruz lists 20 of them on its Web site, which also states, “More than an opportunity to learn, we see Free Skool as a direct challenge to dominant institutions and hierarchical relationships. Part of creating a new world is resistance to the old one, to the relentless commodification of everything, including learning and the way we relate to each other.”

Organizers from the GR Free School released this statement:

“Our society’s mainstream education system is meant to breed ignorance and obedience. By forcing young people to spend copious amounts of time learning useless facts, the idea of learning or education becomes unattractive to them. By structuring the classes in an authoritarian fashion where the student has no say in what they’re learning and must obey the teacher, they become jaded to the presence of authority, which will dominate their relations in their workplaces, in their homes, on their streets and for the rest of their lives. This created complacency is what allows some people to exploit and dominate everyone else, to become rich and powerful.

Fighting back means taking back the means through which we live together. It means freeing our authoritarian education, and replacing it with autonomous and collective models. We think education should simply be people sharing skills and information that is relevant to our lives with our peers. That’s what GR Free School is all about.”

For information, visit the GR Free School website.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ashley Karcher permalink
    September 29, 2010 4:36 pm

    Hello There! I am a student at Grand Valley State and I am enrolled in a Feminist Philosophy class which requires a community project of 12 hours or so. I saw on Facebook that there has already been a feminist course already but I was wondering if my partner and I could do a series of issues regarding gender, philosophical issues, etc. We are open to take any positions necessary to get involved.

    Thank you,
    Ashley Karcher

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