Friday, July 20, 2007

Free school

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A free school, often intentionally spelled free skool, is a decentralized network in which skills, information, and knowledge are shared without hierarchy or the institutional environment of formal schooling. The open structure of a free school is intended to encourage self-reliance, critical consciousness, and personal development.

Free schools have their roots in the anarchist Modern Schools of Spain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A more recent revival grew out of the democratic school movement. It is, at heart, non-institutional and non-authoritarian. Generally, it is a grassroots effort, a collection of individuals acting collectively and autonomously to create educational opportunities and skill-sharing within their communities.

Free schools often operate outside the market economy in favor of a gift economy. Nevertheless, the meaning of the "free" of free schools is not restricted to monetary cost, and can refer to an emphasis on free speech and open learning.

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