Start a School by Sharing Alternative Education Ideas

The authors share their experiences on how to start a school and offer different scenarios when forming the basis of alternative schools.

| November/December 1971

Reprinted by permission from RASBERRY. 

"Getting started" means a few people come together to start a school.

For those not already in communities of fighters or farmers, the catalyst may be someone with a sudden conviction about a particularly bad local public school scene; or a graduate student reading Maslow or Holt and becoming inspired; a high school kid in trouble with the police, or fighting with a principal who has demanded that his hair be cut; some public school teachers meeting to share anguish; someone coming out of a particularly revealing acid trip.

Coming together is like a dance, like dogs coming together to sniff each other's vital private premises. Impressions are quickly formed—people's dress., what they bring to eat ("They're still into white sugar!"), whether they take an offered joint, how open and straight they are with their children.

Goals are raised: some want to protect or convey or expand an ideology or social cause; some simply want to add to an existing community; some have a heavy personal need, perhaps loneliness; some have an idea—a vision about what a learning environment could be; some simply can go no further than hating public schools. Some have all these goals.

It's terribly complicated—if you want to look at it that way. But mostly it's exciting and beautiful: sometimes a group with goals exploding outwards like their own growth rates. Every group has its unique mix, its balance, its "magic mood of harmony" waiting to be discovered. Some make it, some don't.

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