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Update! Here is the e-newsletter we just sent out to all the folks on our email list January 7, 2008

Posted by unschoolingoppression in Uncategorized.

Greetings from The Deschooling Society!

Contents of this email:
1) 1st big post-conference meeting
2) Notes from caucus
3) unSchooling Oppression conference audio and zine
4) EXILE Freedom School

Thanks for signing-up, and we hope to see you very soon 🙂


1) Finally, the long-awaited meeting! This Sunday, January 13th, everyone who signed up to this email list and anyone else who is interested is invited to the first big post-conference meeting, where we will collectively pickup where the unSchooling Oppression conference caucus left off!

Since this big group has not met before, the conference organizers figured we’d start things off with this meeting and then let the group decide what to do about future meetings, whether we should divide into smaller working groups, etc. There is no set agenda for this first meeting, so be sure to review the notes from the caucus (below) and come with your own ideas of items you’d like to discuss!

The location of the meeting has not been determined yet. We’re not certain how many of you will show up, so we’re aiming to find a space that holds about 50 people, to be safe. We’re trying to avoid having these meetings on campus, though this first one might have to be. Either way, we’ll let you know this week what we figure out!


2) Caucus Notes! This is what was brainstormed by the breakout groups and written on the board during the conference’s concluding caucus (problems and proposed solutions). We don’t need to use any or all of it, but it is useful in helping to refresh our memories and reinvigorate our passion:

A) Problems with current/traditional education (more or less organized into general categories):
a) structure-related problems
– university structure
– the physical and mental space (students are neither free nor empowered)
– structure and rules vs freedom
– no democratic structure
– age segregation
– education is not self-directed
– imprisonment and artificial environment
– funding (inadequate)
– the size of the institution is overwhelming, there are too many problems
– passivity
– hidden curriculum
– hierarchy
– bullying (by teachers/staff)
– professionals and students not involved in determining system/curriculum
– death (as in, the current system is life-suppressing)
– military structure
– hydra (too many heads/authorities; undemocratic)
– authority and student/teacher roles (ex: banking model)
– standardized
– superficial
– no autonomy
– no transparency
– oppressive system (to kids)
– adult supervision and proportionality
– blaming kids for failures
– teachers and learning process, lack of continuity (ex learning ‘stops’ during summer break)
– symbolic violence (most of this list fits here)

b) motivation
– grades and ranking
– motivation (external, superficial)
– intention of schools (to indoctrinate workers)
– institutional dependence
– symbolic violence (most of this list fits here)

c) content
– no choice
– no critical thinking
– sexism, racism, classism, homophobia… (phobias and -isms)
– lack of accuracy
– need for balance, not representative
– no emph on action or practicality
– insufficient resources
– no time to focus or really care, superficial coverage
– symbolic violence (most of this list fits here)

B) Proposed solutions (not organized; mostly just a list of tactics):
– challenging authority and -isms
– eliminating authority and -isms
– empowerment
– school squatting
– individual action
– skill shares
– school of life (everyday presents potential learning experiences, etc)
– boycott (standardized) testing
– sabotage
– petitioning
– workshops and presentations on schooling
– public workshops
– input @ board meetings, tangibility
– teacher teach-in
– exile for workshops
– demand accountability, and empower to do so; assertiveness-training
– involved community
– learning exchange
– present at teacher’s-ed conference
– communal kitchen/eat-in/learning event
– booth with info
– festival
– build a free school
– edu-tainment
– let demand dictate resources
– unSchooling Oppression 2008
– mental self-defense
– protest/demos at ministry of education
– re-writing the dictionary
– support the building of a super-library


3) Conference audio and zine: unfortunately this part is taking a little longer than we expected! The conference organizers have been trying to finish tying up the financial details from the conference and have not spent much time on the audio yet. Thus far 2 of the talks have been transcribed, and we will probably release the full audio and transcripts online soon. There is also a plan to create a zine with one or two of the best transcripts (Cindy Milstein, for sure), which ought to include a resource list and probably a few other things. We’ll keep you posted, and we apologize for the delay in getting this out!


4) EXILE Freedom School!

It seems the lovely folks at EXILE were not about to wait for us to start something up on their own. See below for their updated Freedom School announcement and general description:

Education is freedom! The EXILE Infoshop Freedom School seeks to provide a space for community-based learning in order to empower and inspire each other to take control of our lives and minds.

The school will have two ongoing components: regular weekly courses running for at least 2 months, and a weekly skill-share that changes from week to week. The direction of each course depends entirely on the interests of those involved. All courses are fully participatory and each group will decide its direction, space and schedule collectively. Sign-up sheets were posted at EXILE for each of these classes throughout December, though some groups are going to begin meeting in a week or two so you’ll have to email a member of the group to join (see below).

The list of courses has been updated over the past few weeks to include:
– women’s health collective (contact Natalie at evilfragments@hotmail.com)
– combat training (contact Emily at brownout@riseup.net)
– reading group (contact Nico at graff_rat@hotmail.com)
– winter biking (sign-up at EXILE)
– radical art (sign-up at EXILE)
– food (sign-up at EXILE)
– guitar skills (contact And at fiberface666@hotmail.com)
– political prisoner support (contact Emily at brownout@riseup.net)
– creating a radical alternative to institutionalized “mental health programs” (sign-up at EXILE)
– anarchist french class (sign-up at EXILE)

If you have other ideas for weekly classes, talk to us! All ideas are welcome, this project is for the broader Ottawa community and we want as much diverse participation as possible.

Skill-share courses will vary week to week and topics will be determined based on what the community desires to learn or offer. A skill-share sign-up sheet is also in the shop, where you can indicate which skills you’d like to either share or learn. Ideas suggested thus far include:
To learn (if you’d like to give a workshop on one of these or something else, let us know):
– bread-making
– bicycle repair
To share (if you’d like to learn one of these or something else, let us know):
– sign language
– open source technology
– computer skills

The EXILE Freedom School can use the space while it is closed (all day Mondays and Tuesdays, after 8pm any other day). If you know of a larger, more versatile and accessible space that could be used please let us know.

Against a life of drudgery and for a holiday without beginning or end.

EXILE Infoshop // #203 – 256 Bank St. // 12-8 Wed-Sun // http://www.exilebooks.org // 613.237.9270




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