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E-Magazine — Volume 1

Index:

– Introducing the Educational Freedom Organization.
– Interview with SoulRiser, the founder of http://www.school-survival.net
– The future of the Educational Freedom Organization.
– How to get involved in the movement outside of the EFO.

Introducing the Educational Freedom Organization.
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The Educational Freedom Organization, or EFO for short, is an organization dedicated to the advancement of student freedoms. What kind of student freedoms, you may ask? Any, and all freedoms we can get our hands on, within reason. Our vision, our goal, is to end the compulsory nature of schooling, and replace it with a system that is more in tune with our democratic values. We don’t accept the idea that the best way to teach someone is to force them into a large building with thousands of other kids, force them to take certain courses, and force them to score within a certain range.

A much, much better way of educating is to inspire and invigorate our innate desire for knowledge, and foster an environment in which students can truly enjoy their educational experience. If students do not want to learn, they wont. If they do, they will excel at it. And, we think, the fastest way to kill someones motivation and interest in something is to force them to do it. As such, the best policy when it comes to education is the policy of freedom and of free choice. Students must be in control of their own education, and they must be interested in what they are learning. This is essential for fostering the ideal educational system.

With these ideas in mind, a group of us based in a quiet little community (yeah right!) on http://www.school-survival.net set out to make a change. We got fed up with our own stagnation, and as a result, we banded together to create this organization. In the beginning, we held conversations on the forums at /ss/. Eventually, a few members broke off and started another website, which eventually ended up failing. Then, after a long period of inactivity, and a bit of deliberation, we started chatting on Skype. After a while, we started more threads, and more and more of us got interested. We ended up getting enough support and enough ideas to produce this website. A few key members banded together and designed, wrote, and implemented what we have now.

So, now what? Now, we unleash all of our ambitions. We spread the word. We further the anti-school, democratic, and youth rights movements (which largely overlap), and we work towards the change I think we all want to see: freedom from compulsory schooling, and the implementation of a better educational system around the globe.

Interview with soulriser, founder of http://www.school-survival.net
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School-survival.net is an active support website for those who dislike compulsory and conventional schooling. The main website serves as an information resource that helps those who dislike school by spreading knowledge about alternatives, how to survive school, and other similar topics. There’s also an active community of like minded-individuals, which is where this website got it’s start. Soulriser is the founder and owner of school-survival.net. With that in mind, I interviewed her for this edition of the EFO newsletter.

1.) What caused you to create school-survival.net? How did you get involved in the anti-school/youth rights movement?

I was upset at how the small private school I was in was becoming more and more like a ‘normal’ school instead of the ‘family’ type community it was before. I’ve just always felt that people make way too big a deal about school and grades, it really isn’t that important at all. So I started SS basically just so I can vent about stuff that was annoying me.

2.) Do you see school-survival, and the community surrounding it staying alive? Has there ever been a point where you’ve considered moving on and ending this largely successful website?

I’ll never end the site. Sometimes I do think about getting rid of the forums because it’s a massive time sink though, but on the other hand I do think overall it’s still helpful.

3.) Who inspires you? In other words, are there any specific individuals who have influenced your work or who motivated you to create /ss/?

Work? lol. Nah, I didn’t even expect my interest in the site to last longer than a week when I started it. I wasn’t taking it seriously at all back then. But 13 years later it’s still here, so I guess it turned out to be important after all.

But quite a few of the forum regulars here have influenced me a lot. Rebelnerd in particular encouraged me to keep up the free speech idea here. I didn’t really know what I was doing back then to be honest. I didn’t have a plan other than “hey, other sites have forums, let’s add a forum”…

4.) What do you think the future of the anti-school movement will look like? Have you given any thought to the time line you think our educational reform will take to be successful?

Depends on your definition of successful. I have no idea. People are still pretty set in their ways, so it’ll probably be a long, slow, gradual change.

5.) Pretty much everyone involved in the movement has their own ideas, and their own theories on how schooling should look. How do you think school’s should operate in the future?

They should be optional, and they should be small and there should be many of them to cater to different personalities, interests, areas and needs. There should be no tests or stuff like that, just plain old learning. If people want to have qualifications, they can have tests for people to take for each subject, but those should be optional and be able to be taken at any time and by anyone. If you pass, you get your qualification, end of story.

6.) What are some of the biggest changes you think should be made to improve the schooling system?

Making it optional is probably the best single change that people could make right now. That way they will have to cater to students’ wants and needs, or else they’ll just go somewhere else or educate themselves or whatever. Or at the very least it should be 100% democratic, students should be able to decide how it works themselves.

The Future of the Educational Freedom Organization.
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The future of the EFO is looking bright. We’re collecting donations, we are networking, and we’re expanding. Within the next few months, we’re expecting to be a member of multiple democratic and anti-schooling networks, and we are planning on participating in the worldwide network of like-minded educational organizations and individuals that has been growing for years. We will send delegates to conventions, take part in the community, and ensure everyone knows our organization is here and ready for action. We have recently joined the International Democratic Education Network (http://www.idenetwork.org/index.htm), where you can find our organization listed under organizations, and we are currently negotiating and discussing our inclusion in many, many other like-minded organizations.

We are collecting donations, and we are working on finding new sources of income. We are writing publications, keeping up on the news, and soon enough we will be functioning as a full-fledged-advocacy organization. Not only will we be acting as an advocacy organization, but we will also actively be participating and supporting the massive cultural movement that is democratic schooling, unschooling, homeschooling and alternative schooling.

While all of this sounds, and is, great, it should be noted that we still have a lot of work to do. Our members have to remain active, and continue to recruit. We desperately need financial support so that we can help support, and join other organizations like our own, and we need it so we can help disseminate and spread our ideas. If you can help, please do. Keep up the good work, everyone, and we’ll soon see success.

How to get involved in the movement outside of the EFO.
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While we obviously believe EFO to be essential to the movement, we also recognize that there are other organizations out there, and we absolutely must work with them if we want to change the reality that is public compulsory schooling. Competition among friends will not aid us in our goal, we must unite and work together with as many like-minded allies as we can possibly find. For this reason, I’m encouraging you to get involved not only with our organization, but with the cultural movement that is democratic, anti-authoritarian, unschooling, homeschooling, and alternative schooling in general. Some great resources you should check out include:

http://www.educationrevolution.org/
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The Alternative Education Resource Organization is a great organization for attending conferences, finding books, meeting like minded people, and learning a great deal about this movement. They are working towards the same goals we are. (We are currently working on joining their network.)

http://www.youthrights.org/
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Of course, no list would be complete without the National Youth Rights Association, and I hardly think they need an introduction among our organizations members.

http://www.idenetwork.org/index.htm
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The EFO is apart of the international Democratic Education Network, and they are a great resource for finding other like minded people and organizations, and they organize an annual conference that is worth attending.

You should also take a look at our resource page at http://www.edfreedom.org/conte…..resources/ for more. Remember, we need to work together if we want to accomplish our mutual goals. Getting involved in the movement as a whole will help spread our ideas and will help the movement as a hole, so get out there and start networking. (And it wouldn’t hurt to drop the EFO’s name a few times while you’re doing that. )

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