This week's feature article in The Voice. I was fortunate to have attended one of the 19 alternative schools offered by the Toronto District School Board. SEE and its incredible teachers, changed the trajectory of so many of our lives. Communal spaces, media literacy, egalitarian student councils, classes like Death and Dying, with field trips to the morgue, Existentialism, and emphasis on community – taught us the importance of empathy and compassion, above all. Today’s alternative schools, like SEE, along with other schools like Africentric – Canada’s only African-centred school, Triangle – Canada’s only queer high school, and Wandering Spirit – Toronto’s only Anishanaabe-focued school, owe an incredible debt to those who first laid the foundations for non-traditional education.
From Anarchist-libertarian Modern Schools originating in Spain - to the Free School Movement - to the Freedom Schools during the Civil Rights Movement, including Mississippi’s Highlander Folk School - to Mexico’s Las Rurales Normales, which have trained thousands of left leaning, conscious teachers since the days of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata - to modern-day educational reforms in Finland – we continue to move forward.