Dear Friends of Creating Learning Communities,
This letter is to invite you—and your learning circle, co-op, or other collaborative learning group—to join in a discussion and action programs to deschool society and create a world of learning communities.
‘ A Coalition for self-learning’ is an ad hoc group of individuals and organizations that has been coming together on the Internet for three years to discuss WHY we learn, HOW we learn, WHEN we learn, and WHAT we learn. We have tried to think outside the school/teach/educate box, and to go beyond “fixing the schools.” We have recognized that the way we learn shapes, as it is shaped by, the society in which we live.
With Paulo Freire, we are concerned that the current school systems remove young people from their families, communities, society, and nature to prepare them only for jobs in the corporate/factory/industrial world. With John Holt we have recognized that we are “learning all the time.” With Ivan Illich we have explored “Deschooling Society.” With Peter Drucker and Elise Boulding we have noted that the future requires life-long learning. With Margaret Mead we have seen that learning in the home and community can provide a superior education to a bureaucratic school system. Following these and other progressive thinkers we have accepted the mantra of “envisioning a world without schools — creating a world of learning communities.”
Whether we talk about self learning, learning circles, unschooling, deschooling charter schools, or homeschooling, we all seem in accord on these points:
o Everyone has the right to decide what s/he wants to learn and have the chance to learn it.
o Society and parents must recognize this right and provide young people with the opportunity to learn what they want when they want.
o Forcing adult-designed, teachers-designed or government-designed programs on all young people is not an efficient or democratic way to prepare them to be productive members of society.
o Many young people and parents are looking for ways to get out of the public or academic school-boxes now imposed on people by the established institutions.
o We need a radically different learning system as the foundation for a radically different society.
o All of us who agree on these points want to join forces to move ahead.
In August 2000 we published a compendium of chapters contributed by members:“Creating Learning Communities.” During 2001 the Coalition published a “Guidebook And Directory of Consultants for Creating Learning Communities.” This year (2002) we are working on a project and booklet, “Financing Learning Communities.”
This letter is to invite your participation.
You can read the book and other material on line at:

You can discuss the future of learning and actions we could take at:
If you want to take action and DO SOMETHING join us at:


Bill Ellis, General Coordinator
A Coalition for Self-Learning
PO Box 567, Rangeley, ME 04970 USA Include the citation below and GEO Newsletter grants permission to copy, use, and distribute this article.
Permission not for commercial or for-profit use.

©2001 GEO, P.O. Box 115, Riverdale, MD 20738-0115