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Coalition for Public Education Launches Paul Robeson Freedom School

[NEW YORK, NY] A coalition of public education advocates announced today the launch of an innovative 8-week educational program for Brooklyn youth most affected by the destructive policies enacted in the public school system. Housed in an historic church building in Williamsburg, the Paul Robeson Freedom School will carry on the long tradition of the Freedom Movement under the banner of ‘Education for Liberation’.

The Freedom School will be open to all students residing in Brooklyn ages 10-14, with first preference for students from low-income communities. The 3 classroom program will begin on July 9, 2012, with an inaugural class of 35 students and 7 staff members. Students will work with educators to design their own interdisciplinary curriculum, with a focus on hands-on experiences in urban gardening and culinary arts, research into the rich legacy of community self-empowerment in Brooklyn, and more. An accompanying G.E.D. program will be available for students who are seeking to further their formal academic studies.

History of Freedom Schools
Freedom Schools originated in 1960’s Mississippi, when racial segregation of schools and significant under-resourcing of colored schools led community leaders to launch a Freedom Summer of youth education. Although Brown v. Board of Education (1954) legally brought an end to school segregation, racial disparities in education, housing, policing and more have created circumstances unconducive to real learning in our communities. These problems have been exacerbated by racist in-school policing, funding cuts to education, and corporate-minded “reforms” that emphasize standardized testing over creativity, self-discovery and culturally-relevant curricula.

An Independent Model
“Due to the disruptiveness in the public school system, we are creating our own independent model for public education,” says Rodney Deas, founding member of the Coalition for Public Education and co-principal of the school.

Many community-based organizations will support the work of the Freedom School: Bailey’s Cafe, El Puente, Occupy Farms, Global Block, and others. Partners will assist in the creation of curriculum along-side students, help staff the school, and even provide fresh produce, urban gardening and culinary arts classes to the 4-day a week program.

For more information on the school, or to enroll your child, visit

The Coalition for Public Education/Coalición por la Educación Pública is an independent, non-sectarian, and non-governmental organization with short, middle and long-term educational and social goals. We believe that education is a human right and we want to ensure that New York City public schools are places of learning in which all stakeholders (parents, students, educators, non-pedagogical staff, administrators and the community) are engaged in a democratic process to provide a free and quality education to all its students, from Pre-school to College.