"I am a mother of 4 children who have been participating in the public school system for the last 15 years. Additionally, I myself am a “product” of the Chicago Public School system.

While my daughters have always excelled in school and have been deemed “good” students, my son has never enjoyed the traditional educational structure. Over the years I have tried a variety of ways to educate my son; he has attended public, charter & parochial schools. All of these models have been unable to get him excited about education. I’ve seen the hurt & frustration that not being able to keep up academically with his peers has caused him. Last school year after having my son negatively impacted by the CPS “Zero Tolerance Policy” I decided to take ownership of the role of primary educator of my children.

The Southside Chicago Freedom School is the medium in which this educational journey begins for my family. In this space we are able to manage the classes in which we participate. In Freedom School there are no As nor Fs. There are no standardized tests to hog learning time. There are no “wrong” answers. Critical thinking is encouraged and infused into all of the courses that are led by volunteer instructors. Freedom School is 100% free to attend and led by volunteers who are passionate and enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge in their respective fields.

Parents are an intricate part of Freedom School and a driving force behind the development of classes. It is great to be able to share learning with my children in a “hands on” way that encourages the growth and development of all who participate. We are happy here and I am confident that I have made the right choice to protect my children’s educational future."

- Marissa Brown,
Parent & Freedom School Volunteer

"For me, it has nothing to do with jobs, or the economic impact of an unskilled workforce, or competing for technological jobs overseas, or being able to combat the most pressing issues facing our society today.  For me it is about humanity, our humanity, and I think we've lost sight of education's role in it.  Beneath the layers of skin, the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones, cells and neurons, there is something intrinsically unique that transcends biology and defines us as human.  It is a type of spirituality that feeds off of our own curiosity and we are starving ourselves to death by limiting access to not only education, but raw information itself.  So I'm here to unleash as much of it out into the world as possible, because as one man I can only do so much, but if I can empower 10 people to reshape the world around us I would have given us a 1000% better chance of bringing that better world into being rather than just busting my butt for a piece of paper that would satiate my self-esteem to know that I'm qualified to perform certain tasks."

- David "Olo",
Freedom School Volunteer

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