alternative futures: centerhold (part 3): education as living

morning pages - 30 dec 2025 @ 816a

30 dec 2025

it’s day 9 of winter and i’m on pace to hit my goal of reading 36 books this year! spending time in the library is truly one of my favorite things to do here.

education is hugely important for centerhold. in fact, we probably wouldn’t exist and persist without our education focus.

i read grace lee boggs’ “next american revolution” back in 2020. the chapter on education blew my whole mind. some of my favorite quotes (all unattributed quotes are hers):

education is not something you can make people do in their heads.

Schools need to leave behind present methods geared to producing workers for highly repetitive work. They should instead seek to incorporate learning into work, political organizing, community service, and recreation. More learning needs to occur outside of the classroom. Education should involve real problem solving. Instead of rigid age segregation, young and old should mingle. The years of compulsory education should grow shorter, not longer. Education should be spread out over a lifetime.

…[renate and geoffrey] Caines point out that the formal education system widens the gulf between the generations by destroying opportunities for learners to learn from their elders, from their peers and from younger children….

The factory-type school is based on the profoundly anti-democratic belief that only experts are capable of creating knowledge, which teachers then deliver in the form of information and learners give back on tests. Like workers in the factory, children and young people are denied their full humanity by a system that trains them to survive, consume and produce.

So half of our inner-city youth routinely drop out or walk out of schools because they are no longer willing to sit passively in classrooms for 12 or more years, receiving and regurgitating information, when all around them the need for change and for creative thinking is so obvious. Having dropped out of school, most of them have no positive social role to play. So by the hundreds of thousands, they become trapped in petty crime and the drug economy, turning our communities into hoods and ending up in prison, not only breaking up families but creating the largest prison-industrial complex in the world.

[John] Dewey insisted that education is “a process of living and not a preparation for future living…”

“From the standpoint of the child the great waste in the school comes from his inability to utilize the experience he gets outside the school in any complete and free way within the school itself; while, on the other hand, he is unable to apply in daily life what he is learning in school. That is the isolation of the school—its isolation from life.” — john dewey

The future isn’t something hidden in a corner. The future is something we build in the present. – paulo freire

we must view making revolution as an inherently educational process. — paulo freire, paraphrased by grace lee boggs

Critical of the Marxist-Leninist and nationalist parties that had led most of the anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements around the world, Freire insisted that what was needed to revolutionize society was not a narrow focus on seizing state power but a cultural revolution in the form of a continuous struggle to transform human relations.

We need more schools and programs that place a horizontal teaching/learning process at the center of a community-building model of education.

combining my love of reading and the role of education revolution has been a real gamechanger. now my book notes, which started as just typed up digidocs are now a full-on cross-referenced database (like sawyer h’s book highlights but with links) that gets my notes uploaded to it as well as everyone else who comes here, reads, and takes notes.

having the library here makes it so useful when we are running our education programs and people have questions they want to dive into deeper. we bring educators from all over the region to run their existing programs and be in space with other educators. that, of course, leads to the creation of new programming, all aimed at liberation for people in our watershed.

our movement school got off to a rocky start, before we’d landed our generative conflict practices. but after those first few years of breakdowns, we had the breakthroughs that led to our particular understanding praxis on this land, in this time, with these people.

now we run programs for all sorts of groups: affinity groups (gender, race, class, ethnicity, etc), multigenerational education spaces (mostly held by me, luana, and eroc in our ‘we came, we saw, we conjured’ series), and ritualist groups (which are anchored by elders/teachers/adepts in different faith traditions but multi-tradition by nature of that being what people want)…

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