History of Free School

Free schools have existed in the U.S. for many years, and enjoyed the "Hippie Movement" of the '70s. Many of the schools created in the '70s closed within the first 10 years, but there are a few notable exceptions. Today, free schools in the U.S. are again enjoying popularity as people become more educated about school choice concepts and look for alternatives to the public school system. The large number of new schools based on the Sudbury Model are a good example of this increased demand. Visit the links below for many schools currently practicing within the US.

The Albany Free School was established in Albany, NY in 1969 and unlike many similar U.S. schools of the time, still operates today. The Free School's founder, Mary Leue, corresponded with Summer hill founder A.S. Neil about her plan to take his experiment of radical freedoms to a different demographic, the inner city. Mary went on to create The Free School in Albany's urban south end with the idea of making these freedoms and democratic principles accessible to children of the poor.

Grassroots Free School in Tallahassee, Florida has enjoyed a long and successful history. Founded by Pat Seery, the school still operates today. In the 1970s, the school operated out of the club house of an abandoned, 40-acre golf club. Grassroots was sculpted very closely from the Summer hill school. The school was a favorite not only of hippies, but of liberal-thinking families that had grown tired of Southern paternalism. Also, the Natural Bridge School in Tallahassee held many of the same principles, and was a frequent high-school extension of the Grassroots experience.