Communities of Learning
A New Story of Education For a New Century

Proposal Summary
& Next Steps

Our Current General Social Transformation

Our Current Education System

Education's Future

FAQ's on This Future of Education

Evaluating Social Systems





Site Contents 

Lisa Lindberg, 2001


The broader social context for the new century's story:

-  Building a new social architecture: re-conceptualizing the meaning of being alive on this planet - - 
reweaving our cultural fabric and our images about life

-  Building a new physical architecture: envisioning the infrastructure for our activities
-   "What, a university in the city? Why, the city IS the university." -- Aristotle
    - "3rd Places" as a self-organizing infrastructure : libraries, coffee shops, cafes, independent studios-classrooms


Spiritual Politics
:  ideas, projects, musings on integrating inner spirituality with the outer world -- gathered by the Lindberg-Work Family
Each item is involved in the work systemically change how we tell the story of living -- how we conceptualize and act out the mystery we call Life. 
Each item is an aspect of the re-weaving of our cultural fabric to support the direction we think our world must move.

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction.

Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein, with Max Jacobson, Ingrid Fiksdahl-King and Shlomo Angel, Center for Environmental Structure, Berkeley, California. Oxford University Press, 1977.

The link is to an unofficial summary of this book.


In 1978, my colleagues in the Children's Environments Project introduced me to this team's work, and from whom I continue to glean delicious ideas. 

The vision and strategy in this proposal use many of this team's ideas, e.g., the (numbered) design patterns in the underneath box :

See especially patterns: #8 Mosaic of Subcultures. #10 Magic of the City.      #14 Identifiable Neighborhood. #18 Network of Learning.     #30 Activity Nodes.     #41 Work Community.     #43 University as a Marketplace.     #57 Children in the City.     #81 Small Services Without Red Tape.      #83 Masters and Apprentices     #84 Teen-Age Society.     #85 Shopfront Schools.     #86 Children's Home.     #88 Street Café.       #147 Communal Eating.     #148 Small Work Groups.     #157 Home Workshop


The Dispossessed
a novel

Ursula LeGuin, 1974

See a study guide to The Dispossessed by
Paul Brians, Department of English, Washington State University, Pullman

For ideas on decentralized governance, the connecting together of the parts of a civilization, and in general on the individual's role in creating an ideal society.  Particularly intriguing to me is her portrayal of this society's learning opportunities for citizens throughout life. 

I first read this book in the Summer of 1980 on a peaceful, lovely island in Lake Michigan in northern Wisconsin, where I had gone to learn to weave. I have since have read it numerous times more ; Ursula's lovely ideas in this work have put it on my permanent list of personal favorites.

Her message in this book
: being a part of a revolutionary society means that one must constantly BE the revolution - - because there is never a permanent guarantee of intellectual freedom. ("Hold fast to the one noble thing" : freedom.) Therefore, one must always be on the alert for any threats of custom ever becoming used to maintain and extend power, or else everyone's hard work will devolve into a yet-one-more-valiant-but-faded-attempt at making our world a more authentic, joyful, good place to be alive.

Creating Learning Communities

by A Coalition for Self Learning


An excellent collection of articles by people after my own heart, writing their ideas on learning and creating the kinds of "communities of learning" I describe in my proposal.

There is an on-line version which has continually updated information, new chapters, links, etc.

In addition, there are list-serve discussions which I have found to be very helpful, insightful, and good for finding colleagues and connections.


Log Cabin Learning

On Maryland's Blue Ridge, 
rural Washington, DC

Lynda Bell, Director,
former NASA geophysicist

A program for (mostly) independent-learning students preschool through high school, where our son Matthew studied from 1996-99.

Lynda Bell firmly believes in the need and benefit of learning in surroundings of natural beauty.  In this program, the settings for learning are the indoor spaces and porches of her Log Cabin, and the surrounding mountain woods, fields, streams, and ponds.

Free Agent Nation: How America's New Independent Workers are Transforming the Way We Live

Paperback is subtitle (due out summer 2002):
The Future of Working For Yourself

by Daniel H. Pink
(These links are to his own site.)

From the website: "Pink . . . demonstrat[es] most ably that the movement toward free agency is a symptom of much greater socioeconomic changes in the fabric of America."
Miami Herald

One chapter is about the self-organized physical infrastructure supporting free-agentworkers.

Another chapter is "
School's Out: Free Agency and the Future of Education." This chapter was adapted for publication in the October 2001 issue of the libertarian magazine, Reason, of which Utne Reader then wrote a review in their Jan-Feb 2002 issue.

The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community

By Peter Katz.
Afterword by Vincent Scully
, Jr.

  • Establishing the Urban Pattern
  • Reconstructing the Urban Fabric

The Power of Their Ideas: 
Lessons for America from 
a Small School in Harlem

By Deborah Meier


Deborah Meier is a proponent of small schools, local accountability, of "learning-as-a-continued-conversation." 

She is one of the best thinkers in the area of human learning I have found.  However, not of social organization:  
On every page of this book I inwardly (and sometimes outwardly also) moan to myself, "Oh Deborah, don't you see that you and your wonderful ideals come up against so many obstacles because of systemic bureaucratic unhealth? Abolish the bureaucracy, set your people free, and watch what everyone can create together."

In Schools We Trust : Creating Communities of Learning in an Era of Testing and Standardization

By Deborah Meier


To be published in August 2002.

This is one to watch because of who wrote it

Plus she is using the same term as am I in my proposal - - "communities of learning." I will be interested in comparing her approach with the local autonomy of my Communities of Learning approach.

The U.S. publicly funds two quite different approaches to learning:
- - public schools
- - public libraries

"With a Library, you are free, not confined by temporary political climates. It is the most democratic of institutions because no one -- but no one at all -- can tell you what to read and when and how."
-- Doris Lessing, author, Index on Censorship (March/April 1999)

"At the Library, Finding Stacks of Pleasure"
-- by Sacha Cohen,

Washington Post, January 7, 2002


About the multi-functioning role of today's libraries -- becoming "Learning Libraries." "[Here] was the pulse of my little community, and now [post Sept. 11] more than ever, I needed to be immersed in it."

An evening Out at the Library
DC Post

 fine the article and complete this link -- it is now neither accurate nor live


Buildings, Books, and Bytes: Libraries and Communities in the Digital Age (1996)

Published by Benton Foundation.
Funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

This site recommended by Paul Brians -- in his "serious links -- libraries" -- sites (author of on-line study guide to Ursula LeGuin's The Dispossessed - - see item above.)


"This report is about libraries and the challenges they face in the digital world. But it is also about every noncommercial institution -- from public TV to the freenets -- that provides information to the public. It uses libraries as an exemplar of what can happen to even our most cherished public institutions when they face the onset of the digital revolution, a seismic societal shift. The report's findings about the intersection -- and divergence -- of library leaders' visions with those of the public hold lessons for everyone who values and wants to promote the public sphere of information and communications." 
- - from the summary

"Sipping Through the Workday: An Office Alternative Is Brewing :
Coffee Bars Welcome Those Who Just Drop By, Plug In and Tune Out

By Gigi Barse and Cathy Grubman.
The Washington Post "Style" Section

Tuesday, March 12, 2002



8th Street Coffee Shop
Escanaba, Michigan

8th Street
720 Ludington St.
Escanaba Mi. 49829



A Smile As Big As the Moon: A Teacher, His Class and Their Unforgettable Journey

by Mike Kersjes

Description adapted from their website :
Kersjes, a Grand Rapids, Michigan teacher of students with a wide range of special needs, believed that, given a chance, his kids could do as well as anybody at Space Camp - - a program specifically designed for gifted and talented students, the best and the brightest from America's most privileged high schools. 

With remarkable persistence, he broke down one barrier after another, from his own principal's office to the inner sanctum of NASA, until Space Camp opened its doors, on an experimental basis, to special ed students.

After nine months of rigorous preparation, during which the class molded itself into a working team, they arrived at Space Camp, where they turned in a performance so startling, so surprising, that it will leave the reader breathless. A truly triumphant story of the power of the human spirit.

Jazz Fridays

DC Post Magazine article


Jazz at the church, becoming a community center for a different clientele than on Sunday mornings.

DC Post article: Dance Place (Friday, Sept 15, 2000)



Time Magazine: Shooting Back


Photography Teaching Program for kids in DC's homeless shelters - - the photography studio becoming a community center for the kids

Pathfinder Center, Amherst, Mass.





 "Less Labor, More Time"

DC Post article


 people needing to not kill themselves by spending all their time working, and instead to have more to live their lives.




Proposal Summary & Next Steps 

Our Current General Social Transformation

Our Current Education

Education's Future

FAQ's on This Future

Evaluating Social Systems




Site Contents