The Folk School Alliance Newsletter
A project of the Folk Education Association of America
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Folk Education Association of America Board of Directors 
Jennifer Rose Ramsay
     Escobar, Chair

Mary Cattani, Treasurer;
    Newsletter Editor
Dawn Murphy, Secretary
Kimberly Coburn
Jerry Jackson
Marilyn Jackson
Geraldine Johnson
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Folk School Alliance

news | summer 2020

Welcome to the Folk School Alliance (FSA). 

Please email us:

if you have comments, news to share through our newsletter or would like us to feature your organization!


Our Commitment to Anti-Racist Education

“FEAA supports education as a tool in working toward economic equality, workers’ rights, anti-racism and sexism, environmental restoration and protection, as well as alternatives to environmental racism, militarism, and the weakening power of people’s voices in the face of unaccountable politicians and corporations.”
For many years now, visitors to the Folk Education Association of America’s homepage have been greeted with the above statement.  The FEAA commitment to this statement over the years has remained strong.  As our capacity has grown, so has our reach and our ability to impact social change; however, we do not believe we have done enough, particularly concerning inclusion and elevation of BIPOC voices within the folk education movement.  Black Lives Matter! We can and will do better!  As we move into the next phase of our work, we challenge ourselves and those we currently support to expand the reach of our work, include all those that reside and work within our communities, and to make our centers of folk schooling and folk education ones where interethnic anti-racist allegiances may be cultivated and sustained.

The Folk School Alliance Community of Practice (FSA CoP) will soon reach its two-year anniversary.  In the spring of 2018, the Folk Education Association of America, Fielding Graduate University alumni and a student, and several folk school administrators formalized methods of interaction for folk school leaders.  Funding provided through a Fielding Graduate University Inclusion Council grant allowed the above partners to facilitate meetings and provide online connection platforms.

Discover some of the wonderful accomplishments the FSA CoP has achieved in the last two years by reading more here.
Doing Folk Education

Thoreau College

This ongoing series by Chris Spicer is an effort to explore two aspects of folk education practice. The first is raised by the question, from what (or who or where) do you draw inspiration? The other concerns the “how” of your teaching and learning – what does it look like?

We’ll feature one folk school in each newsletter, hoping the ongoing exploration will nurture a dialogue within our network as more and more groups are developing their programs. We welcome your inquiries and suggestions for this section. Please email Chris at

This month, we'll be exploring the inspirations behind Thoreau College and its vision for the future. Find out more about Thoreau College now! 

Photo from Thoreau College Facebook Page
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Follow along on the journey of FEAA Chair Jennifer  Escobar as she and her family transform their Kentucky property into a Folk School.

"Dear World,

The past several months have been an emotional (and financial) roller coaster for us here at Happiness Hills! I don’t even know where to begin this journal entry – maybe with the interesting year-long legal journey through the bureaucracy of our county codes department, or maybe with the amazing folk education summit in Denmark last fall, or maybe with the emotional and spiritual struggle our family has had with the decisions we need to make (and re-make) as we go through the process of establishing Happiness Hills Folk School. I think I’ll save the physical and fiscal stuff for a later edition and write instead about the philosophical journey we’ve found ourselves on these past few months...."

Read more about the progress and transformation of Happiness Hills here.

Photo from Happiness Hills Facebook Page
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Folk School Focus: Bee Tree Folk School
Bee Tree Folk School, Innovative, Creative, and a Vision for the Future!

When you travel down Idaho Street in Weiser, you come upon this beautiful castle. It seems like you have walked out of a dream and stepped into an Arthurian legend of Camelot and Knights of the Round Table.

It’s the Pythian Castle, which used to house the Knights of Pythias, Star Theater, and a mortuary. It seems almost surrealistic. This building at 30 E Idaho Street and another building at 8 E Idaho Street make up the Bee Tree Folk School.

Read more about the Bee Tree Folk School in their Idaho Gazette feature here.

Pythian Castle photo by Jaz Fagan
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To see a working list of folk schools in North America, visit the Folk School Alliance's website at

Copyright © 2020 Folk Education Association of America, All rights reserved.

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