Free School

Free School is expanding!

We’re excited to announce that this year, the Dubuque Free School will be expanding from a one day event, as in past past years, to a new two-month format! Classes will be offered from June 1 through July 30, allowing community members to teach multi-session classes, lead discussion groups, organize game nights, host community-organizing trainings, and so much more. Dedicated space will be reserved for social justice organizations, including Dubuque Harm Reduction, to hold drop-in office hours and collaborate with one another.

Please support this exciting project by visiting and sharing our IOBY fundraising page.

About Free School

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”

― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

The Dubuque Free School is an initiative of the Dubuque Democratic Socialists. Our approach to education is inspired by the Freedom Schools, which began in Mississippi during the summer of 1964. During the Civil Rights Era, these schools encouraged active citizenship among African-American elementary school kids and fostered greater community involvement. 

As Democratic Socialists, we believe education should be free and accessible and that everyone has something they can teach others in their community. We are also influenced by the work of Paolo Friere and bell hooks, both of whom argued that education is a method of guiding people to achieve their own liberation by developing a critical consciousness. We believe education ought to empower us to become agents of social change.

For the past two years we have hosted a day-long free school, which offered adults and children the opportunity to take classes on topics such as workplace organizing, harm reduction, creative writing, poetry as resistance, magic, and upcycled art. These years have been wildly successful, and we are excited to expand our efforts.