Education: Shadow Schools

While drowsing through an afternoon class in Elementary Logic or Advanced Trig, many a U.S. college student has wondered why his classes can't be as much fun, or as relevant, as the nightly bull sessions in the Sigma Chi dorm. No note taking, no grades, no assigned readings, the beer flows and so does student eloquence.

Now, on at least a dozen U.S. campuses, the dream of friendly, examless, do-it-yourself learning has become a reality, as students, frequently with faculty help, have set up self-styled "free universities" and "experimental colleges."

The largest academic underground operates within the confines of San Francisco State College,...

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