I went to a very Progressive private school. We did not learn stupid stuff like the alphabet or multiplication tables. I had to teach myself these things later in life. It's tough to look things up in a dictionary if you don't know the alphabet. I also found the multiplication tables handy later in life.
However, we did learn a lot of songs (in Spanish) from the Spanish Civil War. Also a lot of propaganda from the Soviet Union. And folk songs by Pete Seeger. So my time there was not wasted.