Alright readers, here’s my news, in case you’re interested: I recently began a position in Washington’s state health agency as their coordinated school health manager. Its a significant policy position that works within the state agency and with the state education agency to promote collaboration between the two very different fields of health and education. What does this mean for The Freechild Project, SoundOut and this blog, you ask?
Over the last six years I have struggled to maintain a direct connection with the breadth of my interests, which is the magical place where radical youth engagement collides with critical pedagogy, cultural literacy, educational liberation and authentic democracy. A lot of people and programs who work in that powerful space are grassroots organizers, emboldened community educators and brazen youth leaders, advocating for their causes in that crux without interference, support, or other interventions from government agencies. I know that because I see the work I did for more than 10 years as coming from that place.
But I have found it equally true that an equally poignant group of people and programs within that space – the place where radical youth engagement collides with critical pedagogy, cultural literacy, educational liberation and authentic democracy – operate contingent on support from government sources. They need money. And for the last six years I have worked there. While its true that I did receive a great deal of support for my work as a consultant and as the executive director of CommonAction from government sources, it is also true that it was hard to find a lot of the time, and when it did come through it was simply never enough. Also, I found it true that after I left my previous stint within state government – working in Washington’s state education agency – I struggled to maintain and develop connections I had formed with government-funded programs, let alone strengthen them!
So here I am in 2008, ready to embark on a new chapter. I want to invite you to come with me. In this new capacity I will be advocating for a federally-supported program that has been at work nationally for several years, and active in this state for just as long. A strong component of this program is stakeholder investment, and ultimately students themselves. I WILL NOT BLOG about this job specifically; however, Freechild, SoundOut and this blog will soldier on – even re-invigorated. This entry is a heads-up to let you know that I’m vested in continuing this session you’ve been in on. Keep your eyes open – this should get interesting.