Democracy Building in the United States

The institutions, culture and public policy that drive our society needs to be transformed so that adults and young people share roles more equitably within government, communities, workplaces, and families. With that assumption firmly intact, the development of new cultural and structural avenues to foster the active participation of children and youth takes a firmContinue reading “Democracy Building in the United States”

Democracy Schools

About five years ago, in one of my final conversations with Sasha Rabkin (whom I’ve mentioned before), I learned about his conceptualization of “democracy schools,” different from democratic schools. This isn’t the same as some national programs already at work, but they aren’t entirely different, either. The idea is a school where students do moreContinue reading “Democracy Schools”

Why Schools Fail Democracy

Okay, so to continue from the last post, here’s one reason why schools today are not democratic. Remember, this is why, not how. Schools in a capitalistic society are going to be… capitalistic. Working with an elementary school in Tampa, Florida, I learned about the reality of 3rd, 4th 5th and 6th grade teachers havingContinue reading “Why Schools Fail Democracy”

DemEd in Public Schools: A Reality

My friend Melia just wrote a great blog entry about the challenges to democratic education in public schools. Five years ago Melia co-founded a nonprofit in the Bay Area that engages students in apprenticeships to explore professions; it looks like an innovative program, and Melia is a top-shelf young nonprofit exec type. We connected aContinue reading “DemEd in Public Schools: A Reality”

Thanks to the IDEC crowd

This is a quick note to say thanks to all the great folks who I met with at the International Democratic Education Conference going on this week in Vancouver, British Columbia. This was by far the most influential, well-timed and restoring conference I have ever participated in, and its largely due to the people whoContinue reading “Thanks to the IDEC crowd”

Democratic Education Workshops

At the International Democratic Education Conference in Vancouver last week I had the privilege of facilitating three open space workshops. The three were all exhilarating conversations, filled with questions and criticisms, hope and idealism, and contradictions. The people I met and the dialogues we engaged in will stay with me for a long time. FollowingContinue reading “Democratic Education Workshops”

When Change Gets Personal

I had an excellent conversation yesterday with the parent of two students from Olympia’s Waldorf School. Following the traditional Waldorf curriculum, here in Olympia the school is regarded as the anti-traditional public school – much as other Waldorf schools are regarded internationally. The progressive community here seems to regard the school highly, and despite beingContinue reading “When Change Gets Personal”

Meaningful Student Involvement at Work: NOVA Project

In 2001, I was studying student engagement in Washington State schools for the state education agency when I was introduced to Nova High School. I went to the school, then located in a 100-year-old building, to interview Elaine Packard, the longtime principal who founded the school 30 years before. Following is an article I wroteContinue reading “Meaningful Student Involvement at Work: NOVA Project”