A Toolkit for Change

How might we ensure our students know how to speak out when it's necessary?

Photo of Jessica Lura
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Today (the problem):

When talking to many students, I have found while they are able to identify instances of injustice and inequity, they weren't able to identify how to address these injustices. They didn't feel like they had a voice or a starting point. This makes them feel helpless and a pawn. In 2012, the PEW Research Center stated that, "There was a 34 percentage point difference in 2008 between how 18-to-29-year-olds voted and how 65-and-overs voted."

As quoted in All Together Now:Collaboration and Innovation for Youth Engagement (2013): "The educational reform movements of the last 20 years have generally overlooked civics, thereby allowing disparities to persist and grow. As the United States Department of Education acknowledged in 2012,“unfortunately, civic learning and democratic engagement are add-ons rather than essential parts of the core academic mission in too many schools and on too many college campuses today.”

But what if there was a way to teach students how to raise their voice & inspire them to do so?

Introducing.... The Toolkit for Change

What if teachers had a toolkit that supported students in learning how to react positively to injustices and how to take action for change? It would highlight other movements that were successful, stories about "ordinary" people and what they did to create positive change, and common ways to protest (strikes, letter writing, sit-ins, marches, etc) so that students have a bank of strategies to draw upon. Students would see themselves as agents of change and would know how to address injustices, raise their voice against unfairness, and would be able to take a stand.

Link to Working Prototype -- please leave comments :)

Let me know if you'd like to join the team & add your thoughts to my Google doc

What it might look like:

Please check out some screenshots of the working prototype above.

Each card would have general information on how to protest/drive change on front (including pictures of people who have done so & ideally kids) and the back could have lesson ideas for teachers.

And since voting is one way people are able to raise their voices in support (or against) a topic or injustice, one of the cards could talk about how and why we vote with a lesson plan about how to teach voting at school. (Thanks, Ellen!)

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Maggie Favretti

I love the advocacy empowerment in this.  I think there's a nice overlap here with City 2.0, where we are trying to give kids the skills for community-based change and a fix-it mindset.  Where are you located?  Alliance for Quality Education in NYC (Zakiyah Ansari) does a lot of protest-advocacy...she just led a march to Albany, with stops for rallies along the way, presenting the Assembly and Governor with an invoice for the more than 4 Billion dollars the state gov't has defaulted on its promised funds for public education.  Now she's headed for Detroit.  Maybe you already have your kids connected to real world protests?

Photo of Jessica Lura

Thanks Maggie! That's awesome. I'm located just south of San Francisco. I love the idea of tying it to current protests & issues--I am sure most students don't think about what might be going on in their backyard. I will definitely check out City 2.0 and Alliance for Quality Education.

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