Journal Article for Higher Ed Colleagues Interested in High School Civic Engagement before College

Posted by The High School Journal on February 19, 2019

Now More than Ever: Why Youth Organizing Work Belongs in Schools and What that Means in Theory and Practice

Even before the recent election highlighted the growing racial, economic, and economic divides that are fracturing our country, violent civil unrest and increasing levels of civic disengagement and disillusionment evidenced that we are an America where the status quo is no longer acceptable. Youth organizing, a particularly promising type of experiential civic learning, offers the chance to create a new generation of engaged, open-minded, and informed citizens who can effect and realize the change we need to repair America’s torn fabric.

Unfortunately, youth organizing rarely finds its way into the settings where it can have the most impact: schools. This article discusses the powerful outcomes of youth organizing for students, schools, and communities and offers a unique consideration of why youth organizing work belongs in schools. The article then draws upon the author’s experience implementing a youth organizing program in a large urban high school to explore both the challenges and successes that inhere to school-based programming. Lessons learned from this experience and a series of recommendations for educators, activists, and policymakers offer a roadmap for future school-based youth organizing efforts, both domestically and internationally.

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