Every Resource I’ve Made for Schools

1+soundout+logo1Are you a student, a K-12 educator, education administrator, school advocate, concerned parent, a nonprofit partner, or somebody else in the community who is concerned about schools? Following is a list of resources I’ve created focused on schools. Let me know what you think in the comments section below!

 

My Resources On Student Voice

 

My Resources on Meaningful Student Involvement

 

My Resources on Student Engagement

 

My Resources on Education

 

My Resources on Democracy in Education

Stop Beating Kids: Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools

  • Spanking
  • Slapping
  • Smacking
  • Pulling ears
  • Pinching
  • Shaking
  • Hitting with rulers, belts, wooden spoons, extension cords, slippers, hairbrushes, pins, sticks, whips, rubber hoses, flyswatters, wire hangers, stones, bats, canes, or paddles
  • Forcing a child to stand for a long time
  • Forcing a child to stay in an uncomfortable position
  • Forcing a child to stand motionless
  • Forcing a child to kneel on rice, corn, floor grates, pencils or stones
  • Forcing a child to retain body wastes
  • Forcing a child to perform strenuous exersize
  • Forcing a child to ingest soap, hot sauce, or lemon juice

THIS IS CORPORAL PUNISHMENT. All corporal punishment is child abuse, and child abuse teaches students nothing. 19 states in the U.S. still allow corporal punishment in their schools, and this must stop now.

“Bullying is enough of a problem among students; the teachers shouldn’t be doing it, too. There’s nothing positive or productive about corporal punishment and it should be discouraged everywhere.” Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY)

Anytime a young person is treated this way they are being abused. These forms of abuse are the cruelest, most unjust, and most ineffective treatment young people can receive. While including both, corporal punishment goes beyond adultism, beyond adultcentrism, and straight to child abuse. 
The most basic right of any person today is the right to live in peace. 

While that may sound simplistic or naive, violence is a daily reality for almost every young person in the world today. Physical violencewar, family abuse, bullying, and gang violence; mental abuseparental abuse, teacher abuse, or verbal put-downs— and child neglect surround young people. These are all forms of violence. The institutions that are purportedly supposed to support our children and youth, places like schools, hospitals, and governments, abuse young people. In their homes young people face violence through popular media, like television shows, movies, pop music, and video games. And violence surrounds young people in many ways that we don’t see, seeping into everyone’s hearts and minds without us being aware of it: another bombing overseas, another vicious attack on public funding, another slander against youth in the news.
This abuse adds up. According to a United Nations study,

“Corporal punishment of adults is prohibited in well over half the world’s countries, yet only 15 of the 190-plus nations have prohibited all corporal punishment of children, including in the family.”


It’s a statistic like this that leaves little wonder in my mind about why young people appear “apathetic” and “disenchanted” with a world so intent on numbing them to pain, hatred, cynicism and violence.
Luckily, our North American eyes are beginning to fully comprehend the imperative any ethical person faces when dealing with the situation of young people and violence today. We are beginning to stand with young people to change the situations that they face, and the situations our world faces. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) boldly declares that,

“Young people must be meaningfully involved in promoting and strategizing action on violence against children… Children… need to be well informed about their rights, and fully involved in the life of the [community and] school…”

This call situates corporal punishment as a fully-authorized premise for social action in 198 countries around the worldminus the US and Somalia, who are the only non-signatory countries. Canada and Mexico have signed on. There is no other convention, consensus, or constitution in the world that is more widely accepted than the CRC. So the vast majority of global governments agree that corporal punishment is a significant premise for social change, and we agree that young people should help lead anti-abuse efforts.

I believe that corporal punishment is the root of all discrimination in society. Premised on the hatred of young people, on adultism, on the self- and cultural repression of childhood, corporal punishment is made worse through dozens of other factors, including socio-economic class, gender, race, ethnicity, and more… Corporal punishment is at the heart of all this.

Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act
In 2010, Representative Carolyn McCarthy, a Democrat from New York, introduced a bill called “Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act” in the US House of Representatives. The bill would impose a ban on all public and private schools with students that receive federal services. Learn more about the bill, and support it. I do. 

Stop beating kids.

Resources on the Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

Systems Change and Youth Voice

Almost two years ago I began work in Washington State’s department of health. In my capacity as the agency’s school health manager I was determined to infuse young people as partners throughout my work. Already familiar with the machinations of state government because of my earlier work with the state’s education agency, I was fairly confident I could make some headway.

Within the first six months my longstanding co-conspirator in student involvement, Greg Williamson, and I had written youth engagement into our state’s strategic plan for Coordinated School Health. It wasn’t just another line about “listening to youth voice” either: instead we sought to fully engage youth as partners at the state and local levels as decision-makers, advocates and evaluators. Within a year we launched an ambitious effort to build a statewide Youth School Health Cadre comprised of students working in schools across the state focused on school health improvement. I secured additional funds from Action For Healthy Kids to support that work, and for the last several months Greg and I have been working diligently towards our goals. Working with partners we’ve encouraged a state advocacy organization to write youth engagement into their plans; advocated for our state’s school health conference to make youth engagement the main conference theme, and; worked with allies within our agencies to support their efforts to engage youth, as well.

Engaging in systems change is complex work. Under the tutelage of Giselle Martin-Kneip and Jaimie Cloud, I learned that we should aim to influence a variety of complex components in school improvement. Curricular improvement, professional development, and educational leadership are all areas of transformation at work on the local building level. Through my work with SoundOut I discovered the levers of classroom management and formal school improvement work were important in engaging students as partners in school change. Starting my job in public health, I was determined to learn about state legislation and policy-making, and discover the effectiveness of those levers. Now I’m preparing to enter my second session as the senior policy analyst for the agency, as well as continuing the school year with our Students Taking Charge program.

With all of this work underway, I can confidently say that because of working with partners and allies like Greg, I have actually fostered systems change in our state’s schools and public health field. However, I’m faced with a question of effectiveness: just because we’ve brought youth into the system, does that mean the system will sustain youth engagement? Does that mean youth engagement will be effective? Does that mean that the system has the capacity to continuously and successfully promote the deepened integration of youth throughout society?

These are questions I grapple with tonight.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

Reflections on a Long Day’s Work

On an average school day I sit through 4 or 5 meetings or trainings or some other event, everyday. I learn concepts and listen to grievances or struggle with challenges or pose critical questions, and sometimes- often- I simply listen when folks don’t have other places to turn. My job is mostly about hand-holding, trying to encourage territorial creatures to lower their boundaries and systematic thinkers to be organic. Legislative policy and school building policy and everyday procedures that would seem to be human in their nature and human in their implementation seem to take on the weight of 1,000 elephants, each one trying to nudge the other from the room. I work to ensure they feel their place at a common conversation, one centered on the health and well-being of students themselves, rather than the social, political, cultural and economic agendas adults have for students.
I understand that a single jangle does not make a sound, so I work to help others understand this, as well. It is a struggle everyday to ensure that everyone feels their place at the table, finds common ground with their opposition, and builds commonality and trust around a common agenda. I try to convene, interpret, translate, and explore people’s personal sentiment about their professional endeavors in order to help them find their individual benefit in collective action. Work styles and mandated goals be damned, as they often pose themselves as insurmountable obstacles along the way. Each has to arrive at their own paces.
The other week my dad told me there is a difference between the hungry man running after a rabbit in a field and the one sitting quietly in the bush waiting to pounce. My occupation today is teaching me to sit quietly.
This is my reflection on a long day’s work.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

I’m Enmeshed in Busy-ness

Hey all. I’ve spent the last two weeks enmeshed is strategic planning for two state agencies, writing a Summer of Service guide for a national nonprofit organization, action planning for a state coalition I help run, and rewriting an internationally-renowned guide to getting youth on boards. My brain is exhausted and my fingers are numb… which won’t stop me from blogging! It just slows me down a bit. In all of this I’ve continued twittering as best as I can, and you can see my thoughts are meandering across the topics I’m addressing on any given day.

As I’ve delved into inter-agency relationships at the state level here in Washington, I’ve extensively considered the roles and applications of meaningful youth involvement within the state government apparati. It seems daunting, and has caused me to fall back on the question, “What would youth do?” Well, in order to answer this I am going to convene the first meeting of a statewide youth cadre here in Washington soon. The dilemma with that, as always, is who is at the table, and what their interests are. Promoting the homogenization of youth voice seems inevitable in these types of activities, and that is an inherent challenge in involving youth in state and federal government decision-making.
The work of operating a statewide coalition is challenging, to say the least. For the last year I’ve been the co-chair of Washington Action for Healthy Kids, a group of volunteers who are challenging obesity by promoting physical activity and nutrition in schools. Its been a reach for me, as my interest in the topic is tangential at best. I do see the value of it, as my own daughter attends public school and I do have the opportunity through my position at the state Department of Health to learn more about the effects of these issues on the education of young people. The experience of operating this coalition is what I’m after. So far I’ve learned a great deal so far, but this last few weeks has been a heap of learning for me as I’ve worked with our national team service rep to create an action plan for the state. Its interesting to think of the sophistication and deliberation of so many of these types of groups in relationship to their actual operation: instead of a finely honed instrument of democracy actively engaging 1000s in the operation of a movement, its one guy and one woman on the phone and Internet carving out a plan that will affect the masses – if its approved. Fascinating.
Finally, Youth On Board has contracted me to rewrite the wonderfully short and accessible guide to involving youth on boards they originally wrote for BoardSource in the late 1990s. Its a real pleasure to work with Karen Young on this, as her guidance and our conversations have helped shape and drive my work in new directions over the years. I do have to admit though that whenever I work on their materials I find myself challenged to stay focused on the topics at hand: my brain spins in so many directions whenever I think about engaging youth in decision-making. There are so many nuances and subtlties that I know Youth On Board understands as an organization, but that I think youth-serving organizations don’t understand in general. Those are the issues I want to address, that I regularly blog about, that need curricula and guides and websites dedicated to it. If I could find the funding or the interested organization that is surely the route I’d go.
I will unpack all this more in later posts, as I tend to see each of these activities as a potential rabbit hole; note my treatment of the Summer of Service section, which was so nice it had to be its own post. However, this is meant to catch you up on where I’ve been and where I’m going – look for more soon.
Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!