The Challenge of Challenge

When met with something that we disagree with, we all have different ways of dealing with the challenges we face. Sometimes we confront; sometimes, withdraw; other times, we might stand in the challenge and simply acknowledge it; and still other times we have no idea what’s going on, simply riding the whirlwind.

Tonight I’m attending the Rising Tide School auction here in my city of Olympia. Invited by co-founder Abbe Vogel, it’s truly my pleasure to be here tonight. There are at least 200 people here, including dozens of kids. It definitely shows the interest and commitment of a subgroup in this small city that wants alternative learning opportunities for students. Rising Tide operates the Sudbury Valley model, and they do it well.

A decade ago when I first learned of Sudbury Valley I was challenged by the model. Concerned about accessibility, democratic accountability, and socio-economic inequity, I routinely declared my abhorrence to privatized education of all kinds. Anything, charters, democratic schools, anything. I’m over that now.

That’s what a decade of this work has given me: the chance to reconvene my mental jury in order to examine, critique, and re-imagine my own vision for education. The challenge of challenge is accepting where we’re pushing ourselves to go. Note to self: Keep going.

— This is Adam Fletcher’s blog originally posted at For more see

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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