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The Challenge

"I don’t think any of us are doing a great job - we are all in our silo - everyone's doing their own work in their own organization and it’s that human thing about power and control and decision makers and money."

To foster an engaged, informed, and energized majority clear about the role of education in a just society. Where enough people and communities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico have the tools, visions, stories, and strategies to create educational experiences and systems that lead towards young people and nations that are resourceful, equitable, and sustainable. Citizens are active, life-long learners who desire, create and utilize knowledge to improve their lives and their world.

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Jumpstart your work

Share your change story

Story Journals are a way for us to track and learn from what's happening on the ground. Fill this out anytime you see actions and changes that should be shared. No need for lengthy polished writing - short sentences and bullet-points are just fine. The stories shared become part of Learning Reports we draft to support individual and community change efforts.

Write a Story Journal here.

Peter McConville, our Storyteller based in Vermont, shares his thoughts on the power of storytelling:

When I think about the value of the Storyteller, I think first about national and local narratives that surround education. Traditionally our local press had been what I would consider unduly harsh on my own district. Reporters seemed to go for the easy story, ignoring nuance or even fact, and since negative sensationalism sells papers, our schools were often presented in a less than flattering light. This was especially difficult to see being on the inside of a system being targeted - either fairly or unfairly - with heavy criticism because while your schools are being torn apart in the press you know about all of this great stuff going on that no one is talking about. Ideally the storyteller, with the help of IDEA, helps to shift that narrative. Let's focus on what's working well in our schools and get the word out there. I tell my students all the time (as a high school English teacher), if you don't tell your story, someone else is going to tell it for you, and you might not like what they have to say. We have a professional duty to tell our story.

Further, I believe in writing to think. When reporting story journals, the format forces you to deconstruct all that good you're doing to try and figure out the "how" of "what" is happening. In placing our good work in a larger context we can begin to connect the dots of everything that has gone into making a class or a program or a movement possible. There is a reflective nature to the storytelling that encourages systems analysis where hopefully we can learn not only how to build upon what works, but to replicate efforts where they are most effective.

Looking at one of my recent journals I notice how the seeds for a collaborative project with a group of 4th and 5th graders in my community were planted 4 or 5 years ago at a conference where I made a connection that I continued to foster. In keeping in touch with the right people for enough time, things finally fell into place to do some meaningful work. My own reflection stressed the importance of relationship building, the fact that it sometimes takes times for the right partnerships to take root, but that by constantly plugging away and going back to the same well you can eventually draw water.


Share your best resources

The IDEA Library is our curated collection of the resources on education that people need to know about. Add yours to the list.

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The Journey

1. Get more connected
    - Facebook
    - Twitter
    - Instagram
    - Subscribe to our Newsletter
    - Influencers to Amplify

2. Share Stories
We want to track and learn from what's happening on the ground.
     Share Your Story of Change

3. Share Resources
Your best tools and resources have potential to support other changemakers.
    Share them in the IDEA Library

4. Learn
About making change and what's moving across the landscape.
    - Four Drivers of Change
    - IDEA's Theory of Change
    - Network Learning Calls

5. Link
Contact us and let's link your efforts with others - info@democraticeducation.org

6. Organize
    - Learning Tours
    - Place-Based Organizing
    - Learning Breakthrough Series

7. Solidify
A circle of networked support (mentors, critical friends, core group) to move with.

8. Strategize
Who are you working with? What does winning look like? What are the outcomes you're seeking to achieve?

9. Champion
Tell a new public narrative about education. One that deserves to be told.

10. Produce
Develop concrete proposals for meaningful change rooted in the interests of young people and communities.

11. Mobilize
Begin mobilizing others to influence policy, practice, and public narrative.

12. Re-read
Get a renewed sense of your environment, adapt, and keep moving.

13. Win