Social Action and Inner-City High School Students: Collective Action as a Required Class. Schools require students to learn skills to empower them as individuals , but not skills to empower them as collectives .
ResponsibilityOriginal PA List of Core Concepts
Low Test Scores
Lack of Funding
Police Give Fines
Projects: Bake sale, mentoring children, poster with a safe-sex slogan, a job board, a bracelet & brochure on police brutality
I. Coach Roles: Caught Between Facilitation and Direction
Groups either floated or were overly driven by coaches. (See Kirchner, in press)
II. Coaches and Students Felt Hopeless
How can a small group of high school students have an authentic impact on oppression?
1. Students needed more time to understand and commit to different topics prior to entry into PA groups.
2. Students and coaches needed “doable” options from the beginning to avoid directionless dialogue and hopelessness.
If people feel they don’t have the power to change a bad situation, then they do not think about it.
Why start figuring out how you are going to spend a million dollars if you do not have a million dollars . . . ?
[Only when change seems possible do people] begin to think and ask questions about how to make the changes.
--Saul Alinsky (1977, p. 105)
Student Topic Research
“Topic + Conceptual Research Planning”
Student Local Knowledge
Coach Provided Information
Interactive Data Collection (Interviews/Tours)
Move to Action
Note that the focus here is on action, with conceptual issues
emerging through ongoing engagement.
Student Projects at PACHS Lack Two Key Aspects of Authentic Power Organizing
NOTE: The PA manual stresses the importance of #1, and out of school youth organizing seems usually to include at least #1 and often #2.