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Ron Berger on Adolescent Activism

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    Sarah Norris

As the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School channel their grief and pain into public advocacy, the country is talking about what it means for young people to act in service of a building a better world. 

At EL Education, the conviction that they can and must do so has been part of our work from our earliest days. Sometimes, their action is in the context of a teacher-facilitated project; sometimes, it is not

A recent Quartz article explaining the science behind adolescent activism includes words from Ron Berger, EL Education's Chief Academic Officer: “Adolescents have this craziness that we can criticize — or we can tap into. This is a time in their lives when justice matters, more than any other time.” (Ron was originally quoted in a New York Times article).  

In a Parkland student's own words: “This movement, created by students, led by students, is based on emotion,” said Delaney Tarr. “It is based on passion and it is based on pain. Our biggest flaws—our tendency to be a bit too aggressive, our tendency to lash out, things that you expect from a normal teenager, these are our strengths.”

We know that students in many EL Education Network schools are planning actions in solidarity, and we are grateful for their leadership.