As DSC members, we make our best efforts to apply the following Principles of Unity to our work together:
- We challenge the systemic problem of school pushout in our nation’s traditional public and charter schools and offer recommendations to promote local and national alternatives to a culture of zero-tolerance, criminalization, punishment and removal.
- We advocate for the human rights and self-determination of all young people to a first-rate, quality, and equitable education, to be treated with dignity, to be free from discrimination and to participate in decision-making that affects their education and future opportunities in life.
- Our coalition is a diverse group representing youth, parents, educators, and advocates. We strive to be led by youth and families most impacted by school pushout and zero-tolerance disciplinary policies: youth who have been suspended and/or surveilled for suspension, expelled, pushed out or criminalized, and their families. DSC members work collectively to expand our knowledge base and shift power to those most impacted.
- We make sure that our members, and especially those directly impacted, own and make decisions about the use of their stories, their data analysis, their solutions, and their victories.
- We are building a strong, clear, and explicit analysis in our work at all levels, intentionally examining issues such as race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status, ability, religion, language and age. We regularly self reflect and evaluate our practices as we seek to challenge injustice, be it in ourselves, our organizations, our communities, or our movement. As we grow our analysis and political education, some of our terminology may change to always reflect our current thinking.
- We put movement identity ahead of organizational identity. We are building a common set of political goals and strategies appropriate to building the leadership, participation, and influence of those most impacted.
- Leadership development occurs at all times. We are not led by individual, charismatic leaders; rather we have an accountable model of power-sharing, power consciousness, and collective leadership ethic.
- We support our work together by sharing information, resources, knowledge, skills, relationships, funding strategies and opportunities, visibility, access, and political wisdom.