Public Agenda’s Jean Johnson and Will Freidman have an article out in the new issue of The School Administrator. “Dear Public: Can We Talk?” is at:
www.aasa.org/publications/saarticledetail.cfm?ItemNumber=5211&snItemNumber=950. In the article, Jean Johnson, Senior Vice President and Executive Director of Education Insights, and Will Freidman, Senior Vice President for Public Engagement, discuss the increasing importance of public engagement in school reform. While parents, educators, employers and the public may agree that education reform is important, research shows that different groups see things through very different lenses and often operate on surprisingly different wavelengths. And a lack of communication in a community can be serious enough to stall or derail progress. For example, they note:
–Parents may not be ready for change.
–Communication within schools and districts may be more wish than reality
–Districts and communities may not agree about where to put their money and what to do first
Jean Johnson and Will Friedman then outline an approach of authentic public engagement that can succeed in getting differing groups talking to each other and on the same page. Also featured in this article is an interview with Nebraska State Commissioner of Education Doug Christensen, who has successfully employed Public Agenda’s engagement strategies state-wide. Education Insights is a new Public Agenda initiative designed to partner with foundations, reform groups, education associations, and communities nationwide to address the problems of poor communication and lack of consensus hampering. For more information on Public Agenda’s work, visit www.publicagenda.org.
This week, The Harwood Institute is asking everyone interested in forging an alternate path for politics and public life to join Rich Harwood for a national conversation on “The State of Our Union.” Rich wrote a series of articles this week for his blog, Redeeming Hope, that are designed to address some of the fundamental questions we face as a society of people who have retreated from the public square. The conversation leads up to the president’s annual State of the Union Address, which is scheduled for next Tuesday, Jan. 31. Rich’s writings are based on his 20 years of travel across the country, listening to the authentic voices of ordinary Americans. What he has found is that people have retreated from politics and public life because leaders no longer reflect the reality of our daily lives in their words and actions. In some cases, they even purposefully distort that reality for political gain. The result is that people feel enraged but also powerless to do anything about it, which leads to an overwhelming feeling of being trapped. The authentic voices of Americans tell us a far different story from what we hear from the media, political pundits, many academics, and political leaders, all of whom believe we have simply become a more divided society. Unfortunately, the political strategies pursued under this false analysis force people to retreat farther and farther into their close-knit circles of family and friends. Blog entries for this week include:
* On Monday, Rich wrote about the notion of “truth” and what it means to people.
* On Tuesday, he discussed the role our political leaders play in shaping the State of Our Union.
* Wednesday’s blog concerns the need for all of us to step forward and begin to see one another.
* On Thursday Rich wrote about the pursuit of “happiness” and where that is leading us as a society.
To engage in a conversation about the State of Our Union, visit Rich’s blog at www.theharwoodinstitute.org/rcharwood/weblog/
The Community-Based Collaboratives Research Consortium Journal is upon us and they want to hear from you! They are calling for Journal articles on recent research and/or direct collaborations pertaining to successes or failures of recent collaboratives, environmental outcomes gained as a result of a collaboration process, new methodology on strengthening collaboratives, and other relevant topics. Journal articles, in MS Word format, may be 3 to 10 pages in length. They welcome digital photograph submissions (please use 75 dpi). Articles should not exceed 3000 words and shorter articles of 500 words or less are welcome as are short announcements. Please be sure to include your full contact information when submitting articles. CBCRC does not offer compensation for submissions, but they do give full credit to contributing authors. In addition to journal articles they also welcome book titles related to community collaboration with a brief summary and ordering information, short (three to five paragraphs) articles of new research still in progress, and upcoming conferences and workshops scheduled for next year you would like highlighted in the fall 2005 Journal. Be sure to include all contact information. Please submit your entries by February 3, 2006 to ensure a spot in the Journal. You may submit a brief summary of your work now and provide an extended article within the month if you do not currently have a complete write-up of your work. All submissions may be sent to .
RecentChangesCamp, an Open Space event on wikis and community, is coming up the first weekend in February in Portland, Oregon. It will bring together programmers and other geeks with non-technical folks into community to make connections, write code, have fun, and do as much good work as they can. RecentChangesCamp is hosted by the Wiki community. Wiki is software that allows nontechnical users to freely create and edit Web content using their browser. The most exciting aspect of Wiki is that it truly encourages democratic use of the Web. As caretakers of primarily online communities, the Wiki community are especially looking forward to cross-pollination with folks who nurture offline communities. For more information on this event, visit http://recentchangescamp.org/
Prix Ars Electronica is once again holding an awards competition for Digital Communities. The Digital Communities category is open to political, social and cultural projects, initiatives, groups and scenes from all over the world that display contentious commitment in coming up with smart, successful ways of deploying digital technologies to solve social problems. Particular emphasis is placed on a project’s degree of community innovation, its sustainability and its use of technology in a way that makes good sense and is attuned to the needs of the people meant to benefit from it. Digital Communities projects should make it easier for people to access technology, networks and the Digital Commons. For a detailed description of the category and about Prix Ars Electronica in general, please see our website: www.aec.at/en/prix/communities/communities.asp. Prizes in the Digital Communities category include one Golden Nica with 10,000 Euro, two Awards of Distinction with 5,000 Euro each and up to 12 Honorary Mentions awarded by the Jury. Registration started January 10, 2006 and the deadline for submissions is March 17, 2006. Please use www.aec.at/en/prix/registration/index.asp for your submission and to obtain further details. For further information or help, please do not hesitate to contact Ingrid Fischer-Schreiber at: .
This summer, delegates from around the world will meet for the 60th annual summer conferences at the Initiatives of Change center in Caux, Switzerland. The conferences, under the theme of Globalizing Integrity, Personalizing Integrity, will run July 6 � August 17, 2006. For more information or to register for the conferences, please visit www.caux.ch/en/program.php. Feel free to contact Initiatives of Change (www.us.iofc.org) if you have any questions at 1156 Fifteenth St., NW, Suite 910; Washington, DC 20005-1704; p (202) 872-9077; f (202) 872-9137. For information on idividual conferences, click on the link below.
The 2006 Season for Nonviolence is upon us. As you may know, this 64-day event runs from January 30-April 4, and was founded to celebrate the visions of nonviolent activists Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Mahatma Gandhi. To celebrate, PuddleDancer press will be offering the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Starter book package at a 50% discount. The package includes great seasonal activity ideas, information on NVC workshops and trainers in your area, a free, inspiring Speak Peace postcard or eCard, and more. To learn more, visit www.nonviolentcommunication.com/snv/index.htm. Or contact Tiffany Meyer at PuddleDancer Press at 503-880-5308 or at [email protected]. For more information on the Season of Nonviolence movement, go to www.agnt.org/snv02.htm.
The D&D community is quite diverse. Some people are mainly interested in arts-based dialogue and deliberation. Others are interested in youth D&D, or D&D on college campuses, or D&D online. Hit your back button and select one of the subcategories of “Interest Areas” to hone in on what most interests you – or what you want to learn more about.
Looking for educational opportunities? Funding announcements? Job openings? Go back and click on one of the subcategories of the “D&D Community News” category in order to find what you’re looking for.
To stay on top of field-related news, such as who’s receiving awards or getting press coverage, who’s breaking new ground in the field, etc., click on the “headlines & inspiration” subcategory.
NCDD uses the term “streams of practice” to discern the various types of dialogue and deliberation programs and methods out there. Although there are more streams than just these four, these four streams outline the four main purposes practitioners, communities, public leaders and others use dialogue and deliberation.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s (www.wkkf.org) Rural People, Rural Policy (www.wkkf.org/rprp/) is a new multi-year national initiative designed to energize and equip rural organizations and networks to shape policy that will improve the lives of rural people and the vitality of rural communities. Complete program information, an FAQ, and application instructions are available from the WKKF Rural People, Rural Policy Web site. The deadline for applications is February 20, 2006. Or to read more about this grant, click on the link below.
Students seeking for-credit opportunities that involve meaningful citizenship, community service and service-learning, should check out the new Institute for Art and Civic Engagement at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Located in SFMA’s Artist’s Resource Center and founded in partnership with Tufts University College of Citizenship and Public Service, the Institute fosters development of partnerships with art, culture, research, education, healthcare, social service, business and entrepreneurial ventures. There are community-based learning projects in teaching/mentoring young people, arts and medicine, public art, international projects and internships embracing role of art in public life. Opportunities include participation in the award-winning Youth Art-in-Action program and a chance to work at Boston Arts Academy, an innovative school within the Boston Public School system. For more information, visit smfa.edu/Student_Life/Professional_Development/Institute_for_Art_Civic_Engagement.asp
The IAP2 Wild Rose (Alberta) Chapter will be holding a signature event this Feb, 2-3, 2006 in Calgary, Alberta. The event’s theme is “Keeping Ahead of the Curve: Innovation and Diversity in Public Participation” It will be a day and a half of engaging and thought provoking participatory presentations and sessions, and a World Caf� on the topic of the Wild Rose Centennial Project. In addition, Wild Rose will be offering two of the IAP2 training modules, Planning for Public Participation and Communication for Effective Public Participation, January 30 – February 1, 2006. For information on the upcoming event or trainings, or to register, download the registration form: www.iap2.org/associations/4748/files/WildRoseEventReg_02.05.pdf
The Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation (CIIAN) in Ottawa will be offering several courses on Peacebuilding and Mediation this spring. Courses include “The Power Clinic for Mediators,” “Negotiating Agreements In Conflict Settings” and “Violence Prevention: Theory-Informed Practice.” Dr. Ben Hoffman, President of CIIAN, will lead all three courses. For more info or to register please visit the �Special Programs� page on the CIIAN website at www.ciian.org/special1.shtml
Join Amanda Trosten-Bloom and Jim Ludema, leading authors and consultants, for their Foundations in Appreciative Inquiry Workshop, February 6-9 in Boulder, Colorado. Recognized as one of the strongest foundations-level trainings available, this workshop attracts an international contingent of positive change consultants and leaders. Learn how businesses and communities around the globe have transformed their organizations in partnership with CPC’s premier consultants. Develop your skills to lead key steps in the Appreciative Inquiry process: select affirmative topics, craft and conduct appreciative interviews, envision positive futures, design provocative propositions and create sustainable appreciative organization cultures. Begin designing Appreciative Inquiry initiatives in your own and others’ organizations. This 4-day workshop is the first and foundational workshop in the Corporation for Positive Change’s Certificate Program in Appreciative Inquiry and the Practice of Positive Change. For more information or to register, visit the Corporation for Positive Change (CPC) website (www.positivechange.org) or e-mail or phone 505.751.1232 (x2).