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New Choicework Discussion Guides

by Francie Grace

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

One of the great things about working in public engagement, in addition to helping different sides come together to craft public policy solutions, is that the work we do in one community often translates into opportunities for people struggling with similar problems in many other parts of the country.

We're happy to report on two such cases from our public engagers in the field, who have written up Choicework Discussion Starter guides based on the public engagement work we did last year supported by funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. "A Quality High School Education For All: Addressing the Dropout Challenge in Our Community," draws on our community engagement work with the public school system in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and lays out three potential approaches to the problem:

  • Do more to keep kids out of trouble and on a healthy path;
  • Raise our expectations of young people and send the message that all students can and should graduate; and
  • Improve how we educate young people so they are more likely to stay in school.

Also new in our offerings for communities seeking to use public engagement as a tool to solve problems is the Choicework Discussion Starter guide "A Great Education Starts At Home: Increasing Parent Involvement in Education." Based on lessons learned in our work with community groups in Moss Point, Mississippi, this guide provides three basic ways to approach the issue:

  • Have high expectations of parents and educate them about the most important ways they can help their children succeed in
  • Break down the barriers between schools and parents; and
  • Leave parent involvement to parents so that the schools can concentrate on teaching.

Each Choicework Discussion Starter guide also provides pros and cons for each of the various choices, to empower participants to consider tradeoffs they might make to address various goals. Click here to take a look at some of the other Choicework Discussion guides we offer, on a wide range of issues. And to learn more about on framing issues for discussion, check out our paper, Reframing Framing.


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