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    Discussion Guide

    “For Democracy’s Future –

    Education Reclaims Our Civic Mission”

    thOn January 10, 2012, from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM EST, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other senior

    Obama administration officials will join with people of different backgrounds and views including college

    presidents, students, and leaders in business and philanthropy for a national convening at the White House

    “For Democracy’s Future: Education Reclaims Our Civic Mission.” This event brings people together to discuss

    the importance of citizenship for the 21st century and the role of educational institutions in educating students for citizenship.

     thJanuary 10 marks the release of A Crucible Moment: Civic Learning and Democracy’s Future, a National Call to thAction to the Department of Education by leading civic scholars and practitioners. The year is also the 150

    anniversary of the first Morrill Act, which created land grant colleges, once known as “democracy’s colleges.” The event highlights the new American Commonwealth Partnership (ACP), which promotes the Morrill Act’s

    civic mission in every educational setting. ACP brings together many different groups to call for a shift from scattered “civic activities” to strong “civic identity” in families, schools, professions, colleges and universities. It

    is organizing a national conversation about how to make this happen. In addition, the Department of Education is releasing a document titled Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy: A Road Map and Call

    to Action.

    The full agenda for the event is below. We invite those who are not participating in person to join online at and convene a local discussion during the breakout session, 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM EST, which will not be live streamed. This short discussion guide is prepared as an optional resource. If you are

tuning in as an individual, we encourage you to use it to hold discussions after the event today on citizenship 1and civic education with your friends, neighbors, co-workers, or fellow students.

In this guide you will find:

    ; Full event agenda

    ; Tips for organizing your event

    ; Discussion guide with suggested questions

    ; Tips for moderating the discussion

    ; Highlights from A Crucible Moment: Civic Learning and Democracy’s Future

     1 This discussion guide has been developed for those participating in sites across the country, by Harry C. Boyte, Director of the

    Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College and Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School, and Jean Johnson, National Issues Forums, with the assistance of John Dedrick and Derek Barker, Kettering Foundation.

    For Democracy’s Future: Education Reclaims Our Civic Mission

    January 10, 2012

    2:00 PM 6:00 PM EST

    Event Program


A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future

    Martha Kanter, Under Secretary, US Department of Education

    Carol Schneider, President, Association of American Colleges and Universities

Panel Discussion: Higher Education’s Call for Democratic Engagement

    Chair: James Leach, Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities Participants:

     Brian Murphy, President, De Anza College

     Richard Guarasci, President, Wagner College

    Azar Nafisi, Executive Director of Cultural Conversations; Foreign Policy Visiting Fellow, Johns

    Hopkins University

Panel Discussion: Changing Lives, Changing Communities

    Chair: David Mathews, President, Kettering Foundation


    Molly Jahn, Professor of Agronomy and Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Dantrell Cotton, Student, University of Wisconsin

    Romand Coles, McAllister Chair of Community, Culture and the Environment, Northern Arizona


    Nikki Cooley, Program Coordinator, Northern Arizona University

    Pal Markham, Professor, Western Kentucky University

    Bianca Brown, Student, Western Kentucky University

Coalitions and Collaboration: Framing the Discussion

    Harry Boyte, Director, Center for Democracy and Citizenship, Augsburg College

    Break (5 minutes)

Breakout Sessions (this portion not live streamed; online viewers may facilitate local conversations)

    Deepen Civic Identity, Values and Vision

    Harry Boyte, Director, Center for Democracy and Citizenship, Augsburg College

    Molly Jahn, Professor of Agronomy and Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Jean Johnson, Executive Vice President, Public Agenda

     John Siceloff, Director, Jumpstart Productions

Expand Public Scholarship and Research

    Nancy Cantor, Chancellor, Syracuse University

    Timothy Eatman, Research Director, Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Publics Life

     Julie Ellison, Professor of American Culture, English, and Art and Design, University of Michigan

Build and Strengthen Community-Campus Connections

    George Mehaffy, Vice President, American Association of State Colleges and Universities

    Ira Harkavy, Associate Vice President and Director, Netter Center for Community Partnerships,

    University of Pennsylvania

    Blase Scarnati, Director, University First Year Seminar Program & Global Learning, Northern Arizona


Advance Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Across School and College

    Ronald A. Crutcher, President, Wheaton College

    Caryn McTighe Musil, Senior Vice President, Association of American Colleges and Universities

    Ted McConnell, Executive Director, Civic Mission of Schools

Provide Evidence: Civic Learning and College Success

    Carol Schneider, President, Association of American Colleges and Universities

    Ashley Finley, Senior Director of Assessment and Research, Association of American Colleges and


    Sarita Brown, President, Excelencia in Education!

    Break (5 minutes)

Reports from Breakout Sessions

    Session Facilitators

     stCommitments: Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement in the 21 Century A National Imperative

    Harry Boyte, Director, Center for Democracy and Citizenship, Augsburg College Carol Schneider, President, Association of American Colleges and Universities

    The Obama Administration’s Commitment to Advancing Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy: Connecting College, Career and Citizenship

    Robert Velasco II, Acting Director, Corporation for National and Community Service Arne Duncan, Secretary, US Department of Education


    Eduardo Ochoa, Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education, US Department of Education

    Organizing Your Event

1. Tune in yourself

    2. Encourage your members/others to tune in by putting announcement/link on your web site or in email


    3. Host an in-person viewing session and discussion (see this optional discussion guide)

    4. Encourage your members (e.g. colleges, high school principals, local school boards) to host in-person

    viewing sessions and discussions

5. Issue a media advisory if you host a local event

    6. Issue a press release the day of or day after event to tell the public about your participation in the

    event and announce any new commitments to educating students for citizenship.

    Discussion Guide

    Reinventing Citizenship and the Role of Education

    The guide below is designed to help moderators introduce the topic and launch the conversation. It includes suggested language for introducing the topic, questions that can be used to open and conclude the discussion and information about collecting and sharing the group’s ideas. See also the Moderators’ Tips section that follows.

    1. Introducing the subject:

    Citizenship has different meanings.

     For some citizenship means voting. Some see it as a legal status, or obeying the law, or being a good person and a role model. To others it means respecting those of different views and backgrounds. “Productive citizenship” means making a public contribution through work, paid or unpaid one can be a

    citizen teacher, a citizen business owner, or a citizen homemaker.

    There is no single “right answer” to the question, “what is a citizen?”

    People also have different views on where education for citizenship takes place. Some see families as the main “school for citizenship.” Other stress schools, colleges, universities or religious congregations. Many see all these playing important though differing roles.

    This discussion is intended to begin an ongoing national conversation on the topic of what is citizenship, and how do we educate for it.

    2. Some questions to start with:

    ; If you were explaining the responsibilities that come with being an American citizen to a visitor from

    another country, what would you say?

    ; As citizens, what do you think we owe to future generations?

    ; What are the roles and responsibilities of different groups (e.g. families, schools, colleges or

    universities) in educating citizens?

    ; What are your ideas for how we can learn to listen to each other and work together across partisan

    and other divides?

    st; What are the skills and values of 21 century citizenship? Do we have new or additional

    responsibilities that we didn’t have in the past?

    3. Summarizing the discussion:

    Before ending the discussion, take a few minutes to reflect on what has been achieved. Consider the following questions:

     Has your thinking about citizenship changed?

     What are two or three things you take away about explaining citizenship to an immigrant or visitor

    from abroad?

     What do you now think about the role of education and higher education in educating citizens who

    contribute to communities and the larger democracy?

    4. Collecting the participants’ ideas and suggestions:

    Moderators are encouraged to collect observations from the groups and send to with

    “feedback” in the subject heading. We are especially interested in hearing:

    ; Are there two or three areas of general (although perhaps not complete) agreement among the

    group from today’s discussion?

    We also are eager to continuously develop and improve the work of “educating for citizenship.” Either now or in the future, we would like your thoughts on these questions:

    ; Are there other questions we should ask in the future to promote a lively and productive discussion

    of citizenship and citizenship education?

    ; Are there ideas for specific policies or practices that schools, colleges, and universities could

    implement to promote education for citizenship in ways that are consistent with other important

    efforts such as increasing graduation rates, improving student learning, and preparing students for

    st21-century careers?

    ; Are there ideas for how federal, state, and local governments, or the business and philanthropy

    communities, could make it easier for schools, colleges, and universities to focus on educating

    students for citizenship?

Moderating the event

Choose a moderator who welcomes all present

     2Moderator Tips

If this is your first experience a moderator, remember, you don’t have to be an expert on the topic. The point

    is to encourage everyone to speak, and respect each other across differences like partisan belief, age, culture,

    faith, income. Citizenship is not a partisan issue!

    ; Look through the suggested questions for discussion, and choose one or two that get to the heart of

    the issue

    ; Stay focused on what the discussion is aboutdeliberation that allows different points of view on

    “reinventing citizenship” to be heard

    ; Keep the discussion moving and focused on the issue.

    ; Reserve ample time for reflections on the discussion at end.

    ; One good way to start is for participants to take a few minutes to talk about their personal experiences

    with making a contribution to the community or society.

Ground Rules

Before the discussion begins, it is important for participants to review guidelines for their discussion. These

    guidelines have been found useful in many settings:

     Everyone is encouraged to participate,

     No one or two individuals should dominate,

     The discussion should focus on the topic, not get sidetracked

     All help to maintain an open and respective atmosphere for the discussion, and

     All agree to listen to each other.

Ask the group to suggest other rules.

     2 Adapted from the National Issues Forums Institute

For background and further information

    A Crucible Moment: Civic Learning and America’s Future

    DemocracyU, the overall web site for the American Commonwealth Partnership

    thStories of strong education for citizenship discussed at the White House event on January 10 can be found


    Chicago High School of Agricultural Science

    Northern Arizona University and

    Western Kentucky University

About the creators of this guide:

    Center for Democracy and Citizenship

    The Center for Democracy and Citizenship collaborates with a variety of partners to promote active

    citizenship and public work by people of all ages. The center's work is grounded in the belief that a

    healthy democracy requires everyone's participation, and that each of us has something to contribute.

    National Issues Forums Institute

    National Issues Forums (NIF) is a network of civic, educational, and other organizations, and individuals,

    whose common interest is to promote public deliberation in America. It has grown to include

    thousands of civic clubs, religious organizations, libraries, schools, and many other groups that meet to

    discuss critical public issues. Forum participants range from teenagers to retirees, prison inmates to

    community leaders, and literacy students to university students.

    NIF does not advocate specific solutions or points of view but provides citizens the opportunity to

    consider a broad range of choices, weigh the pros and cons of those choices, and meet with each other

    in a public dialogue to identify the concerns they hold in common.

    Highlights From

    A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future

    A report from the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement

In response to widespread concern about the nation’s anemic civic health, A Crucible Moment: College

    Learning and Democracy’s Future calls for investing in higher education’s capacity to make civic learning and democratic engagement widely shared national priorities. The report calls on higher education and many stpartners in education, government, and public life to advance a 21 century conception of civic learning and

    democratic engagement as an expected part of every student’s college education.

A New Vision for Civic Learning in Higher Education

    An earlier definition of civic education stressed familiarity with the various branches of government and acquaintance with basic information about U.S. history. This is still essential but no longer nearly enough. Americans still need to understand how their political system works and how to influence it. But they also need to understand the cultural and global contexts in which democracy is both deeply valued and deeply contested. Moreover, the competencies basic to democracy cannot be learned only by studying books; democratic knowledge and capabilities are honed through hands-on, face-to-face, active engagement in the midst of differing perspectives about how to address common problems that affect the well-being of the nation and the world.

    Civic learning that includes knowledge, skills, values, and the capacity to work with others on civic and societal challenges can help increase the number of informed, thoughtful, and public-minded citizens well prepared to contribute in the context of the diverse, dynamic, globally connected United States. Civic learning should prepare students with knowledge and for action in our communities.

    stComponents of 21 century civic learning should include:

    ; Knowledge of U.S. history, political structures, and core democratic principles and founding documents; and

    debatesUS and globalabout their meaning and application;

    ; Knowledge of the political systems that frame constitutional democracies and of political levers for

    affecting change;

    ; Knowledge of diverse cultures and religions in the US and around the world;

    ; Critical inquiry and reasoning capacities;

    ; Deliberation and bridge-building across differences;

    ; Collaborative decision-making skills;

    ; Open-mindedness and capacity to engage different points of view and cultures;

    ; Civic problem-solving skills and experience

    ; Civility, ethical integrity, and mutual respect.

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