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I don’t normally write such long blog posts, but I got carried away as I was preparing some background notes for the upcoming Texas Forums community conversation on “What is the 21st Century Mission for Our Public Schools?” at the LBJ Library on November 14 from 9:00 – noon. When you are organizing a program on education on behalf of the institution that bears the name and houses the records of the “Education President”, it is easy to get sucked in! You may not have time to read all of this, but please, before you move on, consider joining me for the upcoming forum!

Date: November 14
Time: 9:00 – noon
Topic: What is the 21st Century Mission for Our Public Schools?
Where: Meet in the lobby of the LBJ Presidential Library 2313 Red River St. Austin. We will tour the special exhibit, School House to White House about the varied education experiences of the last twelve Presidents
Register here so we’ll have enough food and materials!

During our forum, we will consider three overarching questions related to the purpose of public schools:

  1. Should schools focus on preparing students to be successful in the workplace?
  2. Is the purpose of public schools to prepare students to be active and responsible citizens?
  3. Should we invest more of our energy in helping each student make the most of his or her abilities?

In the meantime, here’s a little light reading about the Education President, President Johnson.

The Education President’s Example

During his presidency, President Johnson backed more than 60 bills and programs to benefit education These bills were designed to ensure that children entered school ready to learn, that they had a variety of learning opportunities, that there was a continuum of learning from pre-school through higher education, and that all children regardless of race would have equal access to educational opportunities.

Milestone legislation and programs include:

  • Head Start
  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act,
  • the Higher Education Act,
  • Vocational Education Act,
  • the Library Services Act, and
  • the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

His passion for education should not come as a surprise. After all, much of his early thinking about public policy and the role of teachers and government came from his experiences in the classroom. After receiving his degree from After his second year at Southwest Texas State Teachers College, President Johnson dropped out of school for a year to serve as principal and teach fifth, sixth, and seventh grades at Welhausen School, a Mexican-American school in Cotulla, TX a small farming and ranching community half way between San Antonio and Laredo. This Texas town, where most of his students were Hispanic and poor, left an indelible imprint on the young teacher who, in signing subsequent bills as Mr. President would often refer to “the faces of the boys and the girls in that little Welhausen Mexican School.”

This experience made education a particularly personal issue, and long before he wielded the power of the presidency, he used his personal resources to improve the lives of the children he taught. In October 1928, he wrote to his mother requesting 200 packages of toothpaste for his students. You can see and download the letter from the “early years” section of the Presidential Timeline at www.presidentialtimeline.org.

In November 1966, President Johnson returned to the Welhausen Elementary School in Cotulla where he shared his early memories of the multiple duties he performed as their teacher and principal – coach of the boys’ basketball team, debate coach, song leader, playground supervisor, and even assistant janitor. When the school could not afford playground equipment, President Johnson used his first month’s salary to invest in “those things for (as he affectionately called them) my children“. Even in his early days, President Johnson was the example of how passionate and creative individuals in a village can roll up their sleeves and help raise a child. Read his complete remarks to the students of Cotulla, TX here.

In addition to the deep concern and abiding fondness he expressed for “his” children, he also believed that they could succeed, given the right opportunities. In their description of his early life experiences, the LBJ Museum of San Marcos reports that “he brought strict discipline into his classroom and organizing his young students to participate in debate, declamation, spelling bees, and physical education — opportunities they had never had before.” Their narrative of Lyndon Johnson, the teacher continues, “He had enormous energy, a great capacity for work, the initiative to create projects for his students, and the ability to persuade others to assist with those projects.”

In short, there are signs that the infamous “Johnson Treatment” was born from his experience in a remote, under-served, impoverished Mexican-American community for the benefit of its children.

The timeline of his contribution to education during his presidency is breathtaking and that part of his legacy remains, but is often overlooked and never fully appreciated.

Despite the number of public schools named for President Johnson, it wasn’t until 2007 that a federal building was legally named for him. While a long wait, it was a fitting tribute. The Education Building in Washington, D.C. now bears his name under a law signed on March 21 by President George W. Bush. Thankfully, Mrs. Johnson was alive to savor the day even though she was unable to attend the ceremony. In her gracious, public statement, Mrs. Johnson noted,

This will be a fitting tribute to Lyndon who worked so hard to make life better for so many, and – were he alive – I can think of nothing that would please him more! Lyndon wanted so much for the children of our country to have a healthy and rewarding life, and he believed that education was the key to fulfilling that hope. His life was about education, and I believe that he would have wished to be remembered as the “Education President.”

This sentiment was echoed by daughter Luci Baines Johnson who was present at the signing:

Education was at the heart of my father’s career in public service. He felt that it was mankind’s passport out of poverty and our greatest hope for tomorrow.

But the work is unfinished. According to the research conducted by E3 Alliance here in Central Texas, the gaps that President Johnson witnessed at Cotulla still exist and are pervasive in our own community. Consider these sobering facts:

  • Economically disadvantaged students are consistently at the low end of achievement gaps. In eight Central Texas districts, over 60% of the student population is economically disadvantaged.
  • Texas has the fastest growing child population in the nation, a trend that is projected to continue.
  • The greatest increase in children is among the Hispanic population which will grow from about 26% to 35% of the Central Texas population over the next few years. A rapidly growing proportion of future students will be economically disadvantaged and Limited English Proficient.

And President Johnson had it right when he equated education with the path out of poverty. Just consider the economic impact of a substandard education on individuals as well as on the regional economy. If you think your spiraling 401K, IRA or SEP Retirement account sucked your breath away, consider this:

  • Students who do not complete high school earn significantly less per year than students who complete college – $28,500 versus almost $70,000. In other words, over an average lifetime, the high school graduate will earn over $1 million more than a student who drops out. Throw in a college degree and the wage-earner has another $2 million to show for themselves.
  • We could lose 85,000 jobs in Central Texas and face declining expenditures of over $40 billion. That’s with a “B” for billion and that calculation was made before the current economic crisis.

But there is good news. As we have witnessed through the recent years of forums on education conducted by Texas Forums, E3 Alliance and Austin Voices for Education and Youth, there are individuals and organizations in the Central Texas region who may not agree with all of President Johnson’s policies, but they share his lifelong concern for the education of all children and they are willing to roll up their sleeves to do something about it.

The history of Texas Forums’ work on education with outstanding partners is rich and has been productive resulting in community-wide action plans for nine school districts and a regional blueprint for change with four priorities that are embodied in the unfinished legacy of President Johnson. Below are the four goals of the Blueprint for Educational Change in Central Texas adopted on January 23, 2008 along with some examples of President Johnson’s earlier contributions to these goals. The historians among you can freely add to this list using this link as a starting point!

Goal 1: All Children Enter Kindergarten School Ready
Operation Head Start announced May 18, 1965


Goal 2: Central Texas Eliminates Achievement Gaps while Improving Overall Student Performance

President Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Amendments (PL 89-750) on November 3, 1966 which included:

  • a provision that schools could use the national average “per student
    expenditures” if the national average was higher, a benefit to poorer
  • a new program to aid in the education of handicapped children.
  • the transfer of adult education activities from the Office of Economic Opportunity to the Office of Education in Health, Education and Welfare.
  • the first appropriation of funds for the National Teacher Corps.

On January 2, 1968, The Elementary and Secondary Education Act Amendments of 1967 (PL
90-247) established bilingual education programs for non-English speaking children and provided more funds for special education for handicapped children.

Goal 3: Students Graduate College-and Career Ready and Prepared for a Lifetime of Learning

In addition to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provisions designed to prepare students for college, President Johnson signed a number of bills to support higher education, most notably The Higher Education Act (PL 89-329) which he signed at his alma mater, Southwest Texas State College in San Marcos, Texas (now Texas State University at San Marcos. It was the first U.S. Congressional approval for scholarships to undergraduate students. Again, his experience at Cotulla was a guiding factor as President Johnson sought to ensure that college would not be closed to anyone just because they were poor. The Act
  • included insurance on student loans that had been proposed by President Johnson while he was a Congressman
  • transferred the work-study program to the Office of Higher Education
  • created the National Teacher Corps which was designed to improve elementary and secondary education in needy urban and rural areas.  Teams consisting of an experienced teacher and several young college graduates were sent in to strengthen local school programs.
Goal 4: Central Texas as a Community Prepares Children to Succeed
At this point, I could cite, the Veterans in Public Service (VIPS) program inclusion in the Teacher Corps that was inaugurated by President Johnson in a White House ceremony on July 30, 1968. His signing of the Education Professions Development Act (PL 90-35) which extended the Teacher Corps is another example of how President Johnson sought to include the entire community in the education of our nation’s children. Programs to support the arts and humanities, volunteerism, experimental education programs like Upward Bound, White House Conference on Education, and quotes from numerous speeches are more than adequate to illustrate President Johnson’s deep commitment to the community and the nation’s responsibility to its children.
But no legislation speaks louder to his personal commitment to education than his own examples. His personal encounters, his touching memories of his childhood classroom which he cited in his speeches, and his frequent visits to schools inspired a nation to care about the education of our youth.

It was personal triumph and tribute, not just a photo op, when he was joined by his first teacher, Mrs. Kathryn Deadrich Loney as he signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in Stonewall, TX. (One can argue that Mrs. Loney was his second teacher as his own mother Rebekah taught him to read by the age of four.)



But perhaps the greatest example that President Johnson never left his “teacher roots” behind and never forgot that we all share the responsibility for educating our youth was in his frequent visits to the schoolchildren in Stonewall, TX. At his 100th birthday celebration on August 27, 2008 and at conferences since then, the notecard included in the small bag of jellybeans says it all:


“Stonewall children called him “Mr. Jellybean” because that’s what he brought on his visits. They didn’t know he was the President and “Head Start” was one of the proudest creations of his presidency. Head Start has four decades of human success stories behind it and flourishes as one of the most enduring monuments of the LBJ years.”
We don’t all get to start national programs that endure for decades. We might not take it upon ourselves to distribute candy to children who (by early accounts in his letter to his mother) do not have ready access to dental care. We might not be called to the classroom.  But if we each believed, as President Johnson did, that even the poorest children in a small town like Cotulla are “my  children” we would surely find a million little opportunities every day to make a difference.


President Johnson gave us the earliest blueprint for educational change, and the communities in Central Texas that have held forums on closing the education gaps and preparing today’s youth for tomorrow’s jobs are continuing that legacy. History really does have something to teach us about ourselves, our potential and our future, and sometimes our present helps us see our past with greater clarity and appreciation.

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We have so many creative, talented people in the Texas Forums network, I would love to see some of our Dialogue and Deliberation friends submit their videos completing the statement, “Democracy is…”

Press release from The Democracy Video Challenge:

NEW YORK – September 15, 2009 – The Democracy Video Challenge, a global call to action celebrating democracy, launched its second annual competition today at the United Nations on International Democracy Day. Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent, served as Master of Ceremonies for the contest’s global launch. The Challenge again invites citizens from around the world to create video shorts (3minutes or less) that complete the phrase: “Democracy is…” in an effort to enhance the global dialogue on democracy.

“Art is meant to engage us, not merely distract us, and needs a robust democracy for it to thrive. Artists everywhere have a civic obligation to speak up fearlessly and courageously on issues, regardless of how difficult they might be,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, a partner in the Democracy Video Challenge.

The Democracy Video Challenge is a unique partnership comprising democracy, and youth organizations, the film and entertainment industry, academia, and the U.S. government. In its inaugural year, the Challenge attracted more than 900 videos from 95 countries around the world.

(read more and get the application forms and rules…)

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Workshop Description

The shifts in local democracy, the development of online media, and the economic realities facing media outlets today all portend great changes in the way journalists are educated and employed. How can we assess these factors and envision new roles for journalists in 21st Century democracy? Do colleges and universities have an expanded role to play as providers of high-quality, up-to-date information? How can journalism support deliberative democracy, both on and off campus? David Ryfe’s catalyst paper* on journalism will help to set up this session.

  • David Ryfe, University of Nevada at Reno
  • Cynthia Simmons, University of Washington

Check out the resources that David Ryfe compiled!

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Dr. Ebadi

Beginning on Monday, April 27, the Humanities Institute, in partnership with the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, and the LBJ Library and Museum, will host the week-long residency of distinguished Iranian jurist, human rights activist, and 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Shirin Ebadi. Dr. Ebadi’s itinerary in Austin features four free public events in which distinguished members of our own intellectual community will also participate. These timely forums, organized around the presence of a truly remarkable figure whose life and work uniquely position her to explore with us some of the 21st century’s central global challenges, include discussions of “Democracy in Iran and the Middle East,” “Law, Locality, and International Human Rights,” and “US-Iranian Relations.”

Monday, April 27, 5 p.m. “Democracy in Iran and the Middle East.” A public lecture by Dr. Shirin Ebadi in the Amphitheatre of the AT&T Conference Center.

Tuesday, April 28, 7 p.m. Public reading and book signing of Shirin Ebadi’s memoir, “Iran Awakening: One Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Life and Country,” Bookpeople, 603 N. Lamar

Wednesday, April 29, 3:30 p.m. “Law, Locality, and International Human Rights.” A panel discussion moderated by Rapoport Center Director Karen Engle, with Shirin Ebadi and UT professors Kamran Ali, Mounira Charrad, Barbara Harlow, Neville Hoad, and Shannon Speed. In the Eidman Courtroom, UT School of Law

Thursday, April 30, 5:30 p.m. “US-Iranian Relations.” A roundtable moderated by LBJ Presidential Librarian Betty Sue Flowers, with Shirin Ebadi and UT Professors Kamran Aghaie, Clement Henry, Faegheh Shirazi, and Denise Spellberg. In the Atrium, LBJ Library and Museum.

Please note: Space is limited for the free April 30 panel in the atrium of the LBJ Library. Tickets are available from either the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies or the Humanities Institute. Contact the Humanities Institute at: (512) 471-2654 or information@humanitiesinstitute.utexas.edu

Visit the Humanities Institute website for more information.

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[cross posted from the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation Blog]

On Saturday, January 31st, we conducted an intentionally small focus group with just a few people from the Central Texas conference planning team. Present were Diane Miller, Juli Fellows, Tobin Quereau, Steven Fearing, Patricia Wilson, Taylor Willingham and Terry Crain. We wanted to discuss two things with the focus group:

1. A local D&D network

What would you want from a local network of dialogue and deliberation folks? What can NCDD to support a local network? How can we make the network as low-maintenance and self-organized as possible?

2. A local, multi-process D&D “demonstration project”

What might a demonstration project look like in Austin? What role would NCDD have? What role could outside NCDD members/method leaders have? See www.thataway.org/events/?p=221 for more info about the demonstration project idea that came out of the 2008 NCDD conference.

Here are some things group members seemed to agree on…

Asset mapping and project mapping.

We need to map the existing resources (D&D, but also broader civic engagement) in Central Texas. We want to know who’s doing what work in Central Texas, and be able to connect with each person/organization. We need to figure out what technology will best enable us to do this.

Assessment and learning.

We want people to start doing some basic reporting on their programs. What were the successes? What was challenging? We want to capture learnings from public engagement initiatives, and make them available to those doing this work.

Coordinate activities.

In any given issue (health care, climate change, etc.), there are many activities being run already. Rather than start from scratch on a demonstration project, why not start recording and assessing what’s already happening? We can agree in principles, on elements we think should be consistent across programs, and on assessment measures, and then ask people to practially continue what they’re already doing. This would strengthen our capacity without starting from scratch, and give us data to amplify citizens voices and make a greater impact.

Learning community.

The people in the room were more interested in forming a small learning community than in establishing a larger local network. Members of a learning community would meet to share learnings and challenges, and might work together on projects. They would run professional development activities for each other, such as informal trainings in different D&D methods. Although NCDD would want to help with a more exclusive learning community however we can, we are determined to help create the space for a larger, open local network of practitioners and scholars.

Demonstration project.

The group felt that they had the human resources locally to be able to design and run a multi-process D&D demonstration project, without much involvement of outside process leaders. The involvement of NCDD was most welcome in several ways:

  1. To bring in additional funds (it was felt that, as a national organization, NCDD would be more successful with national and local funders)
  2. To provide guidelines and evaluation mechanisms that could be standardized among multiple programs
  3. To collect and amplify the results of public engagement programs

Group members agreed that any demonstration project should focus on one particular topic that is timely in the community. They agreed that the issue needed to be one where we could have some control over the process (local government is not already planning a major engagement initiative around the issue, for example). And they felt that a key ingredient of any project would be to have specific goals, and be very clear about what you’re trying to accomplish (too many things have been happening lately with no clear endpoint or purpose).

A couple of clear next steps emerged…

Larger-Scale Networking

NCDD is going to create a larger listserv to help public engagement folks in Central Texas connect, share resources, and announce opportunities (or we partner with Texas Forums to do this together).

Mapping Resources and Projects

Research technology that would allow us to map out who’s doing what D&D work in Central Texas. Look into whether we can also get people to start doing basic reporting on their programs (what were the successes? what was challenging?).

A small group met to talk about these things in depth. What do others from Central Texas think about the idea of a demonstration project, or how best to run a local D&D network? Your ideas and feedback are most welcome!

Find similar posts: Feedback Wanted, NCDD2008, Texas

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On October 7, Texas Forums hosted a forum, Coping with the Cost of Health Care using the National Issues Forums discussion guide in partnership with the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Christian Life Commission, Texas Impact , and Texas Health Institute. Students in the Fielding Graduate University Certification in Dialogue, Deliberation and Community Engagement served as our moderators. As a result of our forum, we have been invited to work with the Critical Condition collaborative that is working to raise awareness of the growing health care crisis documented in Critical Condition by filmmaker Roger Weisberg.

KLRU will be hosting a panel presentation on November 17 from 7:30 – 9:00 that will kick off ongoing community conversations. Details below.

Monday, November 17, 2008

7:30-9 p.m. (doors open at 7)
KLRU-TV, corner of Guadalupe St. and Dean Keeton
(RSVP to rsvp@sdchf.org by Tuesday, November 11)

Texas has the highest rate of people without health insurance in the country. The Census Bureau shows that 1 in 4 Texans are uninsured, with 265,859 of those people living in Central Texas. Those numbers do not include Texans who are underinsured with inadequate coverage.

The issue is critical and urgent. Sixteen Central Texas organizations have joined forces in the collaboration Critical Condition: Central Texas to create and sustain a strategic planning and action-oriented community conversation on what health care we have, what health care we need, and what it will take to achieve it.

On Monday, November 17th, this conversation will begin with a 90-minute panel at KLRU studios. We invite you to be a member of the audience, which will be filled with key individuals from throughout the region who have a real stake in ensuring that our families, neighbors, and employees can get the health care they need. These key individuals include representatives from small and large businesses, government (including elected officials), education, health care providers, health care consumers, social services, insurance, and the faith community; all segments of the community with a stake in understanding the connection between access to health care and the overall health of the region in the broadest sense. Your presence is needed to enhance the dialogue and build a platform for sustainable solutions.

In the months after the forum, the conversation will continue on a larger scale, as we provide opportunities for additional public input through surveys, interviews, and discussion groups. We hope you remain engaged in the process, engage others in the areas where you are most connected, and bring others to the conversation as we press for viable answers. The issue is pressing and the questions complex, but Central Texas cannot wait for others to address this crisis. Please join us as we tackle this critical condition.

Your RSVP is required as there are only 300 seats available, and we intend to fill every one. Please send a response to rsvp@sdchf.org by Tuesday, November 11.

Critical Condition: Central Texas partner organizations are the American Cancer Society, Austin/Travis County Community Health Centers, Austin Travis County MHMR Center, Center for Public Policy Priorities, Integrated Care Collaboration, insure-a-kid, Lone Star Circle of Care, People’s Community Clinic, Seton Family of Hospitals, St. David’s Community Health Foundation, Texans Care for Children, and the Travis County Healthcare District and the University of Texas Medical Branch-Austin.

More information about the local collaboration and the PBS documentary “Critical Condition” can be found at www.klru.org/criticalcondition. Questions regarding this event may be directed to a collaboration member or to Kristy Ozmun of Kristy Ozmun Public Relations, kristy@ozmun.com or (512) 474-1501.

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International Journal Logo

We’re counting down to The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation Conference here in Austin October 3-5, 2008 at the Renaissance Hotel (Arboretum) with half-day and full-day pre-conference sessions scheduled for October 2.

This conference is packed full of opportunities to learn, listen, laugh and lunch. The conference will feature a free Conversation Cafe, a meeting of Geeks Who Dialogue, a Poetry Slam, a panel of leading Conservatives who have embraced dialogue, youth-led events, and an original musical composition created during the conference! Here are some of the featured speakers:

Here’s a sampling of the workshops being offered:

  • How Can We Combat Climate Change with Dialogue and Participation? An International Perspective
  • How Can WE Revitalize Democracy with D&D?
  • What Moves You? Exploring the Spiritual and Moral Roots of Our Dialogue Practice
  • Exploring How our Work in D&D Contributes to Social Change
  • Embedding D&D into Government Systems
  • Fireside Chat on Embedding Citizen’s Voices in Our Governing Systems
  • Coming to the Table: Addressing Racial Reconciliation in America
  • The Power of Poetry to Facilitate Change

If you can’t make the full conference, here are a few options:

  • Attend a pre-conference on Thursday, October 2 for only $95 (full day) or $50 (half day). See pre-conference schedule here.
  • Attend the free Conversation Cafe also on Thursday October 2 in the evening. Come at 6:15 to learn how to facilitate a conversation or come at 7:30 to participate.
  • Register for just one day for the rate of $150.

Special offer for students!!!!
If you are a student or know a student who should attend, don’t let the conference fee get in the way. Bluebonnet Hills is offering $300 scholarships for student registration rate to help you  attend. That means the student only pays $25! If you are a student and want to participate in this conference that will have workshops led by the Rockrose Institute’s Youth Dialogue Project, complete this application online.

A very active local planning team led by Diane Miller has been working for almost a year to
make sure that this is the best NCDD conference ever and put Austin on
the D&D map.

Still not sure if this conference is for you? Ask yourself these questions about who you are to find out…

  • If you are an artist, an activist, a trainer, teacher, scholar, student, philosopher, community change agent, political leader, policy-maker, librarian, or just someone who believes that the world works best when we sit down and engage in meaningful dialogue, then you won’t want to miss this opportunity.
  • If you are convinced that there are better ways for us to work on community problems than the traditional debate, vote, mandate, legislate then this conference is for you.
  • If you envision a future in which all people-regardless of income, position, background
    or education-engage in lively, thoughtful, and
    challenging discussions about what matters to them, then you will find kindred spirits at this conference.
  • If you would like to meet 350-400 people from around the world who are working on issues like racism, Jewish-Palestinian dialogues, political polarization, gentrification and climate change, they’ll be here in Austin in October.

If any of those descriptions sound like you, then register here!

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The participants in the small groups at the Central Texas D&D Summit had almost forty-five minutes to share the lessons and insights they have gained during the course of their dialogue and deliberation work.

Steven Fearing set up the groups with the following comments.

  • This meeting is not a workshop on dialogue and deliberation techniques. Instead it is an opportunity for us to get to know each other and to document what we have done and learned. More importantly, we want to build relationships and find out how we can work together in the future.
  • You will be working in small groups at five tables
  • Each table has a facilitator
  • You have a template prepared by Sunni where you can capture in words and pictures from your group’s dialogue.
  • You will have 45 minutes for this portion and should feel free to take breaks as needed
  • Goal for our time in these small groups is to share and capture key learning, insights, and challenges related to dialogue and deliberation in community work.
  • After 45 minutes, we will come together to capture common themes – such as assets and resources, challenges and opportunities. Sunni will help us integrate all of the ideas we discuss in our groups and chart on our templates into a graphic narrative.

Each group had a beautiful graphic map drawn by Sunni Brown where they could capture their insights. The groups were lightly facilitated by Rod Reyna, Susan Schultz, Tobin Quereau, and Mary Thompson. The facilitators charged the participants:

  • Think of a time when you brought people together to work on an issue or community problem. What lessons have you learned about using dialogue and deliberation for helping people work together? These may be lessons you learned from your successes or things you learned that you would do differently.
  • Think also about challenges you have faced and what you would like to do better, and
  • What else do you need to be more effective in using dialogue and deliberation in your work with communities?

Here are the results of their small group dialogue:

Yellow Group

yellow group

Susan Schultz, Neil Meili, Stephanie Nestlerode, Steve Swanson, Lindsay LeBlanc

Blue Group


Mary Thompson, Ed Sharpe, Margaret Valenti, Robyn Emerson, Oliver Markley, Patricia Wilson

Red Group


Tobin Quereau, Ann Brudno, Jenny Meigs, Tom Moran, Landon Shultz, Mike Aaron, Leilani Rose

Green Group


Rod Reyna, Sherry Lowry, Robena Jackson, Cathey Capers, Juli Fellows, Steven Fearing

As the participants described their templates, Sunni captured their themes:


Prior to the reporting out and reflection, Erin Kreeger and Taylor Willingham had a charge for the group:

As you listen to the groups’ posting their templates, listen for assets and opportunities. Think about the opportunities that you identified in this room that will help you in your work. Perhaps you identified asset or opportunities that involve:

  • Connecting with someone else in this room or someone who needs to be part of this community
  • Participation in an event or activity
  • Contributing your expertise or resources

Make note of the ideas as they come to you. After every group describes their template we will have time for collective reflection that Sunni will capture for us in graphic form.

Here are some of the opportunities the group identified to connect:


In keeping with our spirit of reflection and “continuous improvement” (that term is here for Charles’ benefit!) Charles Knickerbocker led us in a period of reflection on the meeting. He asked them what worked and what did we need more of. Here’s what the group had to say:

what worked

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On this day (March 15, 1965), President Johnson went before Congress and called for legislation that would guarantee every American’s right to vote


Forty-three years ago President Johnson stood up for what was right and fought for the rights of those who had no voice.

But even before he became president, LBJ was busy in the Senate pushing forward bills, bills, bills. His Senatorial legacy (Bills, Bills, Bills) is on display at the LBJ Presidential Library until Memorial Day. If your travels take you to Austin, please stop by. By the way, on most days at the top of the hour, you can also sit in a replica of the senate chambers as they were during Senator Johnson’s era and enjoy a performance by “Senator Johnson” followed by Q&A. But don’t ask him about Vietnam. Remember, he’s Senator Johnson and won’t know what you are talking about if you fast forward past the Senate years to the presidency!

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I am pleased to accept the NCDD nomination to the national board of directors. It’s a pretty humbling invitation and I am honored to be a part of this outstanding organization. My fellow board members listed with titles on our facebook group page are:

Leah Lamb (San Francisco, CA)
Queen of Arts-Based Dialogue
Priya Parker (UVA)
Coordinator of NCDD Mentorship Program
Tim Bonnemann (Silicon Valley, CA)
Online D&D Extraordinaire
Sandy Heierbacher (Harrisburg, PA)
Queen of all things D&D
Tokz Awoshakin (Dayton, OH)
Director of the African Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation
Avril Orloff (Vancouver, BC)
Deputy Minister for Colourful Dialogue
Leanne Nurse (Washington, DC)
Taylor L Willingham
Director of Building Excitement about Technology and Libraries
Lars Hasselblad Torres (Burlington, VT)
King of Peace Tiles and Deliberation Research
Windy Lawrence (Houston Downtown)
Networking Coordinator for NCDD 2008

I look forward to working with this group and the hundreds of volunteers – dozens right here in Central Texas! – working on the national conference to be held in Austin October 3-5. Stay tuned for more details.

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