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Posts Tagged ‘Texas Forums’

Well, this blog has languished while I wrapped up the “Too Many Children Left Behind” project – at least the first phase of it – and then the holidays were a much-needed distraction. But it’s time to get back on track. When you read the report on the achievement gap dialogues, I think you’ll understand why things have been quiet on this front. Here’s the summary with a link to the full report.

Too Many Children Left Behind Summary Report

In May-November of 2007, the E3 alliance, Texas Forums, and Austin Voices for Education and Youth held a series of deliberative dialogues on the impacts of education achievement gaps on communities throughout the Central Texas region.  Over 600 people participated in an ongoing series of dialogues to examine the issue and the objective data on the gaps we see, analyze potential approaches for improving gaps, and develop action plans to create a better future for our children and our economy.

These dialogues, branded Too Many Children Left Behind: Closing the Education Gaps in Central Texas, were created to provide a mechanism for community change, a platform of understanding across communities for regional solutions, and a set of grass roots input from parents, students, teachers, and community members into the strategic planning process for systemic education reform in the region.

By the numbers:
➢    6 communities
➢    ~120 moderators, each trained for 5 hours
➢    35 planning and organizing meetings
➢    Over 600 total participants
➢    17 dialogues sessions, ~3875 volunteer community participant hours

While there are many lessons learned, the overwhelming response from participants, moderators, leaders, and staff was that it was a huge success. We are confident that this process can and should be expanded to other communities in Central Texas as well as across the state and country.

Read the full report

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Our first deliberative dialogue session on closing the Achievement Gaps in Central Texas (Too Many Children Left Behind) was Tuesday evening, October 2 in Round Rock.  It went VERY smoothly and we got lots of wonderful feedback.

We had about 50 people. We originally planned for seven groups and had 2-3 moderators assigned per group, but we scaled that down to five groups and some of our moderators took on the role of participants.

Everyone was very engaged and ready to exchange thoughts and ideas – when you saw the interaction, it is hard to believe that this won’t have a sustained impact in our community partners for civic change. We had lots of involvement from Round Rock parents, students and community members, and some interesting guests as well.  The Superintendent and Asst. Sup. from Hutto were there, and were so impressed that they wanted to do their own dialogues, and settled on wanting to bring a whole team of Hutto people to Round Rock next week!

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Introducing our first two guest bloggers for the Tavis Smiley All-American Presidential Forums Watch Party on September 27.

Christina Shideler

Christina Shideler currently lives in Austin, Texas after recently spending a year working and living in France, where she learned a deeper love of her own country, language, and international politics. She is a poet, artist, and singer dedicated to not taking herself too seriously and always responding with a good joke. She currently works as a personal assistant to freelance writer Rod Amis (www.g21.net)

Paul Schumann

Paul Schumann is a futurist and innovation consultant. He helps people and their organizations discover future change and exploit that change through innovation. He was a guest blogger for the Democrat Presidential Forum Watch party and will be on hand to blog about the Republican Forum.

For more information about the watch party, download our flier or go to our Texas Forums web site.

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