Askwith Forums: Your Vote Counts: Education, Voting, and the Midterms

vacation readers here at the Harvard Graduate School of Education it's my pleasure to welcome you to tonight's Asquith forum and also to welcome all those who've joined us via livestream I'm delighted that tonight we have Mara Levinson our Khan Fung and Sethi Warren for this important conversation about civic engagement but before I introduce them formally I'd like to say a few brief words about the Asquith forums for those who are joining us for the first time you asked with forums bring leaders in the education field to campus to share knowledge experience and insight this forum was established to strengthen the intellectual life of the school through the exchange of ideas conversation and debate topics are initiated by faculty students and alumni and they aim to address the highest priority challenges facing us in the field of education they're also a way to open the doors to welcome members of the greater Harvard community and the general public in that spirit I would like to extend a special welcome to all here today from the broader community this year in addition to tonight's forum I'll host a forum on November 29th in conjunction with the education redesign lab called improving outcomes for children through collaborative action for more information on this and other askwith forums please visit our website and now back to our reason for being here today as educators remember thirty years ago to the nation at risk report a report that galvanized our field activated policy and education leaders at all levels of government by inciting well-grounded fears that our education system wasn't up to the demands of the 21st century economy changes brought about by this surge of concern were substantial far-reaching and lasting our title tonight is your vote counts education voting in the midterms but this forum could just as easily have been titled democracy at risk and subtitled what educators can do about it the symptoms of democracy at risk to name a few shrill device of public discourse on the central public policy issues of our time growing tribalism in our culture polarized echo-chamber media generally low rates of civic participation in capacity of democrats and republicans to find middle ground on policy outbreaks of violence and extreme intolerance from Charlottesville to chasing elected officials from restaurants social media which is often abused to corrupt the democratic process foreign powers interfering with our elections an executive branch that among other things routinely embraces world leaders who are known for anti-democratic actions large numbers of apathetic alienated and disaffected youth who have given up on the prospects for change taken together these phenomena describe a crisis one which we as educators have not only a responsibility but a calling to address tonight's program aims to engage us all in better understanding the crisis the challenges it poses and what we as educators can do about it here's how we'll proceed after I introduce our speakers each of them will make some opening comments then we'll have a panel discussion which will be followed by an opportunity for you as members of the audience to ask questions now to our distinguished panel from your left Archon Fung Tarkin Fong is the Winthrop Laflin McCormack professor citizenship and self-government at the Harvard Kennedy School he also holds an appointment here at HGSE as a member of the Faculty of Education his research explores policies practices and institutional designs that deepen the quality of democratic governance he focuses in on public participation deliberation and transparency Fong co-directs the transparency Policy Project and leads democratic governance programs of the Ashe Center for democratic governance and innovation at the Kennedy School his books include full disclosure the perils and promise of transparency and empowered participation rien Banting urban democracy he has authored five books and four edited collections and over 50 articles appearing in the professional journals setting Warren Sethi Warren has served as the mayor of Newton Massachusetts from 2010 to 2018 where he represented ninety thousand citizens and managed a three hundred ninety million dollar budget twenty four city departments and over nine hundred city employees recently he was a candidate for governor of Massachusetts Warren previously worked as deputy state director for Senator John Kerry's Massachusetts office national trip director for Kerry for president and held numerous positions in the Clinton White House from 2000 to 2002 he served as New England regional director of the Federal Emergency Management says agency he has served on active duty in Iraq and I was an intelligence specialist in the u.s. Navy Reserve on July 9th of this year Warren joined a very accomplished teemed at the Shorenstein Center as its executive director in the past year the center has expanded to include new research initiatives on News quality platform accountability and misinformation news equity and sustainable business models for the news mera Levinson Mira teaches here at HGSE and has long been involved in civic education at the local state and national levels her books on the topic include no citizen left behind making civics count and fourth coming this spring Democratic discord in schools cases and commentaries and educational ethics Levinson has served on advisory boards of the campaign for the Civic mission of schools generation citizen and the national action civics collaborative she was a civics writer for the college career and civic life framework for social studies State Standards which has guided curriculum reform and states across the country this past spring she worked with colleagues and students to create youth in front org a resource for students and teachers who are trying to figure out their rights responsibilities and civic opportunities following the Parkland shootings Levinson co-directs Levinson is co-director of the civic and moral education initiative here at HGSE I can't imagine a more qualified and energetic panel to pursue this topic so I'm thrilled to have them here and with that I will turn the floor over to you okay thank you very much thanks everyone for joining us tonight for this very important discussion on education democracy and civic education civic education can be about a lot of different things democracy freedom rights justice those aren't all the same thing and tonight I'd like to focus my remarks on civic education and democracy again democracy is not the same as justice and democracy is not the same as rights and it's important to recognize this because right now America is really polarizing so left and right have very very different ideas about what counts as justice and what counts as rights indeed right now we're more polarized than at any time since the Civil War and reconstruction it's amazing to think that Congress is more polarized since any time since the Civil War at that moment in his first inaugural address before the Civil War broke out Lincoln said that I think it's worth pondering what he said he said we are not enemies but friends we must not be enemies though passion has strained it must not break our bonds of affection the mystic chords of memory stretching from every battlefield and Patriot grave to every heart and hearthstone all across this broad land will yet swell with the course of the Union when again touched as surely they will be by the better angels of our nature now the proposition that I want to offer to you is that a beginning point for discovering that better angel and reviving those better angels is the idea of full participation in democracy what if we could get everyone in America to do the simple thing of voting we're beginning this effort at Harvard at the and at the School of Education at the Kennedy School with a Harvard votes challenge and our challenge at the Kennedy School is to get 90% of Kennedy schools students to register eligible students to register and vote right now as of last week we're at about 70% so we're almost there this is part of a larger effort and this gets to the civic education part to put forward to the public the idea of a moonshot in democracy and that moonshot would be getting to 80% of the eligible electorate to vote now how far are we from 80 percent pretty far in 2016 56% of the voting age population voted the u.s. is 28 out of 35 in terms of both voter participation in the OECD so near the bottom of a list not a shining performance by the champion of democracy about 60% but there is some good news again we're near the bottom of the list that what there are some demographics that are near 80 percent or have exceeded 80 percent so for households making above a hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year they're already at 80 percent we don't need to worry about them so much for the moonshot goal however that's only about 15 percent of the population everybody else turns out at significantly lower rates with the poor people making $15,000 or less $20,000 or less turning out at less than half of eligible some states are pretty close to 80 percent Minnesota is way up there at 75 percent it's a remarkable accomplishment but a bunch of states are far below that so we know that we can get to 80 percent because Minnesota has done it as I have other demographics I wanted to give you I won't talk much about what the outcomes will be what and then what would happen if everyone voted but some statistics might be different this light gives you descriptive representation in Congress so one column has the general population and the second column has the percentage of members of Congress that are in that demographic as you'll notice as you probably notice from the confirmation hearings from Brett Kavanaugh women are substantially underrepresented as our african-americans as our Asians but the two groups that I picked out that are really really really underrepresented in Congress are people without a college degree 60 percent 66 percent of America only 4% of Congress and then people whose last job before they went into politics was blue collar working with their hands more than half of the American population of adults less than two percent of Congress so some of the turmoil that we're seeing may be related to these demographics so how can we get to full participation this is a civic education part I think that getting to full participation has at least three dimensions three buckets to it one is public policy the second is civic culture the third is organizational commitment there's people talking about all kinds of public policies that would boost participation electoral participation and these are important to think about and to study and to advance if you're for full participation and a part of civic education is teaching students about what the laws and policies would be that would get people to get there but I think the other two corners are more important for civic education the second is creating a civic culture in America and in our schools and universities and elsewhere that supports full electoral engagement a lot of people think of voting as a private choice how can we shift that to thinking about it as a public responsibility how can we shift organizational indifference to civic commitment and most people I think many people in this room sometimes me organize me think of voting as a chore something you do between getting the kids to school and getting yourself to work how can we shift from thinking of voting as a chore to thinking about voting as a celebration and then a key Lynch print in that I think is getting organizations of all kinds off the dime getting schools secondary schools element even elementary schools certainly universities off of the dime and being instead of being indifferent to democracy being forces for advancing democracy the Harvard vote challenge is part of that we're taking actually following the lead of the University of Michigan that that has created the Big Ten challenge that aims toward the big the same thing and a lot of increasing number of private sector organizations are doing interesting things in this space so Patagonia actually exceeds Harvard in its commitment to democracy in this regard Patagonia actually gives all of its employees the day off Election Day to go vote and to go do electoral participation work Columbia University at Columbia University Election Day is a university holiday and lyft has announced that it's going to give everybody 50% off rides on Election Day so the organizational commitment means getting everybody in their role as an employee or as a leader of an organization whether it's an educational organization or a private sector organization to ask what that organization can do to advance democracy as part of their civic responsibility thank you good evening how is everyone this evening it's great to be with you I want to dovetail off of our Kahn's presentation about the importance of voting there's two areas where I think we need to focus on when we look at increasing voting we know through polling and survey data that there's been a massive decrease in confidence in government across the port and we also know that there's a huge disconnect between our citizens and public policymakers two areas that I believe we need to address if we're really going to get people engaged in voting and up the numbers that are can Arcon presented to you one is deliberately through education connecting our young people to public policymakers in a deliberate way two areas that I think where I think we can do that number one we should expand internships and apprenticeships paid in local government state government in federal government I think we need to make those investments at the public policy level so that young people people that have no exposure to decision making do the second and I've seen some success here in both of these areas is that we should create and expand youth commissions at the state and local level these youth Commission's should play a part in influencing policy as well as proposing policy at the local level one of the striking things that we now know from a data perspective arkhan mentioned the division and divide is this growing economic inequality in our country in our state and our communities my own city of Newton we had we have the second highest number of millionaires in the state of Massachusetts but yet at the same time one in eight of our households live at or below the poverty level when you look at the city of Boston half of the people with all the booms and by the way the number one city with number one millionaires the most number of millionaires is Boston half of the income levels in the city of bought income level in Boston Indian income level is $36,000 a year when we look at this divide and we know of course the last forty years that eighty percent of the people in our country have not seen their wages rise commensurate with inflation so we have this divide in our country in our state and our cities where people in the top 15 to 20 percent are experiencing this economic boom they are able to take care of themselves and their families or 80 percent of our population are not there economically insecure and in some cases at or below the poverty level we need to make sure that our young people we can do this through education have direct interface through the means that I mentioned around decision-making policy decision makers at the local level and state level that determine whether or not we address economic inequality or not whether that divide continues to grow whether it comes to healthcare housing whether it comes to access to quality transportation and the like the second area that I want to mention is journalism we've seen a huge decrease in journalists over the past two decades the numbers bear that out a decimation of local journalism newspapers across the state across our country we have to do two things within the area of journalism one we need to explore new business models that could be sustainable over time I'm an advocate one of the thoughts I have in schools as opposed to just promoting the idea of young people becoming journalists let's promote the idea of young people looking at new business models in creating new journalism platforms that are fact-based that are that are locally based so I'd support an entrepreneurship curriculum around that in education the second area is the spread and prolific increase of disinformation and misinformation in news and across in our society through social media platforms and the like we have to establish what is fact and what is not fact right now we have people getting their news number one place is Facebook and one of the things we know is that people when they are doing looking up or doing research they they will Google they will find all sorts of means to try to make decisions around elections who they like as a candidate or not and some of these means are not ways in which you could find facts fact-based information in fact you will find disinformation and misinformation so and that we were just talking a little bit there's some work being done in Stanford by Sam Weinberg creating media literacy in the 21st century not 20th century so that people can have the tools particularly young people to dis figure out what is actually packed or not if we can't have a conversation politically or Paul's from a policy standpoint based on fact we and we are not going to be able to make decisions that are in the best interest of the people of the citizens that politicians represent so I look forward to this discussion I realize this is very complicated material I'm really proud to be here Paul thanks for assembling us so that we can tackle it you said it for your comments thanks for coming out on a cold and unexpectedly miserable evening I really appreciate it I want to talk about three things in relation to this question first and thinking really about educators interacting with students both students at the k-12 level and in higher education I think that it's exciting that students are I think at all levels fairly fired up in ways that we have not seen in a while right and and that that level of fired up is getting coverage and that in fact in itself can have a positive viral effect right as young people see others engaged in activism then they themselves become more likely to be engaged and this in fact follows through on decades of social and political psychology and political science research that shows that basically the highest predictor of say whether or not you are going to vote is whether somebody has invited you to come vote and so as you are thinking about the midterm elections I will ask you to invite somebody to come vote with you if they can come vote in person send them an email send them a text give them a call whatever but it's also equally important to realize that the baseline is really low so Archon showed you the data for all for the entire population in the 2016 election and I will say it's slightly higher if you're just looking at citizens right so citizens vote that is a slightly higher rate but young people did not crack 50% in 2016 in the 2014 midterms which was basically equivalent to where we are now at nineteen point nine percent of eligible 18 to 29 year olds voted these are eligible citizens less than one in five fewer than one in five voted in 2014 so even if we're really fired up even if young people are really fired up we have a long way to go right and so it's striking I will both give a shout out to the ed school Harvard votes affiliates here Madeline Alvin need Alban dia Elizabeth Kelleher and Kevin boom we've been working together really wonderfully to try to get us energized here and I will also give a shout out to the teacher education program which was a few days ago 34 out of 36 eligible master's students the teacher education program where had registered through turbo votes but frankly the rest of our programs including our PhD programs and that most of our masterda programs are still under 50% so I will challenge you again to invite the rest of your peers your students your friends your neighbors your colleagues to register and go and vote okay so mobilization enthusiasm is great and then there's the follow-through so that sort of number one is that we should both be excited by youth enthusiasm engagement and also sort of cautiously optimistic but realize that we too can be pushing ourselves in each other further right do not mistake untoward enthusiasm with meaning high levels second of all frankly there's inevitably going to be disappointment after the election and that is because no matter where your politics are first of all there's this like you know two or three month gap before people change places but second of all then public policy is really really really really really really slow to change and simply getting new people in office may be necessary but it is insufficient and that is something I think we need to think really hard about as educators is how to take student enthusiasm and say colleague enthusiasm and neighbors enthusiasm and so forth for making a difference for getting involved for voting and carry it out through the long haul of grindingly slow change because that's what democracy is it is the best way of organizing ourselves collectively to deploy power over ourselves and others and an immensely inefficient way to do it all right just mind bogglingly inefficient that's part of what makes it the best way but we need to think about how do we help young people and ourselves maintain energy for the long haul and so SETI's suggestions about internships right about youth Commission's I think are really really important and I think we need to think about a whole bunch of other things too first of all it's much easier to see change and be part of change at the local level then at the state or the national level right so student government student newspapers blogs student TV programs not only youth Commission's but opportunities for young people to organize to engage not only in thoughtful media can sumption but thoughtful media creation right then getting them involved also in organizing others whether it's civic action projects whether it's joining organizations nonprofits youth organizations that are trying to make a difference in various ways see themselves as connected to larger programs and larger initiatives and see how even when the the large is traveling at a glacial pace the small is making a difference in real people's lives attending to the questions that young people have I see that Dan Rothstein from the right question Institute is here helping them ask the right questions and not only offering them the right answers for how to make change that is an essential part of our democratic work together that I think that educators can really help young people engage in both again when I say young people I mean not only k12 but also ourselves here in higher education institutions but then the last thing that I want to mention is that even that is not going to be enough and it's going to be SuperDuper hard because as Arcon mentioned in his statement right we are right now living through the most polarized time since the Civil War and reconstruction which means that not only are do we disagree with one another about that what the right thing to do is but in fact we disagree with one another about the right way even to describe the problem and this is not only because we have often sort of different fact patterns that we attend to or different sources of facts that we are looking to or that some of us are looking to statements that we miss perceive as facts but are not in fact facts right so there are all of those problems but even when we have a common set of evidence that we are looking at the same thing our fundamental description of it may be very very different so I will take the risk giving an example from the the hearings that were conducted on Thursday in the Senate Judiciary Committee I saw you know lots of conversation on the left over the weekend among educators and about educators saying shouldn't it be the case that educators should teach students that it is important for judicial nominees to tell the truth to be respectful towards elected officials to be forthcoming etc to take you know allegations of assault seriously etc and isn't this just a basic thing that all teachers should do on the other side on the right I saw conversations and I read conversations shouldn't it be the case the teachers should teach young people about due process about the presumption of innocence rather than guilt about civility where and and fascinatingly like again we were we'd all watched the same hearings but friends on the rights were saying I cannot believe the way that the Democrats treated Kavanagh given the respect that the Republicans had shown to Ford my friends on the Left were saying I cannot believe the disrespect that the Republicans showed afford by outsourcing their questions and the comparative respect that Democrats showed to Cavanaugh right when we described the nature of our shared life so differently that we can even then even if we agree on fundamental civic principles of civility of the rule of law of due process of safety of truth-telling as educators we nonetheless run the risk of being seen as advocating for one side or the other in our education so that is that is another challenge that we are going to have to confront as educators but me we must walk to it because we in fact would like to knit the country back together and help all young people and ourselves and our colleagues be part of this very inefficient but I think the most justifiable political experiment we have Thanks thank you okay thank you to all the panelists we have a big strapping topic that we could hear from a number of different points so my job is to get us started and see where the panelists can take it from there I think all of our panelists have described varying forms of deficits in the departments of Hope energy and civic participation and we're speaking for the most part to an audience of educators and we're thinking both short-term because we have midterm elections coming up and then we're thinking long-term of the Civic health and our society and and how we mend this society to some degree and we've been at points like this before you know I grew up in the 60s and we had deep and violent divisions over a number of issues ranging from Vietnam to civil rights so we we have been at divisive points before come back together and so on and so forth but what would your advice be to educators near term and short term to address those deficits of hope and energy and civic participation where to start what's the point of entry for you looking at me I'll start I think that one important thing is specifically showing examples not of grand achievements but of small achievements that make a tangible difference in people's lives one of the things that I discovered both when I was teaching and then when I was doing work on this it wasn't left behind was that the the heroes of the Pantheon right are they're too far away from us for us to model ourselves after and frankly many of the heroes we celebrate were murdered right I mean they were killed and that is not actually a recipe we want to give to young people that you must be prepared to you know die on the sword of democracy in order to make change and so one of the most powerful Civic lessons actually when I was an eighth grade teacher that happened in my classroom was when we brought in sam yoon who was the first asian-american elected to the boston city council and he talked about the work he had done also in the asian housing development i don't remember the exact title of the thing and then my students saw him on the bus in Dorchester they ran into him in a diner and it was he became real and their capacities became real in a way that's really different from say Martin Luther King right and I think that especially in this time that people on both the right and the left are feeling a sense of civic disintegration to the extent that we can find local models who are being constructive talk through what exactly what are the techniques what is the knowledge what are the skills that they are using to make a difference and how are they doing that and then doing work that models ourselves after those examples I think that can bring hope and bring a sense of constructive possibility in a way that you know doesn't totally stave off the tsunami of bad news but it sounds a lot like what said he was talking about in terms of creating opportunities for young people to be engaged yeah after the 2016 election I decided I was the mayor to bring together three Trump supporters and three Clinton supporters for the sole purpose of seeing how we could move forward and I selected people of different races ages religions under background and we went to her Tavern in nude and I here's what I said is about a couple months after the election I said we're not going to re-litigate the election we're going to talk about servers not going to talk about emails if I hear anything that is sexist racist misogynist we're shutting this down I said what I want to talk about is where do we go as a community what I learned was that Donald Trump got 1.1 million votes here in the state of Massachusetts 30% of people voted for him he got more votes than our current governor Charlie Baker we had a number of people in my community that voted for Donald Trump that I knew so we got into a conversation the first part of the conversation was very tense I was frightened frankly I didn't know how it was gonna wear was going to go but we spent two hours at that diner guess where people talked about they talked about their mother and their father trying to find housing and health care they talked about their kids trying to find daycare talked about traffic talked about all the things that we face their everyday lives these people didn't want to leave the diner and in fact they just they asked me if I would do we willing to do a panel in a series of a monthly meeting I said I don't have time but let's say in touch the reason why I raised it is because soon after that we started having I decided that within the in public schools because there are kids that support a dialog we're in the make make America great again that were feeling uncomfortable in the schools and vice versa people seeing that hat so we tried to model some conversations perspective conversations and what I explained to people is that from my vantage point just because someone voted for Donald Trump doesn't mean that they believe all the things that he says they may voted for them for for a reason that you don't understand on one side and then vice versa the same way so I think there's a perspective there's a modeling that you mentioned that I think we should be doing there's a perspectives space that we should be creating that's safe in our communities for young people have discussions like this so that we can find some connective with one another and I did that all of course here during like unit or campaign I think we need to get closer to that space and and our communities and education them versa it's our kind it sounds you know you talked a lot about culture in creating the culture reciving civically engaged culture in places and mentioned Minnesota and the 75 percent participation rate I wonder if you've looked at places like Minnesota or other communities in which for example you know City was trying to take leadership in creating a civic culture there what are the one of the qualities what are the strategies that people leaders have used in order to create that kind of Pacific culture well I think it's difficult to transform culture I think one strategy that has seen work not in the United States but in in Brazilian cities for a little while is to try to create a positive dynamic between getting involved and winning in politics so there was a party is a Brazilian political party called the PT and they created this innovation called participatory budgeting in the cities in which anyone can go to their neighborhood meeting and say well I want our portion of the city budget to be electrification and then roads and then maybe a community center and whatever they say gets to be the city budget so they move that decision out of the City Council into the hands of people in neighborhoods and the PT ran on that it was enormous ly popular and so they ran on that and they kept winning elections for about a decade in in the city where they created this and it created a real participatory culture and that that innovation has spread to a lot of places in Latin America and Boston I don't know if they're doing it this year but for several years did a version of participatory budgeting that was the youth participatory budget so you could only they allocated a million dollars and young people could decide what to build with this and and you had to be I think high school or younger to propose projects and to vote on projects and the first time some kids were some students were told about this they just didn't believe it because they couldn't believe how any government would actually allocate real money for them to do anything with and it was completely outside of their experience there but their imagination you know and so I I think that there are ways to break through like that and to create a positive dynamic and to create these opportunities and you have you have better informed policy when you do that I mean what we did with our Youth Commission we had a transportation strategy we brought our young people and we actually were better informed about how kids get to school and back and lack of transportation in the city of Newton and then beyond it so it actually creates stronger policy in addition to making sure that we have informed synastry you know at the opinion you thought yeah I had a thought on the on the civic education piece and what what teachers might be able to do I had the enormous privilege of getting to chat with some of the survivors of the parklands shooting under the Gonzales and David hog and a few others and somebody in this meeting asked them how did you learn how did you gain the skills to do the amazing work that you're doing right now and one amazing thing about it is the first thing they went to was voting right like for a lot of organizations a lot of people suffering stuff like they'd go to some policy change these these folks went to democracy but then the answer to the question was well it was our teachers and so for some it was for one person it was a speech and debate teacher that will help them articulate you know learn how to speak in public for others for another person it was a social studies teacher and so it is these high school teachers in there you know good very good high school that they credited with conferring the skills and the knowledge to act effectively after this this tragic thing happened it found that extremely inspiring how do teachers now address some of the challenges that Mira was pointing out in her third point relative to the sort of disposition and stance the teachers take relative to to getting an activist discussion going and ossetia Newton for example there were controversies recently about teachers inviting in speakers who seem to be sympathetic on a particular side of a but particular controversy and lots of criticism comes forward which has the effect in the long run of silencing teachers making them timid getting them to step back how do we what are your thoughts on how we embolden teachers to go forward and put challenging engaging issues in front of students without at the same time compromising their neutrality or setting themselves up for criticism from the community we've been creating some tools for teachers and school leaders and district leaders actually to get ahead of the problem because I think it is inevitable right I was actually talking so Massachusetts has adopted a new social studies and history curriculum that includes eighth grade civics now across the state which is really exciting and it's also really really scary because you now have middle schoolers and middle school teachers who by state regulation must be addressing contentious issues and inevitably that means that there will end up being contention somewhere outside of the classroom about the teachers and the schools choices not just contention in the classroom and so one of the things that I've been doing with some of my students is we've been creating these what I call normative case studies these case studies that are about ethical issues and we've been creating a bunch around civic ethical dilemmas precisely to enable educators school and district leaders school board members and parents and students to have conversations in a sort of safe context about a case study that's not about them to to preview the kinds of issues that will inevitably arise when you are talking about controversial issues in the classroom to normalize the fact that these conversations will be difficult that people will say things that they wish that they shouldn't have said they'll say things that they shouldn't have said period right that there will be disagreement about what the boundaries are of acceptable politics and what crosses that boundaries so that when something comes up when something blows up right goes you know gets covered on the evening news whatever then people in the community can say oh wait this isn't because the teacher was a raving ideologue because we are harboring racists or those who are captured by teachers unions or whatever in our schools it's because this is hard and if we can normalize the fact that this is going to be hard and there will be disagreement then the disagreement is still going to be hard it doesn't mean that we all say oh you know it's it's roses and sunshine but we can get through it respecting one another I think as professionals as you know caring parents as well intentioned students and move through the difficulty as opposed to getting stuck at it and also had you know I think putting contemporary questions and issues through historical context is incredibly powerful I know Facing History and ourselves is the great example they do great work and bringing the historical context then to contemporary issues a night so I think to the extent that we can do that we were talking before we came in here a lot of the things we're seeing now had roots many many years ago here in the United States I mean you could go back 100 a couple hundred years and you look at the fact that when for example when there's when there's growing economic inequality nativism gross I mean this is historic you look at the different types of unfortunate manipulation that political leaders leaders have used to divide people over time for various reasons these are these are not new tools they're they're you know you've got the data showing we're at the worst point that we have in the civil war but there is historical context many of these things and I think leadership educators should bring to bring those into the discussion so why are were you suggesting that I'll suggest if you didn't I didn't quite that so say you're teaching a social studies curriculum I'm a parent I don't like how you're doing it I don't like the topics your are you suggesting that I debate with other parents who have a different view that because one way to go would be this is on the institutional commitment part is – when you see trouble spots like that have it be a commitment to use the school and school resources to transform basically an interest group or a very impassioned fight into an educational opportunity in a discussion but for the parents and other community members about what's going on at the school and that would I think that would be a very good thing because it would shift the debate from oh I know I have a bad reaction to what Myers is t-shi why is she teaching why she programmed my kids to encountering Paul who likes what mayor and then we'll talk it out a little bit liberabit of about it and try to understand one another then rather than so I would say that that is what I'm suggesting but not waiting until the challenge comes up and then having you try to talk with Paul because by then your view of Paul may be that he's a racist but he is we know whatever right so so one of the so for example we have a case study about a 10th grade social studies team that has a these pop targets these pop topics he's the power of persuasion and they have this power of persuasion thing that's big in the school and the kids did will debate a contemporary issue in class and then the ones who are the strongest will go and into the auditorium and debate it and you do a poll where you find out where do kids stand on the issue before when they walk in right and then you see where they stand when they leave and whoever sways in the audience more right has won the debate and so the social studies team is trying to decide okay what are our pop topics going to be for this spring and they agree on one around speech codes on campus right so then they're discussing others and a teacher raises the question of transgender bathroom access not in Massachusetts because state law actually protects transgender kids access to a bathroom that corresponds with the gender of their identity but as we know in North Carolina in Texas there are state laws that are attempting to prevent districts from say allowing transgender students to access the bathroom of their choice and so it's clearly a live issue right and the teachers are discussing should this be a debate topic or not right it's a live issue it's political you can imagine the school is in North Carolina or Texas or someplace else where there is debate over the legislation you have other teachers who are saying that this is creating a climate of unsafety that it violates human rights regulations you know whatever you can imagine right there are questions about should students be able to bring in religious arguments should they be able to bring in arguments about lack of safety in the bathrooms when there's not really much empirical support for this right if you have that conversation let's say in a parent-teacher Association meeting you so you use that case it has not divided your school you do not have pop topics in your school right but you can experiment you can see that it's complex and you can recognize that even if you and Paul actually have different views about that that each of you is motivated by cons you know by values that you might recognize then when what does explode in your school is something else entirely you have some sort of conception of other parents and educators and community members as people who are but and then maybe Paul and I will be on your side rather potentially right you might protect my job as that transgender law by the way is on the ballot here in Massachusetts that is a remember that there's been a ballot question to rescind the rights that were given to transgender people so a Massachusetts it would be a relevant even in yes all right let me shift gears a little bit cuz our time is limited and there's some topics in particular the topic of media and social media in this era of facts versus alternative facts and things of that nature as I drove to work this morning there was some commentary on one of the radio stations that it's indeed predictable almost inevitable that there will be some form of October Surprise engineered by outside hostile forces that will put out in widespread social media coverage some kind of an event some kind of a crisis that will be designed to influence people's behaviors with respect to the midterm elections I want to know as we think about something like this an event like this happening and we think about our students and what can we as educators do near term long term to help them develop the capacity to sort the chaff from the wheat and figure out what they ought to be reacting to when faced not only with a crisis like this but with the day-to-day flow of all kinds of information that's coming at them big challenge from a curriculum and instruction standpoint I would love to hear how you think this should be addressed well one thing at the shorn Stein center that we have been developing is in fact a place where people can figure out how to discern what is disinformation and misinformation in addition to that one of the plot what we are going to actually have a platform go live in short order where you can register and you can actually see how we're making those decisions as what's discrimination in this information you can also attain our latest newsletter and bulletins around what Paul's talking about but going into the 2018 midterm so I'd ask all of you to stay tuned the Shorenstein Center website because we're working on this that being said this is from my perspective a very complex question besides the work that we're doing and researching and studying it's one of the things that I think is incredibly important there's a responsibility I also believe and we also believe that some of the platforms have Twitter and Facebook and in fact we're doing research around what their responsibilities should in this regard and we've we've been in touch with them because we're going to have to figure out beyond third parties and there are other third parties out there there are nonprofits and otherwise that are now going live with all sorts of websites fact check wedge size of LRS we have to get into this responsibility question around what these plot what these platforms are allowing or not are they actually promoting some of the stuff that you're talking about will they promote that and again very complex we're diving into that now we've got a platform accountability team looking at that as well so those those two things the question of how students can configure and how and how educators mediate that one is that the October Surprise I mean again thinking about the perspective from the right about Kavanagh right that was the equivalent of the October Surprise that say the Left saw in 2016 with the revelation of the Clinton campaigns emails right yeah immediate information at the 11th hour what are you supposed to do with that and how do we analyze this source to evaluate this source so one thing is that you know the October surprises and thinking back to 2016 the a Cobra surprises may not be false they may be true and then you still need to decide well what are you going to do with that and as an educator you need to help young people figure out how do we track you know when there may be malign forces releasing true information what do you do with that right how do we process information in real time when we don't have enough time to check facts right I don't know what the answer to that is because I don't know what the answer to that is as a citizen but I do want to say that one of the things I think that teachers can do is shift and says he talked about this at the beginning is shift how we think about teaching media literacy right so when I was a teacher in the 90s and 2000's teaching media literacy was about looking at discrete say advertisements or news segments or whatever and evaluating them for certain signs of bias for certain forms of propaganda bandwagon do you have ad hominem right like you know do you have partial presentation of facts we had these things and you could check off which it was for the paper towels or for the political candidate or whatever right that's still important but it's totally different from to at least two additional forms I think of media literacy that we need to teach one is the form of media literacy of what media are you actually being exposed to right so when you do a google search and all of your responses come from MSNBC the New York Times and The Guardian and I do a Google search and all of my responses come from The Daily Beast the National Review and Fox recognizing that we are actually being sent down different pathways is really important and then triangulating across and then the other part as I think Sam Weinberg is doing good work on is then figuring out as we try to look across what are the sources of the media that we are consuming and why do those matter and how do we evaluate them and those are things that teachers have not learned about themselves adults are not good at that in general including college-age adults adults with PhDs we are not good at this and then that means it's much harder to teach young people and so I think that that's a really I mean I will echo what said to you saying that's a really important realm for I think educators to learn about the new media literacy skills in order then to pass it on to the students it still doesn't solve the October Surprise problem but it's a capacity implication of a policy requirement that civics now be in the curriculum yes the teachers have the capacity yes YouTube that's great okay what your so I have a couple of thought one is about awareness and the second is about responsibility and awareness is both awareness of and this is a perfect kind of civics topic awareness of the forces that are shaping the information that people get both foreign and domestic if you like and who benefits and who loses from that media environment and the second is awareness of our own psychologies right so we know a lot about you know why your Google search is a certain way and yours is another is because that's what pleases you right that's what those algorithms are doing and so we have confirmation bias that leads us to pay a lot of attention to things that confirm our own views and we're dissonant we reject information that disconfirms we like to be among people who think like us both physically and online right and so we create our own bubbles and part of the job of an educator and media literacy in this interactive age is making us acutely aware of our own psychological tendencies so that we can deepa try to do bias and and act against them and the second is civic responsibility online right and so I don't know if people have there's a hilarious YouTube skit about what if Facebook were a bar and the premise is that all norms of behavior don't exist and so people are spilling beer on each other yelling at each other right and so in this online environment we don't have the democratic norms to govern how we should behave online – toward one another that are good for a thriving Democratic interaction in these inner in these online spaces and so I think developing our own sense of responsibility and norms and etiquette is an important part of that but what promotes that development what promotes the development of a new set of norms and uncharted territory like that well I think just students and teachers can begin to discuss what is acceptable behavior what counts is true seeking what counts is trying to reach out beyond your own understanding and trying to build some bridges and and practice that I mean you know folks are online a lot there's a lot of opportunity for practice setting from your perspective not just the social media but the the main stream media that you alluded to earlier and then lots of changes in terms of the capacity of the media itself huge amount of diversity in terms of sources available and yet it all comes to the consumer and consumers not necessarily with the capacity to sift and sort what's important there what should teachers in particular be thinking about just you know we did a boot camp in July we invited 70 news outlets from around the country here at Harvard to the Shorenstein Center to really dig in and show these newsrooms how to discern what real information and not so journalists in this age not just teachers are trying to figure this out and the conversations we had with a lot of the media was that you know there's a challenge they want to get content up as fast as possible but yet they don't want to get it wrong and they know what's at stake and they're really trying to figure this out so I would just you know one of the things I would say if you're an educator and you alluded to this a lot of times the first version of news that goes up is often times hours later updated and updated and updated and updated simply because lack of time to source different outlets pulling from different places and putting it up quick as quickly as possible so one of the other pieces of advice I would also say is watch the narrative of the story make sure you're checking multiple sources and you advise your students do that and give some time before you determine what is fact or not I mean you really have to give these stories sometime because I know I've talked to producers we've talked to editors who you know have some incomplete information that they put up on the website or they're reporting on TV or radio that may be incomplete that may evolve because they felled in some some pieces so I would add that as well there was a study that studied this spread of what went viral and fake news spreads faster than real news because it's surprising because it's new because it's news it surprises us we're intrigued by it so I send it to you and I send it the pics are yeah you and you and so that's another psychological tendency to be aware of and notice this information it's really as I'm gonna say something you probably know misinformation is really once it's out there it's really hard to correct them really hard to correct ically if it's repeat itself yes yeah and oftentimes it's needed very quickly and you know that's why a lot of these newsrooms in journalism journalists are trying they want to get it right the first time and it's a real challenge it's real challenge so we've celebrated student activism where we find it and we're working on it in places like Harvard to get up to a very high percentage of participation rate but we've also noted that the levels of participation are low and we know there are quarters all across the political and economic spectrum where people are disaffected or alienated or just plain apathetic don't feel like there's any hope there and I'm wondering as each of you approach your work and your thinking about this subject what are the most persuasive and hopeful arguments you can make the students about why engage why vote why it matters so I think that this is it's certainly a very worrying time for a lot of many many people but I think this is the one of the most exciting and interesting political times that I've that that I've experienced in my life because there's so many open possibilities and I see this as a time especially for young people in which new ideas and new proposals and and surprising political forces are emerging yeah I you know a lot of people like to think of this as a time of populism or and and we're certainly seeing of kind of nationalist populism and we're seeing some of that but for me this is the time of the insurgent this is when the forces that have dominated American politics but also a lot of Western European politics for the better part of the post-war period you know crystallized it did a lot of good but it wasn't all that great either it had a lot of problems and exclusions especially you know I said he was saying for the last three four decades a lot of people have been frozen out and now that ice is cracking and you see new political forces and new political voices emerging and in a weird way on the right it was Donald Trump who became our president but you also saw a challenger to Hillary Clinton who way way outperformed expectations all over Europe you see insurgencies of different kinds all all over the place not just in Italy in Spain but also in the UK in France many many places so it's a time of creativity and some of that creativity creates a lot of anxiety and pushes for political programs that are frightening to some but it is a moment of openness and so I think it's a time of creativity and young people should get in the game to create a better future okay good point I would add you know Stacey Abrams in Georgia I mean who would have ever thought that an african-american woman would be the Democratic nominee in Georgia and it's a it's a toss-up it's a toss-up i unimpressed ly here in Massachusetts who I worked with that John Kerry's office no one thought could win and I like Mike Capuano he's a good guy but she made the case that she could better represent the people that District she did not have as many resources as Michael campano he got the endorsement of got the endorsement of the thinker and John Lewis and all the rest of me so to your point you know there is an interesting thing here Paul where timely Sergent but also the ability using the same some of the same tools that I was concerned about Twitter social media as well as good old-fashioned hard work and making the case where I Anna Presley was able to when she used social media to use grassroots politics knocking on doors didn't raise the kind of money that Mike Juana didn't she won so I do think there's a there is a a hopefulness that even with these new mediums there could be there could be change for the better okay last shot at that mirror then we'll open it up I basically just want to say yeah yeah a couple things I'll add one is that so our colleagues here Kerry James and Emily Weinstein have this project on digital citizenship and youth that is really important and also Danielle Allen working with them and others on the youth participation project and one of the affordances of the 21st century is that youth can construct for themselves a voice that goes far beyond what you know most of them have ever been able to have in the past and they can do real good with that and there is now and it's not just like this starry-eyed optimism of what they can do in the future it's what they have done now I mean if you as you think internationally around the umbrella revolution and Hong Kong around in fact the success in Tunisia with the Arab Spring as we think about youth organizing for the Dakota access pipeline around the Parkland shootings they change Florida State law they are having an impact on voter registration there are examples over and over and over again of youth using the affordances of digital and in-person communication and media production actually to make a difference in the world and then the one other thing I think I would say is that not only are so demographics are changing in the United States and across the world which is going to engineer a shift you know some people are arguing that the current political crisis that we're in is in part this sort of attempt by those who have traditionally been in power to stave off the inevitable right but what that ship is going to mean can only be defined by those who participate the fact that demographic change is inevitable doesn't mean that the outcome of that change is inevitable and so we must participate in order to actually shape the future it's one of these things where it's often really boring it's often really slow it often doesn't pay off in any short-term way but there is no other choice fair enough great okay that's a good place to leave us with some hopeful notes and now we're going to have a question period I'll underline the term question so this is tempting territory to get into wide-ranging statements but I know our first faculty member breaking the mic wouldn't do that so if you please identify yourselves as you approach the microphone and raise your question we'll attempt a my name is Fernando Ramos and a member of the faculty here my question for the panel is do we need a new set of norms for the role that education leaders not teachers principals superintendents university presidents Dean's for the roles that they should play in discussing contemporary affairs in universities and let me explain the premise of my question my sense is of the consensus in universities is that faculty are free to speak up but administrators stay clear of anything political unless it concerns directly their institution and the same is true I would argue for superintendent Zenith for principals at the same time we know from the literature on teacher professional development that when we're asking teachers to learn to do things that are difficult it's very helpful if they don't learn to do that alone but they learn that in communities in schools and if their leaders are part of the effort and clearly have their now I would argue that the current times that you have described are nothing but normal these are not normal times and we're asking teachers either going to responsibly engage their students in the kind of thinking that mirror model when she described the events to do something that they probably haven't done before that is very difficult for them to do this is not teaching fractions in a new way and if they're going to do that if they're gonna have to do that alone my guess is the path of least resistance for most of them is to stay clear and so given that given that should we rethink what the appropriate role for a university president for a Dean for a superintendent is when we have a government hijacking children and putting them in chicken cages and in these new camps in the desert which not to be partisan but seems to me is the kind of thing that everyone in this land should be asking is this normal should these be happening so I have some a couple of responses to that and in response a response specifically to the child separation policy and child incarceration policy there is a set of superintendents led by the superintendent of the El Paso ISD who organize other superintendents in Texas to go visit one of the detention centers and she made this impassioned and I found very moving although I'm not actually sure it's accurate argument that this was not a political stance because as a superintendent she was responsible for the care and well-being of children and so of course they were going to go visit now I think she's wrong it was a political act I think was a justified political act but I don't think that we can pretend that it's a political and so I do think that we see some examples of school and district leaders being willing to put themselves on the line but it is I think a hard it's just hard to know where to draw the line so a student here Rebecca Horowitz who's one of our doctoral students and I last year some time looking at how superintendents and districts and educational leaders responded to publicly to the Charlottesville marches and then we were interested in sort of comparisons and so we looked at actually responses to 911 to the Las Vegas shootings of the most nightclub shootings and then we were doing this before parkland because we were interested in who takes a public stand when and the thing that had gotten me interested in this was because a superintendent Colorado had issued a letter post the Charlottesville March saying you know basically our district here in Colorado stands and solidarity was for safety for all of our students you know and he got some criticism on the left for being fairly anodyne got a ton of criticism on the right including from Tom Tancredo the former Colorado congressman for being way too partisan right and why are you writing about Charlottesville that's in Virginia here we are in Colorado when when we when Rebecca was doing this research we found actually interestingly that it was charter networks that tended to be much more vocal about instances in particular of racial discrimination and injustice than public school nabila's charters are public schools but of you know regular public districts I think because those charter networks felt as if they were able to articulate a set of norms and values that they stood for as a network and they were not actually as publicly responsible right in the same way as a public district superintendent might be where they feel as if they have to represent the the geographic public and so fascinatingly we found much more robust communications around say Charlottesville from the Kipp network from uncommon schools from others and we did from some of the public districts more coherency less diversity and in those that might be rationed yes yeah I mean other other comments on the leadership I mean my first thought is you know leaders typically respond to their authorizers so superintendents are going to respond to their board but and the board is elected by the public and it sort of streams down and to the degree that the public is uncomfortable with this then leaders will be uncomfortable to the Jimmy the superintendent is uncomfortable then principals will reflect that discomfort and avoidance that you're talking about that's real but said you've been a Maron and watched various kinds of uncomfortable issues work their way into the system or Superman blended up about some of these okay I think that there's a real need for superintendents education leaders administrators to have a voice on norms I think we need that across the board and I think we should embrace that you know these are these are public officials and they work for the people to certain extent even though they're not elected officials they're responsible for reflecting our values so I think there's a real need I think it's important that's my view I go a different way I think educational leaders at all levels should be very conservative about these forward leaning statements and I have several reasons for thinking that the first reason is I think we're all in our little bubbles and the temptation is to confuse valor with doubling down they're not the same thing the second reason is that I think that it's important as I said that to recognize the difference between democracy and on one hand and justice and rights on the other and I think it is important for institutional leaders to speak out when human rights are being violated or egregious violations of some democratic norms for sure but until that bright line is crossed I think that institutional leaders should act deserve democracy and especially educational leaders discourse among very very different views and doubling down often times is an typical to that objective I taught as a teaching case for incoming faculty members I did too to quit back to back cases one was should the Nazis be able to march in Skokie famous you know Supreme Court case everybody said yes of course the Nazi should be able to March First Amendment right out you know a minute after that the case was should Alex Jones and Infowars be kicked off of YouTube and Facebook by basically Mark Zuckerberg and the owners of those companies yes absolutely he should be kicked off it's racist that's horrible and then I don't know I mean you should watch the Alex Jones videos yourself make your own judgment in my judgment they're less innocuous and threatening than a brown shirt marching in a town with 5,000 Holocaust survivors which is goki was and so I believe that the faculty that I taught in that were in the grip of doubling down in their own bubble in that moment and confusing that with the confusing kind of valor with Pierpoint yeah thank you yes sir hi Brian Gayle from Mathematica Policy Research I'd be interested in hearing more from the panel on this on the possibility of whether there's a tension between educational governance and and the kinds of civic education we'd like to produce following up on your point about the charter schools it seems to me there's an irony in the fact that the charter schools were more willing to engage in this sort of discourse in that they are not democratically operated and of course in this country at least the original purpose of public education according to Horace Mann and his buddies 150 years ago was the education of citizens there was an assumption that democratic operation was going to lead to that Democratic outcome charter schools in essence represents a challenge to that idea we've seen some limited evidence we just finished a study of democracy prep charter schools a charter school network in New York City that is producing large positive impacts on the eventual registration and voting rates of its students after they are 18 and old enough to vote now that's one network that is specifically focused on this so we don't know that it generalizes anyway but but still I'm wondering you know what are your thoughts on on whether this the assumption of Horace Mann and colleagues was got it backwards perhaps about whether you need democratic operation of schools under the control of elected officials in order to IC effectively educate citizens well let the panel take that up but I'm going to challenge one of your assumptions as somebody who's served on the State Board of Education and chair of the State Board of Education there is a public accountability I mean charter schools are public schools and they're authorized at a different level than the local level but they're authorized at the state level and therefore subject to a governance process that involves the election of a governor who in turn appoints a board and the board in turn holds them accountable so there is there is a line of public accountability as public institutions they have to abide by public meeting laws they have to be transparent and their meetings have to be open to the public and things of that nature so I'm not sure it's fair to say that they're separate from public processes of accountability I do think it's fair to say these are smaller boutique versions of public education where it's possible particularly where there's a voluntary selective admissions process to have a greater degree of coherency within the school and it's a smaller environment and therefore it's easier to get to norms and assumptions about how we should proceed and wasn't permissible yeah and they're also not directly operated by local school board that's right panelists so I have a couple of thoughts about this you know I I think what democracy prep has done and you know given the mathematical findings is really exciting and that of course what they have done is also perfectly replicable within regular regular public schools right so you know they have a variety of practices where on Election Day in part because the New York City Schools closed an election day because they're all being used for elections and so their founder thought well that's crazy like what you know let's so they have their so they have their students in fact work either as election you know volunteers if they can or they go out and they you know get people to vote they do various get-out-the-vote activities they have requirements that to graduate you have to say give up a good public testimony at some kind of public meeting etc so they have a whole bunch of requirements that now actually happily that say the eighth grade standards in Massachusetts have a few of those things and it would be perfectly possible for regular district schools to put in more of those requirements although Arcon in his presentation of his triangle sort of shrugged off the policy changes saying they're important but I want to focus on the other two I think clearly one of the most powerful features that could be done is to lower the voting age to 16 say for state and local elections which you could do on the state level at which point then high schools could be involved in registering students to vote and could in their high school social studies teachers could help them figure out where they go to vote and suddenly you would you would help build kids identities as voters because there's a lot of research that shows in addition to the research that if you get invited to the polls say you're more likely to go there's other research showing that your behavior through your first few elections helps to your identity as a Maya boater or a Maya non-voter and you are much much more likely to vote if you say have a parent who's voting and it can take you to your polling place if you're in a neighborhood that you know as opposed to say living in an apartment or in a dorm where you don't know where you would go etc so there are some changes I think that we could make that would spread it out none of those are about democratic governance right and I do think that this question of what when schools are subject to democratic governance I call this sort of education in a democracy they are sometimes I think stymied from educating for democracy right those are different roles of schools and in fact in this book Democratic discord in schools that we have coming out next year that's part of the tension that we look at through our various case studies is the tension of trying to educate for democracy while being subject to control within a democracy and I think those those two can be in tension I just wanted to mention I think there is also some space Paul in looking at this the way you looked at the other project that you and I worked on with cities building by all means building scaffolding around the school system that perhaps supports not just civic education but participation in democracy it's one of the things you know we worked on a Newton with their internship program or Youth Commission were all the paid internships in government or City initiatives that were scaffolding around the district so I think that's another perhaps and I also believe we should lower the voting age to 16 I think that's an incredibly it would be an incredible Gordon Wayne getting young people normally are kinda neat it's when we're done it okay we only have a couple of minutes remaining we have two questions so I'm going to ask for a brief question and brief responses and we'll see if we can wrap it up point of time hi my name is Charlotte Evans I'm part of the international education policy program here I've appreciated this conversation to promote educated voting across party lines my question is to Professor Fung and mayor Warren professor von your your optimistic hope focused a lot on perceived negativity about a current Republican administration and mayor Warren your examples focused primarily on Democratic leaders who are promoting change away from the current administration I'm wondering whether your messages of hope would therefore mobilize or polarize current young conservative voters from engaging in this process that's a good question good question so yeah I can go I I guess I feel like we're in a moment of transition where a lot of things are up in the air and it's easy to focus on the conservative versus liberal progressive divide I am interested in that polarization but in some ways I'm more interested in the pulling apart that has to do with economic inequality and you know if you like the meritocracy the top 20% if you like the Richard Reeves book or the Atlantic articles then top nine point nine percent that's been getting a lot of play and that's you know that's us that's the political class that's the advantaged economic class that's everybody kind of working in the New York Times or elite newspapers right the culture makers and the politics makers on the Republican and Democratic side and part of the full participation in issues is thinking about well what it would be like what would it be like if that other 80% had a greater voice and I think that would not map obviously on to the left-right divides that we see now in current politics I don't know if that helps I'd also add we've seen a real increase in people running for our local government which is incredibly important whether it's city council state representative mayor across the state of Massachusetts we've seen people who have not run before who have wine Yvonne Spicer and framing him as an example I I do believe and you have a record number of candidates running across the country and in the state so I I think that's a positive thing I think when you see historic numbers of people who have not held elected office running for electing to be in elected office and winning I think that's a very good thing to the extent that we have people that are running at the local level they are the closest to the people and when you look at their campaigns across the board they're not talking about nationalizing elections they're talking about you know full full-day kindergarten they're talking about early childhood they're talking about making sure we have enough firefighters and teachers they're talking about housing do we have four table housing in our communities so I do have some hope in the numbers of people that are involved with local government I believe that local government is in fact the incubator or laboratory for some of the most difficult answers at the national level and state level so I I think that is a that is a very good sign and that's nonpartisan and fair point though from the questioner about you know a caution relative to our own biases creeping into our recipe for how we deal with the executive Linda's very last question please good evening my name is danila Kris beams at offski I'm an EDL D student and thank you all for being here tonight my question is because this event is being hosted at huggsy tonight is about mobilizing educators especially and so the first slides that looked at registered voters how do we encourage and empower our educators to stay likely voters and also empower current and future educators to run for school board and future public office thank you the question I'll say if you are here are you a first or a second year oh great so you're here for another two years like this year in next year so there was a an initiative started by a few masters students now two years ago call we've got to run it wasn't that darn somebody sent me the email with the name of it it was an initiative actually that was following the 2016 election semester students here were inspired to try to get educators to run for office including especially for school board which is in fact where if you think about the sweep the political sweep of the right over the country it started in school board elections in the 1980s in the south and then and that was the the cauldron is the wrong word the place in which people were trained in fact in electoral politics and then it moved up from school boards to state offices and then the national offices and in a very short period of time a hundred and fifty students here actually got training in why and how to run for office and I am sure that the that we would be very happy to support an initiative especially that might last for longer than a year that could continue also to mobilize educators here to understand the opportunities and challenges of running for elected office and thinking about how to run themselves or how to support others and running the other thing that I will say is there is this is a real moment as we think about the teacher strikes that went across the United States in red states and blue states and unionized in especially non-unionized States as teachers are starting to think about the importance of collective voice and collective action and how to reframe thinking around the needs of educators as being selfish to ones that are public spirited and serving the needs of children and I think that this is a time that we build on teach on mobilisation of teacher activism across political ideological and Geographic lines to think about what would a nationwide mobilization of educators look like I just wanted a second that the interest in the teacher strike I went to a meeting a couple of weeks ago where there were delegations from all of the states that had that the six states that have the large teacher strike so it was fascinating you know we've been mostly talking about electoral politics voting and holding office and running for office either at the national or local level but politics is of course much broader than that and what's fascinating about the teacher strikes is that they are struggling for a new form of interest articulation what the intra the professional interest of educators is through those and the interesting thing is it didn't the story I got was it didn't really rise out of the NEA or teachers unions but neither that the teachers unions completely resist and they're in this kind of conversation about how to properly figure out what the interests of educators and the education system is and how to assert that and find political voice and I find that extremely inspiring in some ways it's kind of a leading edge perhaps of what ought to be happening across a lot of society in the economy and in in formations kind of of people figuring out together what their interests are and how to assert them more capably in this time of enormous change unfortunately we're out of time I appreciate the last question too as it reflects on our own institution and our sense of mission particularly with regard to getting educators and getting students ultimately involved in the process for a long time in places like this we thought only about the technical aspects or about research or about big ideas and that politics was for somebody else and somehow beneath us or not something that we engaged in and I think part of what our panel is demonstrated for us this evening is how important this sense of engagement is and how important the role of of the in administration are in modeling this for students and in making this an aspect of our leadership and the roles we apply so we've had a great discussion I appreciate everybody turning out please join me in thanking our wonderful panel [Applause]

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