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October 2, 2003

organizing for civics

I'm at the bucolic Airlie House retreat center in Northern Virginia, with a bunch of people who are trying to organize a lobbying/advocacy campaign to implement the recommendations of the Civic Mission of Schools report. My organization, CIRCLE, doesn't do advocacy. We are a research center with a commitment to intellectual independence and to supporting a diversity of views. However, we didn't want to issue a report and then see it sit on a shelf somewhere. Thus we helped to convene a group of practitioners who might organize themselves for advocacy. I believe they are making good progress.

After dinner, we heard from Leslie Harris, a public interest lawyer and brilliant organizer of advocacy coalitions, including the movement to pass the "E-Rate" provision (which pays to wire schools and libraries). I had suggested that she speak to the group of civic educators, because several years ago I observed her skillful work in organizing a coalition of media reform organizations. This coalition later mobilized mass opposition to the FCC's media consolidation regulations. Tonight, she challenged leaders in civic education to develop "one big idea" that can motivate a coherent campaign. She also challenged the field the include youth in the development of its policy agenda.

October 2, 2003 12:45 PM | category: advocating civic education | Comments

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