Inaugural Civil Discourse Dinner

September 2017

Talking about the toughest K-12 issues is critical to problem solving.

Still, it can be difficult to open a conversation and express our viewpoints in a way that is both honest and constructive. Too often our own beliefs, bias, passion and risk get in the way.

Ideas wither without civil discourse.
John Deasy

The Frontline Research & Learning Institute is dedicated to breaking down those barriers to progress and creating opportunities for civil engagement and a way forward. To that end, the Institute has launched the Civil Discourse Dinners. The Line Editor-in-Chief John Deasy and Teach Plus Massachusetts Executive Director Paul Toner co-hosted the first dinner at Boston’s Old State House. They invited a dozen local education leaders to break bread and talk at the historic spot.

Dinner guests included union heads, superintendents, policy experts, state and local legislators and other education advocates – all fiercely dedicated to advancing quality K-12 education for our nation’s students. Did sparks fly? Maybe a few. But there’s something remarkable about the way that sharing a meal around a table heightens our sense of decorum and enables an easier exchange of opinions and ideas, especially among those with whom we may disagree. At the end of the evening, our hosts and participants wholly concurred the experience was a good one and the Institute felt compelled to keep the conversations going.

I see many opportunities to leverage my public role to make mention of “proactive civility”. I’ll work on articulating what that means.
Civil Discourse Dinner Attendee

For more information on Civil Discourse Dinners, please visit the Civil Discourse Dinners page.