you can go home again

(Syracuse, NY) I’m in the city where I was born and raised but haven’t resided in 33 years. 

One result of this kind of visit is to make the intervening years fold away like a picture book put back on its shelf. When we travel to foreign places, I find that all the vivid new experiences stretch time. The journey feels long; regular life feels distant. But as soon as we’re in the airport on the way back home, the days of travel shrink to a finite memory, as if we’d had a few moments away.

The same can happen to decades. A third of a century seems rich and complex while you live it, but returning to where you began shrinks those years back to size.

Another result is a reminder of how little detail we retain. I once knew all kinds of information: What would you see if you turned that corner? Who lives in that house? What minor joy or sorrow once accompanied that building for me? It’s all flattened by the slow passage of years.

See also Mike Kelley, Jim Shaw, and memories of Rust Belt adolescencethe Times’ poverty mapportrait of a librarymy home as described by Stephen Dunn; and three poems about the passage of time: nostalgia for nowechoes; and the hourglass.

AllSides Updates: New Students Website & Is Civility Bogus?

In an era when the mainstream media is hyperpolarized, it is vital to our societal and democratic well-being to have access to news sources with more balanced viewpoints. AllSides provides news sources from across the center-left-right spectrum and works to improve civil discourse, and they just announced exciting news and posted a great article exploring civility!

The new website, AllSides for Schools, offers resources for students to improve their media literacy, build empathy, and have tools for engaging in civil discourse – read more about it in the post below! Listen to the archive of our TechTuesday here featuring AllSides’ student-focused programming, Mismatch. 

They also shared the article, Is Civility a Bogus Concept After All?, which explores the challenging arguments around civility on if it’s possible and how it can be best utilized. You can read the article below and find the original on AllSides site here.


Brand New AllSides for Schools Website!

America, we need to talk. Our democracy is increasingly media-driven and polarized. How can we prepare young people?

We’re so excited to announce the launch of our brand-new AllSides for Schools website, featuring updated tools and resources to help students gain the media literacy and critical thinking skills they need to improve our democracy long-term.

We worked hard to launch our new Schools site, and we can’t wait for you to see it.

Featuring a clean new design, AllSides for Schools features nearly a dozen resources to make media literacy fun and engaging. Students can take AllSides’ bias quiz to find out where they fall on the Left-Center-Right political spectrum, then browse our Balanced Dictionary to see how people across the political spectrum define, think and feel differently about the same term or issue.

Plus, our Mismatch program and Civil Conversation Guides ensure students get the guidance they need to build relationships with people who are different from them. And it works — a whopping 92% of students who tried our Mismatch program said they better understood another person or perspective after just one conversation.

Through a revealing look at today’s news media and memorable experiences of respectful dialogue, AllSides for Schools equips students to navigate the complexities of modern media, social networks (on and offline), and personal relationships.

Join the 12,000 teachers and students in 47 states who are already using our tools every week. We hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we enjoyed making them.

You can check out the new Allsides for Schools website at www.allsidesforschools.org

Is Civility a Bogus Concept After All?

By Julie Mastrine

We built AllSides in part because we believe in the power of civility and civil discourse. AllSides helps people build relationships with those who are different from them, which we believe will ultimately improve our democracy.

But, could we be wrong? What if civility is actually a sham?

A TED Talk by political theorist Teresa Bejan raises this very question. Bejan studied and wrote a book about civility — particularly, religious tolerance in early modern England and America — because at the time, she thought that civility was, as she puts it, “bullsh*t.”

Yet how wrong she was.

After concluding her studies, Bejan learned “the virtue that makes un-murderous coexistence possible [in society] is the virtue of civility,” as she states in her TED Talk. “Civility makes our disagreements tolerable so that we can share a life together, even if we don’t share a faith — religious, political or otherwise.”

Still, she says, when most people talk about civility today, they are talking about something different than this. While civility is the virtue that “makes it possible to tolerate disagreement,” she says, “talking about civility [today] seems to be a strategy of disengagement — its like threatening to take your ball and go home when the game isn’t going your way.”

Often, she says, today’s “civility talk” is used as a way to “silence, suppress and exclude” those people we disagree with. (It’s a concept AllSides refers to as “tyranny of civility.”)

“Civility talk” or “tyranny of civility” gives people the feeling of the moral high ground while also allowing them to paint those they disagree with as offensive, or uncivil.

“Some people use “civility” when they want to communicate that certain views or people are beyond the pale, but they want to save themselves the trouble of actually making an argument,” Bejan says.

This is why some people (like Bejan in the past) roll their eyes at the call for civility.

“It seems like “civility talk” saves us the trouble of actually speaking to each other, allows us to talk past each other, signal our superior virtue, and let the audience know which side we’re on,” she says. In this way, “civility talk” can actually deepen divisions.

Instead of civility talk, Bejan argues we need what she calls “mere civility.” This type of civility is not the same thing as being respectful, because “we need civility precisely when we’re dealing with people we find it the most impossible to respect.” And it’s not the same as being nice, either — “because being nice means not telling people what you really think about them or their views.”

Mere civility means “speaking your mind, but to your opponent’s’ face, not behind her back…Being merely civil means pulling out punches but not landing them all at once.”

The point of civility, she says, is to allow us to “have fundamental disagreements without denying or destroying the possibility of a common life tomorrow with the people we think are standing in our way today.”

In this way, civility is closely related to courage.

“Mere civility is having the courage to make yourself disagreeable and to stay that way, but to do that while staying in the room and present to your opponents,” Bejan says. “If you’re talking about civility as a way to avoid an argument, as a way to isolate yourself in the more agreeable company of the like-minded who already agree with you, if you find yourself never actually speaking to anyone who fundamentally disagrees with you, you’re doing civility wrong.”

You can listen to Bejan’s TED Talk in full below.

You can read the original version of article on the Allsides Perspectives blog at www.allsides.com/blog/civility-bogus-concept-after-all.

ENGAGING IDEAS – 12/14/2018


Democracy

Congress thinks the public is way more conservative than it actually is. Deep-pocketed lobbyists are to blame, according to new research. (Washington Post)
Senior staffers in congressional offices hold highly inaccurate assumptions about what voters in their districts actually want when it comes to policy. They tend to believe that voters support much more conservative policies than they actually do.
Continue Reading

Can Socialism Save Democracy? (Common Dreams)
If socialism is going to save democracy, it needs to bring about equality without snuffing out freedom, and it needs to respect the role of markets without letting them dominate society
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Mapped: Why Voting Anomalies Are Impossible to Ignore in North Carolina (The Upshot)
After a long election season, there is just one House race where the result remains in serious doubt: North Carolina's Ninth Congressional District. The state's Board of Elections has refused to certify the narrow 905-vote lead that the Republican, Mark Harris, holds over the Democrat, Dan McCready, and is investigating allegations of absentee ballot fraud.
Continue Reading


Opportunity/Inequality

From foster care to college (Hechinger Report)
Western Michigan University is one of several colleges that have started programs to help foster youth earn degrees
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How Urban Core Amenities Drive Gentrification and Increase Inequality (CityLab)
A new study finds that as the rich move back to superstar cities' urban cores to gain access to unique amenities they drive low-income people out.
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City Governments Should Focus On Opportunity, Not Income Inequality (Forbes)
The common belief today is that income inequality has exploded-the rich are getting richer while the incomes of the middle class and poor stagnate. But a new study from the Urban Institute reviews several studies on income inequality and finds that this perception is not accurate.
Continue reading


Engagement

Durham's New Blueprint for Equitable Community Engagement (Next City)
Beyond the blueprint, city leaders have taken a hard look at racist policies and how they inform inequities in Durham. The city joined the Government Alliance on Race and Equity; it formed a Racial Equity Task Force; many city staff now go through race equity training.
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Term Limits Heighten Need for Community Boards to Become Data Literate (Gotham Gazette)
Communities are empowered when their community boards are equipped with both the knowledge and the resources they need to challenge information practices that ignore or misrepresent people and problems in their neighborhoods.
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K-12

How the stress of state testing might make it harder for some students to show what they know (Chalkbeat)
The annual ritual of state testing in elementary and middle schools often comes within an unwelcome side effect: jittery, stressed-out kids. Now, a first-of-its-kind study documents some of what's actually happening to students.
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Survey: More than half of US teachers concerned about language barriers with ESL parents (Education Dive)
A recent ClassDojo survey of more than 560 randomly-selected teachers nationwide indicates 71% of those surveyed have taught students for whom English is a second language in the past three years, and 56% worry parents of these students don't have enough English language skills to effectively participate in parent-teacher conferences and other aspects of school communication and experiences, according to a press release.
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Higher Ed/Workforce

As Labor Market Tightens, Women Are Moving Into Male-Dominated Jobs (The Upshot)
Widening opportunities do not automatically translate into better pay or a decline in gender discrimination.
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OPINION: 3 ways that colleges can support underrepresented students after the Harvard case (Hechinger Report)
New research shows that even with a chief diversity officer in place, significant gains in faculty hires that are multicultural and diverse are lacking. At schools such as Yale, Harvard and Stanford, faculty from underrepresented backgrounds account for 7 percent or less of the total. A lack of influence over diverse faculty hires can be troubling.
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The Degree Rules, for Now (Inside Higher Ed)
College credentials still loom large in hiring. But a new survey of HR leaders finds growing interest in skills-based hiring, online microcredentials and prehire assessments.
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Health Care

How to Cut U.S. Drug Prices: Experts Weigh In (New York Times)
A look at policies and possible trade-offs, including the risk of hampering innovation.
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Health insurers look to digital tools to improve customer experience (Modern Healthcare)
Health insurance customers generally report poor experiences with their health plans. Only utility and internet and television service providers have worse customer service scores, and that's saying something. But health insurers say investing in digital tools and other technologies can help them fix this and give their customers a personalized, frictionless healthcare experience.
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1 in 5 patients at high risk of socioeconomic health problem, survey finds (Healthcare Dive)
A study of 500 random patients found that 68% suffer with at least one social determinant of health (SDoH) challenge, with 57% having moderate-to-high risk in at least one of the following categories: financial insecurity, social isolation, housing insecurity, addiction, transportation access, food insecurity and health literacy.
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SFU Extends Nominations Deadline for Int’l Blaney Award

Our friends at SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue – also an NCDD member organization, informed us they have extended the nominations deadline for the 2019/20 Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue! We encourage folks to nominate individuals, from anywhere around the globe, who have demonstrated excellence in utilizing dialogue to advance complex social issues and increase mutual understanding. Awardees are given a programming residency at SFU to continue their work, a CAD10,000 cash award, and more. Make sure to submit by the new deadline, January 14, 2019! You can read about the award in the post below and find the original on the here.


SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue is now accepting nominations for the 2019/20 Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue

Know someone who demonstrates excellence in their use of dialogue? Nominate them ahead of January 14, 2019 (Deadline extended!) for the next Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue.

The Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue is presented every second year to an individual who has demonstrated international excellence in the use of dialogue to increase mutual understanding and advance complex public issues. Nominations are encouraged from around the world in the fields of international diplomacy & conflict resolution, climate solutions, diversity and inclusion, democracy and civic engagement, and urban sustainability.

CRITERIA USED TO SELECT THE RECIPIENT INCLUDE:

  • The candidate’s demonstrated international excellence in the use of dialogue to increase mutual understanding;
  • The global significance of the work in addressing complex and profound public issues; and
  • Related programming opportunities.

ABOUT THE AWARD:

Far more than a simple ceremony, the Blaney Award includes a short programming residency in Canada that builds upon the recipient’s work to achieve tangible outcomes, reflecting the mandate of Simon Fraser University to be Canada’s most community-engaged research university. The award endowment includes funds to cover recipient transportation and associated programming costs, as well as a CAD10,000 cash award.

Recent Blaney Award programs have engaged thousands of participants through the hosting of international announcements, book launches, capacity building workshops, and participatory research.

NOMINATION SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

*Nomination deadline extended*: January 14, 2019 at 17:00 (Pacific Standard Time)

Inquiries: Grace Lee, Program Lead for Signature Events and Endowment, eunhyel@sfu.ca , +01 778-782-4893

VIEW PAST AWARD RECIPIENTS

You can find the original version of this SFU announcement at www.sfu.ca/dialogue/awards/jack-p-blaney/call-for-nominations.html.

armchair quarterbacking Chuck and Nancy

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer left the White House with a priceless quote from Donald Trump: 

 And I’ll tell you what, I am proud to shut down the government for border security … So I will take the mantle. I will be the to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it. The last time you shut it down it didn’t work. I will take the mantle of shutting down, and I’m going to shut it down for border security.

It’s no surprise that after the meeting, Trump hopped around the West Wing flinging papers like Rumpelstiltskin. I also appreciate why people are expressing support and solidarity for Nancy Pelosi after she got talked over by the world’s most blatant sexist mansplainer.

Still, I thought the two senior Democrats talked like professional politicians in ways that are problematic.

  • Don’t say that you want to have the discussion in private. That looks like a shady preference for backroom deals. I understand that the future Speaker wanted to get a real deal that would keep the government open–thus helping millions of Americans–and she feared that Trump would back himself into a corner in a public argument, thus preventing a deal. Her motives were good. But you don’t say that you want to meet in private. If the meeting is going to be televised, you use it as a public debate about what is best for the country.
  • Don’t say “The Washington Post today gave you a lot of Pinocchios.” That creates a conflict between Trump and a media product (the Post’s Fact Checker feature) that many will not recognize and few will trust. Simply state that Trump has not built any of the wall. Dare him to claim that he has. Ask him what proportion of the 2,000 mile border he thinks he has already walled. 
  • Don’t get into a debate about whether the House should vote or not. Trump is right that his bill can’t pass the Senate without Democratic votes. Which body votes when is Inside Baseball. Stick to the substance. The wall is a bad idea and you will oppose it.
  • Don’t quip, “When the president brags that he won North Dakota and Indiana, he’s in real trouble.” Sen. Schumer knows that these are red states that the Republicans were expected to win. But he sounds like a New Yorker with contempt for two states in the Midwest. Or, at best, he sounds like a competitor in the sport of winning the most elections. The issue is the wall. Is it good or bad for America? Is it worth a government shutdown?
  • Don’t miss opportunities to score debating points. “I thought Mexico was going to pay for the wall, Mr President?” “Here’s a deal, Mr. President–you can say you already built the wall and we won’t have to pay for it.”

Perhaps I am asking for more rhetorical vim, and that’s not a fair demand of two consummate legislative tacticians. But I think I am also asking for leaders who talk to the American people as citizens rather than as spectators of the game of politics.

I Paid a Bribe

Author: 
‘Ipaidabribe.com’ is a website that was founded in Bangalore, India during the year 2008. Created by the Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, the goal of this initiative was to tackle bribery and corruption by harnessing the collective energy of citizens.

Webinar Roundup Featuring Cities of Service and more!

Another roundup of webinars coming your way! We are thrilled to share the following list of webinars happening this week from the NCDD network, including NCDD members National Civic League and Living Room Conversations, and Cities of Service. We know there is a lot of great work going on in the field, and like we mentioned last week, we will be doing more roundup-style posts of webinars going on in order to keep up with all the great D&D happenings.

NCDD works to strengthen our network by being a resource center and hub for those passionate and working under the wide umbrella of dialogue, deliberation, and engagement work. We strive to support our coalition with posts such as this that elevate our members work and help to keep folks in our field informed on what’s going on.

We have a lot of vision for how NCDD can be of better service for our members, the D&D field, and our society. If you appreciate the work NCDD does and would like to support us (and invest in this vital field!), then please make a tax-deductible donation to NCDD today during our End-of-the-Year Fundraiser!

Do you have a webinar coming up that you’d like to share with the NCDD network? Please let us know by emailing me at keiva[at]ncdd[dot]org, because we’d love to add it to the list!


Webinar Roundup: Cities of Service, Living Room Conversations, and National Civic League

Cities of Service webinar – “How Tulsa’s Residents Increased the City’s Capacity to Address Public Problems”

Wednesday, December 12th
11am-12pm Pacific, 2-3pm Eastern

This spring, Cities of Service named the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma one of three winners of our Engaged Cities Award. Among several successful strategies to engage citizens, the city established the Urban Data Pioneers program made up of citizens committed to helping solve public problems by analyzing specific data.

This webinar will focus on a new city program called Civic Innovation Fellowship. This program takes citizen engagement in public problem solving even deeper. The program relies on citizens to shape the public problem, collect data around it, prototype solutions, and present the best ones to the city for budget considerations. James Wagner, City of Tulsa’s Chief of Performance Strategy and Innovation will talk through the process of the Civic Innovation Fellowship highlighting lessons and impact to date.

REGISTER: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3077404798140506637

Living Room Conversations webinar – “Media and Polarization”

Thursday, December 13th
3:30-5 pm Pacific, 6:30-8pm Eastern

Join us for a free online (using Zoom) Living Room Conversation on the topic of Media and Polarization. Please see the conversation guide for this topic. Some of the questions explored include:

  • How does the media impact you, your friends, and your family?
  • How often do you talk politics with your friends and family?
  • Has polarization impacted your relationships? What happened?

You will need a device with a webcam to participate (preferably a computer or tablet rather than a cell phone).

Please only sign up for a place in this conversation if you are 100% certain that you can join – and thank you – we have many folks waiting to have Living Room Conversations and hope to have 100% attendance. If you need to cancel please return to Eventbrite to cancel your ticket so someone on the waitlist may attend.

A link to join the conversation and additional details will be sent to you by no later than the day before the conversation. The conversation host is Lewis G.

REGISTER: www.livingroomconversations.org/event/living-room-conversation-media-and-polarization/

National Civic League Webinar – “Engaging the Public in Fiscal Matters”

Wednesday, December 19th
11:30 am Pacific, 2:30 pm Eastern

Can the public really help local governments make solid budget decisions? Of course!

Two communities – Hampton, Virginia, and Placentia, California – will share how residents have contributed their views on budget matters. In Hampton, City Manager Mary Bunting will discuss the I-Value effort in Hampton. In Placentia, Rosanna Ramirez, the city’s director of administrative services, will talk about the city’s Citizens Fiscal Sustainability Task Force.

This webinar is part of the All-America City Promising Practices series and we shared more information about this offering earlier on the NCDD blog – read it here!

REGISTER: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/aac-promising-practices-webinar-engaging-the-public-in-fiscal-matters-tickets-53114553058

Cooperative Congressional Election Study and Tisch College of Civic Life: Postdoctoral Fellowship

Tufts University will award a Post-Doctoral Fellowship to a scholar with expertise in American political behavior and survey data analysis for the 2019-20 academic year. The Fellowship is partly funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation and will be awarded to a scholar with a Ph.D. in Political Science or a related discipline with research interests that intersect with the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES). Applicants should have completed the requirements for their Ph.D. by the time of appointment, which is planned for August 1st, 2019.

The post-doc will be located at Tufts University in the Department of Political Science and in the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. The primary responsibilities for the successful candidate will be to assist with the release and analysis of the 2018 CCES. The post-doc will work directly with Professor Brian Schaffner and will help prepare technical materials related to the CCES, in addition to being involved in planning for the 2020 CCES. In addition to working on their own research, the post-doc will also be expected to collaborate on CCES-related research papers with Schaffner and the other CCES co-PIs, with the aim of producing several publications in peer-reviewed outlets. The post-doc will also have the opportunity to work on research for other projects in Tisch College, including the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) and the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE). The post-doc will have the opportunity to participate in the Summer Institute of Civic Studies (a seminar for faculty, advanced graduate students, and practitioners) at Tisch College from June 20-28, 2019 and will be expected to be part of the Tisch College community, attending talks and events.

Qualifications

Scholar with a Ph.D. in the field of Political Science or in a related discipline who is not yet tenured. Proficiency in Stata or R statistical programs.

Application Instructions

All applications must be submitted via http://apply.interfolio.com/58630 Applications should include: (1) a cover letter which includes a description of your research plans, particularly as they relate to the CCES; (2) your CV; (3) one writing sample; and (4) three letters of recommendation which should be uploaded by your recommenders to Interfolio directly.

Review of applications will begin February 1, 2019 and will continue until the position is filled.

Questions about the position should be addressed to Professor Brian Schaffner at brian.schaffner@tufts.edu.

Non-Discrimination Statement

Our institution does not discriminate against job candidates on the basis of actual or perceived gender, gender identity, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, or religion.

Tufts University, founded in 1852, prioritizes quality teaching, highly competitive basic and applied research and a commitment to active citizenship locally, regionally and globally. Tufts University also prides itself on creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. Current and prospective employees of the university are expected to have and continuously develop skill in, and disposition for, positively engaging with a diverse population of faculty, staff, and students. Tufts University is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Employer. We are committed to increasing the diversity of our faculty and staff and fostering their success when hired. Members of underrepresented groups are welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. If you are an applicant with a disability who is unable to use our online tools to search and apply for jobs, please contact us by calling Johny Laine in the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) at 617.627.3298 or at Johny.Laine@tufts.edu. Applicants can learn more about requesting reasonable accommodations at http://oeo.tufts.edu.

2019 IAP2 USA Skills Symposium Early Rate Ends Friday!

If you are looking for ways to improve your public participation skills or gain more tools, then we encourage you to check out the upcoming 2019 IAP2 USA Skills Symposium happening February 25 – March 1 in Austin, Texas. Hosted by NCDD member org, the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2), the Symposium is a valuable opportunity to dive deep into P2 (public participation), connect with fellow P2 professionals, and experience a variety of methods, techniques, best practices, and more. The Early Bird discount pricing ends this coming Friday, December 14 – so act quickly to take advantage of this great discount! You can read the announcement below and find more information on the IAP2 site here.


2019 IAP2 USA Skills Symposium – Learn. Stay. Connect.

Are you troubleshooting current processes, or looking back, and thinking “there has to be another way?” The 2019 IAP2 USA Skills Symposium is just the place to meet other professionals in your field and acquire applicable tools and techniques to help you glean knowledge from the past, and streamline your processes in the future.

Early Bird pricing ends December 14, 2018!

The 2019 IAP2 USA Skills Symposium will offer a variety of training in public participation processes and methods. Join us in Austin, Texas dive into courses covering a range of topics including: mastering facilitation skills, using social media, and working with an angry public. Other topics include designing for diversity, and evaluating public participation initiatives. 1, 2, and 3 day courses are offered featuring experts in the practice of in community engagement. Attendees will engage in hands-on exploration and leave with many lessons learned on designing and managing effective public participation.

Are you an APA AICP? Did you know that ALL Skills Symposium Courses are eligible for AICP Certification Maintenance Credits? To learn more, check out their website!

Please click here to view the schedule-at-a-Glance, course fees, hotel room block information, and more!

Questions? Comments? Contact amelia@iap2usa.org

You can find this information on the IAP2 site at www.iap2usa.org/2019sksymp.