Why Tough Conversations Matter: Democratic Preparation and America’s Schools

How can teachers and school leaders nurture students’ civic capacities?

We can help them learn to engage with controversial issues, examine multiple perspectives on a given subject, and form thoughtful judgments over time.

International research suggests that normalizing classroom debate and deliberation has an outsized, positive effect on civic outcomes later in life. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done, particularly in today’s toxic political climate.

The school year has begun – just in time for the most contentious election cycle in recent memory. Now more than ever, we need to equip young people with the political knowledge, political skills, habits of engagement, and civil tolerance that alone sustain democratic society.

Join the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Education Policy and the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University on Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 11am EST for a 45-minute webinar, Why Tough Conversations Matter: Democratic Preparation and America’s Schools.

Hear from Raj Vinnakota, President, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in conversation with Ashley Berner, Associate Professor and Deputy Director, Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy & Fellow, SNF Agora Institute and Kelly Siegel-Stechler, Research Fellow, Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy & Fellow, SNF Agora Institute.


Johns Hopkins University has created a suite of tools to help schools assess and improve their civic culture. The October 8th webinar will focus on two of them: School Culture 360™ and Election 2020: Engaging Students in Civic Discourse. 

Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.
— Alexander Hamilton

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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