What is a Community Conversation

For over twelve years Conversations About Education in Connecticut have been funded by the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund. Conversations About Education bring citizens together to discuss educational issues in their community. Using a model developed by Public Agenda and the Institute for Education Leadership, Conversations About Education help communities find common ground for public action and ways to work together to address education issues.

Conversations are respectful discussions, characterized by full and diverse participation, where real questions are asked, time is shared and mutual listening and learning happen. Education is the focus and participants are able to speak openly in a safe, civil environment. People listen to each other respectfully. They may agree or disagree; consensus is not the goal.

Learning what others in town think about an issue can highlight where citizens share points of agreements, disagree and are left with questions and concerns. The conversations can help policy-makers form decisions.
Community Conversations:
Provide opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to speak openly with each other in a safe setting.

Allow participants to clarify personal views on important education issues through the process of dialogue and discussion

Help find common ground for action among participants who may approach these issues with different perspective.

Support participant as they explore differences so that people previously at odds with one another align on objectives and strategies.

Communities are encouraged to go forward to build upon the outcomes of their initial conversations.

Communities organize the event themselves with technical assistance from consultants from Community Mediation, manager of Community Conversations About Education, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to making democracy work fairly, inclusively and vibrantly for all.