Field Notes by Sarah Giles / Nov 7, 2018
Oregon Humanities provided funding to Kitchen Table Democracy in 2018 for "Educated in Oregon" as part of its Public Program Grants that support programs across Oregon that get people together to explore challenging questions and strive for just communities.
In school board meetings, community listening sessions, and other public processes focused on education, participants are often asked to focus on their own experiences and perspectives, and they aren’t necessarily engaged with what others have experienced. Individuals are also commonly focused on very particular components of what is or isn’t working in education and haven’t been invited to think about the greater purpose of our public education system. "Educated in Oregon" aims to demonstrate storytelling's power in public dialogues about education and to explore how hearing others experiences with the education system can help individuals reflect and empathize, resulting in broader and more generous conversations.
In 2018 KTD worked with audio storyteller Aimee Craig, who has also worked for statewide education advocacy organizations and at the Oregon Department of Education, to develop audio stories about a range of educational experiences and will hold two community conversations, using the audio pieces to provide a common starting place for the conversation. After reflecting on the stories, the participants will have an opportunity to explore their values and beliefs about education. We will also share the audio stories online with a downloadable discussion guide following the community conversations.
During the spring and summer of 2018, Aimee partnered with Alder Creek Middle School, a middle school in the North Clackamas County School District, to record audio stories from a number of different students and a school administrator. The audio stories are intended to capture sutdent perspectives about what their middle school experiences have been like for them.
Two community conversations are planned for early November 2018, one with educators and one with parents, students, and community members in both English and Spanish. Both meetings will be held at Alder Creek Middle School's Library (13801 SE Webster Rd, Milwaukie, OR 97222).
- For Educators: November 8th, 2018 6:30 - 8:00pm
- For Familes, Business Owners, Community Members: November 13th, 2018 6:30 - 8:00pm (Spanish interpretation provided)