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Oklahoma 4-H Consumer Judging Kit Options for Citizen Engagement on School Library Funding Cuts: Deliberative Forums, Debate, Town Hall Meeting, and Casual.

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Presentation on theme: "Oklahoma 4-H Consumer Judging Kit Options for Citizen Engagement on School Library Funding Cuts: Deliberative Forums, Debate, Town Hall Meeting, and Casual."— Presentation transcript:

1 Oklahoma 4-H Consumer Judging Kit Options for Citizen Engagement on School Library Funding Cuts: Deliberative Forums, Debate, Town Hall Meeting, and Casual Discussions Renée A. Daugherty, Ph.D. Kimberly A. Williams, M.S. Oklahoma State University 2009

2 School Library Funding Cuts Situation: Alicia and Kenny are concerned that their school library is unfairly taking the brunt of proposed funding cuts in the school district in the coming year. Under the proposal, internet will no longer be available, popular magazine subscriptions will be dropped, and the operating hours will be reduced due to the elimination of a staff position. Alicia and Kenny want to do something that leads to action and gets many people (adults and students alike) to take ownership in how to address the budget shortages. They approached the school board and were given a month to get the public’s perspective/input. Based on the information above, help Alicia and Kenny select the most effective way to reach their goals in the next month.

3 Choice #1: Debate Two opponents on a stage present opposing sides of the issue and respond to questions from a moderator. The moderator also serves as time keeper for the presentations and responses so that each side has an equal opportunity to state its case. Audience members may submit questions to the moderator in advance. The number of questions is limited. High School Funding Debate Tuesday, Sept. 15 th 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. High School Auditorium Student Body president Pat Myers will debate School Board President Stacy Sanders on the proposal to cut library funding/services

4 Choice #2: Casual discussions with classmates In the coming month, the students look for opportunities to discuss the issue with classmates both in and out of school. They ask fellow students about their concerns, and listen carefully to what they say. They may strike up impromptu discussions in the hall between classes and at lunch, as well as ask to come to club meetings in both school- and non-school youth organizations.

5 Choice #3: Deliberative Forums Trained moderators lead groups of persons seated in a circle. Participants deliberate three alternative approaches to the issue as described in the informational material (forum issue guide). Trained recorders take notes on flip charts. Participants learn they cannot have every- thing, and identify the trade- offs they could accept. They listen carefully for any common ground for action. Losing Our Library? How do we meet needs despite budget cuts? Tuesday, Sept. 15 th 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. High School Library Moderated deliberative forum Multiple forums held concurrently Listen / learn about alternatives Opportunity to find common ground for action Register by September 8 th to receive informational material – learn the facts! Open to public – ages 14 and up

6 Choice #4: Town Hall Meeting A panel of experts on a stage speak about the issue in their areas of expertise, then respond to questions from the audience. A moderator starts/ends the event, introduces speakers, and helps field audience questions. Town Hall Meeting: Planned High School Library Cuts Tuesday, Sept. 15 th 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. High School Auditorium School Board members and administrators will answer questions about the proposal to cut library funds/services

7 Official Placing Cuts Best choice: # 3 Deliberative Forums. Deliberation causes people to weigh alternatives and make choices. They identify the things that are valuable to them and express this to others. Deliberative forums help people move from myth to fact about a public issue. In a deliberative forum, people listen for common ground for action and they describe the tradeoffs that they are willing to accept when choosing one alternative over another. This is a win-win situation. Third choice: # 1- Debate. A debate is an effective way to reach adults and students. It only considers two perspectives: cut library funding or not. In a debate, there is a win-lose situation. There may be a decision, but there is no action. Second choice: # 4 - Town Hall Meeting. A town hall meeting is a good way to elicit questions from people and get a timely response. They can be educational. Adults and youth can participate. The question/answer format of a town hall meeting is less helpful than a deliberative forum regarding making choices. Least effective: # 2 – Casual discussions with classmates. Discussion is typically an exchange of information that doesn’t result in individual or collective action on a public issue like this one. There is also a possibility that more myths than facts will be spread. This approach limits input to only the students’ perspective.

8 Information Related to Engaging Citizens While debates and town hall meetings provide opportunities for audience members to ask questions, due to the size of the audience, that participation is limited to only a few individuals. Unlike debates, deliberative forums provide an opportunity for participants to plan for action. Casual conversations provide a way for people to talk to each other about an issue but they are limited in size and scope and there is no organized framework for the discussion to follow. It is also difficult for Alicia and Kenny to provide a written account of the debate, casual conversations, or town hall meeting. Deliberative forums include notes of the deliberations which can be used when presenting their findings. For additional information see the following resources:


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