Charlie’s Flip-flop on Public Engagement

Throughout his 13-career as superintendent of the Medina City Schools, Charlie Irish became somewhat of an expert at utilizing the power of public engagement to pass operating levies and bond issues.  Today, however, in his post-retirement career working with the Kettering Foundation, he admits that he’s done a flip-flop on his earlier views about engagement:  “There was a time when I believed that engaging our residents in conversations about important topics such as voting for levies and rallying around other causes that our school board and I thought were important was enough.  While in the short run it did help us build enough community support to pass several school tax issues, it didn’t empower our citizens to assume ownership of education in our community.  For me, the lesson in all of this is that the real power of public engagement is empowering citizens to forge their own collective judgement about issues.  By providing them with the opportunity to name these issues for themselves and define their own choices for action, they will own the responsibility for addressing whatever is at stake.”

 

2 Responses to Charlie’s Flip-flop on Public Engagement

  • Bravo A Critical question to open an engagement discussion is “what do you care deeply abou?” Thanks to the kettering foundation For invting me to participate in a forum several years ago where this question rang true and still enters my conversat today. CharlIe and co4kY were part of that group. Thank you both for impacting my thought ptocess.

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