Empowerment Rather Than Engagement
Last evening, Paul Pendleton called me regarding my blog on Wednesday entitled “Need More from Our Public Engagement.” A former school superintendent, good friend and colleague in our work with the Kettering Foundation, Paul said he strongly agreed with the Colorado State University professor who stated that providing opportunities for people to express their opinions is simply the first step to generating public ownership of the challenges facing our public schools. Paul explained that empowerment, not engagement, is what really generates ownership. I can’t agree more. Over the past two decades, we’ve both learned that when citizens are empowered with the responsibility for fixing a problem, they nearly always step up to the plate and make a difference.