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Sat 3

December 3, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST

Common Ground – Parents’ Rights and Responsibilities in Public Education

Braver Angels

Location: Online

If there is one thing that unites parents, it is the desire for a quality education and a safe learning environment for their children. Today, public education is on the frontline of political polarization and parents can often feel excluded from decision-making that affects their children. Stakeholders are attending school board meetings to voice their concerns about curriculum, school district policy making, and the use of public funding. Some remedies focus on school choice or alternatives to public education, and others focus on improving public schools.

This Common Ground workshop will invite Conservative and Liberal (Red and Blue leaning) participants to share their connection to the issue and find Points of Agreement between the two sides. They will address the question “What are the rights and responsibilities of parents regarding their children’s education in public schools?”


The Braver Angels Common Ground Workshop brings together equal numbers of Conservatives and Liberals – Reds and Blues (4-8 of each) – for a deep dive into a problem, such as addressing climate change, electoral reform or abortion. Together participants talk about their connection to the issue and their opinion on solutions. By the end of the 3-3.5 hour online event they have come up with jointly and unanimously held Points of Agreements on values, concerns and policies.

The Common Ground workshop is an out-growth of Braver Angels signature Red-Blue workshop and allows participants to delve deeper into a single issue. Points of Agreement can be fleshed out at future group meetings, and when possible lead to joint actions such as op-eds, joint speaking and meetings with legislators.


  • To delve into a single issue where citizens differ, and learn how each other sees the problem
  • To delineate areas of common ground and points of agreement
  • To learn something that might be helpful to others in our community and the nation.


There are two ways to join a Common Ground Workshop:

  • Participant: A participant will engage in small- and large-group discussions with individuals of both the same and different political persuasions. Participants must identify as “red” (Republican or leaning conservative) or “blue” (Democrat or leaning liberal). We will strive for an equal balance of red and blue participants: 4 to 8 people on each side.
  • Observer/Alternate: An observer/alternate will not participate in the discussions directly but will have the opportunity to watch and listen. Observers/Alternates should be ready to step in and participate as their “color” in the event of participant cancellations. In areas that have a geographic “color” imbalance, allowing for up to 15 Observers/Alternates provides an opportunity for more people to experience a Common Ground workshop.

Who can come? Anyone interested in developing a deeper understanding of, and connection with, people whose political beliefs differ from their own. You should honestly be able to answer “yes” to the following question:

“Are you willing to listen to the other side, and are you willing to speak to the other side with respect?”

Everyone who signs up will receive a phone call or email from an organizer. Organizers reserve the right to switch people between Participant and Observer/Alternate status depending on the needs of the workshop.