It is clear that we are living in tumultuous times. Our democracy seems fragile, says Senior Lecturer Richard Weissbourd, and, as a society, we are becoming fractured. With adults seemingly unwilling to have the conversations necessary to strengthen our democracy, it has become increasingly important to reach the children.
"We feel we have to prepare young people to be constructive citizens who can mend those divides,” says Weissbourd, faculty director of Making Caring Common (MCC). “How do we prepare young people to become caring, ethical citizens who can do better than we did?”
In an effort to do just that, MCC has launch the new campaign, Caring Schools #CommonGood, which challenges high schools to take actions that will advance the goal of more caring and inclusive spaces. The campaign asks high schools to commit to developing or strengthening programs that will inspire concern for others, such as character-building and community service activities, or encouraging respectful dialogue across viewpoints. These kind of efforts are an investment in the common good, says Weissbourd, and to be successful schools may have to step outside of their comfort zones.
“We’re hoping schools will step up and do courageous things," he says.
In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Weissbourd discusses the philosophy behind the Caring Schools #CommonGood campaign and his hopes for its growth and success.
About the Harvard EdCast
The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber and co-produced by Jill Anderson, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.