New Trier School Board Adopts Statement Promoting Civil, Diverse Discourse
In advance of the fallout of what could be one of the most divisive Presidential elections in history, the New Trier High School Board recently adopted a statement officially setting expectations for civil, diverse discourse at New Trier, both today and into the future.
As far as we know New Trier's statement, found here in its Annual Plan, and below
, is the first to be adopted by any American high school. We hope that it serves as a model for other schools which want to teach students how to think wisely, converse civilly, and engage productively in a world of competing ideas.
Bravo, New Trier!
Peter Tragos, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, explained its Statement on Civil Discourse and Critical Thinking, this way:
“The purpose of this [statement] is not only to integrate it into the annual plan, if not preface the annual plan, but really take an institutional stand or statement on civil discourse and critical thinking, staking out a claim that we engage and challenge students to think, to listen, to discuss real and controversial issues of the world and develop the skills to navigate multiple perspectives and think through our own assumptions, beliefs and biases.”
The statement, generated by New Trier administrators and educators, was adopted at the Board meeting October 19 as part of New Trier's 2020/2021 overall school plan.
New Trier Neighbors, which proposed a free speech statement to the New Trier Board of Education at its July meeting, is wholly supportive of this powerful new statement. We believe adhering to the statement will foster in the New Trier community the tools needed to engage in civil discourse and the robust, diverse thinking that results in a free and productive citizenry.
As Benjamin Franklin said: "Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech."
Again: Bravo, New Trier!