Title: A Search for Common Ground
Author(s): Frederick M. HessPedro A. Noguera
Publisher: Teachers College Press, New York
ISBN: 9780807765166 Pages: 192 Year: 2021

Pedro A. Noguera: We witnessed one of the most troubling attacks on democracy in the history of our country play out in January. There’s a lot of polarization in America and not a lot of principled discussion to reach better understanding. Many people choose to live in echo chambers and consume media that reinforces their opinions and values, and that’s not good for a democratic society. You and I were able to have a respectful dialogue about some of the polarizing issues in education for more than a year. Given the current political context in the country, do you think it’s still possible to have civil dialogue amid disagreement?

Frederick M. Hess: In the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol and the shadow of Donald Trump’s campaign of lies, things feel bleak even a few months later. It can feel like the anger, suspicion, and distrust bred by a 24/7 social-media culture are at risk of tearing our nation apart. However, even as the fierce partisans on each side look to stoke and justify their anger, most Americans want something better. For many, the big question may be what you and I learned in this exercise that might aid those seeking to escape the culture of distrust. What helped make our collaboration a success?

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