Spring 2024 Online Classes - Los Angeles County Teacher Initiative
Los Angeles County Teacher Initiative -
Stipends for Junior High and High School Teachers
Thanks to a generous grant from the Ahmanson Foundation, the Agora Foundation is offering an innovative online spring 2024 series: The Fearless Pursuit and Teaching of Political Wisdom Through Dialogue
In the course of Agora’s work, a common challenge expressed b y our high school and college teacher participants is the increasing political and cultural polarization that is evolving in their classrooms, as well as the thwarting of conversations when certain phrases or ideas are introduced by students in opposition to other students or teachers, including terms such as racism, exclusion, inequity, bias, propaganda, and injustice. Obviously, these negative (and their inverse positive) concepts are extremely difficult to discuss and to univocally define. For example, some of the greatest thinkers the world has produced have grappled with the concepts and manifestations of justice, equality, and truth for thousands of years. The structure and content of Agora’s seminars and panels provide rare opportunities for teachers to not only explore their own learning on these influential ideas, but further to confidently facilitate classroom environments where students can read and discuss critical texts in a respectful, inclusive, thorough form, and enliven their own thinking and the future of our politics and culture.
The Fearless Pursuit and Teaching of Political Wisdom Through Dialogue will have two main components. First will be a twelve-week online series, with four cohorts of twelve LA County teachers and two facilitators each meeting two hours weekly, on either weeknights or weekends, beginning in spring 2024. The second component will be an onsite Saturday gathering with all 48 participants in May 2024, taking place in Los Angeles. The seminar facilitators and onsite gathering moderators will be seasoned seminar leaders from across the country. Differing points of view across the political and cultural spectrum, which the texts represent, will be explored in open dialogue.
Works featured in the twelve-week online series include selections from:
The Laws by Plato
The Politics by Aristotle
Thomas Aquinas on Law
A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft
Speeches from Abraham Lincoln
Selected Supreme Court Cases
The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich von Hayek
Political writings of Hannah Arendt
Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
The Source of Self-Regard by Toni Morrison
Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman
These Truths - A History of the United States by Jill Lepore
A History of the American People by Paul Johnson
If this series proves to be successful, these twelve-week sessions will be revised and replicated for additional cohorts. Following the online series and onsite gathering, a final media product, including audio recordings of the sessions, video recordings of the gathering and interviews with participants, and a written summary and outline of effective strategies will be published and available on our website.
The media product and interviews will serve as our initial qualitative evaluation. In June 2024, follow-up surveys and interviews will be used to determine the program’s classroom efficacy, reach, sustainability, as well as provide suggestions and feedback to guide future program improvements.