Blogs

Understanding the Public: Lessons from Public Agenda’s Jean Johnson

Since its founding in 1975, Public Agenda has been intimately involved in nonpartisan opinion research and stakeholder engagement.

Americans and the Environment: What’s At Issue?

The environment doesn’t rank among our top priorities as a nation. Public opinion research shows that our most pressing concerns tend to revolve around the economy, unemployment, and the budget deficit.

Real Impact: The Challenges of Community Engagement in Higher Education

Many communities lack the basic civic muscle necessary to form a strong community. Conflict management and decision-making skills seem far and few, and basic political knowledge about our communities and nation, many argue, seem scarce.

Parent Involvement in Education: What Really Matters Most?

Would eating less margarine reduce the divorce rate in Maine? Could we increase the number of graduate engineering degrees by upping mozzarella consumption? Some correlations are ridiculous, which is exactly the point of the very clever web site “Spurious Correlations.”

Developing Materials for Deliberative Forums

We are happy to announce the publication of a new report, Developing Materials for Deliberative Forums, a guide for anyone interested in creating materials to support deliberative conversations on difficult public issues.

Citizens and Elected Officials: What Kind of Relationship Should There Be?

Matt Leighninger thinks the capacities of citizens have grown tremendously over the years. But one of the misalignments between having better engagement and more productive use of citizens’ capacities has been the inclination of decision makers to adopt a “child-to-adult” orientation to the public. What we need, he says, is an “adult-to-adult relationship.”

 

Is This Really Working for Us? Public Views on Foreign Policy

“We, as a country, are just spread way too thin to get involved in anything else . . . “

“I understand the need for world order . . . but it just seems like whenever there is a huge international crisis, the United States is always the first one to run out and open [its] mouth . . . “

“I think we really should focus on this country. We are in such trouble ourselves.”

 

From Concerns to Options: Values and Things Held Valuable

When framing issues for public deliberation, it’s important to start where the public starts. Practically speaking, this means doing basic research that involves talking to an array of people about what concerns them when it comes to the topic at hand and listening very carefully to what they say.

Retired Kettering Foundation VP and Treasurer Dies at 77

Jim Schwartzhoff has died at the age of 77.

Most Americans Think Government Should Do More to Fight Obesity – or Do They?

Except for kids themselves, just about everyone wants children to eat more fruits and vegetables. Even so, there’s plenty of disagreement about what government can or should do to make that happen.