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A Search for Common Ground: Conversations About the Toughest Questions in K-12 Education

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Want to learn how to ‘Listen Generously’? Attend “Search for Common Ground” and see it in Action

Medford, MA - Tisch College's Generous Listening and Dialogue Center (GLADC) invites Tufts' faculty, students, and the general public to attend an insightful panel session on October 12th with Frederick M. Hess, Ph.D, and Pedro A. Noguera, Ph.D., on the subject of ‘searching for common ground’, also the namesake of their recent book, A Search for Common Ground: Conversations About the Toughest Questions in K-12 Education. The panel will focus on the topic of their book and ‘how seeking to find common ground’ can help individuals have difficult conversations on all topics across all sectors. 
GLADC Executive Director, Dr. Kenann McKenzie, says, “There is a need for leaders who can help us better communicate with one another, especially during a time of such ‘bitter national polarization’. By highlighting the collaborative work of Drs. Hess and Noguera, we are amplifying a powerful example of generous listening in practice and what it can do for a healthy dialogue and ultimately, what it can do to have the difficult conversations that are essential in a thriving society. We acknowledge that Drs. Hess and Noguera are shining examples of the power of Generous Listening and we want to recognize their work in hopes that others may glean inspiration from it.”
In A Search for Common Ground, Rick Hess and Pedro Noguera, who have expressed opposing viewpoints on policy issues over the past couple of decades, candidly talk through their differences on some of the toughest issues in K–12 education today―from school choice to testing to diversity to privatization. They offer a sharp, honest debate that digs deep into their disagreements, enabling them to find a surprising amount of common ground along the way. Written as a series of back-and-forth exchanges in a letter format, this engaging book illustrates a model of responsible, civil debate between those with substantial, principled differences. It is also a powerful meditation on where 21st-century school improvement can and should go next.
Pedro Noguera is the Dean of the Rossier School of Education and a Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Southern California. He has written 15 books, and in 2022, he was ranked 3rd in the nation for influence and impact in the field of education, by Education Week. He holds an MA and Ph.D. in Sociology from Brown University and the University of California-Berkeley, respectively.
Frederick M. Hess is a senior fellow and the director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he works on K–12 and higher education issues. He holds an MA and a PhD in government, in addition to an MEd in teaching and curriculum, from Harvard University.


The Generous Listening and Dialogue Center (GLADC) was launched in 2021 in collaboration with the Vuslat Foundation to promote authentic connection through dialogue and generous listening, even across differences. Generous listening is broadly defined as the art of listening to ourselves, to nature, and to others—especially when people disagree or when they confront differences of perspective, experience, power, and/or status. GLADC works with schools and departments across Tufts, building on the expertise of faculty, research centers and civic engagement programs, while also collaborating with national and global partners. Our programming and interdisciplinary initiatives help students, staff and faculty develop skills and awareness, address hard issues, and generate new knowledge.

Event Details

Event title: “A Search for Common Ground”
When: Wednesday, October 12, 4-7PM
Location: ASEAN Auditorium, Cabot Center, 160 Packard Avenue, Medford, MA 02155
Featuring two nationally renowned scholars, Drs. Pedro Noguera and Frederick Hess, discussing their book A Search for Common Ground and the importance of finding a common ground, despite political and policy differences, on education. Their work illustrates a model of civil debate between those with substantial principled differences.

Please note that any visitors to Tufts campus must adhere to Tufts COVID guidelines.


Natalie Bowers, 617-955-0602, Acorn Communications for GLADC
Jen McAndrew,