Deliberating in a Democracy

Freedom of speech is the foundation of a healthy democracy. For democracy to thrive, citizens must deliberate; they must express and exchange ideas among themselves and with their representatives in government. And they must be able to do this, even when they disagree. Deliberation skills:

  • Ensure that conflicting views can be heard, understood, and valued
  • Are critical to the ability to find solutions to important issues
  • Require instruction and practice; deliberating civic issues is not natural behavior

Deliberating in a Democracy (DID) 

Deliberating in a Democracy challenges students to tackle current civic issues through Structure Academic Controversy (SAC), a method to teach deliberation skills developed by the Johnson brothers at the University of Minnesota.

Deliberating in a Democracy grew out of two programs conducted by the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago (CRFC), the Constitutional Rights Foundation in Los Angeles (CRF) and Street Law, Inc. with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.  Locally, Learning Law and Democracy Foundation coordinated the international effort in Minnesota. More information about the Minnesota program.

The programs’ primary goals are to promote an international dialogue related to democratic principles as applied in the United States, Latin America, and Eastern Europe and to find solutions to important world issues.

Reading materials that are the basis for the deliberations address common public policy issues, providing comparative information.

More Information:

In Minnesota

Through Deliberating in a Democracy Minnesota, students develop the ability to deliberate important issues confronting Minnesotans using DID materials focused on topics of special interest for Minnesota.  Deliberating in a Democracy Minnesota is supported in part by a grant funded by the Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment

This is democracy in action!

For more information:

Program Support Material

Resources for teachers

Minnesota Issues materials for students

 Professional Development Opportunities

Contact: Jennifer Bloom



Deliberating in a Democracy in the Americas

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