Teaching Students to Talk Across the Aisle

By Richard Weissbourd, Education Week Contributor

Male and female college students talking on campus image

Does anyone feel good these days about the state of decency in American life? Whether it’s divisive, finger-pointing politicians, the daily “shout” shows, vicious cyberattacks on women and Muslims, hate crimes, or everyday social-media incivility, our public and community life is increasingly nasty and debased.

These problems, of course, have many roots, including the splintering of media into warring ideological camps; the shaming-fest of reality television; parenting and cultural trends that appear to have promoted narcissism and selfishness, and economic stress that has surely made many people more self-protective.

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