Deliberations allow teachers to help students cooperatively discuss contested political issues by carefully considering multiple perspectives and searching for consensus.
A 2012 study of the Deliberation model developed in partnership with the Constitutional Rights Foundation, the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago, and Street Law, Inc., found that Deliberations helped students develop a deeper understanding of the issues, engage in critical thinking, make decisions based on evidence and logic, respect others' points of view, and identify multiple perspectives associated with the Deliberation topic (Avery, Kundin, Sheldon, & Thompson, 2012).
Students embark on Deliberations feeling safe, supported, and armed with facts, with an eye toward civic engagement and the understanding that by talking about contested political topics across differences, they are a part of building an informed citizenry that ultimately will benefit the larger community.
Street Law has developed a robust library of Deliberation resources including materials for eight Deliberation topics, social-emotional learning resources to support students as they participate in Deliberations, and an instructional video and handouts to help teachers and students understand the Deliberation process. Our Resource Library includes Deliberation materials on the following topics:
- Assault weapons: Should the federal government pass an assault weapons ban?
- Fracking: Should our state ban or allow hydraulic fracturing (or fracking)?
- Hate speech: Should hate speech be banned in our democracy?
- Immigration: Should the U.S. government make it easier for unauthorized immigrants who came to this country as children to pay for college?
- Juvenile justice: Should violent juvenile offenders be punished as adults?
- Military intervention: Should the U.S. military intervene to protect people in other countries from state-sponsored mass killing?
- Minimum wage: Should our state or community raise the minimum wage?
- Voting: Should voting be compulsory in the United States?
As with all Street Law materials, the Deliberation resources were written by Street Law’s expert staff, field-tested by teachers, and vetted by content experts on both sides of the issue.
Learn more about Street Law's Deliberation resources and training