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Local education forum looks for consensus

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If we're going to change the toxic political climate in this country, a good place to start is having open community discussions focusing on where people agree. Finding common ground and building from there is essential to building a better climate for getting things done.

That's the goal of the Community Forums Network, a statewide nonprofit and non-partisan organization dedicated to finding consensus on critical issues. CFN has more than 80 nonprofit members across the state representing a wide array of interests including the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. They'll be holding a forum in the Wenatchee Valley on Tuesday, March 19 to discuss how we can build an education system in Washington State that works for all kids. It will be held from 6:00-7:45 at Eastmont Junior High School.

At the forum, they will present a brief video that talks about some of the key issues around effective schools, followed be reactions from four local experts: Dr. Ismael Vivanco, migrant education director for North Central Educational Service District, Dr. Garn Christensen, superintendent of Eastmont schools, Katy Daley, a teacher at Icicle River Middle School in Leavenworth, and Anni Hisey, owner of Academic Associates Learning Center in Wenatchee.

There will be an opportunity for questions and small-group discussions to talk about the issues face-to-face. Participants will be encouraged to fill out a survey that will be handed out at the event or take the survey online. The results from across the state will be tabulated and CFN will present the findings to lawmakers in Olympia who are wrestling with these issues.

The Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce is hosting this event, which is being cosponsored by El Mundo, KOHO Radio and The World. We hope you'll stop by and invest an hour or two of your time in learning more about and discussion how we can make our education system better.

To reserve a spot, please see the ad on or log onto There is also more information about the network and the topic on the web site. A Spanish version of the survey will be available online and in print. Depending on how many people fill out the survey, the chamber will be eligible for a grant from CFN, so participating is a way to support the local organization as well. This isn't a perfect approach but it is a good start. Perhaps we can take this discussion and build upon it in our communities.

A link to CFN

A link to the survey