The 2015 Education Forum: On the Spirit of Learning
at Dallas ISD’s Lincoln High School


To provoke thoughts

To inspire hearts

To raise questions and begin a conversation

We spend a lot of time discussing the challenges in education, and rightly so. We must always be seeking ways to improve.

But we must also remember that in order to improve, from time to time we need to refresh our imaginations about what education could be.

This is the purpose of the 2015 Education Forum: To provide the opportunity for Citizens and Educators to be reminded about the best things in education so we can imagine how to bring this vision to life.

Which Student DeservesThe Program:

Friday, September 25, 2015, 6:00 PM: a panel of the speakers discussed Dr. Donald Cowan’s chapter called “The Spirit of Liberal Learning” from his book Unbinding Prometheus: Education for the Coming Age.

Following the panel, Dr. William Deresiewicz followed with a talk about liberal education and culture.

Diane Ravitch then delivered the keynote address, giving us the history of liberal education in America.

After Dr. Ravitch’s keynote address, speakers signed books until 9:00 PM.

Saturday, September 26, 2015, 9:00 AM: Dr. Elizabeth Samet and Dr. Andrew Delbanco each spoke about liberal education at the college and university levels through the lens of literature. Their talks were followed by a brief, moderated panel, setting the format for the teams that follow.

In the next hour, Dr. Matthew Crawford and Dr. Diana Senechal spoke about and discussed liberal learning through the lens of philosophy at both the university level and the secondary levels.

After lunch, Dr. Ben Olguín and Dr. Dan Russ spoke about and discussed liberal learning at all levels of education through the lens of literature and poetry, with a focus on reaching “at-risk” students.

After a break, the speakers gathered for a final plenary discussion.

Then Dr. Louise Cowan delivered the final address on the Cowans’ idea of the spirit of liberal learning and the centrality of what they call the “poetic imagination.”

Most of our speakers have written books in which they discuss the value of liberal education—from liber, meaning “free one,” in other words, an education suited for a free person—and all of them are educators who have thought deeply about learning and teaching and knowledge and have practiced the spirit of learning.

We used this time to begin a conversation in Dallas, a conversation in which we can reacquaint ourselves with the timeless qualities of a liberal education that can meet the needs of students in our day.

Thank you for joining us to learn, to remember, and to be inspired.

Thank you for helping ignite the spirit of learning for all.

Speakers for the 2015 Education Forum

Top, from left: William Deresiewicz, Elizabeth Samet, Diane Ravitch, Dan Russ, & Matthew Crawford.
Bottom, from left: Louise Cowan, Andrew Delbanco, Diana Senechal, & Ben Olguín.

The 2013 Education Forum: What is a teacher?

Ed Forum Banner

September 6-7, 2013

The Dallas Institute has always believed teachers to be the essential feature in education, but in these last years our culture has begun to view them in the wrong ways. Teachers’ true authority has been diminished while they have been held increasingly accountable for the failures of the system.

In this two-day program, educators and citizens came together to consider what is a teacher and what is a teacher’s role in education? Featuring our newly released book–What is a teacher? Remembering the Soul of Education Through Classic Literature–through lectures, panels, and plenary discussions we remembered the nature and the work of the teacher.

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