An Exercise in Hard Choices
Time 09/21/05 08:45AM-10:00AM
Created by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget under the direction of Carol Cox Wait, for over 20 years An Exercise in Hard Choices has challenged citizens to develop a federal budget. Participants experience the same hard choices faced by the President and Congress, alternately debating, conceding, or prevailing as they work on achieving group consensus. Originally, the Exercise was available only as a live, face-to-face event in which literally hundreds of people would be involved. Through three consecutive appropriations from the federal Department of Education, The University of Akron has partnered with the CRFB to enable delivery of the Exercise at a distance.
In the first year, an electronic scorecard and three electronic versions were created and piloted. In the second year, the Exercise was significantly reformatted in response to the electronic pilots and research was conducted among UA and high school students that demonstrated, across all delivery methods, participant gains in three areas:
1. A statistically significant increase in knowledge of the federal budget and budget process.
2. A statistically significant increase in interest in the budget process and how government works, including intentions to read about and discuss these topics in the future.
3. Satisfaction with the experience of using technology to solve a problem and achieve a goal.
In the third year, UA has worked with new President of the CRFB Maya MacGuineas to pilot a rollout to high school students in four states: Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Using Internet2 as the backbone, we have conducted Exercise sessions using traditional, Polycom (site-to-site), and FlashCom (computer-to-computer) methods. Several pilots involved connecting students in different locations simultaneously, allowing them to discourse as members of a larger academic and civic community.
Speaker John Hirschbuhl University of Akron
Speaker Ruth E. Friedman Beachwood Public Schools
Speaker Scott Bryan St. Clair County ISD, Michigan
Speaker Richard Rose University of Maryland
Speaker Litsa Varonis University of Akron
Speaker Paul McKey University of Akron
Speaker Andrea Snell University of Akron