PLE in context: who are its cousins?

May 22, 2007

Public legal education providers are not the only organizations working tirelessly to educate people on important topics that impact their daily lives. PLEI has a host of “cousins”—fields of adult and youth education, such as public health education, that share special similarities.

A short list of some of PLE’s closest cousins might include:

  • Health education: probably the most advanced cousin, and a field I have looked to several times on this blog. This area gets called both “public health education” and “community health education,” and is closely related to “health promotion.” Providers network through the Canadian Public Health Association and the Society for Public Health Education in the U.S.
  • Consumer and financial education: a giant field seemingly occupied by few sole-purpose nonprofit providers. The federal government, instead, has taken a major role here. The Canadian Foundation for Economic Education may be a central networking point in this field—I can’t tell.
  • Environmental education: at times in PLE’s history, environmental education has been a partner and a model. This field is gigantic and growing, and independent nonprofit providers network through the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM).
  • Human rights education: maybe PLE’s closest cousin, major players in this rapidly developing field are Amnesty International and Equitas.
  • Civic, citizenship, and democracy education: another very close cousin to PLE, and one that often blends in with modern Canadian PLE programming. The Citizenship Education Research Network is one group that might be networking players in this area.

There are others, as well—peace education and public science education, for example. What ties all of them together are related issues (all tackle subjects that are social, political, and everyday), similar strategies, and common problems. All of these fields experience the tangled benefits and frustrations that arise out of the interplay of government and nonprofit players, limited funding, and pervasive misinformation.

What can PLE learn from these other fields? What can PLEAC learn from its counterparts in these other movements? Where are the points of potential partnership between PLE providers and this universe of other, related providers?

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