Much of society is dysfunctional. It no longer works. Every special interest group uses bullying tactics to make others submit to their agenda. It leaves many people with no voice. To have an effective society, we need effective organizations. To have equality for all, we need to hear everyone’s voice, and not just those who scream the loudest, or have the most money, or control the information flow. No one should be allowed to speak over others, hog the floor, or not allow all sides to be heard. Democracy is for everyone, including children. Children should be taught the fundamental rules of order in the democratic process. This guide is designed specifically to teach children from Kindergarten through 5th Grade how to conduct orderly meetings where everyone gets a chance to speak. It’s designed so that even the youngest child can participate in the process. Established rules of order are useful anywhere people make decisions, including within the family structure. Even professional educators and businesspeople find it difficult to hold meetings without a set of guidelines that everyone abides by. Brigadier General Robert, the mastermind behind Robert’s Rules of Order, got the inspiration to write down “the rules” for conducting orderly meetings, after sitting through a 14-hour meeting. He realized the lack of order made it difficult to accomplish tasks quickly. It led to chaos and fighting over things not related to the task at hand. His book, first published in 1876, is still so popular today that it has been revised repeatedly and is now in its 11th edition. Over the years, It has been modernized to reflect societal trends, such as, how to properly send meeting minutes electronically (by email). Robert’s Rules of Order is as relevant today as it was when it was first written. Some schools have attempted to develop a curriculum designed to transform students into fully participating members of the democratic process, but most are missing the key element that ties it all together. (Hint: It’s Robert’s Rules of Order.) Ted Weisgal has made it his mission to bring order into chaos, and has spent the last 35 years teaching and promoting Robert’s Rules of Order to anyone and everyone who will listen. Are you ready to transform your children and students into engaged and courteous citizens?
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Ted Weisgal is the co-founder of Leisure Learning Unlimited, a for-profit leisure education company. Since founding LLU in 1979, Ted has taught for LLU a class in the basics of Robert’s Rules of Order to a wide range of students, including members of the Houston City Council, to the Houston and Pearland (Texas) Independent School Districts’ Board, and to student governments at the University of Houston-Downtown and Texas Southern University, to the Student Bar Association at Texas Southern University’s Law School, to homeowner associations (HOA’s), to the League United of Latin American Citizens (LULAC), to labor unions, community organizers and to many Rotary Clubs. But his most memorable experiences have come from teaching Robert’s Rules to elementary school children. Born in California to a union organizer father and woman’s rights supporter mother, Ted pursued a degree in Journalism at San Jose State during the turbulent 1960’s. While his basketball career was short lived, his love for parliamentary procedure was sparked watching Student Government meetings. During this time, he helped start several student and activists groups, but without using Robert’s Rules. Difficulties and ultimately the dissolution of these groups taught the author the benefit of using a structured approach to run organizations. After college, the author was instrumental in founding the University of Houston’s lifelong learning program – Sundry School. At the same time, he co-founded the Houston Food Co-op from which the StreetFarmer’s Food Co-op was born. Unfortunately after ten years in operation, the lack of clear rules resulted in internal struggles that ultimately dissolved these efforts too. It all finally came together in 1979 when the author co-founded Leisure Learning Unlimited, lifelong learning school, which grew to 500 different classes in the schedule, and is still strong today. The author has taught Robert’s Rules of Order as a class for the past 35 years and is a sought-after public speaker on the topic.
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