ENGAGING IDEAS – 08/17/2018


Democracy

Why a Free Press Matters (The Atlantic)
Journalists have been keeping a check on power since the creation of the First Amendment. Now, they're being tested. Continue Reading

On the Ambiguity of "Democracy" in America (commondreams.org)
In American public discourse - articulated by public officials, media outlets, and ordinary citizens of virtually all political stripes - the United States is called a democracy. However, this attribution is false and has been so since the foundation of the republic. Many know this, but many don't. And the misuse of the term has become unusually, politically consequential since November, 2016. Continue Reading

What Americans want from reform in 2018 (Brookings Institution)
The rebuilders now have the momentum to win a plurality in the midterm elections and are on track to becoming a president-maker in 2020, even as the dismantlers fight to maintain control. Continue Reading


Opportunity/Inequality

Maybe Worker Inequality Isn't Inevitable After All (Bloomberg)
In the 2000s and coming out of the great recession, increased inequality between educated knowledge workers and less-educated and goods-producing workers seemed inevitable. Continue Reading

2017 was a great year for CEOs. Not so much for the average worker. (Vox)
A new study shows that CEOs made about 312 times more money in 2017 than the average worker. Continue Reading

What American inequality looks like from above (Fast Company)
The story of inequality in the United States is written in its streets. In Silicon Valley, it looks like a homeless encampment carved out of a scruffy patch of land that's separated from Facebook and Instagram headquarters by the expressway filled with private tech buses. In Baltimore, it looks like an empty highway that displaced thousands of families and was never even completed. In Detroit, it looks like a cinderblock wall that was built in the 1940s to separate black and white neighborhoods and shape the street grid. Continue Reading


Engagement

State Rep. supports civics education bill (The Landmark)
Senate Bill 2631, An Act to promote and enhance civic engagement, passed the House of Representatives and Senate unanimously on July 25 by votes of 151-0 and 37-0, respectively. The bill, which is now under review by Governor Charlie Baker, represents a compromise between two earlier versions of the legislation previously approved by the two branches. Continue Reading

Despite the Risks, Some States Are Handcuffed to Limited Online Voting Options (Government Technology)
Top computer researchers gave a startling presentation recently about how to intercept and switch votes on emailed ballots, but officials in the 30 or so states said the ease with which votes could be changed wouldn't alter their plans to continue offering electronic voting in some fashion. Continue Reading

Need help understanding the city budget? Grab a toy car and get to work (Denverrite)
Starting on Thursday, and for five days only, Denverites interested in art, weird machines or civic engagement can catch a blend of all three of those things in a new installation by Warm Cookies of the Revolution, the quirky "Civic Health Club" whose mission is to connect people with their city in innovative ways. Continue Reading


K-12

Florida told its low-scoring schools to make their days longer. It helped, new research finds (Chalkbeat)
In Florida, the extended-day push began in 2012 with the state's 100 lowest performing schools and expanded to 300 schools in 2014. Continue Reading

Undocumented students face hurdles getting into college. Here's how Indiana teachers have helped them succeed (Chalkbeat)
Navigating the college admissions process can be a challenge for any student, but in Indiana, undocumented students can face extra hurdles in pursuing higher learning. That's because Indiana is one of just six states that prohibits undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition rates at public universities. Continue Reading

A year of personalized learning: Mistakes, moving furniture and making it work (Hechinger Report)
In the first year of a new program, a large San Diego district experiences small victories despite growing pains. Continue Reading


Higher Ed/Workforce

Surprise Gift: Free Tuition for All N.Y.U. Medical Students (New York Times)
The New York University School of Medicine announced on Thursday that it would cover the tuition of all its students, regardless of merit or need, citing concerns about the "overwhelming financial debt" facing graduates. Continue Reading

Why Does Publishing Higher-Ed Research Take So Long? (Chronicle of Higher Education)
Growth in the discipline, a spike in quality and international submissions, reluctance by scholars to review articles, and focus on a limited number of top publications all contribute to backlogs and sluggish turnaround, say editors of the top three journals in the field. Scholars are buzzing about prospective solutions, including more and bigger journals, honoraria to encourage article reviews, and an increase in online publication. Continue Reading

Vocational Training Is Back as Firms Pair With High Schools to Groom Workers (Wall Street Journal)
The renewed popularity of so-called career education programs marks a shift away from the idea that all students should get a liberal-arts education designed to prepare them for college. Continue Reading


Health Care

Rebates don't correlate to drug price spikes, AHIP study says (Modern Healthcare)
A new Milliman study commissioned by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) downplayed the overall impact of rebates offered by drugmakers to insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) on total drug spending. The report blamed spiking costs on lack of competition. Continue Reading

Study links real-time EHR alerts with fewer complications, lower costs (Fierce Healthcare)
When physicians get the right kind of alert in an electronic health record-and actually follow its recommendation-it could result in fewer complications and lower costs among hospitalized patients, according to a new study. Continue Reading

New rule pushes for hospital price transparency (Employee Benefit Adviser)
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a proposed rule aimed at providing patients with a clear price listing of the cost of their hospital charges. In an effort to fulfill the proposed rule's objective, CMS suggested an amendment to the requirements previously established by Section 2718(e) of the Affordable Care Act. Continue Reading

ENGAGING IDEAS – 08/10/2018


Democracy

Democratic Socialism Threatens Minorities (The Atlantic)
Nothing better protects victims of bigotry than a system where they can pursue their needs and wants outside the realm of popular control. Continue Reading

Facebook should shut down its News Feed until the midterm elections (Salon.com)
This week, Facebook announced that it had uncovered accounts and pages with a total of nearly 300,000 followers that were propaganda intended to interfere with the midterm elections this November. While the social media company's revelation fell short of stating that Russia was behind these covert accounts, other federal law enforcement and government officials later confirmed as much. Continue Reading

Preventing the suicide of American democracy (The Hill)
A new study of American public attitudes suggests our democracy indeed may be heading toward a cliff, but it also suggests ways we can pull it back toward health and long-term survival. Continue Reading


Opportunity/Inequality

As Affordable Housing Crisis Grows, HUD Sits on the Sidelines (The New York Times)
The country is in the grips of an escalating housing affordability crisis. Millions of low-income Americans are paying 70 percent or more of their incomes for shelter, while rents continue to rise and construction of affordable rental apartments lags far behind the need. Continue Reading

The real reason you're not getting a pay raise (Vox)
The economy is growing strongly, the unemployment rate has been at or below 4.5 percent for 16 straight months, but wage growth remains disappointingly low. Continue Reading

How inequality is affecting nations' economic growth (Eyewitness News)
A new study by the Opportunity and Growth Institute at the Minneapolis Fed found that the housing boom and bust made middle-class Americans poorer but boosted wealth for the richest 10%, widening the income and wealth gap substantially. Continue Reading


Engagement

Here's How Colleges Can Get More Involved in Elections - and Not Just in the Midterms (Chronicle of Higher Education)
A new report released on Thursday from the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education at Tufts University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, tries to answer that question. The report draws on years of research, including IDHE's data on college voter registration and turnout, said Nancy Thomas, director of the institute. Continue Reading

Stanford Undergrads Build New Platform to Connect Citizens with Elected Officials (Government Technology)
Pulse is a civic engagement platform that simplifies info about legislation, allows constituents to make their opinions known and gives elected leaders a simplified dashboard to process input. Continue Reading

Driving citizen engagement through mobile technologies (GCN)
Encouraging citizens to be more involved in their own governance is nothing new. The direct democracy model of ancient Athenian government, in which every (free) citizen voted directly on laws and other legislation, is perhaps the most famous -- and extreme -- example of the principle of citizen engagement. Continue Reading


K-12

Only 20% of US kids study a language in school-compared to 92% in Europe (Quartz)
Kids in the US take classes in English, which works out pretty well for them. The dominant global language right now happens to be their default. Perhaps that's one reason why only 20% of US students in kindergarten through 12th grade learn a foreign language, according to new Pew Research Center data. Continue Reading

More teachers are turning to crowdfunding sites to pay for books, supplies, and field trips (Vox)
Educators at high-poverty schools spend more out of pocket on their classrooms. Continue Reading

Worried about enrollment, some Colorado school districts are suing to prevent cross-district busing (Chalkbeat)
Six school districts and the associations that represent them are suing to stop a change to Colorado law that could increase access to school choice but that was approved under questionable circumstances. Continue Reading


Higher Ed/Workforce

Why fewer kids work the kind of summer jobs that their parents used to have (Salon.com)
While the presence of teenagers in the summer workforce in July 1978 was at 72 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Population Survey reported a July 2016 teen labor force participation rate of 43 percent. A recent report by the Pew Research Center analyzed the average summer employment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds in June, July and August 2017 and found that only 35 percent of teens has a summer job. Continue Reading

Abuse Scandals Involving Doctors Have Shaken Several Colleges. Now Others Are Making Changes. (Chronicle of Higher Education)
Fallout from incidents at Michigan State, the University of Southern California, and Ohio State has driven institutions to add new protective measures - both to safeguard students and to minimize their own liability. Continue Reading

Netflix Versions of Higher Education Emerge (OZY.com)
Tech startups such as Coorpacademy are trying to break into the global corporate education sector, dominated by business schools and this year estimated to be worth $362 billion, according to analysts Training Industry Research. New entrants offer eye-catching alternatives, and are often aimed at younger workers. But they have a long way to go. Continue Reading


Health Care

Governors Association Works with Eight States to Improve Health Data Sharing (Government Technology)
In a 16-month initiative, the National Governors Association is working with eight states on health policies that could enhance data sharing and improve identity management and cost effectiveness. Continue Reading

Value-based purchasing programs tougher for academic hospitals (Modern Healthcare)
Academic medical centers are penalized more under the CMS' various value-based purchasing programs than community hospitals, according to a new report. Continue Reading

Are diagnostic health apps accurate? Researchers say there's no way to tell (Fierce Healthcare)
As more people turn to their phone or laptop for a medical diagnosis, some industry experts are pointing to a growing evidence gap that could leave consumers unable to determine which apps are most effective. Continue Reading

ENGAGING IDEAS – 08/03/2018


Democracy

New app News With Friends encourages users to share stories from outside their filter bubble (journalism.co.uk)
The social app wants to fill the space left by Facebook deprioritising news content in its News Feed.Continue Reading

Facebook Identifies an Active Political Influence Campaign Using Fake Accounts (The New York Times)
Facebook said on Tuesday that it had identified a political influence campaign that was potentially built to disrupt the midterm elections, with the company detecting and removing 32 pages and fake accounts that had engaged in activity around divisive social issues.
Continue Reading

Social Movements Are Much More Partisan Than They Used to Be (The Atlantic)
There are definite parallels between today's protests and those of the 1960s, when Graham Nash wrote his classic anthem, "Teach Your Children." But increased polarization means changes in tactics and goals.
Continue Reading


Opportunity/Inequality

One chart that shows how much worse income inequality is in America than Europe (Vox)
The income share of the poorest half of Americans is declining while the richest have grabbed more. In Europe, it's not happening.
Continue Reading

10 cities with the highest, lowest income inequality (Becker's Hospital Review)
Atlanta has the highest income inequality among the nation's metro areas, according to an analysis by Zippia, a career search and employment services company.
Continue Reading

Middle-class Americans still haven't recovered from housing bust, study finds (MarketWatch)
A new study by the Opportunity and Growth Institute at the Minneapolis Fed found that the housing boom and bust made middle-class Americans poorer but boosted wealth for the richest 10%, widening the income and wealth gap substantially.
Continue Reading


Engagement

A Roadmap for Policy Change (GovEx)
GovEx created A Roadmap for Policy Change for cities, and with input from cities, to facilitate a new way to help municipalities rethink the way they solve problems and address the most salient policy challenges in urban governance. Read the Roadmap below.
Continue Reading

What's New in Civic Tech: Boulder, Colo., Works to Develop Better City Website by Engaging Users (Government Technology)
Boulder, Colo., is the latest local government to design a new website with guidance from the end users - the city's residents.
Continue Reading


K-12

New York City schools agree to bullying reforms in wake of lawsuit (Chalkbeat)
A legal settlement calling on the education department to do more to address bullying in schools was approved this week by a judge, despite objections from advocates.
Continue Reading

Many charter schools fail to disclose spending on low-income students, report says (EdSource)
The vast majority of California's charter schools sampled for a study failed to fully disclose how they spent money on students targeted for assistance under the state's funding formula. Some didn't account for any of that funding, as the state requires, according to a report released Wednesday by the nonprofit law and advocacy organization Public Advocates.
Continue Reading

Online learning can open doors for kids in juvenile jails (The Hechinger Report)
While online-only programs have come under fire for deprioritizing classroom relationships and providing too little instructional support for students, blended programs have been seen as able to strike an ideal balance.
Continue Reading


Higher Ed/Workforce

Colleges and Universities Woo Once-Overlooked Transfer Students (The New York Times)
Transfer students - whose challenges have often been ignored in higher education - are feeling a surge in popularity as colleges and universities are increasingly wooing them.
Continue Reading

The iGen Shift: Colleges Are Changing to Reach the Next Generation (The New York Times)
The newest students are transforming the way schools serve and educate them, including sending presidents and deans to Instagram and Twitter.
Continue Reading

Will Majoring in Psychology Make You Better Off? The Government Wants to Know (Wall Street Journal)
The Trump administration is moving to require colleges and universities to publish more detailed data on the finances of their graduates, part of a broader effort to make higher education more market driven and focused on consumer choice.
Continue Reading


Health Care

Value-based healthcare models require a better-educated, patient-centered workforce (Modern Healthcare)
The drive to attain value-based care is reshaping hospital staffing at every level, from hiring to education to teamwork.
Continue Reading

Majority of women in healthcare say it will take 25+ years to reach parity in workplace (Becker's Hospital Review)
The past year brought conversations about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace into mainstream discourse. Despite this newfound collective consciousness - or perhaps because of it - women are more pessimistic about how long it will take to reach gender parity in the workplace, according to an annual surveyof women in healthcare conducted by Rock Health, a digital health venture fund.
Continue Reading

The Health 202: 'Medicare for all' is the dream. 'Medicaid for more' could be the reality. (Washington Post)
"Medicare for all" is the hottest position on the left these days, but there's a quieter push afoot to create a public option using Medicaid..
Continue Reading

ENGAGING IDEAS – 07/20/2018


Democracy

Complicating the Narratives (The Whole Story)
What if journalists covered controversial issues differently - based on how humans actually behave when they are polarized and suspicious? Continue Reading

FBI Director Says Russia Still Seeking To Interfere In U.S. Democracy (NPR)
FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday that he stands by the U.S. intelligence agencies' assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and he warned that the Kremlin has not stopped trying to undermine American democracy. Continue Reading

America's Factory Towns, Once Solidly Blue, Are Now a GOP Haven (Washington Post)
A generation ago, Democrats represented much of the country's manufacturing base. Now, it's in GOP hands, a swing remaking both parties. Continue Reading


Opportunity/Inequality

Income Inequality in the U.S. Is Rising Most Rapidly Among Asians (Pew)
Asians displace blacks as the most economically divided group in the U.S. Continue Reading

The U.S. Does Poorly On Yet Another Metric of Economic Mobility (Forbes)
A new report from the World Bank tracks 148 countries, with 96 percent of the world's population, to answer the age-old question of how much economic opportunity and upward economic mobility a country really offers its citizens. Continue Reading


Engagement

Inside the Creation of New York City's New Affordable Housing Design Guidelines (Pacific Standard)
A public design commission has created a guide that instructs developers in how to create more coherent design for housing projects across the city. Continue Reading

National Day of Civic Hacking (Code for America)
On August 11th, 2018, join the Code for America Brigades for a nationwide day of action that brings together civic leaders, local governments, and community organizations to tackle some of our toughest challenges. Continue Reading

Houston's Third Ward Residents Want More Say over Development (Next City)
"Because we don't have zoning and we don't have many regulatory processes, the community land trust means that we at least have an opportunity to determine who benefits from development in our community." Continue Reading


K-12

How food deliveries could change lunchtime at school (Christian Science Monitor)
Across the country, more food catering programs are making it easier for students to enjoy healthy lunches at school and easing the stress of packing lunches on parents by providing alternatives to what is offered at the cafeteria. Continue Reading

The Private-School Persuasion of the Supreme Court (The Atlantic)
Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's latest nominee for the bench, graduated from a Catholic high school. So did four of the current Justices. Continue Reading

Indiana spends $3M on scholarships for future teachers, but few students of color win them (Chalkbeat)
For the second year in a row, very few students of color received a prestigious Indiana scholarship designed to attract new teachers. Out of 200 high school seniors and current college students who received the Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship this year, only five come from under-represented minority groups, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education said. Continue Reading


Higher Ed/Workforce

To Recruit Students, Colleges Turn to Corporate-Marketing Playbook (Wall Street Journal)
Schools borrow retailers' approach in analyzing consumer databases; triggering online ads. Continue Reading

Perpetuating Inequity Despite Higher Education Expansion (Inside Higher Ed)
Responding to the complex realities behind equity challenges is not especially easy in the context of a young, rapidly 'massifying', and under-resourced system. Continue Reading

Some Colleges Cautiously Embrace Wikipedia (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Academics have traditionally distrusted Wikipedia, citing the inaccuracies that arise from its communally edited design and lamenting students' tendency to sometimes plagiarize assignments from it. Now, Davis said, higher education and Wikipedia don't seem like such strange bedfellows. At conferences these days, "everyone's like, 'Oh, Wikipedia, of course you guys are here.'" Continue Reading


Health Care

Maryland health regulator expands hospital price transparency efforts (Fierce Healthcare)
The Maryland Health Care Commission is expanding its price transparency initiative with tools aimed at getting consumers pushing for information about cost and quality directly from hospitals and doctors. Continue Reading

The Astonishingly High Administrative Costs of U.S. Health Care (The Upshot)
Hidden from view: The complexity of the system comes with costs that aren't obvious but that we all pay. Continue Reading

Poll: Half of Americans find health care harder to afford this year (The Hill)
Nearly half of respondents in a new poll said they are now finding it more difficult to afford health care than they were a year ago, according to a poll released Thursday. Continue Reading

ENGAGING IDEAS – 06/29/2018


Democracy

Gerrymandering Critics Suffer Twin Blows at the Supreme Court (Governing)
The Texas case involves racial gerrymandering, while the North Carolina case deals with partisan gerrymandering -- something the justices have hinted is unconstitutional but have yet to rule against.

The latest sign of political divide: Shaming and shunning public officials (Washington Post)
Anger and division in American politics are creating a rising phenomenon: the public shaming and shunning of political figures while they are going about their private lives.

How we know journalism is good for democracy (Local News Lab)
According to new data being released later this month, at least 900 communities across the United States have faced profound erosion in their access to local news and information since 2004.


Opportunity/Inequality

The Minimum Wage Just Turned 80. Economists Don't Give It Enough Credit(Fortune)
At the deepest level, the minimum wage embodies justice. It speaks to the words of Martin Luther King Jr. that "all labor has dignity"-and so deserves a decent rate of pay..

'Squeezed' Explores Why America Is Getting Too Expensive For The Middle Class (NPR)
Author Alissa Quart writes that the costs of housing, child care, health care and college are outpacing salaries and threatening the livelihoods of middle class Americans.

An autopsy of the American dream (Vox)
Brill has been writing about class warfare in the US since 2011, and the picture he paints is as depressing as it is persuasive.


Engagement

Re-released, Infogagement: Citizenship and Democracy in the Age of Connection (PACE)
So much about our lives, communities, and social compact is being re-envisioned. Yet here, in the intersection of information, technology, engagement, and public life, are seeds of current American upheaval.

Civic engagement declines when local newspapers shut down (Journalist's Resource)
Studies have found that areas with fewer local news outlets and declining coverage also have lower levels of civic engagement and voter turnout.

Smart Cities 3.0: 5G, Edge Computing and Citizen Engagement(State Tech Magazine)
With advanced technology and careful planning, city governments can alleviate growing problems seen in many of today's urban communities and become more sustainable for future generations.


K-12

AmeriCorps 'volunteers' in Denver schools were district employees, investigation finds (Chalkbeat)
The AmeriCorps program in Denver Public Schools has been terminated after an investigation found the district broke rules by recruiting its own employees to serve as volunteers, according to a report released Wednesday.

New education budget threatens dozens of low-performing Detroit schools with closure - again (Chalkbeat)
Dozens of struggling Detroit schools could face closure once again after Gov. Rick Snyder signed an education budget on Thursday that seeks to stiffen consequences for low-scoring schools.

A $1 billion Gates Foundation-backed education initiative failed to help students, according to a new report - here's what happened (Business Insider)
A seven-year, nearly $1 billion education initiative centered on improving teaching quality in low-income schools - and bankrolled in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - largely failed to help students, according to a new report from nonprofit policy think tank RAND.


Higher Ed/Workforce

Vocational Programs Get Boost From Congress(Wall Street Journal)
Bill that provides incentives for technical training programs set to pass, in rare moment of bipartisan agreement.

Should America's Universities Stop Taking So Many International Students? (The Atlantic)
Critics say the country's higher-education institutions should focus on ensuring more Americans get four-year degrees, but college presidents highlight the benefits of global diversity on campus.


Health Care

Can Low-Intensity Care Solve High Health Care Costs? (The Upshot)
The shift toward cheaper settings like outpatient clinics and homes is a worthy goal, but new research is showing us where we shouldn't cut corners.

White House wants to cut this public health service corps by nearly 40 percent (Washington Post)
The White House is proposing to reduce by nearly 40 percent the uniformed public health professionals who deploy during disasters and disease outbreaks, monitor drug safety and provide health care in some of the nation's most remote and disadvantaged areas.

Fewer Americans are spending their final days in the hospital and more are dying at home(Los Angeles Times)
The American way of dying seems to have become less frantic, desperate and expensive. That's the upshot of a new study that finds that seniors insured by Medicare who died in 2015 were less likely to do so in a hospital and more likely to pass away in a home or other community setting than those who died in 2000.

ENGAGING IDEAS – 06/29/2018


Democracy

Gerrymandering Critics Suffer Twin Blows at the Supreme Court (Governing)
The Texas case involves racial gerrymandering, while the North Carolina case deals with partisan gerrymandering -- something the justices have hinted is unconstitutional but have yet to rule against.

The latest sign of political divide: Shaming and shunning public officials (Washington Post)
Anger and division in American politics are creating a rising phenomenon: the public shaming and shunning of political figures while they are going about their private lives.

How we know journalism is good for democracy (Local News Lab)
According to new data being released later this month, at least 900 communities across the United States have faced profound erosion in their access to local news and information since 2004.


Opportunity/Inequality

The Minimum Wage Just Turned 80. Economists Don't Give It Enough Credit(Fortune)
At the deepest level, the minimum wage embodies justice. It speaks to the words of Martin Luther King Jr. that "all labor has dignity"-and so deserves a decent rate of pay..

'Squeezed' Explores Why America Is Getting Too Expensive For The Middle Class (NPR)
Author Alissa Quart writes that the costs of housing, child care, health care and college are outpacing salaries and threatening the livelihoods of middle class Americans.

An autopsy of the American dream (Vox)
Brill has been writing about class warfare in the US since 2011, and the picture he paints is as depressing as it is persuasive.


Engagement

Re-released, Infogagement: Citizenship and Democracy in the Age of Connection (PACE)
So much about our lives, communities, and social compact is being re-envisioned. Yet here, in the intersection of information, technology, engagement, and public life, are seeds of current American upheaval.

Civic engagement declines when local newspapers shut down (Journalist's Resource)
Studies have found that areas with fewer local news outlets and declining coverage also have lower levels of civic engagement and voter turnout.

Smart Cities 3.0: 5G, Edge Computing and Citizen Engagement(State Tech Magazine)
With advanced technology and careful planning, city governments can alleviate growing problems seen in many of today's urban communities and become more sustainable for future generations.


K-12

AmeriCorps 'volunteers' in Denver schools were district employees, investigation finds (Chalkbeat)
The AmeriCorps program in Denver Public Schools has been terminated after an investigation found the district broke rules by recruiting its own employees to serve as volunteers, according to a report released Wednesday.

New education budget threatens dozens of low-performing Detroit schools with closure - again (Chalkbeat)
Dozens of struggling Detroit schools could face closure once again after Gov. Rick Snyder signed an education budget on Thursday that seeks to stiffen consequences for low-scoring schools.

A $1 billion Gates Foundation-backed education initiative failed to help students, according to a new report - here's what happened (Business Insider)
A seven-year, nearly $1 billion education initiative centered on improving teaching quality in low-income schools - and bankrolled in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - largely failed to help students, according to a new report from nonprofit policy think tank RAND.


Higher Ed/Workforce

Vocational Programs Get Boost From Congress(Wall Street Journal)
Bill that provides incentives for technical training programs set to pass, in rare moment of bipartisan agreement.

Should America's Universities Stop Taking So Many International Students? (The Atlantic)
Critics say the country's higher-education institutions should focus on ensuring more Americans get four-year degrees, but college presidents highlight the benefits of global diversity on campus.


Health Care

Can Low-Intensity Care Solve High Health Care Costs? (The Upshot)
The shift toward cheaper settings like outpatient clinics and homes is a worthy goal, but new research is showing us where we shouldn't cut corners.

White House wants to cut this public health service corps by nearly 40 percent (Washington Post)
The White House is proposing to reduce by nearly 40 percent the uniformed public health professionals who deploy during disasters and disease outbreaks, monitor drug safety and provide health care in some of the nation's most remote and disadvantaged areas.

Fewer Americans are spending their final days in the hospital and more are dying at home(Los Angeles Times)
The American way of dying seems to have become less frantic, desperate and expensive. That's the upshot of a new study that finds that seniors insured by Medicare who died in 2015 were less likely to do so in a hospital and more likely to pass away in a home or other community setting than those who died in 2000.

The Collision of Journalism, Technology and Civic Engagement

Part of our monthly "On The Agenda" newsletter. To receive the latest email updates from Public Agenda, click here.

Four years ago, Matt Leighninger, Public Agenda's vice president of public engagement, wrote a paper called "Infogagement" for Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE). In the paper, Matt predicted that journalism, technology and civic engagement were on a collision course. It seems today we're witnessing that collision and its harmful effects on our democracy in the form of fake news, echo chamber groupthink, information overload, populist instability, the erosion of local journalism and the acceleration of society's trust crisis.

Last week, PACE, in partnership with Public Agenda, re-released this important paper which contains a new introduction from Matt and a series of commentaries from thought leaders across the fields of civic engagement, journalism, technology and philanthropy. How can we engage people constructively and productively in the digital age? What are the dangers we must overcome, and how can we do so?

The challenges are vast, but, as Matt notes, "... it isn't all bad news."

Infogagement: Citizenship and Democracy in the Age of Connection is a must-read for anyone who wants to explore the implications of digital information and communications for democracy.