ENGAGING IDEAS – 01/18/2019


The Populist Specter (The Nation)
Is the groundswell of popular discontent in Europe and the Americas what's really threatening democracy? Continue Reading

Waiting for a Shutdown to End in Disaster (The Atlantic)
Aides on Capitol Hill fear that a dramatic government failure may be the only thing to force President Trump and the Democrats back to the table. Continue Reading

It's time for think tanks and universities to take the democracy pledge (The Washington Post)
The murder of Jamal Khashoggi has put the spotlight on think tanks and universities receiving funding from the Saudi regime. Under pressure by media reports, a few think tanks, such as the Brookings Institution, the Center for International Studies and the Middle East Institute, have decided to return Saudi money. Continue Reading


Why midsized metro areas deserve our attention (Brookings)
Consensus is forming that place matters for economic policy; and evidence is mounting that the largest places are succeeding while smaller ones are not. Continue Reading

How Educational Opportunity Programs graduate first-generation college students (Hechinger Report)
Nationally, only 11 percent of first-generation students typically graduate in six years; 55 percent of New Jersey's educational opportunity program students earn a degree in six years. Continue Reading

As Poll Shows Majority Back 70% Tax Rate for Ultra-Rich, Ocasio-Cortez's "Radical" Proposal Proves Extremely Mainstream (Common Dreams)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) sparked a flood of hysterical and error-filled responses from the right when she suggested in a recent "60 Minutes" interview that America's top marginal tax rate should be hiked to 70 percent to help pay for bold progressive programs, but a survey published on Tuesday found that the majority of Americans are on the freshman congresswoman's side. Continue Reading


New York's Democracy Reform Bill, and the Message It Sends (The American Prospect)
After decades in which all reforms were stymied, the new legislature enacted sweeping changes to voting laws on its second day in session. Continue Reading

Federal judge strikes down Wisconsin early-voting restrictions (The Hill)
U.S. District Judge James Peterson ruled Thursday that the early-voting limits were clearly similar to restrictions that were blocked two years ago, according to The Associated Press. Continue Reading


As government shutdown drags on, New York City vows to protect school food program (Chalkbeat)
The federal government provides about $43 million a month to pay for school meals in New York City, and right now the city has money on hand that would last until April. Continue Reading

At Los Angeles Teachers' Strike, a Rallying Cry: More Funding, Fewer Charters (The New York Times)
After more than a year of protracted negotiations, the district's 30,000 public schoolteachers walked out demanding higher pay, smaller class sizes and more support staff for students. But the union is also using the strike as a way to draw attention to what it sees as the growing problem of charter schools, saying that they siphon off students and money from traditional public schools. Continue Reading

Report: Online learning should 'supplement' - not replace - face-to-face instruction (Education Dive)
A new report takes a critical view of fully online courses and competency-based education (CBE) as regulators and stakeholders discuss the topics during the negotiated rulemaking session that kicked off this week. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

No Tuition, but You Pay a Percentage of Your Income (The New York Times)
Income Sharing Agreements are gaining the attention of higher education and Wall Street. One early success story is getting a boost from venture capital. Continue Reading

City University of New York Struggles to Fill Top Job (Wall Street Journal)
The City University of New York is close to ending its search for a new chancellor after having difficulties filling the position atop one of the nation's pre-eminent public systems of higher education. Continue Reading

America's colleges struggle to envision the future of diversity on campus (Hechinger Report)
America's colleges struggle to define, let alone achieve, diverse campuses in today's identity-centric and socioeconomically divided climate. Continue Reading

Health Care

Nearly half of doctors feel burned out, Medscape survey shows (Healthcare Dive)
Nearly 44% of American physicians report feeling burned out - and it's especially a problem for female doctors, according to a new Medscape report on doctor burnout, depression and suicide. Continue Reading

What's next after the CMS price transparency "first step" (MedCity News)
A new price transparency rule from CMS requires hospitals to post their retail list prices online, but critics are saying it doesn't go nearly far enough. Continue Reading

Microsoft, Walgreens team up to develop new healthcare delivery models (Fierce Healthcare)
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) and Microsoft Corp. announced on Tuesday that they will team up to develop new healthcare delivery models, including technology and retail innovations to disrupt the healthcare delivery space. Continue Reading

ENGAGING IDEAS – 01/11/2019


A Jury of Peers (ForeignPolicy.com)
How Ireland used a Citizens' Assembly to solve some of its toughest problems. Continue Reading

Competitive elections are good for democracy - just not every democracy (The Conversation)
Our study, published in the American Political Science Review, examined four decades of data from 164 countries to see how competitive elections effect policymaking and government services. Continue Reading

Democracies In Crisis: Has The West Given Up On Democracy? (Forbes.com)
One of the key signs that people have not given up on democracy is public protest. Whether it's the Yellow Vests in Paris, or anti-Trump Woman's March protests, participatory democracy is thriving. Continue Reading


Top Colleges Are Enrolling More Students From Low-Income Homes (Washington Post)
A major push to increase enrollment of lower-income students at the nation's top colleges and universities is showing some early signs of success. Continue Reading

How wealth inequality in the US affects health inequality in the US: 4 essential reads (The Conversation)
If you have health insurance, a nice home and a decent job, why should you care about health inequality in the U.S.? This question was the underlying theme of several articles penned by health policy scholars in The Conversation in 2018. They explained such topics such as threats to the Affordable Care Act, insurance coverage, Medicaid expansion and the lack of access to health care for many people - the so-called health care gap. These experts argued that this gap is actually a threat to the system that serves all Americans. Continue Reading

How Fair Is American Society? (Yale Insights)
Americans tend to be overly optimistic about economic equality between white and black citizens, according to a new study by Yale researchers. SOM's Michael Kraus discusses why people systematically misperceive the reality of the wealth and income gap and what can be done to make the American dream more than a myth. Continue Reading


As Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Steps Away From Public Life, Her Legacy, iCivics, Begins Broad Push for Increased Civics Education (The 74)
Only 23 percent of eighth-graders are proficient in civics education, meaning they can correctly answer questions about the three branches of government, the Constitution, and voting. Continue Reading

The new urban bullies: Tech companies need to learn public engagement (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Tech companies might have some great ideas, but they should spend more time consulting with the people who lives are going to be affected by them. Continue Reading


Colorado Gov. Jared Polis pushes 'free kindergarten now' in opening address (Chalkbeat)
Funding full-day kindergarten will give more Colorado kids a good start in life, put money back in the pockets of working families, and let school districts put resources into other areas, Gov. Jared Polis said in his first State of the State address. Continue Reading

As L.A. teachers threaten to strike, union leaders are fighting a controversial school reform strategy (Chalkbeat)
If Los Angeles teachers go on strike this week or next, it won't just be about dollars and cents - it will be part of a broader fight over the role of charter schools and an obscure but influential school reform idea. Continue Reading

Aldeman & Schmitz: D.C.'s High Teacher Turnover Rate Hurts Educators as Well as Students. Blame the District's Pension Plan (The 74)
A recent report from the State Board of Education of the District of Columbia found that D.C. schools of all types lose about one-quarter of their educators every year. These rates are much higher than in peer cities around the country, and they are exceptionally high for certain roles and schools. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

Education Dept. steps up to help students stymied by financial aid application requirements (Wall Street Journal)
The U.S. Education Department will make it easier for families to provide proof of their income, clearing the way for some of the neediest college students to gain access to federal loans and grants. Continue Reading

Millions of College Students Are Going Hungry (The Atlantic)
As the costs of college have climbed, some students have gone hungry. When they've voiced frustration, they've often been ridiculed: "Ramen is cheap," or"Just eat cereal." Continue Reading

Worries Grow About Outsourcing of College Degrees (Inside Higher Ed)
Proposal to lift cap on college programs offered through unaccredited entities stirs concerns about giving companies back door to federal student aid. Continue Reading

Health Care

Verma: Chargemaster rule is 'first step' to price transparency (Modern Healthcare)
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said Thursday that the agency is working to improve a new rule requiring hospitals to post chargemaster prices on their websites after experts said the data wouldn't help consumers. Continue Reading

How AI could shape the health tech landscape in 2019 (Healthcare Dive)
Highlights include technologies seeking to cut costs and promote patient health, especially in imaging, diagnostic, predictive analytics and administration. Continue Reading

NYC Promises 'Guaranteed' Healthcare for All Residents (MedPage)
The city of New York is launching a program to guarantee that every resident has health insurance, as well as timely access to physicians and health services, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday. Continue Reading

ENGAGING IDEAS – 12/21/2018


Senate overwhelmingly backs overhaul of criminal justice system (Washington Post)
The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a sweeping overhaul of the criminal justice system, after a remarkable political shift from Republicans who voted in large numbers to save money by reducing prison sentences, handing a rare bipartisan victory to President Trump.
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Barack Obama Goes All In Politically to Fight Gerrymandering(The Atlantic)
The former president sees representative elections as the key to progress on global warming, gun control, and health care.
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How the Russians attacked America's democracy (USA Today)
Two new reports for the Senate Intelligence Committee describe how the Russians heavily targeted Americans with deceitful messages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms.
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A new Trump rule could take food stamps away from 755,000 people (Vox)
The USDA wants to toughen SNAP work requirements, but there's little evidence the program discourages work.
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How we can encourage innovative solutions to poverty and inequality (Fast Company)
Despite so many advances in science and technology, we haven't seen many large-scale applications to problems of the poor.
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Eviction Lab examines the intersection of poverty and housing (Princeton University)
Matthew Desmond, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2016 bestseller "Evicted," and his team created a national database of eviction records, where visitors can see how their region stacks up against others, look at maps of eviction rates, and more.
Continue Reading


'Participatory budgeting' proposal could give Atlantans control of city funds (Curbed)
"Residents know better than City Hall what their neighborhood needs most," says councilman Amir Farokhi
Continue Reading

Data suggests voter turnout for midterms may not change much, despite political culture (The Slate)
Every other year, millions of Americans turn out to vote on the first Tuesday of the month of November. They come from every state and represent people of a variety of backgrounds. But what is one of the historically lowest-represented groups? Young adults.
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Los Angeles Teachers Threaten to Strike in January (Wall Street Journal)
Union on Wednesday rejected the district's offer of a 6% salary raise and said many of its demands remain unmet.
Continue Reading

What worked (and didn't) this year: 10 lessons from education research to take into 2019 (Chalkbeat)
We've synthesized what we learned from research in 2018, focusing on which policies seemed to work and which didn't. We're using "what worked" as a shorthand for policies that improved test scores or affected metrics like suspensions, attendance, and high school graduation rates.
Continue Reading

A New Push for Play-Based Learning: Why Districts Say It's Leading to More Engaged Students, Collaborative Classmates ... and Better Grades (The 74)
This child-directed learning has been shown to deliver the best results for academic outcomes, according to a study of three preschool programs in Washington, D.C. Students who had been in a formal, traditional academic environment during preschool earned lower grades after several years of schooling than their peers who had been in preschools where active, child-initiated learning was more common, the study found.
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Higher Ed/Workforce

Despite decades of pledging to hire more black faculty, most universities didn't (Hechinger Report)
The number of black faculty on college campuses has gone down during the last decade.
Continue Reading

US college completion rate climbs to 58% (Education Dive)
Student completion rates are up at two- and four-year U.S. colleges, regardless of gender, race and ethnicity, or age, according to a new report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The organization analyzed six-year completion rates for first-time, degree-seeking students who enrolled in college in the fall of 2012.
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Law Schools Find a Way to Fill Seats (Wall Street Journal)
New offerings include master's programs for students not interested in practicing law, courses for foreign lawyers
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Health Care

What Is the Status of Women's Health and Health Care in the U.S. Compared to Ten Other Countries? (The Commonwealth Fund)
Women in the U.S. have the highest rate of maternal mortality because of complications from pregnancy or childbirth, as well as among the highest rates of caesarean sections. Women in Sweden and Norway have among the lowest rates of both.
Continue Reading

Texas still hasn't expanded Medicaid. That's leaving a gap in coverage for hundreds of thousands. (The Texas Tribune)
More and more states have decided to expand Medicaid, but Texas has not budged. With more than a half million Texans in the so-called health coverage gap, will the politics of the issue shift in next year's legislative session?
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Number of outpatient facilities surges as industry values more convenient, affordable care (Modern Healthcare)
The number of outpatient centers increased 51% from 2005 to 2016, a trend that shows no sign of slowing.
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ENGAGING IDEAS – 12/14/2018


Congress thinks the public is way more conservative than it actually is. Deep-pocketed lobbyists are to blame, according to new research. (Washington Post)
Senior staffers in congressional offices hold highly inaccurate assumptions about what voters in their districts actually want when it comes to policy. They tend to believe that voters support much more conservative policies than they actually do.
Continue Reading

Can Socialism Save Democracy? (Common Dreams)
If socialism is going to save democracy, it needs to bring about equality without snuffing out freedom, and it needs to respect the role of markets without letting them dominate society
Continue Reading

Mapped: Why Voting Anomalies Are Impossible to Ignore in North Carolina (The Upshot)
After a long election season, there is just one House race where the result remains in serious doubt: North Carolina's Ninth Congressional District. The state's Board of Elections has refused to certify the narrow 905-vote lead that the Republican, Mark Harris, holds over the Democrat, Dan McCready, and is investigating allegations of absentee ballot fraud.
Continue Reading


From foster care to college (Hechinger Report)
Western Michigan University is one of several colleges that have started programs to help foster youth earn degrees
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How Urban Core Amenities Drive Gentrification and Increase Inequality (CityLab)
A new study finds that as the rich move back to superstar cities' urban cores to gain access to unique amenities they drive low-income people out.
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City Governments Should Focus On Opportunity, Not Income Inequality (Forbes)
The common belief today is that income inequality has exploded-the rich are getting richer while the incomes of the middle class and poor stagnate. But a new study from the Urban Institute reviews several studies on income inequality and finds that this perception is not accurate.
Continue reading


Durham's New Blueprint for Equitable Community Engagement (Next City)
Beyond the blueprint, city leaders have taken a hard look at racist policies and how they inform inequities in Durham. The city joined the Government Alliance on Race and Equity; it formed a Racial Equity Task Force; many city staff now go through race equity training.
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Term Limits Heighten Need for Community Boards to Become Data Literate (Gotham Gazette)
Communities are empowered when their community boards are equipped with both the knowledge and the resources they need to challenge information practices that ignore or misrepresent people and problems in their neighborhoods.
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How the stress of state testing might make it harder for some students to show what they know (Chalkbeat)
The annual ritual of state testing in elementary and middle schools often comes within an unwelcome side effect: jittery, stressed-out kids. Now, a first-of-its-kind study documents some of what's actually happening to students.
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Survey: More than half of US teachers concerned about language barriers with ESL parents (Education Dive)
A recent ClassDojo survey of more than 560 randomly-selected teachers nationwide indicates 71% of those surveyed have taught students for whom English is a second language in the past three years, and 56% worry parents of these students don't have enough English language skills to effectively participate in parent-teacher conferences and other aspects of school communication and experiences, according to a press release.
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Higher Ed/Workforce

As Labor Market Tightens, Women Are Moving Into Male-Dominated Jobs (The Upshot)
Widening opportunities do not automatically translate into better pay or a decline in gender discrimination.
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OPINION: 3 ways that colleges can support underrepresented students after the Harvard case (Hechinger Report)
New research shows that even with a chief diversity officer in place, significant gains in faculty hires that are multicultural and diverse are lacking. At schools such as Yale, Harvard and Stanford, faculty from underrepresented backgrounds account for 7 percent or less of the total. A lack of influence over diverse faculty hires can be troubling.
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The Degree Rules, for Now (Inside Higher Ed)
College credentials still loom large in hiring. But a new survey of HR leaders finds growing interest in skills-based hiring, online microcredentials and prehire assessments.
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Health Care

How to Cut U.S. Drug Prices: Experts Weigh In (New York Times)
A look at policies and possible trade-offs, including the risk of hampering innovation.
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Health insurers look to digital tools to improve customer experience (Modern Healthcare)
Health insurance customers generally report poor experiences with their health plans. Only utility and internet and television service providers have worse customer service scores, and that's saying something. But health insurers say investing in digital tools and other technologies can help them fix this and give their customers a personalized, frictionless healthcare experience.
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1 in 5 patients at high risk of socioeconomic health problem, survey finds (Healthcare Dive)
A study of 500 random patients found that 68% suffer with at least one social determinant of health (SDoH) challenge, with 57% having moderate-to-high risk in at least one of the following categories: financial insecurity, social isolation, housing insecurity, addiction, transportation access, food insecurity and health literacy.
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ENGAGING IDEAS – 12/07/2018


How journalists can be both watchdog and guide dog (Solutions Journalism)
"Sunlight is the best disinfectant." It's a well-known saying in journalism. Louis Brandeis first made the statement in a 1913 article for Harper's Weekly. The idea is simple, and it's a tenet of journalism that is still upheld today: shed light on wrongdoing, and that exposure will be enough to ignite transformation. It's the reason journalists call themselves watchdogs. Their job is to locate and reveal misbehavior. But what happens next? How do communities figure out what to do about a problem once it's been spotlighted? Continue Reading

How democracies slide into authoritarianism (Washington Post)
Part political philosophy, part literary criticism and part a personal memoir, "The Captive Mind" sought to "create afresh the stages by which the mind gives way to compulsion from without, and to trace the road along which men in people's democracies are led to orthodoxy." Continue Reading

Opinion: WhatsApp skewed Brazilian election, showing social media's danger to democracy (PBS.org)
Using WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned messaging service, Bolsonaro supporters delivered an onslaught of daily misinformation straight to millions of Brazilians' phones. They included doctored photos portraying senior Workers Party members celebrating with Communist Fidel Castro after the Cuban Revolution, audio clips manipulated to misrepresent Haddad's policies and fake "fact-checks" discrediting authentic news stories. Continue Reading


Americans Value Equality at Work More Than Equality at Home (The Upshot)
A study finds broad support for gender equality, but a disparity in people's views of gender roles in public and private. Continue Reading

Why a push for a living wage for congressional staffers should resonate in hyper-expensive D.C. (Washington Post)
On Twitter, Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that she wasn't alone and that many Hill employees had to work second jobs to afford to live in the city. "Time to walk the walk," she wrote. "Very few members of Congress actually pay their interns. We will be one of them." Continue Reading

NYC Establishes First Ever Minimum Wage For Uber & Lyft Drivers (Gothamist)
Tens of thousands of drivers who work for app-based companies in New York City are set to receive a raise, after the Taxi and Limousine Commission voted on Tuesday to enact a minimum pay standard for the independent contract workers. The move makes New York the first city to establish pay regulations for the ride-hailing giants, and comes on the heels of a first-of-its-kind cap on app-based cars passed by City Council. Continue Reading


Elevating Community Authority in Collective Impact (Stanford Social Innovation Review)
To achieve greater equity, we must yield to the decision-making authority of the communities we seek to help. StrivePartnership and other partnerships in the StriveTogether national network are enhancing collective impact to integrate and elevate the expertise and authority of those closest to the problems we're trying to solve. Continue Reading

PA Mention - Engaging the public would have eased Amazon's arrival-and it still can (Crain's New York)
Engaging people in decisions about the future of their community leads to smarter, more broadly supported policies, and when that engagement is sustained it leads to more economic success. Continue Reading


The Charter-School Teachers' Strike in Chicago Was 'Inevitable' (The Atlantic)
The move could signal a shift in the long, contentious relationship between teachers' unions and these privately run schools. Continue Reading

Do Children Get a Subpar Education in Yeshivas? New York Says It Will Finally Find Out (New York Times)
The city's yeshiva probe began in 2015, after Mr. Moster's group filed a complaint claiming that scores of students - boys, in particular - graduate from ultra-Orthodox yeshivas unprepared for work or higher education, with little exposure to nonreligious classes like science and history. Instead, some yeshiva graduates say, students spend most school days studying Jewish texts. Younger boys sometimes attend about 90 minutes of nonreligious classes at the end of the day, a city report found. Continue Reading

School Spending Is Up, and Other Key Takeaways From Latest Federal Data (Edweek)
Despite a growing chorus of teachers and public school advocates complaining about America's spending on its public schools, spending actually increased 2.9 percent between fiscal year 2015 and 2016, according to a report released Thursday by the National Center for Education Statistics. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

Switching majors is adding time and tuition to the already high cost of college (Hechinger Report)
Despite the spiraling cost of the investment, some students commit to it without a plan. Continue Reading

For-Profit College Chain Closes, Shutting Out Nearly 20,000 Students (New York Times)
The for-profit college chain Education Corporation of America said this week that it would shut down nearly all of its schools, leaving almost 20,000 students with partially completed degrees and credits that many other schools will not accept. Continue Reading

How colleges are preparing students for jobs that don't exist yet (PBS)
Eighty-five percent of the jobs that today's students will do in 2030 don't exist yet, the Institute for the Future has predicted. Continue Reading

Health Care

NYC Health & Hospitals projects $362M loss from Trump-proposed changes to public charge rule (Modern Healthcare)
New York City Health + Hospitals said Wednesday it could see a loss of up to $362 million in the first year alone if proposed changes to the public charge rules are enacted. Continue Reading

Patient portals still largely unused, Health Affairs finds

(Healthcare Dive)
Patient portals can be important tools for increasing patient interaction with personal health data and fostering communication with providers, but only if patients are willing to use them. In a sample of U.S. adults, 63% reported not using a portal in the past year, a new Health Affairs study shows. Continue Reading

Physician fee schedule reform needed to bridge primary-care gap (Modern Healthcare)
Reforming the physician fee schedule would help close the income gap that has led to a shortage of primary-care physicians, according to a new paper. Continue Reading