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

ENGAGING IDEAS – 11/30/2018


Will the Left Go Too Far? (The Atlantic)
For the third time in a century, leftists are driving the Democratic Party's agenda. Will they succeed in making America more equitable, or overplay their hand? Continue Reading

How local journalism can upend the "fake news" narrative (Salon.com)
A recent survey found that Americans trust local media outlets far more than national ones. Continue Reading

The Democratic Caucus Nominated Its Leadership. Here's What It Means. (New York Times)
For the third time in a century, leftists are driving the Democratic Party's agenda.
Democrats ushered in their leadership on Wednesday for the 116th Congress, including more than 200 returning and incoming members signaling that come January, they want Representative Nancy Pelosi of California to reclaim the speaker's gavel. Here are some of the takeaways from the caucus's votes.
Continue Reading


The New Federal Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Would Remedy Decades of Injustice (The Nation)
America's 2 million domestic workers have minimal protections on the job. The bill announced today would fundamentally change their industry. Continue Reading

NYC's affordable housing agenda isn't doing enough for the city's neediest: report (Curbed New York)
Comptroller Scott Stringer's office says the current plan doesn't address the housing needs hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.
Continue Reading

How technological innovation could amplify income inequality (PBS NewsHour)
Technological advancement often brings the promise of increased efficiency in the workplace. But it also means apprehension about humans potentially being replaced by automation and artificial intelligence. In a new series, "The Future of Work," Paul Solman explores the concept of "creative destruction" and how innovation is poised to affect jobs, income inequality, mental health and more.
Continue Reading


Are Civics Lessons a Constitutional Right? This Student Is Suing for Them (New York Times)
Many see the lack of civics in schools as a national crisis. A federal lawsuit says it also violates the law. Continue Reading

Newark launches campaign to bolster civic engagement (NJTV Online)
The model has four components: civics in the schools; civics in the universities and online for all residents; associations of interested residents called civic trusts; and an embrace by City Hall of the concept of empowerment.
Continue Reading

What's New in Civic Tech: Ash Carter Calls for Tech to Align with 'Public Purpose' (Government Technology)
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter called upon America's innovators and technologists - in both the public and private sectors - to use their work "with a public purpose," in a written piece published by The Atlantic last week.
Continue Reading


The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected (New York Times)
America's public schools are still promoting devices with screens - even offering digital-only preschools. The rich are banning screens from class altogether. Continue Reading

'If we don't learn from this one, shame on us': Lessons from a Detroit charter school that was set up to fail (Chalkbeat)
A review of hundreds of pages of documents, and interviews with key leaders involved in the school since its creation, show that the forces arrayed against every school in Detroit had pushed Delta Prep's chances of survival to nothing within a year of its opening, if not before. Continue Reading

When doctors say 'Read,' new parents listen (Hechinger Report)
A campaign to get parents talking, reading and singing to their infants and toddlers by sending the message through pediatricians is working, new report shows. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

US manufacturing has a huge image problem (Quartz)
The way Americans look at manufacturing might help explain why 2.4 million jobs could go unfilled between this year and 2028. Continue Reading

PA Mention - Google retraining college-educated moms for tech jobs (Education Dive)
Just as MotherCoders participants want to improve their career prospects by re-skilling, so do most prospective college students over the age of 25 when weighing whether to pursue a degree or certificate, according to a May 2018 report from the nonprofit Public Agenda research group. Because they often balance commitments such as families, jobs and expenses in addition to their education, features such as childcare and financial aid programs are draws for them. Continue Reading

New Film 'Unlikely' Shows How Higher Ed Sets Up Low-Income Students for Failure - and How Some Educators Are Helping Them Succeed (The 74)
As an admissions officer at her alma mater, Columbia University, Jaye Fenderson used to spend every day deciding whether high school applicants were likely to be admitted to the prestigious Ivy League school, with its 7 percent acceptance rate. More often than not, Fenderson would mark applications with a large "U" - "Unlikely." Continue Reading

Health Care

Rate of children without insurance rises for first time since 2008 (Modern Healthcare)
For the first time since 2008, the number of uninsured children has increased, according to the report issued Tuesday by Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families. The number of uninsured children under the age of 19 nationwide increased by an estimated 276,000 to about 3.9 million in 2017. The rate of uninsured children ticked upward from a historic low of 4.7% in 2016 to 5% in 2017.
Continue Reading

People with limited health insurance literacy more likely to avoid care (Healthcare Dive)
A new JAMA Network study found that lower health insurance literacy could be connected to people avoiding healthcare services, including preventive care.
Continue Reading

CVS closes $69B acquisition of Aetna in a 'transformative moment' for the industry (Fierce Healthcare)
The two companies closed the $69 billion deal on Wednesday, finishing off a vertical merger that makes one of the largest healthcare giants even larger.
Continue Reading

Addressing Incidents of Bias in Schools: A Guide for Preventing and Reacting to Discrimination Affecting Students

There's a growing concern about discrimination and hate crimes taking place across the country. While incidents of bias can occur anywhere, it's especially troubling when it happens in our schools. Discussing race and discrimination can be difficult for the most seasoned of professionals, however, that discomfort should not prevent important conversations from taking place.

This guide is designed to bring together a school community in order to address and prevents incidents of bias, discrimination and hate crimes. It includes suggestions for facilitating the discussions so that they are safe, illuminating and productive, as well as for organizing the process so that it fits in the daily rhythm of the school community.

ENGAGING IDEAS – 11/09/2018


Is Democracy at Risk? A Lesson Plan for U.S. and Global History Classes (New York Times)
Often we take for granted that the United States is a democracy, and that democracy is a form of government worth celebrating. This lesson starts there, but then pushes students to reflect on why democracies are worth protecting, what elements are essential to a healthy democracy and how it is that democracies sometimes fail. Continue Reading

Is More Democracy Always Better Democracy? (The New Yorker)
Parties are losing control over their candidates. Two scholars argue that ordinary Americans are the ones paying the price. Continue Reading


How resources and opportunities differ for NYC students (Hechinger Report)
Resources, instructional materials are drastically different for public school students living in the same city. Continue Reading

Democrats Win Control Of The Wealthiest Districts -- But Also The Most Unequal (Forbes)
Democrats took control of the House, gaining at least 30 seats (there are still technically 422 of 435 seats undeclared), and bringing the balance of power up to 225 Democrat representatives against 197 Republican. Democrats, in fact, now represent 41 out of the top-50 wealthiest congressional districts - and all 10 of the top-10 wealthiest districts, according to a recent election study. Continue Reading

Conservative Arkansas could soon have the highest effective minimum wage in the country (The Washington Post)
Arkansas is likely to have the highest effective minimum wage in the country soon, setting up a grand experiment in whether a high minimum wage in a poor state can raise workers out of poverty - or derail the state's economy. Continue Reading


The 'Gateway Drug to Democracy' (The Atlantic)
When people are asked how they would like to spend their tax dollars and are given an option to directly implement that binding decision themselves, "it really inspires a different way of thinking about our governments and our cities." Continue Reading

City Voters Resoundingly Decide to Place Term Limits on Community Boards (Sunnyside Post)
Voters in New York City have decided to place term limits on community board members. Community board members currently serve two-year terms, and are re-appointed without limit. Continue Reading

Record voter turnout in 2018 midterm elections (CBS News)
An estimated 113 million people participated in the 2018 midterm elections, making this the first midterm in history to exceed over 100 million votes, with 49 percent of eligible voters participating in the election. By comparison, the 2014 midterm elections had one of the lowest turnouts in American history, with only 36.4 percent of eligible voters participating. In 2010, the first midterm of President Obama's tenure, 41 percent of voters participated. Continue Reading


A rich Michigan district gets $10.1K per student. Its poorer neighbor gets $7.9K. Will Michigan's new divided government change the math (Chalkbeat)
With Republicans solidly in control of the Michigan legislature, governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer's education agenda may depend on finding a sliver of common ground with the opposite party. Continue Reading

EDlection2018: 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes Elected to U.S. Congress in CT, Promising to Back Teachers and Increase School Funding (The 74)
Democrat and 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes made history Tuesday night, becoming the first black woman elected to Congress in Connecticut. Continue Reading

Report: Schools investing in ed tech they don't use (Education Dive)
With the massive increase in ed tech and, as a result, education apps, schools continue to boost their investment in these programs - but in the end, they don't really use them. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

Cal State Sees Major Gains in Graduation Rates (Inside Higher Ed)
Administrators at the California State University System worried two years ago when the system set ambitious goals for increasing graduation rates. They were concerned that low-income students and students of color would be harmed by the new targets. One criticism, for example, was that students would be pushed into courses they were not prepared to take. Instead, the nation's largest and most diverse public university system is seeing record levels of achievement and narrowed equity gaps among low-income and minority students. Continue Reading

A Divided Congress Is Unlikely to Compromise on Higher Ed. But What if It Did? (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
In the wake of Tuesday's election results, there will inevitably be talk of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, the main federal law governing student aid and other key higher-education policies, during the next two years. Continue Reading

A Lesson From Montanans' Vote to Tax Themselves to Fund Higher Education (The Atlantic)
At a time when Republican trust in college overall is low, voters tend to keep supporting their local schools. Continue Reading

Health Care

Why Doctors Hate Their Computers (The New Yorker)
Digitization promises to make medical care easier and more efficient. But are screens coming between doctors and patients? Continue Reading

Healthcare providers concerned, unsure how to address CMS price transparency final rule (Healthcare Finance)
There is growing concern about how much value the rule really provides for patients and the potential perception problem it creates for hospitals. Continue Reading

Industry slow to improve patient health literacy (Modern Healthcare)
It wasn't long after the primary-care focused Rio Grande Valley Health Alliance in McAllen, Texas, was formed in 2013 that it became apparent the accountable care organization's patients had trouble talking with physicians about their health during office visits. Part of the problem was language related-most of the ACO's 7,500 patients in the southern Texas border town speak English as a second language. But a bigger challenge was the intimidation patients felt when they were meeting a doctor in the clinic was limiting their understanding of their health and how to improve or maintain it. Continue Reading