ENGAGING IDEAS - 01/05/2018

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: A look at voting by mail and how reliable it is. Exploring why migration has stalled in some American cities. Examining how performance bonuses for teachers may influence test scores in the classroom. Creating engagement by bringing together both neighbors and developers.


Voting by mail grows in popularity – but is it reliable? (Christian Science Monitor)
In 27 states, voters now can choose to vote by mail. But unlike votes cast in person, many absentee ballots wind up uncounted, for reasons ranging from invalid signatures to simply being late. Experts say the method is also vulnerable to fraud.

Republicans’ 2018 Resolution: Bipartisanship. Will It Last? (New York Times)

Senator Mitch McConnell sounded downright magnanimous in anticipation of 2018, eager to work closely with Democrats even though he had cut them out of virtually every big-ticket deliberation during 2017.


Why migration has stalled in American cities with the most opportunity (Las Vegas Sun)
Interstate mobility nationwide has slowed during the last 30 years. But, more specifically and of greater concern, migration has stalled in the very places with the most opportunity.

Americans’ declining economic mobility reflected yet again in fewer moves into new houses and apartments (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Despite a long recovery and record streak of job growth, the share of Americans moving to a new location continued a steady decline in 2017, reaching a new post-World War II low, an indicator of a less mobile workforce that reflects both an aging society and economic problems facing younger workers.


Democrats See Young-Voter Surge Growing in 2018 (Real Clear Politics)
Democrats credited turnout and engagement from diverse coalitions for statewide election wins this year, but chief among these reasons was the increased participation and a large shift in support from a demographic that bedeviled the party last year: millennials.

Seroka's New Mission: Bring Neighbors, Developers Together (Nevada Public Radio)

Seroka proposes creating a public engagement program that requires developers in built-up areas to communicate with neighbors through a series of required meetings, workshops and written reports.


States Explore New Routes to High School Completion Without Equivalency Exams (Education Week)
Students who have been unable to earn their high school diplomas have long used an alternative track to finish high school: the equivalency test. Now a few states are opening additional channels to let older students complete high school.

Big new study finds that performance bonuses for teachers boost test scores (Chalkbeat)
A new study, released by the federal government, suggests that merit-based bonuses are the way to go, as they help raise student test scores without making a significant dent in teacher morale. It offers the latest evidence that programs of this sort can help schools and students, despite the common perception that they are ineffective.

Higher Ed/Workforce

9 Charts That Show What Education in America Is Like in 2017 (The Atlantic)

As 2017 comes to a close, we’ve compiled some graphs and charts that help contextualize the year in education issues.

Health Care

Colorado hospitals must begin posting prices for most common procedures on Jan. 1 (Denver Business Journal)
Hospitals across Colorado must begin posting self-pay prices Monday for the most common procedures and treatments they offer — a potential first step in bringing more cost transparency to a sector whose pricing ambiguity has frustrated consumers and public officials alike.


Comment on this article.

Recent Blogs


Public Agenda knows what it takes to fuel progress on critical issues.
We need your support to keep things moving!

Join the Community


Take Action