ON THE AGENDA | MARCH 2ND, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA

ENGAGING IDEAS - 03/02/2018

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: A look at technology's role in the upcoming 2020 census. Exploring how America's infrastructure segregated communities. Debating whether combining elementary and middle schools is the best choice for students. Rethinking how higher education is funded. A new proposal for lowering health insurance.


Democracy

The Generation Gap in American Politics (Pew Research Center)
Generational differences have long been a factor in U.S. politics. These divisions are now as wide as they have been in decades, with the potential to shape politics well into the future.

The True Source of the N.R.A.’s Clout: Mobilization, Not Donations (The New York Times)
“It’s really not the contributions,” said Cleta Mitchell, a former N.R.A. board member. “It’s the ability of the N.R.A. to tell its members: Here’s who’s good on the Second Amendment.”

The Destructive Dynamics of Political Tribalism (The New York Times)
By now we all understand that America is in the grip of political tribalism. We lament and condemn this phenomenon even as we voraciously engage in it. But by fixating on the symptoms, we remain blind to the root causes.


Opportunity/Inequality

How Cities Are Divided By Income, Mapped (City Lab)
Three types of visualizations show the stark economic disparities in U.S. cities.

The middle class is becoming race-plural, just like the rest of America (Brookings)
Two trends have emerged which highlight the degree to which the “American middle class” can no longer serve as an implicit proxy for a group that is predominantly white.

Facebook co-founder wants US citizens to have ‘fair shot’ at guaranteed income (Star)
A US$500 (RM1,957) monthly cheque from the government for every American earning less than US$50,000 (RM195,700), financed by taxing the wealthy, would provide financial stability for millions of people in the United States, said the co-founder of Facebook.


Engagement

Effort to Boost Civic Engagement in Detroit Gets Financial Boost (WDET)
“Local democracy is the bedrock of the American system, and we see a way for the work we’re doing, in collaboration with others, to strengthen that.”

Report: Effective Government Outreach Requires Social Media (Government Technology)
The role of social media in citizen-government interactions has steadily increased in recent years as the public becomes more reliant on the medium for real-time information.

When You Call Your Congressperson, Do They Listen? (Government Technology)
The OpenGov Foundation has conducted human-centered research to identify pain points in communications between constituents and congressional representatives, and is using tech to make sure voicemails matter.


K-12

More California students graduate from high school, but far fewer graduate from college (EdSource)
California's high school graduation rates have increased significantly in recent years, but the percentage of those students who complete their college education continues to lag, with long-term implications for the state’s future.

States’ Strong Education Systems Often Cost Students. (U.S. News & World Report)
The 2018 U.S News Best States ranking data show that of the states ranked in the top 10 for education, half rank in the bottom half of states for low debt at graduation, including New Hampshire, which comes in 49th despite ranking fourth for education overall, and Massachusetts, which ranks 44th in low debt at graduation despite ranking No. 1 in education overall.

Do vouchers help students get to college? Two new studies come to different answers. (Chalkbeat)
The debate around school vouchers has exploded in the last year with the appointment of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. That also means recent studies showing that student achievement drops, at least initially, when students use public dollars to attend private schools have gotten a lot of attention. But supporters have countered that test scores only say so much about student performance. The real test is how students do over the long term.


Higher Ed/Workforce

Education Policy Design: The High Stakes Business Of Educating Students (Forbes.com)
The American education system is experiencing vast transformation requiring schools to rethink how they teach students, evaluate the education marketplace, and exercise fiduciary responsibilities at the state and district levels.

States’ Strong Education Systems Often Cost Students (U.S. News & World Report)
The 2018 U.S News Best States ranking data show that of the states ranked in the top 10 for education, half rank in the bottom half of states for low debt at graduation, including New Hampshire, which comes in 49th despite ranking fourth for education overall, and Massachusetts, which ranks 44th in low debt at graduation despite ranking No. 1 in education overall.

Arizona Republicans Inject Schools of Conservative Thought Into State Universities (The New York Times)
Around the country, Republican legislatures have been taking a greater interest in the affairs of their state universities to counteract what they see as excessive liberalism on campus, from quarrels over conservative speakers to national anthem protests to the very substance of what students are taught.


Health Care

Red and Blue States Move Further Apart on Health Policy (Wall Street Journal)
Democratic and Republican states are moving in opposite directions on health policy, leaving Americans with starkly divergent options for care depending on where they live.

A Big Divergence Is Coming in Health Care Among States (The New York Times)
Little by little, the Trump administration is dismantling elements of the Affordable Care Act and creating a health care system that looks more like the one that preceded it. But some states don’t want to go back and are working to build it back up.

Democrats march toward single-payer health care (The Hill)
Single-payer health care is gaining ground among Democrats. In a sign of the party’s move to the left on the issue, the Center for American Progress (CAP), a bastion of the Democratic establishment, this week released a plan that comes very close to a single-payer system.


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