ENGAGING IDEAS - 03/16/2018

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: A rundown of who's in and out of Trump's cabinet. A look at how much CEOs of some of the country's largest firm make in comparison to their employees. Exploring how political activism impacts children. Looking at gender bias in online courses. Efforts to increase price transparency in health care gain traction in Minnesota.


The Donald Trump Cabinet Tracker (The Atlantic)
The president’s decision to fire Rex Tillerson as secretary of state and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo will give his Cabinet a new look a little more than a year into his term.

Will the United States ever get back on a bipartisan “Middle Way?” (Salon)
History provides a lesson about how the United States can return to bipartisanship and a civil political discourse

Nearly 40% of Americans say they've lost faith in American democracy (Axios)
"People’s expressed faith in democracy is tightly coupled with their partisanship in ways that threaten the system itself."


The Rise of the 1 Percent Negates Any Progress in the Racial Income Gap (Pacific Standard)
The income gap has been virtually unchanged for the last 50 years, and rising income inequality is part of the reason why.

Are You Underpaid? In a First, U.S. Firms Reveal How Much They Pay Workers (Wall Street Journal)
American workers, for the first time, are discovering how much employees earn at the biggest U.S. companies and how that pay compares with the chief executive’s.

Demographics Give a Big Head Start for Family Income and Wealth (Wall Street Journal)
New research suggests some economic advantages are inherited, rather than earned


Cutting Through the Complexity: A Roadmap for Effective Collaboration (Stanford Social Innovation Review)
Collaborations and networks rarely achieve their ambitious goals. Here’s what it takes to make them actually work.

Why Demonstrating Is Good for Kids (New York Times)
Participating in political activism may be good for our teenagers, according to a new research report.

Gartner Says Citizen Engagement Is Critical to the Success of Smart Cities (Gartner)
Citizen engagement is critical to the success of smart cities, according to Gartner, Inc. Smart city initiatives are no longer about optimized traffic patterns, parking management, efficient lighting and improvements to public works.


Venture capitalist visits 200 schools in 50 states and says DeVos is wrong: ‘If choice and competition improve schools, I found no sign of it.’ (Washington Post)
Dintersmith traveled to every state to visit schools and see what works and what doesn’t — and his prescription for the future of American education has very little to do with what Gates and others with that same data-driven mind-set have advocated.

When Chicago cut down on suspensions, students saw test scores and attendance rise, study finds (Chalkbeat)
As school districts across the country have cut back on suspensions, critics claimed that the changes have led to chaos in the classroom. But there’s been remarkably little hard evidence either for or against that view.

What other states are poised for a teachers strike? (Daily Dot)
After more than a week on the picket lines, West Virginia teachers announced on Tuesday that they would return to work. They’ll be going back after winning some big concessions, most notably the five percent raise that brought them out on the line in the first place.

Higher Ed/Workforce

'Masculinities studies' finds renewed relevance in #MeToo era (Christian Science Monitor)
As academia confronts the reverberating effects of the #MeToo movement, increasing interest has turned toward 'masculinities studies' – a relatively new field, born out of sociology, that investigates why and how men act in society.

A Sector in Flux: How For-Profit Higher Ed Has Shifted (Inside Higher Ed)
Over the last two years, many of the industry’s biggest and best-financed players have altered their company structures, merged with onetime competitors, or left the education business altogether.

Race and Gender Bias in Online Courses (Inside Higher Ed)
Study finds instructors are much more likely to respond to comments from white male students than from others.

Health Care

UnitedHealthcare Finds Value-Based Care Closed 50M Gaps in Care (Health Payer Intelligence)
UnitedHealthcare research found that value-based care programs closed over 50 million gaps in care between 2013 and 2017 while lowering care costs.

US spends twice as much as other wealthy countries on health care (The Hill)
The United States spent twice as much on health care than ten other high-income countries in 2016, largely because of the high costs of prescription drugs, administrative overhead and labor, a new study released Tuesday indicates.

Two Minnesota House Bills Would Increase Healthcare Transparency (KEYC)
Two state bills introduced this legislative session look to bring more transparency to Minnesota's healthcare market.


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