ENGAGING IDEAS - 04/13/2018

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: Do we have a nursing shortage? A new way of voting in Maine. What Trump has in mind for the poor. Teachers don't have enough time to collaborate with each other. The path towards free community college in New Jersey. Greater health care price transparency may be coming to Colorado. What are we to do about student loans?


Views of American democracy based on internet search data (Brookings)
In this paper, we look at views of U.S. democracy using internet search data. We examine public interest in democracy, fake news, money in politics, ethics concerns, the rule of law, and major political institutions in order to gauge how Americans are reacting to recent developments.

Maine's Fitful Experiment With a New Way of Voting (The Atlantic)
The state will be the first to implement ranked-choice voting in its June primaries, but not all the candidates will commit to accepting the results.

Facebook backs political ad bill, sets limits on 'issue ads' (Reuters)
Facebook Inc backed for the first time on Friday proposed legislation requiring social media sites to disclose the identities of buyers of online political campaign ads and introduced a new verification process for people buying “issue” ads, which have been used to sow discord online.


Are We Ready for President Trump’s Plan for Poor People? (Nonprofit Quarterly)
Across the political spectrum, it’s agreed that too many Americans are living in poverty. That’s about as far as common ground goes, though. Partisanship rears its head whenever we set about trying to identify and address the causes of poverty. Illustrating that point is the fact that, over the weekend, President Trump issued a new executive order that he described as part of a plan to lift people out of poverty.

Is Social Mobility Essential to Democracy? (Kellogg Insight)
When social mobility is high, the thinking goes, people know they are likely to move into a different social class in the future—and will vote in the interests of those future selves, not necessarily their current selves.


Does Shiny New Tech Simplify How Government Delivers Services? (Government Technology)
Missouri CIO Rich Kliethermes says effective citizen engagement means focusing on making interactions as easy as possible.

Chicago Will Host the First in a Series of Specialized Smart City Forums (Government Technology)
The forums, run by nonprofit US Ignite, will help cities in their efforts to scale smart urban projects from pilot to enterprise systems


Teachers on Tech: Good for Student Learning, Bad for Student Health (Education Week)
A new nationally representative Gallup poll offers more evidence that teachers are of two different minds when it comes to educational technology.

Study Reveals Teachers Don't Have Enough Time for Peer Collaboration (Education Week)
Teachers in high-poverty schools collaborate just as much as teachers in low-poverty schools, researchers at the RAND Corporation recently found. However, teachers in both low- and high-poverty schools reported they didn't have enough time to devote to collaboration. 

Nation's Report Card: Achievement Flattens as Gaps Widen Between High and Low Performers (Education Week)
Across the board, struggling American students are falling behind, while top performers are rising higher on the test dubbed the "Nation's Report Card."

Higher Ed/Workforce

New Jersey Moves Toward Free Community College (Wall Street Journal)
Gov. Phil Murphy plans $45 million in grants for low-income students that will start in second semester of coming school year

How to Clean Up the Student Loan Mess (The New York Times)
New research on student loans is reinforcing a key lesson of behavioral economics: Seemingly minor details matter in a major way. Who answers the phone at the loan company, what choices you’re offered and how they are framed can have profound effects on your financial well-being.

College credits where credit’s due: Schools slowly come around to accepting transfer students’ work (Washington Post)
An enrollment slump is forcing private institutions to reconsider transfer students as a way to fill seats. So is new competition from community colleges in some states and regions that have been made tuition-free; those schools are seen as sources of potential transfer candidates for bachelor’s degrees.

Health Care

California’s ambitious plan to regulate health prices, explained (Vox)
California is exploring a bold and controversial new plan to rein in health care spending by letting the state government set medical prices.

Bipartisan Bill to Bring Transparency to Colorado Health Care Costs (9News)
A group of bipartisan state legislators will try to revolutionize the way Coloradans pay for health care. If they get their way, you would be able to access the true cost of what you might have to pay for any one of thousands of procedures, pharmaceuticals, and examinations.

Nurse executives are concerned nursing shortage is impacting care—and it's only going to get worse (Fierce Healthcare)
Staffing firm AMN Healthcare surveyed more than 200 chief nursing officers and found that more than one-third (34%) fear that nursing shortages have a "considerable" or "great" impact on care quality. In addition, 41% said that these staffing problems negatively impact the patient experience. 


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