ENGAGING IDEAS - 06/01/2018

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: The tribalism of American politics. How income inequality changes how we think, live and die. A new pilot program that gives an alternative to at-home suspension for students. How to avoid the underemployment trap after college.


5 Key Takeaways From Tuesday's Primaries (New York Times)
It was a night for upsets and breakthroughs: In Georgia, a black woman was nominated for governor by a major party for the first time in any state. In Kentucky, a math teacher defeated a Republican power broker. And in Texas, the vice president of the United States faced the limits of his clout.

Poll: More Young People Say Politicians Care What They Think (US News & World Report)
A growing number of young people in the U.S. say politicians care about what they think, and more now believe they can have at least a moderate effect on government, according to a new poll.

The primeval tribalism of American politics (The Economist)
They are from opposite ends of the political spectrum, but they are happily married because they obey the oldest rule of politics.


Free Cash to Fight Income Inequality? California City Is First in U.S. to Try (New York Times)
Long plagued by poverty and desperation, Stockton, Calif., is testing universal basic income as a means of improving the lives of its residents.

Income inequality is changing how we think, live, and die (Vox)
Why society might be more stable if we had more poverty and less inequality.

The alarming statistics that show the U.S. economy isn't as good as it seems (Washington Post)
The U.S. economy has a problem. The usual economic benchmarks look really good: America in 2018 is enjoying faster growth, low unemployment, record numbers of job openings and a stock market near an all-time high. Yet an alarming number of Americans are still struggling to get by.


Trump's Blocking of Twitter Users Is Unconstitutional, Judge Says (New York Times)
Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, addressing a novel issue about how the Constitution applies to social media platforms and public officials, found that the president's Twitter feed is a public forum.

Improving Process, Resident Experience Among Big Ideas in Texas (Government Technology)
State officials discussed ways agencies can improve their process and resident experience alike at the annual Texas Digital Government Summit in Austin.

Buffalo Common Council Paves Way for Community-Driven Development (Next City)
"It empowers people to vet development in the community," said Buffalo Common Council President Darius G. Pridgen, who represents the Fruit Belt neighborhood. "This is one of my crown jewels in my term as councilmember."


Youth Centers to Offer Positive Support for Suspended Students(Christian Science Monitor)
Instead of sending suspended students home, a new pilot program called Positive Alternatives to Student Suspension in Massachusetts offers tutoring, counseling, and other forms of support to address underlying issues that led to the disciplinary action.

Michael Bloomberg Commits $375 Million to Education Initiatives (Wall Street Journal)
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday that he will donate $375 million to a variety of education initiatives nationwide over the next five years, increasing his commitment to an area that has been a core part of his Bloomberg Philanthropies for years.

Teachers Find Public Support as Campaign for Higher Pay Goes to Voters (The New York Times)
After shutting down schools and shaking up politics in six states, teachers are looking to the ballot box in their campaign for better pay and increased school funding. And their demands are meeting with widespread public support.

Higher Ed/Workforce

In Defense of the Liberal Arts (Inside Higher Education)
In an era when liberal arts programs are being eliminated or changed at institutions public and private, two organizations on Thursday issued a joint statement in defense of the values of liberal arts education and of liberal arts disciplines.

First Jobs Matter: Avoiding the Underemployment Trap (The Washington Post)
But underemployment may be far more widespread than we have imagined - affecting up to 43 percent of recent graduates, according to a report. This unprecedented analysis of 4 million unique résumés examines the scope and impact of underemployment on graduates in the years that follow college. It turns out that underemployment can mark the first steps to a permanent professional detour - more than a speed bump on the journey to a prosperous career.

After Obama-Era Crackdown, For-Profit Colleges Seek Nonprofit Status (Wall Street Journal)
Change would save the schools millions in taxes, lessen federal oversight and distance them from a tarnished industry reputation.

Health Care

Clinicians and Health Care Price Transparency-Buyers vs Sellers? (Jama Network)
The inaccessibility of price information in the US health care system prevents patients from anticipating and incorporating their health care costs into care-seeking decisions and from choosing the best-value clinician.

Healthcare pricing transparency remains elusive, study finds (Healthcare Dive)
Hospitals are not getting better at providing price estimates for procedures like total hip arthroplasty (THA), despite an industry push to provide that information to patients.

As centrist Democrats warm to government-sponsored healthcare, their road to single payer remains icy (Fierce Healthcare)
Democrats are gradually inching towards expanded government-sponsored healthcare, but in a time of GOP-controlled government, some wonder what the end goal is.


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