ENGAGING IDEAS - 08/10/2018

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: Exploring the shifting attitudes about American democracy. Examining the factors that add to income inequality. Thinking through how higher ed institutions can become more active in civic life.


Democratic Socialism Threatens Minorities (The Atlantic)
Nothing better protects victims of bigotry than a system where they can pursue their needs and wants outside the realm of popular control. Continue Reading

Facebook should shut down its News Feed until the midterm elections (Salon.com)
This week, Facebook announced that it had uncovered accounts and pages with a total of nearly 300,000 followers that were propaganda intended to interfere with the midterm elections this November. While the social media company's revelation fell short of stating that Russia was behind these covert accounts, other federal law enforcement and government officials later confirmed as much. Continue Reading

Preventing the suicide of American democracy (The Hill)
A new study of American public attitudes suggests our democracy indeed may be heading toward a cliff, but it also suggests ways we can pull it back toward health and long-term survival. Continue Reading


As Affordable Housing Crisis Grows, HUD Sits on the Sidelines (The New York Times)
The country is in the grips of an escalating housing affordability crisis. Millions of low-income Americans are paying 70 percent or more of their incomes for shelter, while rents continue to rise and construction of affordable rental apartments lags far behind the need. Continue Reading

The real reason you're not getting a pay raise (Vox)
The economy is growing strongly, the unemployment rate has been at or below 4.5 percent for 16 straight months, but wage growth remains disappointingly low. Continue Reading

How inequality is affecting nations' economic growth (Eyewitness News)
A new study by the Opportunity and Growth Institute at the Minneapolis Fed found that the housing boom and bust made middle-class Americans poorer but boosted wealth for the richest 10%, widening the income and wealth gap substantially. Continue Reading


Here's How Colleges Can Get More Involved in Elections - and Not Just in the Midterms (Chronicle of Higher Education)
A new report released on Thursday from the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education at Tufts University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, tries to answer that question. The report draws on years of research, including IDHE's data on college voter registration and turnout, said Nancy Thomas, director of the institute. Continue Reading

Stanford Undergrads Build New Platform to Connect Citizens with Elected Officials (Government Technology)
Pulse is a civic engagement platform that simplifies info about legislation, allows constituents to make their opinions known and gives elected leaders a simplified dashboard to process input. Continue Reading

Driving citizen engagement through mobile technologies (GCN)
Encouraging citizens to be more involved in their own governance is nothing new. The direct democracy model of ancient Athenian government, in which every (free) citizen voted directly on laws and other legislation, is perhaps the most famous -- and extreme -- example of the principle of citizen engagement. Continue Reading


Only 20% of US kids study a language in school-compared to 92% in Europe (Quartz)
Kids in the US take classes in English, which works out pretty well for them. The dominant global language right now happens to be their default. Perhaps that's one reason why only 20% of US students in kindergarten through 12th grade learn a foreign language, according to new Pew Research Center data. Continue Reading

More teachers are turning to crowdfunding sites to pay for books, supplies, and field trips (Vox)
Educators at high-poverty schools spend more out of pocket on their classrooms. Continue Reading

Worried about enrollment, some Colorado school districts are suing to prevent cross-district busing (Chalkbeat)
Six school districts and the associations that represent them are suing to stop a change to Colorado law that could increase access to school choice but that was approved under questionable circumstances. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

Why fewer kids work the kind of summer jobs that their parents used to have (Salon.com)
While the presence of teenagers in the summer workforce in July 1978 was at 72 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Population Survey reported a July 2016 teen labor force participation rate of 43 percent. A recent report by the Pew Research Center analyzed the average summer employment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds in June, July and August 2017 and found that only 35 percent of teens has a summer job. Continue Reading

Abuse Scandals Involving Doctors Have Shaken Several Colleges. Now Others Are Making Changes. (Chronicle of Higher Education)
Fallout from incidents at Michigan State, the University of Southern California, and Ohio State has driven institutions to add new protective measures - both to safeguard students and to minimize their own liability. Continue Reading

Netflix Versions of Higher Education Emerge (OZY.com)
Tech startups such as Coorpacademy are trying to break into the global corporate education sector, dominated by business schools and this year estimated to be worth $362 billion, according to analysts Training Industry Research. New entrants offer eye-catching alternatives, and are often aimed at younger workers. But they have a long way to go. Continue Reading

Health Care

Governors Association Works with Eight States to Improve Health Data Sharing (Government Technology)
In a 16-month initiative, the National Governors Association is working with eight states on health policies that could enhance data sharing and improve identity management and cost effectiveness. Continue Reading

Value-based purchasing programs tougher for academic hospitals (Modern Healthcare)
Academic medical centers are penalized more under the CMS' various value-based purchasing programs than community hospitals, according to a new report. Continue Reading

Are diagnostic health apps accurate? Researchers say there's no way to tell (Fierce Healthcare)
As more people turn to their phone or laptop for a medical diagnosis, some industry experts are pointing to a growing evidence gap that could leave consumers unable to determine which apps are most effective. Continue Reading


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