ENGAGING IDEAS - 08/17/2018

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: Why freedom of the press matters. What American inequality looks like from above. A new bill supporting civic education. Free tuition for medical students at New York University.


Why a Free Press Matters (The Atlantic)
Journalists have been keeping a check on power since the creation of the First Amendment. Now, they're being tested. Continue Reading

On the Ambiguity of "Democracy" in America (commondreams.org)
In American public discourse - articulated by public officials, media outlets, and ordinary citizens of virtually all political stripes - the United States is called a democracy. However, this attribution is false and has been so since the foundation of the republic. Many know this, but many don't. And the misuse of the term has become unusually, politically consequential since November, 2016. Continue Reading

What Americans want from reform in 2018 (Brookings Institution)
The rebuilders now have the momentum to win a plurality in the midterm elections and are on track to becoming a president-maker in 2020, even as the dismantlers fight to maintain control. Continue Reading


Maybe Worker Inequality Isn't Inevitable After All (Bloomberg)
In the 2000s and coming out of the great recession, increased inequality between educated knowledge workers and less-educated and goods-producing workers seemed inevitable. Continue Reading

2017 was a great year for CEOs. Not so much for the average worker. (Vox)
A new study shows that CEOs made about 312 times more money in 2017 than the average worker. Continue Reading

What American inequality looks like from above (Fast Company)
The story of inequality in the United States is written in its streets. In Silicon Valley, it looks like a homeless encampment carved out of a scruffy patch of land that's separated from Facebook and Instagram headquarters by the expressway filled with private tech buses. In Baltimore, it looks like an empty highway that displaced thousands of families and was never even completed. In Detroit, it looks like a cinderblock wall that was built in the 1940s to separate black and white neighborhoods and shape the street grid. Continue Reading


State Rep. supports civics education bill (The Landmark)
Senate Bill 2631, An Act to promote and enhance civic engagement, passed the House of Representatives and Senate unanimously on July 25 by votes of 151-0 and 37-0, respectively. The bill, which is now under review by Governor Charlie Baker, represents a compromise between two earlier versions of the legislation previously approved by the two branches. Continue Reading

Despite the Risks, Some States Are Handcuffed to Limited Online Voting Options (Government Technology)
Top computer researchers gave a startling presentation recently about how to intercept and switch votes on emailed ballots, but officials in the 30 or so states said the ease with which votes could be changed wouldn't alter their plans to continue offering electronic voting in some fashion. Continue Reading

Need help understanding the city budget? Grab a toy car and get to work (Denverrite)
Starting on Thursday, and for five days only, Denverites interested in art, weird machines or civic engagement can catch a blend of all three of those things in a new installation by Warm Cookies of the Revolution, the quirky "Civic Health Club" whose mission is to connect people with their city in innovative ways. Continue Reading


Florida told its low-scoring schools to make their days longer. It helped, new research finds (Chalkbeat)
In Florida, the extended-day push began in 2012 with the state's 100 lowest performing schools and expanded to 300 schools in 2014. Continue Reading

Undocumented students face hurdles getting into college. Here's how Indiana teachers have helped them succeed (Chalkbeat)
Navigating the college admissions process can be a challenge for any student, but in Indiana, undocumented students can face extra hurdles in pursuing higher learning. That's because Indiana is one of just six states that prohibits undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition rates at public universities. Continue Reading

A year of personalized learning: Mistakes, moving furniture and making it work (Hechinger Report)
In the first year of a new program, a large San Diego district experiences small victories despite growing pains. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

Surprise Gift: Free Tuition for All N.Y.U. Medical Students (New York Times)
The New York University School of Medicine announced on Thursday that it would cover the tuition of all its students, regardless of merit or need, citing concerns about the "overwhelming financial debt" facing graduates. Continue Reading

Why Does Publishing Higher-Ed Research Take So Long? (Chronicle of Higher Education)
Growth in the discipline, a spike in quality and international submissions, reluctance by scholars to review articles, and focus on a limited number of top publications all contribute to backlogs and sluggish turnaround, say editors of the top three journals in the field. Scholars are buzzing about prospective solutions, including more and bigger journals, honoraria to encourage article reviews, and an increase in online publication. Continue Reading

Vocational Training Is Back as Firms Pair With High Schools to Groom Workers (Wall Street Journal)
The renewed popularity of so-called career education programs marks a shift away from the idea that all students should get a liberal-arts education designed to prepare them for college. Continue Reading

Health Care

Rebates don't correlate to drug price spikes, AHIP study says (Modern Healthcare)
A new Milliman study commissioned by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) downplayed the overall impact of rebates offered by drugmakers to insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) on total drug spending. The report blamed spiking costs on lack of competition. Continue Reading

Study links real-time EHR alerts with fewer complications, lower costs (Fierce Healthcare)
When physicians get the right kind of alert in an electronic health record-and actually follow its recommendation-it could result in fewer complications and lower costs among hospitalized patients, according to a new study. Continue Reading

New rule pushes for hospital price transparency (Employee Benefit Adviser)
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a proposed rule aimed at providing patients with a clear price listing of the cost of their hospital charges. In an effort to fulfill the proposed rule's objective, CMS suggested an amendment to the requirements previously established by Section 2718(e) of the Affordable Care Act. Continue Reading


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