ENGAGING IDEAS - 09/07/2018

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: The impact of artificial intelligence on democracy. Debunking the myth of upward mobility. Keeping democracy alive in cities. Exploring whether gamification can help education.


This Is a Constitutional Crisis (The Atlantic)
Impeachment is a constitutional mechanism. The Twenty-Fifth Amendment is a constitutional mechanism. Mass resignations followed by voluntary testimony to congressional committees are a constitutional mechanism. Overt defiance of presidential authority by the president's own appointees-now that's a constitutional crisis. Continue Reading

Artificial intelligence is transforming social media. Can American democracy survive? (Washington Post)
Cambridge Analytica's harvesting of Facebook accounts and pairing with voter profiles merely represents a small first step for social manipulation. Advanced public relations firms, propagandists and campaigns, now and in the future, seek a full digital pattern-of-life on each potential voter. Continue Reading

An Avalanche of Speech Can Bury Democracy (Politico)
For the longest time, we thought that as speech became more democratized, democracy itself would flourish. But in 2018, it is increasingly clear that more speech can in fact threaten democracy. Continue Reading


New Research Debunks the Upward Mobility Myth (Pacific Standard)
In America, if you're ambitious and work hard, you can move up the socioeconomic ladder. At least, that's the truism we all grew up believing. But new research suggests such social mobility is far from the norm. It finds you are significantly more likely to hold a high-status (which usually means higher-paying) job if your parents held similarly prestigious positions. Continue Reading

Affirmative action should be based on class, not race (The Economist)
Focusing on the disadvantaged of all races is fairer and more appealing, writes Richard Kahlenberg, a scholar Continue Reading

Income Inequality Is Skyrocketing, Especially In These 5 States (Forbes)
After analyzing Census Bureau American Community Survey data from 2011 through 2016, five U.S. states in particular display unsettling levels of income inequality and, worse, its continuing rapid growth. Continue Reading


Follow up with your fans (and your ex-fans): Here's how to create a successful culture of listening in your newsroom (Nieman Lab)
A new civic engagement campaign called 'Hofstra Votes' aims to educate members of Hofstra University's community and surrounding area about pertinent political and policy issues. Continue Reading

Keeping Democracy Alive in Cities (Stanford Social Innovation Review)
Cities continue to be the place where citizens can engage most directly with government-especially when nonprofits are there to offer capacity, expertise, and reach. Continue Reading


Lifting the veil on education's newest big donor: Inside Chan Zuckerberg's $300 million push to reshape schools (Chalkbeat)
The numbers offer new perspective on a philanthropy that has quickly become one of the biggest in U.S. education, thrusting itself into the ongoing debate over the appropriate role for private dollars in education policy. Continue Reading

Gamification can help education - here's how (Venture Beat)
Teachers and parents hear it over and over again: "make learning fun" to keep kids engaged. Gamified education apps for use outside of the classroom have proliferated, leading students to expect gamification when they're back inside of the classroom, too. Continue Reading

Students sue New York City, saying black and Latino athletes have fewer sports opportunities (Hechinger Report)
The complaint states that 17,323 black and Latino teens attend a school with no PSAL teams at all. The P.S.A.L. funds teams for about 45,000 student-athletes citywide. According to P.S.A.L. data cited in the lawsuit, between 2012 and 2017, only about half of requests for sports team from schools that had more than 90 percent black and Latino students were approved, whereas about three-quarters of such requests were approved for schools whose student bodies were 10 percent or less black and Latino students. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

Diversity or discrimination? What's at stake in the Harvard admissions lawsuit (Christian Science Monitor)
Asian-Americans - and the US Department of Justice - are weighing in as a court determines whether the Ivy League school's approach to admissions has been discriminatory. Continue Reading

College Board sued over allegedly recycled SAT test questions (Washington Post)
A class-action lawsuit was just filed in U.S. District Court in Florida by the father of a student who took the SAT on Aug. 25. Students reported the test included questions that had appeared on a 2017 SAT administered in Asia and that had been put on social media. Continue Reading

Fraternities Vote to Ban Hard Alcohol After Deadly Hazing Episodes (New York Times)
The trade association that represents dozens of fraternities across the nation and around the world has voted to ban hard alcohol in the wake of a series of high-profile hazing episodes that have resulted in deaths and lawsuits, officials announced this week. Continue Reading

Health Care

Mandatory joint pay model slashes spending in just eight months (Modern Healthcare)
A mandatory pay model aimed at reducing Medicare spending on joint replacement surgeries was able to save money in its first year. The CMS in recent years has scaled back and canceled mandatory models. Continue Reading

Justice Department Nearing Antitrust Approval of Health Mergers Combining CVS-Aetna, Cigna-Express Scripts (Wall Street Journal)
The Justice Department has identified some competition concerns surrounding the nearly $70 billion CVS-Aetna deal, and the companies will be required to sell off assets related to Medicare drug coverage to resolve those issues, some of the people familiar with the matter said. Continue Reading

'First of its kind' hospital-led generic drug company Civica Rx aims to address shortages, high prices

(Fierce Healthcare)
Some of the largest providers in the U.S. have officially joined forces to launch a nonprofit generic drug company. Civica Rx was formally established Thursday after it first announced in January. The idea, which was spearheaded by Intermountain Healthcare, drew plenty of interest from hospitals and health systems; more than 120 healthcare organizations-including one-third of U.S. hospitals-have signed on. Continue Reading


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