ENGAGING IDEAS - 09/21/2018

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: Examining America's democracy and why it's stood the test of time. One billionaire's warning about America's economy. How one neighborhood is using art to foster public engagement. College's new tactic to draw students.


The death of democracy and birth of an unknown beast (The Economist)
History provides uncomfortable lessons. Among them is that systems of governance are not immortal and that democracies can devolve into autocracy. As institutions decay and social norms fray, democratic processes and practices are prone to apathy, demagoguery and disintegration. Continue Reading

Democracy Will Still Surprise Us (New York Times)
Of late, Western democracy has concentrated rather than spread wealth, suggesting it serves injustice. But it is stubborn and adaptable. Continue Reading

US democracy is not at risk - it's working like the Constitution intended it to (Business Insider)
American democracy might depend on the three branches of government functioning, but there are three other powers that keep it alive: the states, constitutionally protected institutions, and most importantly, the people. Continue Reading


Latest Fed Data On Household Wealth Mask Massive Inequality (Forbes)
The Federal Reserve released its latest data on the country's finances on September 20. The household data show continued increases in wealth, but that is not the whole story. Millions of households are left out of the stock and housing booms. Continue Reading

Rich-world wage growth continues to disappoint (The Economist)
THE world is still in recovery mode fully ten years after the financial crisis of 2008-09. Inflation-adjusted wages grew by an average of 27% in the decade before the crisis in the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries. In the ten years since, real wages have increased by just 8.4%, on average. Continue Reading

Ray Dalio: Rising debt, income inequality and political polarization are a recipe for a nasty downturn (MarketWatch)
The billionaire hedge-fund manager warns the next financial crisis will threaten capitalism and democracy Continue Reading


Residents use art to encourage civic engagement in their neighborhoods (The Rapidian)
Dwelling Place summer get out the vote events allowed residents the freedom to drop by and paint a poster, register to vote, check their registration status and more. Continue Reading

The art of civic engagement (University of New Mexico)
Beyond the world of entertainment, there's an intersection where art and activism meet. This is where you will find For Freedoms, a self-described "hub for artists and art institutions who want to be more engaged in public life." In collaboration with For Freedoms, The University of New Mexico (UNM) Art Museum and College of Fine Arts are joining the 50 State Initiative, a project centered around "the vital work of artists." These student-driven projects are art with an endgame - getting people to participate in democracy. Continue Reading

Participatory Budgeting Kicks Off, Help Decide How to Spend More Than $1.5 Million in District (Greenpoint Post)
Another round of participatory budgeting is in the works for the district, with more than $1.5 million on offer to fund local projects, Council Member Stephen Levin announced last week. Continue Reading


Jeff Bezos Cites a Big Number, but Few Details, in Plan for Low-Income Montessori Preschools

(New York Times)
When Jeff Bezos announced last week that he and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, would create and operate a national network of Montessori preschools, few were more surprised than Montessori organizations and leaders themselves. Continue Reading

The learning experience is different in schools that assign laptops, a survey finds (The Hechinger Report)
More than twice as many principals in 2017 said students in their schools were assigned some type of mobile device, like a laptop or tablet, than in 2015. That's according to the Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning, which found that 60 percent of principals who responded to its latest survey say they assign these devices, compared with 27 percent two years earlier. Continue Reading

Brooklyn middle schools eliminate 'screening' as New York City expands integration efforts (Chalkbeat)
New York's Department of Education on Thursday approved sweeping changes to the way students are admitted to middle schools across an entire Brooklyn district, marking one of the most far-reaching integration efforts under Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

In Race for Students, Colleges Offer to Match Tuition at Rival Schools (Wall Street Journal)
Price-match guarantee, a sales tactic borrowed from retailers, illustrates how fiercely competitive higher education has become. Continue Reading

Colorado College Helps Dreamers Afford Higher Education (US News & World Report)
Dreamers, or those eligible for the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, can work and pay taxes but are not eligible to receive state or government financial aid. They can apply for private college scholarships, and in Colorado they are eligible for in-state tuition if they have lived in the state for three years, but for many higher education can still seem like a distant reality. Continue Reading

Giving all students a voice is key to more effective higher education (Arizona State University)
Frank Rhodes Lecture speaker Cathy Davidson encourages a 'provocative way of thinking' when it comes to learning. Continue Reading

Health Care

Health Pros Nudge Senate Toward Care Quality, Price Transparency (Patient EngagementHIT)
A Senate HELP meeting discussed the need for better care quality and price transparency for patient healthcare decision-making. Continue Reading

Lack of price transparency impeding informed care decisions (Health Data Management)
Consumers are being blindsided by the high costs of their healthcare because of the lack of available price transparency data to make informed buying decisions. Continue Reading

HHS wants private sector input on healthcare innovation, investment (Health Data Management)
The federal agency in charge of healthcare delivery is seeking to increase the dialogue on increasing innovation and investment in healthcare. Continue Reading


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