ENGAGING IDEAS - 09/28/2018

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: Questioning whether lowering the voting age to 16 is a good idea. How income inequality impacts every aspect of how we live and die. How governments can give more power to citizens. Exploring the future of education through the lens of superintendents. Examining whether people are getting tired of diversity efforts. A look at how Republicans and Democrats look at health care.


Golden could be the first Colorado city to lower the minimum voting age to 16 (Orton.org)
Colorado law limits voting to adults 18 and older, but as a home rule city, Golden could lower that age threshold for municipal-only races and ballot issues. People would still need to be at least 18 to hold office in Golden. If the measure passes, the first election that minors would likely be able to vote in would be November 2019. Continue Reading

The forgotten majority: how norms inform the practice of democracy (Vox)
We have a lot of norms about democracy. They're not all consistent. Continue Reading

Study Finds Partisan Beliefs Drive Attitudes Toward New Media (Courthouse News)
Nearly two years into Donald Trump's presidency, the partisan divide over the media and its role in the American democracy appears to have widened, a new study from the Pew Research Center says. Continue Reading


Black students default on college loans at a higher rate than others, study finds (Hechinger Report)
There's great disparity in the way that college graduates pay back student loans. Among black bachelor's degree holders, 21 percent defaulted on their student loans within 12 years of entering college, according to a report released this week from The Institute for College Access and Success. Only 8 percent of Hispanic degree holders and 3 percent of white degree holders defaulted within that time period. Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading


College-age voters: increasingly courted - and thwarted (Christian Science Monitor)
Many students are too busy to care much about politics, but those who tune in can make the difference in a tight race - so battles are heating up over whether certain voting rules create unfair barriers. Continue Reading

Will de Blasio's ballot proposals make a difference? (City & State)
City Councilman Brad Lander evaluates the mayor's Charter Revision Commission. Continue Reading

How governments can let citizens call the shots (GovInsider)
Participatory budgeting can help citizens become decision-makers, serve the underprivileged and be a force for good on a national scale. Continue Reading


Want to boost test scores and increase grad rates? One strategy: look outside schools and help low-income families (Chalkbeat)
A large and growing body of research backs up Marquita's experience, documenting not only that poverty hurts students in school, but that specific anti-poverty programs can counteract that harm. These programs - or other methods of increasing family income - boost students' test scores, make them more likely to finish high school, and raise their chances of enrolling in college. Continue Reading

Report: 44 states have implemented at least one K-12 computer science policy (Education Dive)
Since 2013, the number of states with at least one policy related to computer science education in K-12 schools has increased from 14 to 44, according to a State of Computer Science Education report released Thursday from the Code.org Advocacy Coalition and the Computer Science Teachers Association. Continue Reading

The Future of Education: K-12 Superintendents' Views (Gallup)
U.S. public school superintendents remain enthusiastic about the future of their school district, but they are much less excited about public education nationwide. Eighty-six percent of K-12 superintendents agree they are excited about the future of their district, including 53% who strongly agree. Only half as many, 42%, agree they are excited about the future of K-12 public education in the U.S. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

Diversity Fatigue Is Real (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
For many folks of color in the academy, the language of diversity itself is tired and appears to be bandied about primarily for branding purposes. Continue Reading

How the Great Recession changed higher education forever (Washington Post)
For some colleges, the past 10 years have involved moving from one year to the next while grasping for strategies that might last longer. Others have approached the challenges of this past decade by hunkering down, hoping the tough times will simply pass. Rarely do enough college leaders peer far enough into the future, instead confronting the challenges ahead of them, incrementally, one year at a time. Continue Reading

Report: Colleges need more time to fill their incoming classes (Education Dive)
As competition for students increases, colleges are struggling to meet their target enrollment numbers by the traditional May 1 deadline, according to Inside Higher Ed's 2018 Survey of College and University Admissions Directors. The survey analyzed responses from 499 senior admissions or enrollment management professionals. Continue Reading

Health Care

Tennessee joins push for Medicaid work requirements (Modern Healthcare)
Tennessee officially posted its Medicaid waiver that would require enrollees to either seek or maintain work.It's the fourth state to propose a Medicaid work requirement this month for comment. Continue Reading

Health Care Transparency Effort Lags (WLRN)
With just months left in his term, one of Gov. Rick Scott's key health-care initiatives remains in limbo. Scott convinced legislators to set aside $3.5 million to create a new website and to create a claims database that would allow Floridians to shop around when it comes to health care. But with Scott ready to leave the governor's office in January, the health-care price information still isn't available to Florida consumers. Continue Reading

Bipartisan Negativity in Views of the Healthcare Industry (Gallup)
Republicans and Democrats have held similar views of the U.S. healthcare industry over the last two years since President Donald Trump took office, with 37% of Republicans and 33% of Democrats viewing it "very" or "somewhat" positively. However, this reflects a significant souring of Democrats' views of the healthcare industry since Barack Obama's second term as president. Republicans' views of the industry have recovered to pre-Obama levels. Continue Reading


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