ENGAGING IDEAS - 10/05/2018

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: Examining the idea of democracy in five moments through history. Looking at how a child's neighborhood has the power to shape their entire future. Exploring whether teacher diversity impacts student success. Examining health care in the "Amazon Era."


Russia, the internet and "political technologists" - is this the future of democracy? (Open Democracy)
As more revelations emerge about Russian interference in Western democracies, Nick Inman reviews a BBC broadcast that asks if Russia is merely where 21st century ideas of democracy died first. Continue Reading

'Can Democracy Work?' considers the perils and pitfalls of the institution across time (Christian Science Monitor)
Author and academic James Miller examines the idea of democracy in five distinct moments throughout human history, and chronicles how vastly different each iteration has been. Continue Reading

Democracy and the Internet (New York Times)
An expert discusses the continuing battle with tech companies to safeguard our institutions. Continue Reading



Union Membership Narrows the Racial Wealth Gap for Families of Color (Center for American Progress)
The data suggest that nonwhite union members receive a particular boost in their wealth because they see larger increases in pay, benefits, and employment stability than white union members. Continue Reading

Detailed New National Maps Show How Neighborhoods Shape Children for Life (The Upshot)
Some places lift children out of poverty. Others trap them there. Now cities are trying to do something about the difference. Continue Reading

The Most Important Least-Noticed Economic Event of the Decade (The Upshot)
A localized recession in manufacturing-heavy areas can explain a lot of things. Continue Reading


Managing Digital Change: Playing The Long Game For Participatory Democracy (Forbes)
At a time when social platforms are increasingly under scrutiny-censoring "fake news," deciding who has access to their tools for what purpose, determining if and where to draw boundaries around free speech-tech companies are reluctantly playing a role in defining "right" versus "wrong" for billions of people every day. Continue Reading

Promotion Standards and Public Engagement (Inside Higher Education)
A new study examined in Nature says that university guidelines on tenure and promotion still focus on publication metrics, rather than professed values such as public engagement. Continue Reading

What's New in Civic Tech: Long Beach, Calif., Establishes Office of Civic Innovation (Government Technology)
Long Beach, Calif., has established a new office of civic innovation within its city manager's office, according to a press release from the city. Technologists in the office will serve as in-house consultants to other departments, with a goal of co-creating effective approaches to pressing community issues. Continue Reading


11 charter schools get permission to open in New York, bringing the city closer to the legal limit (Chalkbeat)
Nearly a dozen new charter schools have gotten the green light to open in New York in the next three years, bringing the city closer to a looming limit on charters that has advocates fretting. The SUNY Charter Schools Institute, one of two entities able to approve new charter schools for the state, signed off on 11 applications during a meeting in Albany Thursday. All of the schools aim to open in the Bronx or Brooklyn, and while several would be part of existing school networks, others would be the first for their operators. Continue Reading

Working in a group might be the best way to help kids meet individual goals, study says (Hechinger Report)
A new study out by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), a nonprofit research firm, makes the argument that collaborative, group learning might actually serve each student's individual academic needs quite well. Continue Reading

Does Teacher Diversity Matter in Student Learning?

(New York Times)
Research shows that students, especially boys, benefit when teachers share their race or gender. Yet most teachers are white women. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

At Elite Colleges, Racial Diversity Requires Affirmative Action (New York Times)
Getting more low-income students into elite colleges like Harvard and Stanford is an important goal. But it can't replace race-based affirmative action. Continue Reading

Boston judge permits lawsuit against Harvard to go forward (Christian Science Monitor)
In a closely watched case that could influence affirmative action practices in college admissions decisions, a federal judge on Friday rejected a motion from Harvard University to rule in its favor. The university faces a lawsuit on the basis of discrimination against Asian-American applicants. The trial is set to begin on Oct. 15. Continue Reading

Education Department will miss deadline on rules affecting students in for-profit colleges (Washington Post)
The Education Department is going to miss a self-imposed deadline to deliver new rules governing how for-profit colleges and universities should deal with their students. But critics of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos say the delay is actually a good thing for students. Continue Reading

Health Care

Congress angles for air ambulance cost transparency (Modern Healthcare)
Last November, a fully insured North Dakotan was dispatched on an 84-mile medical air transport from Langdon, N.D., to Grand Forks. When the charges came in at more than $66,000, out-of-network insurance covered just $16,000.The patient was left with a $50,000 bill balance from Valley Med Flight. Continue Reading

Lawmakers: States need to gather better data about mothers dying in childbirth (Fierce Healthcare)
States are not doing enough to understand what went wrong after mothers die from pregnancy-related complications-a necessary step to figuring out how to stem growing maternal mortality rates in the U.S., experts told lawmakers on Thursday. Continue Reading

New Report Examines Healthcare in the "Amazon Era" (Healthcare Informatics)
Hospital business leaders are open, and even optimistic, about the benefits of innovation from non-traditional healthcare players, such as Amazon and Apple, according to a new report from Captains of Industry, a marketing consultancy. Continue Reading


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