ENGAGING IDEAS - 10/12/2018

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: A look at inequality from city to city. Boosting citizenship engagement in a digital world. Enrollment instability in schools. Spotting troubled students; a new role for faculty on campuses. Exploring what the CVS and Aetna merger means for the health care and pharmaceutical industry.


Estranged in America: Both Sides Feel Lost and Left Out (The Upshot)
Nearly half of Democrats say they feel this way, slightly more than Republicans. Continue Reading

Could populism actually be good for democracy? (The Guardian)
A wave of populist revolts has led many to lose faith in the wisdom of people power. But such eruptions are essential to the vitality of modern politics. Continue Reading

Elections: Understanding democracy in a divided America (Stanford News)
A divided electorate and intense partisanship have led to a tense public mood where feelings of polarization run deep. People are now more attached to their party affiliation than any other social identifier - like race and religion - according to Stanford scholar Shanto Iyengar. He argues that this only amplifies polarization further. Continue Reading


This Map Shows Income Inequality in Every American Metro Area (HowMuch.net)
Wealth and income inequality are growing areas of concern. A report from Oxfam found that 82% of all wealth created throughout the world in 2017 went to the top 1%. 8 individuals literally own as much money as 3.8 billion people. It's hard to grasp what these numbers really mean, so let's reframe the issue at the local level. How bad is income inequality where you live? Continue Reading

Poverty, Perseverance and a PhD (Hechinger Report)
An elite university helped her climb but changing class can be a lonely journey. Continue Reading

Is Your State Serving Black Students? (Inside Higher Ed)
New report from the University of Southern California's Race and Equity Center grades public institutions across the country. Continue Reading


Austin Ranks High In Voter Turnout In New Civil Health Checkup (KUT.org)
Residents in the Greater Austin area ranked high in voter turnout and knowledge of key issues, but have lent less of a helping hand, according to the 2018 Greater Austin Civic Health Index. Continue Reading

Bringing the e-commerce experience to civic engagement (eGov Innovation)
Boosting digital citizen interaction does not have to be complicated. Powered by the right technology and streamlined processes, both citizens and government entities benefit from a smarter approach to interactions. Continue Reading

PA Mention - Montana vote becomes a national referendum on public confidence in higher ed (Hechinger Report)
Fifty-eight percent of people polled by the think tank New America said colleges and universities put their own interests ahead of those of students. About the same proportion in a Public Agenda survey said colleges care mostly about the bottom line, and 44 percent said they're wasteful and inefficient. Continue Reading


In These Districts, Friday Is Not a School Day (Wall Street Journal)
For most students here, the weekend starts when the final bells ring on Thursday afternoons. Pueblo City Schools, in southern Colorado, this year joined a growing number of school districts hoping to save costs and attract teachers by shifting to a four-day week, a schedule once primarily used by rural districts that is now moving into suburban and urban areas. Continue Reading

Enrollment instability is a major reason why schools are struggling - so why isn't anyone tracking the problem? (Chalkbeat)
There's no question that Detroit schools are struggling with the serious consequences of students coming and going throughout the school year. What's less clear is how the problem compares to other cities and states. That's because no one is keeping close track nationally of these frequent school moves, known by academics as student mobility or enrollment instability. Continue Reading

You thought failing PE or art in high school doesn't matter? Not so, new Chicago study says. (Chalkbeat)
Failing a class like art or PE in the freshman year could be just as damaging to a student's chance of graduating as failing English, math or science, a newly released study of Chicago schools has found. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

At a growing number of colleges, faculty get a new role: spotting troubled students (Hechinger Report)
For many faculty, this new role requires a culture shift. Some still don't consider it their job, said Patricia Rieman, an associate professor of education at Carthage who is an advocate for, and was on the subcommittee that created, that school's early-alert system. "I'm not somebody's mother,'" she said some faculty have carped. "A lot of professors also don't feel they have time. We're expected to do more and more, without additional compensation." Continue Reading

The Secrets of Getting Into Harvard Were Once Closely Guarded. That's About to Change (Wall Street Journal)
This year, 42,749 students applied to Harvard College, and only 1,962 were admitted. How Harvard decides who makes the cut has long been a mystery. That's about to change. A trial beginning Monday in Boston federal court will examine how the elite institution uses race to shape its student body. It will force Harvard to spill details about its admissions practices. Continue Reading

The Little College Where Tuition Is Free and Every Student Is Given a Job (The Atlantic)
Berea College, in Kentucky, has paid for every enrollee's education using its endowment for 126 years. Can other schools replicate the model? Continue Reading

PA Mention - Students, employees scour college finances for waste, proof of unfair pay (Hechinger Report)
As public confidence declines, university budgets and investments face growing scrutiny. Continue Reading

Health Care

Providers are going digital to meet increased demand (Modern Healthcare)
As the U.S. population ages and develops chronic diseases more frequently, provider organizations are turning to digital tools to meet increased demand for healthcare, according to a new report from Ernst & Young. Continue Reading

CVS and Aetna merger a disruptive sign of the future (Healthcare Finance)
Two provider organizations have reacted negatively to Wednesday's announcement by the Department of Justice to allow the merger between CVS Health and Aetna contingent upon Aetna divesting of its Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. Continue Reading

Healthcare prices growing slowly: 4 findings (Becker's Hospital Review)
Healthcare prices in the U.S. showed low growth in the first half of 2018, according to an analysis from nonprofit health systems research and consulting organization Altarum. Continue Reading


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