Engaging Ideas - 10/13/2017

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: Finding common ground across party lines. Tapping into data for insight about inequality. Reimagining civic engagement through agile design. A look at which is more important for parents; school quality or current students’ achievements? Questioning who really counts as a Black student. How a new California bill will force drugmakers to explain price hikes for medication.


Opposing political parties find common ground at civil dialogue event (ASU Now)
Former U.S. Sens. Jon Kyl and Tom Daschle tell crowd at ASU why they think America has become politically polarized

Is the American Idea Doomed? (The Atlantic)
America no longer serves as a model for the world as it once did; its influence is receding. At home, critics on the left reject the notion that the U.S. has a special role to play; on the right, nationalists push to define American identity around culture, not principles. Is the American idea obsolete?


In recent decades, the clustering of rich and poor neighborhoods in America has continued, expanding inequality. (LSE USAPP)
Many recent discussions on American cities and neighborhoods have focused on how they are changing, either through gentrification or economic change. In new research, Elizabeth Delmelle finds that gentrification is only one small part of the story of America’s neighborhoods since 1980.

Boston taps into data to find sources of economic inequality (GCN)
Many cities use data to measure the effectiveness of programs and policies, but Boston plans to use its newly created Economic Mobility Lab to study entire systems of programs that are meant to help people move up the economic ladder, find gaps that need to be filled and deploy programs that address those identified gaps.


Is It Time to Scale College Towns: Reimagining Public Engagement through Agile Design (Inside Higher Ed)
When living in a college town, you begin your pursuits with a goal of seeking greater understanding, not with the goal of confirming a current set of beliefs. Fundamental to the dynamic university communities that anchor these unique college towns is compassion. Compassion, it turns out, is essential to discovery and discovery is at the center of a vibrant and healthy society. It’s time to invest time and treasure in the compassionate public square for the information age.


A school choice quandary: parents care more about who attends a school than about its quality, in NYC study (Chalkbeat)
“Among schools with similar student populations, parents do not rank more effective schools more favorably,” write researchers Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Parag Pathak, Jonathan Schellenberg, and Christopher Walters. “Our findings imply that parents’ choices tend to penalize schools that enroll low achievers rather than schools that offer poor instruction.”

Building the Workforce: Apprenticeship Program Offers College Credit, Paychecks, and Diplomas (Education Week)
Colorado student apprentices this year are earning diplomas, paychecks, and college credit while helping the state build its future workforce.

Higher Ed/Workforce

Which public colleges have the top graduation rates for students in financial need? (Washington Post)
Among 100 major public universities across the country — state flagships and other prominent schools — only 11 report a six-year graduation rate of at least 80 percent for students with enough financial need to qualify for federal Pell Grants.

Who Counts as a Black Student? (Inside Higher Education)
Cornell protest revives debate on whether first-generation immigrants from Africa and Caribbean make up disproportionate share of black students at top colleges, and what -- if anything -- should be done as a result.

Health Care

Trump to Scrap Critical Health Care Subsidies, Hitting Obamacare Again (New York Times)
President Trump will scrap subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out-of-pocket costs of low-income people, the White House said late Thursday.

California governor signs drug pricing transparency bill into law (Healthcare Finance)
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a sweeping drug price bill that will force drugmakers to publicly justify big price hikes.


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