ON THE AGENDA | OCTOBER 14TH, 2016 | Public Agenda

Engaging Ideas - 10/14

A collection of recent stories and reports to make you think about how to make progress on divisive issues.

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: How one young man is distorting polling averages, and how to become a savvy consumer of polling data. The Education Department releases final teacher prep regulations, plus some research on the profession. And a quick history of the politics around universal childcare.


Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner on Citizen Scientists and the Lessons of Flint (Milbank Quarterly)
Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner explain the story of Flint as a classic case of the dual legacies of public health, one rooted in advocacy and aligned with community residents and activists, and the other protecting the interests of state bureaucracies using their own image as scientists. Out of that conflict a movement grew that forced the wider public health community to acknowledge the depths of the problem and the failure of the state to protect its people.

Public Opinion/ Polling

How One 19-Year-Old Illinois Man Is Distorting National Polling Averages (The Upshot)
He is sure he is going to vote for Donald J. Trump. And he has been held up as proof by conservatives — including outlets like Breitbart News and The New York Post — that Mr. Trump is excelling among black voters. He has even played a modest role in shifting entire polling aggregates, like the Real Clear Politics average, toward Mr. Trump.

The Savvy Person’s Guide to Reading the Latest Polls (The Upshot)
There are many factors to consider. Which ones are important?

K-12 Education

Trust Is Missing From School-Improvement Efforts (EdWeek)
Distrust among school leaders and educators can depress teacher retention and harm students, writes Dara Barlin.

Public opinion about improving achievement among poor, minority students (Harvard Shorenstein Center)
A study in Educational Researcher explores Americans' opinions about differences in test scores between poor and wealthy students and white and minority students.

How the education gap is tearing politics apart (The Guardian)
In the year of Trump and Brexit, education has become the greatest divide of all – splitting voters into two increasingly hostile camps. But don’t assume this is simply a clash between the ignorant and the enlightened.

New Teachers Make Up a Major Segment of Profession (EdWeek)
New data show that 12 percent of all U.S. public school teachers are in their first or second year, raising questions about the overall stability of the teaching force.

Higher Education & Workforce Development

Election 2016: Focus on Higher Education (Association for Institutional Research)
In normal electoral cycles, public visibility of the issue would create competing policy visions by the two major party candidates, but this year’s unconventional political contest between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump offers a contrast in substance and specificity.

Education Department Releases Final Teacher Preparation Regulations (U.S. Department of Education)
Providing transparency around the effectiveness of all preparation programs (traditional, alternative routes, and distance) by requiring states to report annually—at the program level—on the following measures:

  • Placement and retention rates of graduates in their first three years of teaching, including placement and retention in high-need schools;
  • Feedback from graduates and their employers on the effectiveness of program preparation;
  • Student learning outcomes measured by novice teachers' student growth, teacher evaluation results, and/or another state-determined measure that is relevant to students' outcomes, including academic performance, and meaningfully differentiates amongst teachers; and
  • Other program characteristics, including assurances that the program has specialized accreditation or graduates candidates with content and pedagogical knowledge, and quality clinical preparation, who have met rigorous exit requirements.

Jobs Will Require Continued Training, Study Finds (EdWeek)
A new study by the Pew Research Center illustrates what I and many others have experienced, and what younger people can expect. It shows that Americans are aware that they can't simply obtain a professional certification, associate degree, or even a bachelor's degree, and call it a day. They've got to keep getting training to stay on top of the job market's demands. Report: The State of American Jobs Pew Research Center

Tackling The Education-To-Employment Gap (Forbes)
Michael Horn had the chance to ask Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, and Kevin Gilligan, CEO of Capella, a series of questions to explore the rationale behind and the mechanics of the partnership.

Health Care

Living Proof of Health Care Law’s Strengths and Faults (The New York Times)
The Affordable Care Act has not enticed enough young, healthy people into the insurance markets it created, so the people who benefit most from it also burden it.

How Politics Killed Universal Childcare In The 1970s (NPR)
American parents often have difficulty securing care for their children while they go to work. Childcare in the U.S. is tremendously expensive, and in many parts of the country, extremely scarce. Rewind almost 50 years, and the same problems existed. But in 1971, the United States came very close to having universal, federally subsidized childcare. NPR examines how Congress came to pass the legislation, and why President Nixon vetoed it.


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