Engaging Ideas - 11/17/2017

Curbing foreign influence in American politics by placing new rules for social media platforms. Exploring how a higher minimum wage may impact wealthy couples’ decisions to have more children. Experimenting with a new approach to philanthropy - asking the public what they want. Taking a look at high schools who have beat the odds and dramatically improved graduation rates and increased number of students going to college. Questioning whether some two-year colleges are softening standards to boost graduation rates. Looking at the disparities in health and costs across the country.


Election officials move closer to placing new rules on Facebook and Google (Washington Post)
The Federal Election Commission moved a step closer to placing tighter regulations on Internet ads published on major Web platforms, marking a significant shift for an agency beset by partisan dysfunction and another sign that regulators are seeking to thwart foreign meddling in U.S. elections.

How partisan primaries weaken the political center (Detroit Free Press)
We like to believe that partisan primaries are the the political equivalent of the playoffs that take place each fall in Major League Baseball's National and American leagues, yielding each league's strongest contender for the World Series. But that's not how the partisan primary system works.

In City Hall, Women Make History (CityLab)
More women are on track to be elected mayor in the top 100 cities than ever before—in some major cities, for the first time. But not before overcoming some major hurdles.


Some amazing findings on income mobility in the US including this: the image of a static 1 and 99 percent is false (AEI)
It turns out that 12 percent of the population will find themselves in the top 1 percent of the income distribution for at least one year. What’s more, 39 percent of Americans will spend a year in the top 5 percent of the income distribution, 56 percent will find themselves in the top 10 percent, and a whopping 73 percent will spend a year in the top 20 percent of the income distribution.

A higher minimum wage could lead to fewer rich kids (Quartz)
Critics of a $15 per hour minimum wage—as advocated by Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Party, and soon to be implemented in California and New York—point to the standard’s unintended consequences: fewer jobs, higher prices, and more workers replaced by robots. It could also have another unexpected effect: fewer rich kids.

How the American dream turned into greed and inequality (Business Insider)
The American Dream is broken. Paul Ryan, speaker of the House of Representatives, recently stated that "in our country, the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life." Yet the idea that every American has an equal opportunity to move up in life is false.


Has the time come for participatory grant making? (Ford Foundation)
A growing number of foundations around the world are experimenting with new approaches to philanthropy—approaches focused on engaging people from outside their institutions in everything from setting priorities and developing strategies to sitting on foundations’ boards or advisory committees. Some foundations are also partnering with these stakeholders to make grant decisions.

Town E-Voting Raises Questions in Plymouth, Mass. (Government Technology)
Uncounted votes on a $16.9 million project have some officials criticizing the town’s electronic voting system.

Nudging Citizen Behavior Can Drive Positive Community Change (Government Technology)
The United Kingdom's Behavioural Insights Team is helping U.S. municipalities improve outcomes by fostering initiatives centered around real human behaviors rather than long-held presumptions.


Rural schools unite to make college the rule, rather than the exception (Christian Science Monitor)
Turning around struggling high schools is the toughest work in education reform. Research found that a $3.5 billion federal program meant to fix the nation’s lowest performing schools – which focused disproportionately on high schools – did little to improve student achievement.

Study: Chicago Public Schools leading in academic growth (Education Dive)
A recent study conducted by Stanford University researchers reveals Chicago Public Schools, labeled 30 years ago as the worst in the nation, now has students in grades 3-8 averaging six years of academic growth over a five-year period — a rate that is significantly faster than 96% of school districts in the nation, Education Week reports.

Parental involvement improving at NYC schools after years of struggles, stats show (New York Daily News)
Schools Chancellor Carmen Farińa says data indicate more parents took part in their children's schooling, for the school year that ended in June. She credits a number of new investments and an overhaul of the city’s family outreach efforts.

Higher Ed/Workforce

The false argument against higher education funding (The Hill)
The higher education community is now engaged in a heated debate about whether the current tax benefits for college students should be eliminated as part of tax reform. The House Republican plan says they should. Many in higher education disagree.

Boosting Completion by Softening Standards? (Inside Higher Ed)
A nonpartisan watchdog group is questioning whether City Colleges of Chicago is misleading the public with proclamations of dramatic graduation rate increases.

New International Enrollments Decline (Inside Higher Education)
Open Doors survey shows declines in new international students starting in fall 2016, after years of growth. This fall universities report an average 7 percent decline in new international students.

Health Care

What States Can Learn From One Another on Health Care (The Upshot, New York Times)
We know that where you live matters: There are huge disparities in health and costs across the country.

Consumers use price transparency tools to financially plan, not shop around (Modern Healthcare)
The majority of healthcare consumers use price transparency tools to financially plan, a new survey found, contradicting claims that consumers will shop around for the cheapest providers if they know the price before obtaining care.

Trump Health Agency Challenges Consensus on Reducing Costs (New York Times)
The efforts to chip away at mandatory payment programs have attracted far less attention than attempts by President Trump and congressional Republicans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, but they have the potential to affect far more people, because private insurers tend to follow what Medicare does.


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