ON THE AGENDA | NOVEMBER 18TH, 2016 | Public Agenda

Engaging Ideas - 11/18

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: What dialogue does to build critical thinking and empathy, and why it matters right now. Is it time to restructure the Education Department? A story of one group addressing employer and workforce needs in education. American’s want Trump to focus on health care first.


Room for Debate: Should the Electoral College Be Abolished? (The New York Times)
Hillary Clinton’s growing lead over Donald J. Trump is now over 1 million votes, making this the second time a president has been elected without a popular majority since 2000. That year, Akhil Reed Amar wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times that the Electoral College should be abolished, and Charles Fried disagreed. Here they are again.

Political Segregation Is Growing and 'We're Living With the Consequences' (Governing)
Author Bill Bishop, who has spent years studying America's urban-rural divide, discusses what it means for politics and progress.

Community Engagement

How Cross-Cultural Dialogue Builds Critical Thinking and Empathy (KQED)
Often adolescents hold strong opinions, but they don’t always know where and how they came to those beliefs. When a teacher pushes them to think critically about why they feel the way they do, it’s easy for students to ignore them. But, when video conferencing with a teenager from another country who genuinely wants to know the answer, students often respond more thoughtfully.

The Source: Online Platform Works To Boost Civic Engagement In San Antonio (Texas Public Radio)
The city is increasingly utilizing the digital sphere for official meetings and to gather feedback for long-term planning, and a new participatory platform is encouraging San Antonio residents to submit ideas for ways to improve the city. Ideas for CoSA is a crowd-sourced virtual suggestion box for citizens of San Antonio to voice their opinions. Once submitted, anyone can vote or comment on an idea. Top-ranked ideas on the site are regularly emailed to all City Council members. Community members can stay up-to-date by subscribing for notifications about new submissions. In addition to the website, Ideas for CoSA also uses a Facebook group to promote the discussion of topics "directly relevant to civic engagement in San Antonio."

What We Know Post-Election: Dialogue & Deliberation is More Critical than Ever (NCDD)
There are many different needs that our country and our communities have right now, but we see a few key needs that stand out as ones that are especially suited for D&D solutions: bridging long-standing divides, processing hopes and fears together, encouraging and maintaining civility in our conversations, and humanizing groups who have become “the other.”

K-12 Education

Report: Putting Democracy Back into Public Education (The Century Foundation)
To refocus civic education on democratic ideals in American public schools, changes should be made to both the explicit and implicit curriculum. Beyond learning about the nation’s Founders and the Constitution, our schools should model democratic values for students by encouraging community members to actively engage in education decisions and inviting teachers to participate in a democratic workplace.

Teacher and Principal School Report (Scholastic)
Nearly all educators surveyed by Scholastic for a new research project believe that "equity in education for all children should be a national priority."

Is It Time to Restructure the Education Department? (EdWeek)
The history of the U.S. Department of Education holds lessons for shaking up the education status quo, writes Gary Beach.

Professional Learning Communities Aren't Just for Teachers (EdWeek)
The superintendent's job can be isolating; online communities can make it less so, write Mark Edwards and Mort Sherman.

Higher Education & Workforce Development

Report: Free Community College: An Approach to Increase Adult Student Success in Postsecondary Education (Education Commission of the States)
To date, 23 states have considered 47 pieces of legislation related to free college. Zero states will realistically reach attainment imperatives without the participation of adult students in higher education.

How We're Convening Employers to Expand Opportunity and Strengthen the Workforce (Forbes)
Recently, Jobs for the Future (JFF) worked with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and the American Hotel and Lodging Association Educational Institute (AHLEI) to promote ways to ensure career and wage growth for the current 15.5 million hospitality employees and for those who will fill the close to 12 million emerging jobs. Companies like Hilton and TGI Fridays provided leadership for expanding access to registered apprenticeship, with support from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Bringing universities to the students (Community College Daily)
Jasminy Queiroz, 23, a graduate of Montgomery College (MC) in Maryland, is able to save lots of money while pursuing a bachelor’s degree close to her home at the Universities of Shady Grove (USG), a unique regional higher education center with outposts operated by nine state universities. A student in the University of Maryland’s (UM) Robert H. Smith School of Business, Queiroz appreciates the personalized approach at USG. Most of her classes have 15 or 20 students, a far cry from the 80 or 100 packed into classes at UM’s main campus in College Park. More than three-quarters of the 4,000 students at USG are MC transfers. USG was created as a “2+2 model,” with the goal of ensuring MC graduates can complete a bachelor’s degree that will prepare them for in-demand jobs with local employers.

Health Care

Americans Want Trump To Focus On Healthcare First: Poll (Reuters)
Healthcare is the top issue Americans want Donald Trump to address during his first 100 days in the White House, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday, an apparent rebuke of outgoing President Barack Obama's signature reform, Obamacare. Some 21 percent of Americans want Trump to focus on the healthcare system when he enters the White House on Jan. 20, according to the Nov. 9-14 poll, conducted in the week after the Republican won the U.S. presidential election.

The One Thing Missing From The Debate Over Obamacare, According To A Top Doctor (Wonkblog)
President-elect Donald Trump's promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act while preserving some key elements has triggered rampant speculation about the future of American health care — and plunged millions of patients who benefit from the law into deep uncertainty about the future of their coverage. Little is known about the replacement plan that will ultimately emerge. But one voice angling to shape future policy is the leader of the Mayo Clinic, neurologist John Noseworthy. The issue he thinks has been strangely missing from the years-long debate over malfunctioning websites, politics and soaring premiums is this: the patient's health.

Politics Aside, We Know How to Fix Obamacare (The Upshot)
There’s one significant problem with all these ideas, of course: They’d need to pass the Republican Congress and be signed into law by Mr. Trump. Though the G.O.P. has endorsed some of the ideas before — for Medicare — it’s a safe bet they won’t do so for the Affordable Care Act.

Government Spending and County Health Rankings (Health Affairs)
Analyzing government spending at the local level, J. Mac McCullough and Jonathon Leider find positive associations between certain types of social spending and County Health Rankings. Expenditures positively associated with rankings include: community health care and public health, public hospitals, fire protection, K–12 education, corrections, libraries, and housing and community development.

What the Trump Administration Needs to Do About Health Care (Harvard Business Review)
The broad principles of the path forward for the new administration are clear. In our article “Health Care Needs Real Competition,” from the upcoming December 2016 issue of Harvard Business Review, we describe five catalysts that can accelerate progress toward a competition-driven, value-oriented health care marketplace, one that serves the needs of patients, controls costs, and rewards providers who can innovate and execute.


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