ON THE AGENDA | DECEMBER 21ST, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA

ENGAGING IDEAS - 12/21/2018

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: A new bipartisan bill aimed at overhauling the criminal justice system. Looking at how we can encourage innovative solutions to fighting poverty. A new push for play-based learning in schools. Examining maternal deaths in the U.S. compared to other developed countries.


Democracy

Senate overwhelmingly backs overhaul of criminal justice system (Washington Post)
The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a sweeping overhaul of the criminal justice system, after a remarkable political shift from Republicans who voted in large numbers to save money by reducing prison sentences, handing a rare bipartisan victory to President Trump.
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Barack Obama Goes All In Politically to Fight Gerrymandering(The Atlantic)
The former president sees representative elections as the key to progress on global warming, gun control, and health care.
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How the Russians attacked America's democracy (USA Today)
Two new reports for the Senate Intelligence Committee describe how the Russians heavily targeted Americans with deceitful messages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms.
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Opportunity/Inequality

A new Trump rule could take food stamps away from 755,000 people (Vox)
The USDA wants to toughen SNAP work requirements, but there's little evidence the program discourages work.
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How we can encourage innovative solutions to poverty and inequality (Fast Company)
Despite so many advances in science and technology, we haven't seen many large-scale applications to problems of the poor.
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Eviction Lab examines the intersection of poverty and housing (Princeton University)
Matthew Desmond, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2016 bestseller "Evicted," and his team created a national database of eviction records, where visitors can see how their region stacks up against others, look at maps of eviction rates, and more.
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Engagement

'Participatory budgeting' proposal could give Atlantans control of city funds (Curbed)
"Residents know better than City Hall what their neighborhood needs most," says councilman Amir Farokhi
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Data suggests voter turnout for midterms may not change much, despite political culture (The Slate)
Every other year, millions of Americans turn out to vote on the first Tuesday of the month of November. They come from every state and represent people of a variety of backgrounds. But what is one of the historically lowest-represented groups? Young adults.
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K-12

Los Angeles Teachers Threaten to Strike in January (Wall Street Journal)
Union on Wednesday rejected the district's offer of a 6% salary raise and said many of its demands remain unmet.
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What worked (and didn't) this year: 10 lessons from education research to take into 2019 (Chalkbeat)
We've synthesized what we learned from research in 2018, focusing on which policies seemed to work and which didn't. We're using "what worked" as a shorthand for policies that improved test scores or affected metrics like suspensions, attendance, and high school graduation rates.
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A New Push for Play-Based Learning: Why Districts Say It's Leading to More Engaged Students, Collaborative Classmates ... and Better Grades (The 74)
This child-directed learning has been shown to deliver the best results for academic outcomes, according to a study of three preschool programs in Washington, D.C. Students who had been in a formal, traditional academic environment during preschool earned lower grades after several years of schooling than their peers who had been in preschools where active, child-initiated learning was more common, the study found.
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Higher Ed/Workforce

Despite decades of pledging to hire more black faculty, most universities didn't (Hechinger Report)
The number of black faculty on college campuses has gone down during the last decade.
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US college completion rate climbs to 58% (Education Dive)
Student completion rates are up at two- and four-year U.S. colleges, regardless of gender, race and ethnicity, or age, according to a new report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The organization analyzed six-year completion rates for first-time, degree-seeking students who enrolled in college in the fall of 2012.
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Law Schools Find a Way to Fill Seats (Wall Street Journal)
New offerings include master's programs for students not interested in practicing law, courses for foreign lawyers
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Health Care

What Is the Status of Women's Health and Health Care in the U.S. Compared to Ten Other Countries? (The Commonwealth Fund)
Women in the U.S. have the highest rate of maternal mortality because of complications from pregnancy or childbirth, as well as among the highest rates of caesarean sections. Women in Sweden and Norway have among the lowest rates of both.
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Texas still hasn't expanded Medicaid. That's leaving a gap in coverage for hundreds of thousands. (The Texas Tribune)
More and more states have decided to expand Medicaid, but Texas has not budged. With more than a half million Texans in the so-called health coverage gap, will the politics of the issue shift in next year's legislative session?
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Number of outpatient facilities surges as industry values more convenient, affordable care (Modern Healthcare)
The number of outpatient centers increased 51% from 2005 to 2016, a trend that shows no sign of slowing.
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