ON THE AGENDA | DECEMBER 23RD, 2016 | Public Agenda

Engaging Ideas - 12/23

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: How states are collaborating to solve shared problems. Republicans and Democrats agree on one important issue. What new teachers should know before entering a classroom. And identifying a middle ground on health care payment reform.


Let's Make a Pact: States Increasingly Problem Solve Together (Governing)
They often fall under the radar, but compacts are becoming a top tool for managing interstate issues.


Louis Harris, Pollster at Forefront of American Trends, Dies at 95 (The New York Times)
Louis Harris, the nation’s best-known 20th-century pollster, who refined interpretive polling methods and took the pulse of voters and consumers through four decades of elections, wars, racial troubles and cultural revolutions that ran from tail fins to the internet, died on Saturday at his home in Key West, Fla. He was 95.


Krista Tippett Thinks We Can’t Change One Another’s Minds (The New York Times Magazine)
Q: You’ve suggested on your show, “On Being,” that people shouldn’t necessarily start a conversation with, say, someone of a different political affiliation by looking for common ground, because that means you’re already trying to influence the person. Is there a better way to have these conversations?
A: Even across a lot of our divides, we have a lot of shared questions. Part of my take on this historical moment is that globalization and our technologies are dazzling, but they have so quickly outstripped our ability to turn them to human purposes. What we are pointed back to right now is this human drama that is behind, for example, the Brexit vote and the American election.


Will the Minimum Wage Debate Ever Be Settled? (The Atlantic)
States are implementing new laws about worker pay. That will provide plenty of research fodder for economists who can’t seem to agree on whether or not raises are good or bad for workers.

How Inefficient Health Care, Education and Housing May Be Damaging U.S. Productivity (The Wall Street Journal)
Public and private spending on health, housing and education sectors have soared from 25% to 40% since 1980, a recent study says.

Republicans and Democrats generally agree that their parties do too little for middle-income and lower-income people (Pew Research)
Partisans also are equally likely to say their parties have done too much for higher-income people: 45% of Republicans think this about the Republican Party, as do 43% of Democrats about the Democratic Party.

K-12 Education

How Schools Can Have the Great Principals They Need (Governing)
Effective leadership can make a big difference in public education. States can do more to promote it.

States Beef Up School Counseling Corps (Education Week)
A handful of states are reinvesting in their thinning ranks of school counselors in the wake of mounting evidence that counseling support can get more students through high school and into college.

What should new teachers know before they set foot in a classroom? (Hechinger Report)
States turn to the experts: Teachers themselves. Elly Eckhoff, 35, was among a group of veteran Missouri teachers who joined representatives of university teacher preparation programs and staff from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for a four-hour forum this fall as part of a state effort to change how teachers are prepared for the classroom and supported once they get there.

The Classroom Where Fake News Fails (NPR)
Fake news is everywhere, and many Americans in this digital age struggle to sort fact from fiction. The fix: Teach them when they're young.

Higher Education & Workforce Development

Meet the Educators Trying to Fix California's 'Broken' Remedial Education System (89.3 KPCC)
The old classes taught students to structure sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into essays, mostly through workbooks. The new class gives remedial students college-level work. On a recent Thursday afternoon, instructor Leslie Tejada led a dozen students in her English 100 class in a discussion of one of the most talked about books this year, "Between the World and Me," by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

The Stagnant Wage Premium (Inside Higher Ed)
The wage gap between college degree holders and workers without a degree has not grown in recent years, and a new study says the culprit is information technology's displacement of "routine" jobs.

The Dangers of Echo Chambers on Campus (The New York Times)
Nicholas Kristof writes: It’s ineffably sad that today “that’s academic” often means “that’s irrelevant.” One step to correcting that is for us liberals to embrace the diversity we supposedly champion.

Health Care

Price Transparency Is Nice. Just Don’t Expect It to Cut Health Costs. (The Upshot)
Improved transparency isn’t working as well as hoped. Health care pricing apps and websites don’t always help patients spend less. That’s the conclusion from a study published this year in The Journal of the American Medical Association. The study found that price transparency did not reduce outpatient spending, even among patients with higher deductibles or who faced higher health care costs because of illness.

A Payment Model That Prevents Unnecessary Medical Treatment (Harvard Business Review)
As payers and providers in the U.S. health care system shift from fee for service to value-based approaches that pay providers for quality, they are turning to two models: One is procedure- and DRG-based bundled payments that pay one price for all the care related to treating a condition. The other is population-based “global” or “capitated” payments” such as accountable care organizations in which a provider is paid a fixed amount to cover all of a patient’s health needs for a specified period of time. The Center for Orthopedic Research and Education (or CORE Institute) is pioneering an approach that represents a middle ground. It addresses a central criticism of bundled payments: that the approach doesn’t prevent unnecessary care.

If Not Obamacare, Then What? (The Atlantic)
Trump supporters in southern Pennsylvania say the Affordable Care Act has been a let-down. Here’s what they’d like instead.

Obamacare: Both Obama's Greatest Triumph and Worst Failure (POLITICO Pulse)
That's according to a new Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll, which found that 23.5 percent of respondents named the ACA as the president's signature accomplishment in office, outpolling the economic recovery (21.9 percent.) But 26.7 percent of respondents also said that the ACA was Obama's biggest failure, topping the 15.3 percent who named the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here's the topline: http://www.suffolk.edu/documents/SUPRC/12_21_2016_complete_marginals.pdf.


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