Engaging Ideas - 12/8/2017

The possible end of superdelegates. Questioning whether life is better today or in the past. Measuring where students learn the most. The outsourcing of research to higher ed institutions. A health care wish list for 2018.


Political opposites put down their keyboards and meet face face (UVA Today)
Called “Converge UVA,” the program matches pairs of students with opposing political views to meet and talk about their differences in a peaceful and constructive manner that encourages understanding and humanizing of the other side.

An Identity Crisis in America’s Black Mecca (Harvard Political Review)
On December 1, 2009, a year after America elected its first black president, two candidates, one white and one black, faced off in runoff election to determine who would become Atlanta’s 60th mayor.

The future of the Democratic Party is being decided behind closed doors (The Hill)
One of the deepest divisions within the Democratic Party is playing out right now behind closed doors. The divide is not over candidates or policies but over whether the party is prepared to make its own nominating process more democratic.


The U.S. economy is creating millionaires at an astonishing pace. But what’s it doing for everyone else? (Washington Post)
The U.S. economy is minting new millionaires at an astonishing rate, according to a paper by New York University economist Edward N. Wolff. The number of households with a net worth of $1 million (measured in constant 1995 dollars, or about $1.6 million today) grew from 2.4 million households in 1983 to 9.1 million households in 2016, a growth rate of 279 percent.

Worldwide, People Divided on Whether Life Today Is Better Than in the Past (Pew)
How far do people around the globe think they and others like them have come, compared with 50 years ago? Pew Research Center put that question to nearly 43,000 people in 38 countries around the globe this past spring.

For tenants on the edge, paying the rent often takes more than half their income (Los Angeles Times)
Even before their latest rent increase, Barbie Thompson and her husband, Juan, could barely afford the Rancho Santa Margarita apartment where they raised two children.


The Corrosive Art of Empty Ritual (CityWatch)
“It was so pitiful — city planners asked us for our 'feelings.' They rushed past open space so fast I was embarrassed,” observed Patricia Bell Hearst, chair emeritus of Hillside Federation.

Building Civic Capacity in an Era of Democratic Crisis (New America)
For several years now, the institutions of American democracy have been under increasing strain. Widening economic inequality, the persistence and increased virulence of racial and ethnic tensions, and the inability of existing political institutions to manage disputes and solve problems have all contributed to a growing sense of crisis in American democracy.

Effective Engagement Combines Innovation with Public Outreach (Government Technology)
By pairing the personal with the technical, South Bend, Ind., got the most from its citizen engagement efforts.


How Effective Is Your School District? A New Measure Shows Where Students Learn the Most (New York Times)
In the Chicago Public Schools system, enrollment has been declining, the budget is seldom enough, and three in four children come from low-income homes, a profile that would seemingly consign the district to low expectations. But students here appear to be learning faster than those in almost every other school system in the country, according to new data from researchers at Stanford.

New York City’s racial achievement gaps widen as students get older, report finds (Chalkbeat)
The achievement gaps between racial groups in New York City appear as soon as students begin taking state tests and get worse over time, according to a new analysis of state test-score data.

U.S. Students Work Better in Teams, New PISA Test Finds (Education Week)
American teenagers performed above the international average in a new test of collaborative problem-solving—and "much better ... than would be expected based on their scores in science, reading, and mathematics."

Higher Ed/Workforce

Industry ‘increasingly outsourcing’ research to academia (Times Higher Education)
Businesses around the globe are outsourcing scientific research to academia as they cut back on their in-house discovery programmes, latest figures suggest.

Is Protesting a Privilege? (Chronicle of Higher Education)
Campus protests advocating for diversity occur more frequently at elite colleges, a study suggests.

Higher Education Act Proposal Primes Fight Over Future of Colleges (Wall Street Journal)
The bill, previewed earlier this week by The Wall Street Journal, would update the Higher Education Act of 1965 by overhauling student-loan programs, mandating more transparency on graduates’ earnings and jettisoning much of the existing regulatory framework on for-profit colleges.

Health Care

A Wish List For 2018 (Huffington Post)
From David Sandman- Around this time last year, I shared my wish list for 2017. Happily, two-and-a-half of my three wishes actually came true this year.

Healthcare prices hard to find online (Reuters)
Consumers who search online for prices of common medical procedures may be disappointed by what they find, a U.S. study suggests.

CVS agrees to buy Aetna in $69 billion deal that could shake up health-care industry (Washington Post)
Pharmacy giant CVS Health has agreed to buy Aetna in a $69 billion blockbuster acquisition that could rein in health care costs and transform its 9,700 pharmacy storefronts into community medical hubs for primary care and basic procedures, the companies announced Sunday afternoon.


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