ON THE AGENDA | APRIL 1ST, 2016 | Public Agenda

Engaging Ideas - 4/1

A weekly collection of stories, reports and news to spark consideration on ways to make progress on divisive issues.

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues including democracy, public engagement, opportunity, education and health care.


Uninformed Voters Are a Problem. This May Be a Solution. (Governing)

A new award-winning website from two Chicago women aims to better educate voters about downballot races, which people often know little (if anything) about.

Do We Actually Want Higher Youth Voter Turnout? (Stanford Social Innovation Review)

Young people can be more engaged in politics, but major institutions must actually want that to happen. Abby Kiesa and Peter Levine write: "We found that about one quarter of high school teachers of civics and government were leery of teaching about the election in 2012 because they feared backlash from local adults. Better preparation for future teachers and professional development for current teachers would help allay their concerns, and, in turn, help them allay public fears."

What I Learned When an Angry Mob Destroyed My Public Meeting (Metroquest)

When things go wrong in public engagement, they can go spectacularly wrong. The result isn’t just frustration for project leaders. It can spell costly delays, failed or overturned planning efforts, or the loss of public support for politicians and government agencies. Introducing the Fiasco Files – a lighthearted opportunity to look back on those times when things went sideways.

Restoring Opportunity

Should Economic Development Focus on People or Places? (Governing)

Cities tend to favor building stadiums and convention centers over investing in education or human services. It's an understandable but troublesome trend.

How America’s Mayors Are Taking the Lead on Income Inequality (Governing)

They're doing what they can on this challenging issue, but they think it's a problem Washington and state governments should solve.

K-12 Education

Report: Untapped Potential (One Chance Illinois)

A new report from One Chance Illinois details the underrepresentation of minority and low-income students is the state’s gifted education programs. Illinois is working to close the Excellence Gap by identifying and enrolling these “missing” students in AP and IB courses through a partnership with the Lead Higher Initiative announced this week.

Improving University Principal Preparation Programs (Wallace Foundation)

District leaders are largely dissatisfied with the quality of principal preparation programs, and many universities believe that their programs have room for improvement.

A Diverse Teaching Force? This Search Firm Can Help, But It'll Cost You (NPR)

One man working in the private sector to address this problem — or at least a slice of it — is a former elementary school teacher named Orpheus Crutchfield. He's the president of Stratégenius LLC in Berkeley, Calif. It's been around for 15 years. And to his knowledge, it's the only search firm in the country that specializes in placing underrepresented candidates in schools. The firm typically works with between 55 and 65 schools at a time, charging each one a $1,650 annual retainer.

Higher Education

Community Colleges Partner On Credentialing Initiative (eCampus News)

The Right Signals initiative is a new credentialing model that recognizes multiple quality credentials to send “the right signals” to employers, students, and colleges about the meaning of these credentials. Key credentials to be targeted are degrees, certificates, industry certifications, apprenticeships, and badges. The Right Signals initiative comes from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and is supported by a grant from Lumina Foundation.

New Public U Collaboration On Student Completion (Inside Higher Ed)

Seven public urban universities have banded together to form a new collaboration aimed at helping more low-income, underrepresented students earn degrees. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities are leading the creation of the new group, which is dubbed Collaborating for Change.

For Adults, Lifelong Learning Happens The Old Fashioned Way (NPR)

Even after high school or college, Americans keep on learning. While online tools make this easier than ever, a new study finds the vast majority of adults prefer taking classes in physical places.

Op-ed: What's Working: Using Data on the Path to College Completion (The Huffington Post)

Allan Golston, President, U.S. Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation writes: Having and using better data won’t fix all of the challenges facing our postsecondary system. But there’s also no longer any need to let students fend for themselves on the critical journey to and through college. A high quality, broadly accessible public education is not only central to the American Dream; it is key to increasing promise and prosperity in this country.

Health Care

CMS unveils interactive tool to map disparities in care (Healthcare Dive)

The Mapping Medicare Disparities tool can be used to pinpoint disparities in health outcomes and spending by race, ethnicity, and geographic location.

“Dear IHI”: An Advice Column for Quality Improvers (Institute for Healthcare Improvement)

It’s one thing to learn about quality in the classroom or in a workshop, and quite another to make improvements in the field. That’s why we’re offering a new series called “Dear IHI” – the “Dear Abby” of quality, safety, and leadership. In the first installment, Jennifer Lenoci-Edwards answers a question from a charge nurse about how to encourage staff to speak up about safety. In the second post, Don Goldmann shares his elevator pitch for getting clinicians interested in QI, starting with an attention-grabbing entrée: “Ask your colleague what makes her angry at work – perhaps what’s had her gnashing her teeth that very day.” Send your anonymous “Dear IHI” questions to info@ihi.org, and be on the lookout for future posts about how to prioritize QI projects, and when to stop measuring.

How to Communicate with Policymakers: An Interactive Virtual Bootcamp (Academy Health)

While the path from conception of a research idea to publication of study findings can be arduous, perhaps even more challenging is ensuring that your research findings are ultimately used by decision makers who most need the information to inform policy and practice. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization (HCFO) initiative, managed by AcademyHealth, hosted an invitational virtual bootcamp for grantees to explore strategies for effectively communicating with policymakers. During this webinar, Emily Holubowich, M.P.P., of CRD Associates, provided an overview of the current political landscape, discussed how federal policymakers use evidence and how researchers can tailor their communications to translate findings to policymakers

Why Doctors Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Online Reviews (Harvard Business Review)

Vivian Lee, CEO of University of Utah Health Care, writes: Patient satisfaction is not about bending to every patient’s every desire any more than it is about jumping through regulatory hoops. It is about making a sustained and genuine commitment to providing skilled and compassionate care. It is about doing well by doing good — an approach that UUHC and others have pursued. Here is what it looks like at UUHC.


Dude, Where’s My City? (The New York Times)

Seattle native Timothy Egan writes: Every town needs its Kramers. And in Seattle, where I was born and still live, where my grandmother spent her last days in subsidized housing with a view of Puget Sound, I’m afraid we’re losing ours.

America's urban renaissance is only for the rich (Vox)

Matt Yglesias writes: I've lived in high-density urban neighborhoods my whole life, and I've never heard a voter or public official espouse the goal of making their city a hostile place for poor people and parents. People want — or at least claim they want — America's newly thriving cities to be engines of economic opportunity. But status quo policies are delivering the opposite result.


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