Engaging Ideas - 6/23/2017

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: How Americans define themselves as middle-class by lifestyle and not just income. How Mayor de Blasio preps for engaging with New Yorkers at town halls. Texas leads the way in educating students from urban low-income families. Getting to the end zone, UNC universities program focuses on helping stopped-out students. The U.S. still has a longstanding trend of having lower life expectancy, why?


Want To Heal Political And Social Divisions? Here Are Some Ideas (Colorado Public Radio)
Here are some other efforts underway in Colorado and across the country that try to build bridges.

In Search of the American Center (The New York Times)
Ross Doubthat writes: I am not usually fond of the “this one chart explains everything” genre of political analysis, but every rule has exceptions, and I’m going to make one for a chart that accompanies a new survey on the 2016 election. It helps explain why Donald Trump won the presidency and why his administration is such a policy train wreck, why Democrats keep losing even though the country seems to be getting more liberal, and why populist surges are likely to be with us for a while — a trifecta of rather important explanations.

'You Have to Live With One Another' (The Atlantic)
A human-rights lawyer advises the left on how to seek advancement in a democracy.


70% of Americans Identify as Middle Class Despite a Prolonged Decline in Middle-Income Households in the US (Northwestern Mutual Study)
Northwestern Mutual Study Reveals People Define the Middle Class by Lifestyle and Perspectives as well as Income and Assets


Johns Hopkins receives $150 million pledge to establish forum for civil discussion (Baltimore Sun)
The Johns Hopkins University will establish a forum for the civil discussion of divisive issues with a $150 million gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Shaping space for civic life: Can better design help engage citizens? (Curbed)
A new report looking at design and civic engagement shows the small things really do matter.

How the Mayor Preps for a Town Hall Meeting (WNYC News)
At any given town hall—he held his 27th on Wednesday—Mayor de Blasio can face questions about everything from hyperlocal traffic patterns to why it's worth living in this expensive city at all. WNYC recently sat in as the mayor and his team prepped for a town hall in Queens, then went to the event to see if all that prep helped him actually connect with his constituents.

K-12 Education

New study reveals cities where low-income students are doing best (Hechinger Report)
When it comes to educating students from urban low-income families, according to a new study, one state leads the pack. And it’s one you might not expect. Texas cities were top performers.

Quality matters in early childhood education (Heckman Equation)
Complementing their recent cost-benefit analysis of the ABC/CARE Program, Professor Heckman and his team look at the differences in outcomes based on gender in their paper, Gender Differences in the Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program. As with most early childhood studies, they find that quality early childhood education benefits low-income children, but they also find significant differences by gender. Although all children benefit most from high quality care, girls show some improvement in lower quality care and boys are actually harmed by it.

Higher Education & Workforce Development

Hitting Re-start for Stopped-out Students (Inside Higher Ed)
Part of a University of North Carolina system, the Part-Way Home program was launched in September 2016 after discussions about how to better serve stopped-out students. UNC universities created individual programs dedicated to re-enroll those students, with names often drawing on football imagery: the End Zone program at North Carolina Central University, Finish Line at Western Carolina University -- and the list goes on.

Students' Rising Expectations Pose Challenge to Online Programs (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
The report on the survey, "Online College Students: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences," found that nearly half of students met in classes of eight weeks’ duration or less. Under Education Department guidelines, which are designed to ensure students don’t collect more in federal aid than they are entitled to, that should translate into students’ spending at least 16 hours a week per course in class and on their out-of-class assignments.

Colleges Face More Pressure on Student Outcomes, but Success Isn’t Always Easy to Measure (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
The successes of students like Ms. Harvin haven't translated into plaudits for Williamsburg Tech, which has a graduation rate of just 9 percent on the Education Department’s College Scorecard. Dual-enrollment students haven’t been counted toward the federal calculation of the college’s graduation rate. On average, just 6 percent of the nearly 700 students who enroll at the college are the "first-time, full-time" students who have been counted under federal graduation rates.

'What Are the Pathways?' Listening to Black Men on Campus (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
A sociologist at the University of Louisville describes what colleges need to do to graduate more black males.

Health Care

Middle Class, Not Poor, Could Suffer if Trump Ends Health Payments (The New York Times)
Americans who earn too much to qualify for premium assistance could face double-digit rate increases if the government stops making cost-sharing payments.

Community health centers should make the move toward value-based care (Fierce Healthcare)
“A switch to value-based care among CHCs could promote higher-quality, more efficient and more patient-centric care,” the authors wrote. “Because of the vulnerability of patients served by CHCs, however, this shift must be done thoughtfully, while honoring the original intention of the prospective payment system—to protect safety net clinics from the volatility of Medicaid rates.”

Value-Based Care Alone Won’t Reduce Health Spending and Improve Patient Outcomes (Harvard Business Review)
Despite spending twice what other developed nations spend on a per capita basis for health care, the United States has a longstanding trend of having lower life expectancy, greater prevalence of chronic disease, and overall poorer health outcomes.


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