Engaging Ideas - 6/30/2017

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: Calls for a national dialogue amid politically dividing language and deeds. Clearly measuring income inequality and what to do about it. How to get teenagers involved in civic engagement. The plans, hopes and dreams of graduating seniors who are not going to college. How health reform can cross party lines.


A Call to Revive America's Political Center (Real Clear Politics)
Before our savagely polarized country rips itself apart with violent language and violent deeds, it’s time for the nation’s adult leaders to rally and fortify the political center.

Working Toward the Same Ends for Different Reasons (The Atlantic)
A better understanding of moral reasoning could help Americans cooperate on improving the country even amid deep disagreements.

America needs a national dialogue to heal our political battle wounds (The Hill)
The horrible and indiscriminate attack on a group of House Republican members of Congress at their early morning baseball practice for a charity baseball game may prove to be a watershed moment in our country: the day Democrats and Republicans realized they had to change the direction of American politics to take our democracy off the downward spiral it was on.


It's Time To Measure Inequality (Forbes)
Amazingly, no one can point to a clear measurement of inequality that puts flesh and blood on the statistics. Yet most Americans know about it intimately. They live it. They don’t need government statistics. They face it every day

Could You Help Rewire Income Disparity? (NPR)
The growth of income disparity across the world has now become so well-documented that even some rich people see it as a danger to society. But the scale of the problem makes it seem like there's not much ordinary, not-so-rich folks can do about it in their ordinary, not-so-rich lives. If new research from network science is right, though, there may be something easy and simple almost anyone can do to help bring more economic equality into the world.


A civic minded conversation (Daily Journal)
How can we engage teenagers in the civic process? How can government leaders connect with young people in the classroom? And what, exactly, is fake news? These were some of the questions a panel of civic leaders discussed at Kankakee Community College as part of the 2017 Illinois Civics Academy for Teachers, a regional conference for teachers looking for innovative ways to implement the Illinois civic education requirements.

K-12 Education

Students' Sense of Belonging Starts With Teachers (Education Week)
Educators believe students need to feel welcome at school to be successful, but some say they struggle to address barriers to belonging.

Study: Chicago Students Outperform Kids in Rest of Illinois (WBEZ)
A new study from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Urban Education Leadership finds that Chicago students on average outperform similarly situated students outside the city. The findings are big news for Chicago Public Schools, a district which was called the "worst in the nation" 30 years ago by former U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett. But the reasons for Chicago's improvement as compared to the rest of the state are complicated. For instance, the study found a major shift in low-income students from Chicago to suburban and downstate areas. According to WBEZ's coverage of the study, "While most low-income children in the state were at one time enrolled in Chicago schools, two-thirds now live outside the city — and that number is growing."

From Frenzied to Focused: How School Staffing Models Can Support Principals as Instructional Leaders (New America)
A new report from Melissa Tooley explores approaches to school staffing by examining three public school districts which employ promising, yet varied, “new school leadership” (NSL) models. Each is designed to bolster principals’ ability to focus on instructional leadership.

Out of High School, Into Real Life (The New York Times)
This graduation season, The New York Times talked with seniors across the country who are not headed to college about their plans, hopes and dreams.

Higher Education & Workforce Development

Report: Early Millennials: The Sophomore Class of 2002 a Decade Later (National Center for Education Statistics)
Many members of the sophomore class of 2002 had made the transition to postsecondary education (84 percent). As of 2012, about one-half of cohort members had earned a postsecondary certificate or degree. One-third of all cohort members had earned a bachelor’s or higher degree by 2012.

Report: Aligning Aid with Enrollment: Interim Findings on Aid Like A Paycheck (MDRC)
Most colleges distribute financial aid refund amounts to students in one or two lump sums during the term. Aid Like A Paycheck is a study of an alternative approach, in which financial aid refunds are disbursed biweekly, with the goal of helping students stretch their financial aid (including federal Pell Grants, state aid, and loans) to cover expenses throughout the term. MDRC is conducting a mixed-methods study of biweekly disbursements at two community colleges in the metropolitan area of Houston, Texas. The study includes qualitative research on the program’s implementation and a randomized controlled trial to rigorously estimate the impacts of the policy on students’ academic and financial outcomes.

Looking Under the Hood (New America)
In the latest post in a blog series about inequalities in higher education, Kelly Rosinger discusses how colleges might mitigate educational inequity and promote upward mobility.

Health Care

Health-Reform Principles That Can Cross Party Lines (Wall Street Journal)
Experts don’t always agree—but eight found common ground despite other differences. They write: "While we have differing perspectives about the level and structure of Medicaid funding, we all believe that carefully developed state testing can be a primary engine for reforming Medicaid and providing care to low-income families. The improved use of waivers, for example, can help states develop fiscally sound and affordable coverage options for their most vulnerable citizens."

What's a better forum for making health policy: Congress or reality TV? (Iowa City Press-Citizen)
When asked last week to present a “brave idea” about health policy, University of Iowa Provost Sue Curry decided to cross the line from straight analysis into satire. “Let’s have a reality TV show — ‘Write that Bill!’ — to craft health legislation: emphasis on health and not just on insurance and sick care,” she said.

Exploring Quality Measures Under Value-Based Purchasing Models (RevCycle Intelligence)
At Xtelligent Media’s Value-Based Care Summit, an industry expert addressed the key components of quality measures for value-based purchasing success.


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