Engaging Ideas - 7/14/2017

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: Income inequality and the divide between the well-off and the stratospherically rich. More Americans are talking politics over drinks. How does the public view health care quality and value? A chart that shows you the probability of your job being automated. One congressional committee shows that bipartisanship still exists. Should voting be more fun?


A Bipartisan Congress That Works? Veterans Committees Show How It’s Done (New York Times)
Magnanimous hearings. Bipartisan votes. Substantial legislation on its way to becoming law. This is Congress? Something strange is happening in the staid hearing rooms of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees here this summer, though few have taken notice.

AP-NORC Poll: Three-quarters in US say they lack influence (Associated Press)
Three-quarters of Americans agree that people like themselves have too little influence in Washington, rare unanimity across political, economic, racial and geographical lines and including both those who approve and disapprove of President Donald Trump, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Why The Trend Around Politics And Cocktails Is Exploding (Huffington Post)
Healthcare sit-ins on Capitol Hill. Alleged Russian interaction previous to the presidential election. Previous generations may have been taught that conversation about such topics as religion or politics while socializing were definitely taboo, but it seems that the new trend toward frank discussion and exchange around all things statecraft is not only smashing all previous etiquette norms but also shows no signs of slowing down.


How Income Inequality Makes Economic Downturns Worse (CityLab)
Urban counties in the United States were more likely to enter the Great Recession earlier when they had a larger gap between the rich and the poor.

The huge gap between America's rich and superrich exposes a fundamental misunderstanding about inequality (Business Insider)
While America's enormous gap between rich and poor and the sorry state of its middle class are well-documented, a less prominent trend tells an equally important story about the American economy: the divide between the well-off and the stratospherically rich.

Why Can’t Americans Get a Raise? (Slate)
Companies have forgotten how to compensate workers fairly—and workers have forgotten what they deserve.


Turning down the temperature on town halls (Christian Science Monitor)
Town halls are a crucial tool in creating connections between citizens and their lawmakers. But how do you mix civility with passion? There are ways.

This Might Be the Best Idea for Turning Out More Voters in U.S. Elections (New York Magazine)
Presidential election years bring out more voters, of course, but even the 2016 national election — featuring a reality TV star and the first woman to win a major-party nomination — drew only slightly more than half of voting-age Americans to the polls. So what changed? A professor of political science at Columbia University thinks part of the problem is that voting isn’t as fun as it once was.

K-12 Education

To Improve Professional Learning for Teachers, We Can’t Forget Principals (New America)
Roxanne Garza discusses a recent report from the Aspen Institute regarding how state and district leaders can support teachers by adapting to new standards.

How Universal College Admission Tests Help Low-Income Students (The Upshot)

The two standard college admission tests — the SAT and the ACT — could be administered universally and free of charge to students. That would reduce the administrative barriers to applying to college, help identify talented disadvantaged children, and increase the likelihood they will attend a college that matches their skills.

Higher Education & Workforce Development

Deep Partisan Divide on Higher Education (Inside Higher Ed)
In dramatic shift, more than half of Republicans now say colleges have a negative impact on the U.S., with wealthier, older and more educated Republicans being least positive.

Find Out If Your Job Will Be Automated (Bloomberg)
Wondering how vulnerable your job might be? Type your occupation into the chart to see what the researchers think is the probability of your job being automated.

Health Care

How 3 patient groups view healthcare quality: 6 things to know (Becker's Hospital Review)
The nonpartisan Public Agenda conducted a study to gauge how three groups — people recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, people who recently had a joint replacement and women who recently gave birth — view healthcare quality and value.

Health Plans That Nudge Patients to Do the Right Thing (New York Times)
As health care costs rise, Americans are increasingly on the hook to pay more for their care. This trend is more than just annoying — asking consumers to pay more for everything deters many from getting the care they need. What would happen if, instead, health plans offered more generous coverage of high-value care, but less generous coverage of those services that provide little or no health benefit?


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