ON THE AGENDA | JULY 15TH, 2016 | Public Agenda

Engaging Ideas - 7/15

A collection of recent stories and reports that sparked consideration on ways to make progress on divisive issues.

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


After Education, Young Americans Diverge on 2016 Issues (AP)
When it comes to picking a new president, young people in America are united in saying education is what matters most. But there's a wide split in what else will drive their votes, the Associated Press reports. For African-American adults between the ages of 18 and 30, racism is nearly as important as education. For young Hispanics, it's immigration. And for whites and Asian-Americans in the millennial generation, it's economic growth. The results from the new GenForward poll highlight big differences among young Americans who often are viewed as a monolithic group of voters - due in no small part to their overwhelming support for President Barack Obama during his two campaigns for president.

Inside Obama’s radical experiment in national reconciliation (The Washington Post)
It was diversity “by design,” as Obama later told reporters, an unorthodox, four-hour experiment in policymaking through the kind of emotional exchanges that are more often associated with therapeutic encounter sessions than bureaucratic seminars. And according to interviews with about a third of those who participated, it worked. Participants described a wide-ranging, free-flowing conversation facilitated by Obama himself, who began by taking off his suit jacket and rolling up his shirt sleeves. Attendees, even some who had been skeptical of the utility of such a meeting, described an unsparingly frank discussion in which police, protesters, academics and the president debated many of the disagreements playing out across the nation.


An Underutilized Tool for Building Tomorrow’s Workforce (Governing)
Prior learning assessment — awarding college credit for knowledge gained outside the classroom — is a worthwhile idea that's catching on.

5 Takeaways From a Report on Income Mobility (Governing)
New data reveals long-term trends about the under-reported topic.


Is Compassion a Teachable Thing? (The Brian Lehrer Show)
During a conversation Friday on police shootings and the relationships between cops and black communities, a caller named William from Queens gave an incredibly succinct three-minute-and-16-second explanation of what he’s feeling. He’s a black father. He wants a police force that’s there to protect him. He fears he can’t even follow a cop’s orders without possibly getting shot. And he doesn’t sense that anyone cares.

K-12 Education

Report: America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being
The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics is out with an annual report on the well-being of children. In 2014, according to the report, 37 percent of black children lived in poverty. That's compared to 32 percent of Hispanic children and 12 percent of white children.

K-12 and the Supreme Court: Highlights From 2015-16 (EdWeek)
Affirmative action, teachers' union fees, and deportation relief for undocumented parents of U.S. citizen children were among the top education-related issues in the U.S. Supreme Court's recent term.

New Survey Finds Education is Top Political Issue for Young Americans (EdWeek)
A survey of Americans age 18-30 reports that education is the most important issue for them when considering which political candidates they will support, according to a survey released Wednesday. The "
GenForward" survey, conducted by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research with responses from nearly 2,000 individuals, asked them to select the three most important issues to them when considering candidates. Education was selected as a top-three issue by 31 percent of all those surveyed.

New Data Era for Teacher Prep (Inside Higher Ed)
Teacher preparation programs can improve outcomes for future teachers and their students if they use student-achievement data to inform their efforts, writes Benjamin Riley.

Innovating Through Partnerships and Practice: The Senate's New Bill for Teacher Preparation (New America)
Anna Duncan looks at a proposed revision to the Teacher Quality Grant program—it would change how grant recipients partner with alternative preparation programs.

Higher Education

Lessons Learned From a Community College Initiative to Help Low-Income Students (Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success)
Housing for single students remains the issue that is most difficult for students to resolve. Whether it is inability to pay rent, an eviction notice, or no actual place to stay, there are few solutions because of limited assistance and narrow definitions for eligibility. Public housing in Northampton and our surrounding communities have waiting lists that are often closed because the wait list is 10 years long. Our students often do not have 10 days to wait for housing. –Maryann Haytmanek, Northampton BACC Project Lead

Shut Up About Harvard (FiveThirtyEight)
A focus on elite schools ignores the issues most college students face writes Ben Casselman.

A look at Obama administration's "Second Chance Pell" in Pennsylvania (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Tyrone Werts, who graduated with the help of a Pell grant from Villanova in 1992 while locked up, now works with Temple University’s Inside Out program, which runs classes at correctional facilities where university students learn alongside inmates. He said education for those behind bars can have transformative powers. “It opens, expands people’s minds and gives them the confidence that they can do something else with their lives,” Mr. Werts said. “I don’t know where my life would be. Education put my life on a different trajectory.”

Health Care

Rising to the Challenge: The Commonwealth Fund Scorecard on Local Health System Performance, 2016 Edition (The Commonwealth Fund)
Few communities have seen big health care improvements. Between 2011 through 2014, many communities saw only "modest" improvements in health, according to the Commonwealth Fund's local area scorecard report out today. The report - which is the first edition of the scorecard to consider Obamacare's early effects - also flags that obesity rates rose in about a third of communities and rates of premature deaths from treatable conditions stayed flat in nearly every area.

In shift to value, a chance for New York's Medicaid to transform healthcare for children (Modern Healthcare)
A new report makes the case for redefining value-based care when it comes to children, who use healthcare differently from adults and whose health is influenced significantly by their surroundings and environment.

Amino launches free, online healthcare cost comparison tool (MobiHealthNews)
Amino, a San Francisco-based startup that has built a free, online direct-to-consumer tool for finding a doctor, has added a cost estimator module to its offering. To begin with, the feature will calculate costs for 49 procedures and treatments, though more will be added over time. It includes 500,000 doctors nationwide and 129 health insurers.


A Tale of Two Mayors During a Time of Civil Unrest (CityLab)
While Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has been front and center regarding the Dallas shootings, Baton Rouge mayor Kip Holden has been noticeably absent.

What U.S. Mayors Care About Most (Governing)
A review of the year's State of the City speeches details their top priorities.


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