Engaging Ideas - 7/7/2017

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: Think you can spot fake news? Play this game thought up by a journalist. An essay on the disconnect between working hard and getting ahead in today’s society. A story about how prioritizing social and emotional learning can help students of color. Why we should be listening to doctors on how to fix our broken healthcare system.


What Does 'Community' Mean? (CityLab)
The word’s evolution makes a nice metaphor for the rise of American individualism—and the decline of trust in American institutions.

Americans Focused on Health Law Process as Much as Outcomes (Gallup)
As the Senate continues to work on changing the nation's healthcare system, Americans may be as focused on how their elected representatives are going about the process as they are on the legislation itself.

Putting Citizenship Back in Congress (The New York Times)
On Jan. 24, the House of Representatives passed the READ Act, which establishes a framework for American leadership on access to basic education in some of the world’s poorest countries. During the 2015-2016 Congressional session, the Reach Act, intended to improve the effectiveness of U.S.A.I.D.’s work on maternal and child health in the developing world, received endorsements from more than half of the House and a third of the Senate. Neither of these initiatives has received much attention. Indeed, they are part of a story that is virtually absent from today’s national narrative: how ordinary people can still influence the government through persuasive moral arguments and tenacity.

To Test Your Fake News Judgment, Play This Game (Wyoming Public Radio)
The journalist who thought up this game says she saw the need before "fake news" was even in the vernacular. Voilà,
Factitious. Give it a shot.


Opinion: Work and Reward: The Great Disconnect (The New York Times)
Working hard and getting ahead used to go hand in hand. But that was a long time ago, before decades of stagnating incomes and rising inequality took their toll.

Study says climate change could increase North vs. South economic inequality (Geek Wire)

America’s economic inequality could widen if global temperatures rise due to climate change, but there’s a silver lining for the Pacific Northwest: It would fall on the favorable end of the spectrum.


From 'Not in My Backyard' to 'Yes in My Backyard' (The Atlantic)
Out of a desire for more-equitable housing policy, some city dwellers have started allying with developers instead of opposing them.

New Ohio State institute to provide training to public officials (Columbus Dispatch)
The school at Ohio State University named for John Glenn will be home to a new institute aimed at helping elected officials better understand their positions and the importance of civil discourse in public service.

K-12 Education

Teachers Trained Through Fast-Track Program No Better or Worse Than Their Peers (Education Week)
TNTP, formerly The New Teacher Project, has trained and placed about 35,000 teachers in urban areas over nearly two decades. Like Teach for America, which operates similarly, the Teaching Fellows program has faced pushback for placing inexperienced educators in front of some of the nation's neediest students.

Six ways prioritizing social and emotional learning can increase graduation rates for students of color, lower suspensions (Hechinger Report)
Antwan Wilson, the new chancellor of DC public schools, writes: When Oakland Unified Public Schools, where I was previously superintendent, helped educators prioritize social and emotional learning (SEL), we saw dramatic increases in graduation rates for students of color, and a nearly 50 percent decline in suspensions.

Higher Education & Workforce Development

What will it cost? What will you earn? Website offers prospectus on every degree program in Kansas (Lawrence-Journal World)
The Kansas Board of Regents this week launched an expansion of its website,
www.ksdegreestats.org, to include information on degree programs at the state's 26 two-year institutions. Regents spokeswoman Breeze Richardson said the site also has more comprehensive wage and salary information because the system now receives data from both the Kansas and Missouri labor departments.

When It Comes to Skills and Talent, Size Matters (CityLab)
What lies behind this new and increasingly unequal geography? A new study on NBER on “The Comparative Advantage of Cities” by economists at Columbia University and the University of Chicago takes a deep dive into this issue. The study looks closely at the distribution of talent and skill across the U.S. metros. It focuses on two measures of skill—one based on level of education and the other based on the occupation and kind of work people do.

Health Care

Scaling Career Pathways For Entry-Level Health Care Workers (Health Affairs)
On the Health Affairs blog today, from the Advisory Board Company and the Hope Street Group: the Health Career Pathways Task Force recently released its first comprehensive report, “Paving Health Career Pathways to the Middle Class.” The report details the initial findings and practical recommendations for creating these career pathways.

How Not To Lower Healthcare Costs (Forbes)
Citing recent estimates that nearly one-third of clinical laboratory tests are unnecessary for patients, University of Pennsylvania researchers posed a question with huge cost-savings potential: What would happen if doctors were able to look at the price of these tests before ordering them?

Medicaid Worsens Your Health? That’s a Classic Misinterpretation of Research (The Upshot)
Some have mistaken correlation for causation in trying to defend G.O.P. health care approaches.

The U.S. medical system is broken. We should be listening to doctors about how to fix it (Los Angeles Times)
Dr. Robert Pearl has spent his life in medicine — most recently 18 years as executive director and CEO of Kaiser Permanente’s medical group in California, and president and CEO of its mid-Atlantic group. But it was the death of his father, and a simple medical miscommunication, that prompted him to look long and hard at an American medical system that doesn’t always deliver bang for its billions of bucks.


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