Engaging Ideas - 8/11/2017

What is “winning” in politics? Civic engagement through Facebook can be good and bad. The criminal justice system and its impact on economic mobility. Men are the new college minority. College courses for incarcerated individuals in New York. What a bipartisan health care bill might look like. Getting patients to “shop around” for health care isn’t so easy.


Some of those hot-button issues of the Trump-backed immigration bill aren’t so controversial to the public (Washington Post)
Surveys over the past decade show Americans think it’s important for immigrants to possess several attributes prioritized by the new bill, including speaking English, having a job and a high level of education — but there’s mixed opinion on reducing the number of immigrants granted entry to the United States.

Readers write: What does 'winning' in politics mean? (Christian Science Monitor)
Sometimes winning isn’t about winning. That’s essentially what Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona said in a speech from the Senate floor last week, calling on his colleagues to stop being so focused on chalking up wins for one’s party that you lose sight of the bigger issue: solving problems for Americans. His speech prompted us to ask you – our readers – how you would define winning in politics. The answers reflected a thoughtful tone, in contrast to the intense partisanship we’re seeing in American politics.

Political Parties Near Realignment After 20 Years of Sorting (NBC News)
On the surface, the American political system looks fairly steady, with two well-known behemoths, the Democratic and Republican parties, fighting for control. But those two parties have changed a lot in recent years and those changes have remade American politics.


Facebook Is Testing a New Way for Users to Connect With Their Elected Officials (AdWeek)
Facebook is testing a new way to perform its civic duty, as some users are seeing “This Week in Your Government” posts in their News Feeds, featuring recent posts from their local elected officials.

A Civics Lesson for Facebook (Slate)
As CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out in a sizable manifesto earlier this year, Facebook has grand ambitions to create a platform that goes beyond just connecting family and friends. More than social media, it wants to create the social infrastructure that powers communities from niche interest groups to nations. But can tools to improve civic engagement from a clickbait-driven company really be good for democracy?


Our Broken Economy, in One Simple Chart (New York Times)
Many Americans can’t remember anything other than an economy with skyrocketing inequality, in which living standards for most Americans are stagnating and the rich are pulling away. It feels inevitable. But it’s not.

To Boost Income Mobility, Reform Our Bail System (The Federalist)
Beyond shrinking our overly expanded incarcerated population, bail reform would boost the United States’ stagnating income mobility by reforming a system that traps the poor in poverty.

Why It’s So Hard to Get Ahead in the South (The Atlantic)
In Charlotte and other Southern cities, poor children have the lowest odds of making it to the top income bracket of kids anywhere in the country. Why?

K-12 Education

A new study shows why it’s so hard to improve teacher preparation (Chalkbeat)
Dramatically reshaping how teachers are trained — by emulating great teacher preparation programs and shutting down ineffective ones — has been a key priority of many states and even, under the Obama administration, the federal government.

What should America do about its worst public schools? States still don’t seem to know. (Washington Post)
Two years after Congress scrapped federal formulas for fixing troubled schools, states for the most part are producing only the vaguest of plans to address persistent educational failure. So far, 16 states and the District of Columbia have submitted proposals for holding schools accountable under the 2015 law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act. With few exceptions, the blueprints offer none of the detailed prescriptions for intervention, such as mass teacher firings or charter-school conversions, that were once standard elements of school reform.

Higher Education & Workforce Development

Why Men Are the New College Minority (The Atlantic)
Jessica Smith raised an arm and pointed across the lobby of the university student center like an ornithologist who had just spied a rare breed in the underbrush. “There’s one,” she said. It was, in fact, an unusual bird that Smith had spotted, especially on this campus: masculum collegium discipulus. A male college student. This fall, women will comprise more than 56 percent of students on campuses nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Some 2.2 million fewer men than women will be enrolled in college this year. And the trend shows no sign of abating. By 2026, the department estimates, 57 percent of college students will be women.

Students of for-profit colleges struggle the most repaying loans (The Buffalo News)
Students who attended for-profit institutions struggled the most to pay down the principal on their student loans. For-profit schools also produced lower shares of students who earned annual incomes of at least $25,000.

Cuomo to Give Colleges $7 Million for Courses in Prisons (New York Times)
Moving ahead with a plan that has drawn criticism from conservatives, the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is awarding more than $7 million in grants to a variety of colleges around the state to offer courses to prisoners.

Health Care

To Save Money On Health Costs, Try Putting Away Your Insurance Card (Forbes)
Psst: You might pay less for health care if you put away your insurance card. Like most of us, you probably think your insurance policy gives you access to better prices. But that’s not always true.

Here's What a Bipartisan Health Care Plan Would Look Like (Money Magazine)
After Senate Republicans failed to pass a strictly partisan repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a group from the House of Representatives from both sides of the aisle have presented a plan to bring down costs and keep protections in place for people with pre-existing conditions.

Physicians with high-risk patients struggle under value-based pay model (Modern Healthcare)
Physicians who serve low-income patients with complex conditions are more vulnerable to financial losses in value-based payment models, according to a new study that found these providers, many of them safety-net providers, didn't have the technological infrastructure to report the necessary data.

Studies Find That Getting Patients to Shop for Health Care Is a “Tough Sell” (Managed Care Magazine)
Americans extol price shopping for health care as a prudent idea, yet few actually do it even when given the means to, according to the findings of two separate studies led by investigators at Harvard Medical School (HMS).


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