Engaging Ideas - 9/1/2017

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: With single-payer health care, it’s all in the name. What Hurricane Harvey can teach us about politics. Are town halls effective? Which American cities are losing the most jobs. What we’re getting wrong about today’s college students.


Voters Are Strongly Divided Over Media’s Role in Dividing Us (Rasmussen Reports)
Voters admit America is a more divided place these days, and Trump supporters overwhelmingly agree with the president that the media is to blame. But Trump opponents just as strongly disagree.

What Would It Take for Democrats and Republicans to Work Together? (The Atlantic)
Bipartisanship most often occurs in moments when one party has deep internal divisions, or when there are strong political incentives to cooperate.

The political lessons Americans should learn from Hurricane Harvey (Washington Post)
We’ve been hearing for years now that we Americans are fixated on our tribal divisions. We have nothing in common anymore, we’re told. The old civic spirit that once so impressed foreign visitors is gone, eroded by echo chambers and social media navel-gazing and geographic self-selection. We’re Balkanized, incapable of talking to each other, hopelessly sliced and diced according to the dictates of identity politics. Now take a look at those pictures from southeast Texas.


Town halls are in the spotlight, but are they effective in communicating with lawmakers? (Post-Crescent)
Since the 2016 election, town halls hosted by federal lawmakers, or even citizens looking to question their representatives, have provoked angst and anger nationwide. Now, the state of the traditional town hall — one that is open to the public and not by invitation only, scheduled in advance, and willing to take questions on any topic — is at a crossroads, after a particularly antagonistic election and changes in technology and social media

Boulder council hears citizen group's advice for improving public engagement (CityLab)
After meeting more than 30 times between September and May, a citizen advisory group determined that the local government's process of public engagement is broken to the point that a "culture change" is required.


Income Inequality Is Making Rent Even Less Affordable (CityLab)
It’s not news that both income inequality and rents have hit record highs, especially in expensive superstar cities and leading tech hubs. But to what extent do income inequality and rising rents go together?

American Cities Losing the Most Jobs (24/7 Wall St.)
While the United States has experienced years of rapid post-recession economic growth, the recovery has eluded some parts of the country. Approximately 1 in 5 U.S. metro areas lost jobs over the past 12 months, and the number of employed persons has decreased by at least 1% in 25 of the country’s 388 metropolitan areas.


Schools with more students of color are more likely to be shut down — and three other things to know about a big new study (Chalkbeat)
Shutting down schools with low test scores doesn’t help student learning and disproportionately affects students of color, according to one of the largest studies ever of school closures.

How one Chicago high school turned the corner using full-time internships (Hechinger Report)
Real-World Learning gets real: Could the key to school success be spending less time in school?

Higher Education & Workforce Development

The Biggest Misconception About Today’s College Students (New York Times)
You might think the typical college student lives in a state of bliss, spending each day moving among classes, parties and extracurricular activities. But the reality is that an increasingly small population of undergraduates enjoys that kind of life.

Most Americans say K-12 schools have a lot of responsibility in workforce preparation (Pew Research)
As millions of U.S. students start school, and economists and educators grapple with how best to prepare workers for jobs in today’s economy, there is evidence that a majority of Americans look to elementary and secondary schools to provide the building blocks people need for a successful career.


When given the chance, will patients choose cheaper prescription drugs? (Managed Healthcare Executive)
Significant cost savings and changes in drug selection has been linked to reference pricing, which leverages insurer/employer contributions to encourage patients to select cheaper drugs that are as effective as their name-brand counterparts, according to a new study.

Why Patient-Reported Outcomes Data is Key to Healthcare Quality (Health IT Analytics)
Patient-reported outcomes data is at the heart of truly effective value-based care and quality improvement, says the National Quality Forum.

Want Single-Payer? Start Calling It Something Else (Vice)
Progressives are pushing for a new healthcare system. But they need to think about the branding.


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