Engaging Ideas - 9/15/2017

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: Negotiations on just what to do with America’s “Dreamers.” The dangerous consequences of a deeply-divided government. A look at how Americans react to rising inequality. Schools are spending thousands of dollars in tech upgrades for classrooms, but are they worth it? Would you give up your right to vote to wipe out debt? Fifty percent of millennials say yes.


'Amnesty' fight threatens pursuit of immigration deal (The Hill)
A path to citizenship for “Dreamers” is emerging as the biggest sticking point in the negotiations over an immigration bill, one day after President Trump and Democratic leaders seemed close to a deal.

Why now is such a strange era in American political history (Vox)
The juxtaposition of broadly competitive national elections plus broadly non-competitive state elections is really unusual. And really dangerous.


Statistics reveals new, more precise insight into upward mobility between generations (phys.org)
As political rhetoric containing promises of education, social opportunities and other development for disadvantaged people continues to fill the airwaves, economics researchers have developed state-of-the-art statistical methods that uncover the impact of different aspects of upward mobility (or lack thereof), aside from parental income.

This is what happens when Americans are told about rising inequality (Washington Post)
The sharp growth in economic inequality — and its visibility as an issue in both the 2012 and 2016 American political campaigns — has led to an important debate about how to respond.


Boosting Civic Trust (And Democracy) With A Location-Based Mapping Platform (Forbes)
Local governments need a lot of solid data about their citizens' concerns to make good decisions. For example,  if you're a municipality--or anyone considering, say, a development project--it's kind of important to know how residents living in the affected neighborhoods feel about your plans.

What’s New in Civic Tech: SF Mayor Encourages Cities Nationwide to Apply for Expanded Startup in Residence Program (Government Technology)
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee took to the blogosphere this week with some advice for city governments across the country: Apply for the Startup in Residence (STiR) program, which embeds fledgling technology companies in municipal agencies to help bridge the gap between public service and the private sector.

K-12 Education

Certification rules and tests are keeping would-be teachers of color out of America’s classrooms. Here’s how. (Chalkbeat)
Becoming a certified teacher in America usually means navigating a maze of university classes and certification tests — and paying for them.The goal is a high-quality teaching force, and an array of powerful advocates have been pushing to “raise the bar” further. But the rules likely come with a hefty cost: a less diverse profession.

Where Ed Tech Works — and Fails (Real Clear Education)
Thousands of dollars spent outfitting a classroom with laptops might not improve student grades, while a simple series of text messages could inspire a student to attend college.

Higher Ed/Workforce

Half of US millennials would give up right vote to wipe out their student loans (The Independent)
Half of all millennials in the US would give up their right to vote in order to get rid of their student loan, new research has found.

College textbooks are going the way of Netflix (Quartz)
The new software benefits professors by tracking how far students read, how long they spend on each page, how well they absorb the material—so rather than handing out syllabi to tell students what to read or skim in various books, professors can tweak the software to only include topics of crucial interest.

Health Care

Achieving transparency in healthcare (Modern Healthcare)
Pressure is mounting to make healthcare prices available to patients, but there are significant hurdles to doing so.

I’m the perfect person to price shop for an operation. But the process went terribly (STAT)
Encouraging patients to price shop for their health care is one reason employers are switching to high-deductible plans. The theory is that patients will compare prices across different doctors or hospitals and choose the lower-priced one, thereby saving themselves (and their employer) money. But in order to shop, you need to be able to see what something costs beforehand.

Good Data, Better Value-Based Care Can Boost Population Health (RevCycle Intelligence)
Timely data is key to reducing the costs of a hospital’s most expensive high-risk patients, while value-based contracts sustain the population health management efforts.


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