Engaging Ideas - 9/29/2017

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: Swing states are main targets for fake news. A look at how socioeconomic status impacts marriage rates. Increasing public engagement through gamifying government. Who’s least likely to go to college? Rural high school grads. A look at where international students hail from and what they’re studying. Breaking the myth that expensive health care is synonymous with better quality.


Fury fuels the modern political climate in US (The Hill)
There have been plenty of times in the nation’s 240-year history in which an evolving economy has produced anxiety. But this time was different.

American Democracy Is Drowning in Money (New York Times)
The tide of money swelling around the American political system continues to rise. In 2016, candidates running for federal office spent a record $6.4 billion on their campaigns, while lobbyists spent $3.15 billion to influence the government in Washington. Both sums are twice that of 2000 levels.

Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America (Harvard Business School)
Too many people are laboring under a misimpression that our political problems are inevitable, or the result of a weakening of the parties, or due to the parties’ ideological incoherence, or because of an increasingly polarized American public. Those who focus on these reasons are looking in the wrong places.


American Dream, American Myth: The Decline Of Upward Mobility (KUNC)
For some Americans, it’s become more unlikely that they will out-earn their parents the way their parents out-earned the previous generation. Multiple studies show that while moving up is still possible, it’s either becoming more difficult or it’s harder in the United States than in other countries.

When Prosperity Leads to Disaffection (Foreign Affairs)
The conundrum of broad disaffection in the face of apparent prosperity is by no means limited to American politics. Thousands of miles from Washington, we tested a related hypothesis in rural Pakistan.


The Rise of Public-Sector Crowdfunding (Citylab)
Around the country, local governments are soliciting donations for everything from dog parks to public defenders. Is this a practical response to budget cuts or a sign that publicly funded services are in trouble?

Leading Mayors Join Cities of Service Mayors Council to Accelerate Citizen Engagement (Business Insider)
Cities of Service, a national nonprofit that helps more than 200 mayors and city leaders tap into the knowledge, creativity, and service of citizens to solve public problems and create vibrant cities, has launched the Cities of Service Mayors Council.


The Evidence Base for How We Learn: Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (Aspen Institute)
Compelling research demonstrates what parents have always known—the success of young people in school and beyond is inextricably linked to healthy social and emotional development.

Wisconsin's schools seek to shorten the workforce pipeline (Wisconsin State Journal)
At Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie last week, school counselor Tiffany Kvalheim opened a lesson about academic and career planning with a question. “Why are we talking about careers in seventh grade?” Kvalheim asked.

Higher Ed/Workforce

Colleges need to do more to help students transfer credits, GAO says (Washington Post)
Students lose nearly half of the college credits they earn transferring from one school to another, placing them at risk of exhausting federal grants and loans to repeat courses, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office Wednesday.

The Department Of Education Cuts Off A Student Loan Watchdog (NPR)
This move leaves 44 million student loan borrowers, owing $1.4 trillion in debt, with potentially less, or at least less-coordinated, oversight of their rights.

Health Care

“The Internet hates secrets”: Clear Health Costs works with newsrooms to bring healthcare costs out of hiding (Nieman Lab)
When New Orleans’ WVUE Fox 8 News invited viewers to get in touch and share their healthcare costs, they weren’t sure what kind of response they’d receive.

Online physician ratings don't reflect quality of care (Modern Healthcare)
Although patients commonly use online physician-rating sites to help select a provider and get a sense for their quality of a care, a new study suggests those tools don't accurately demonstrate physicians' clinical performance.


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