June 27, 2018
Four years ago, Matt Leighninger, Public Agenda's vice president of public engagement, wrote a paper called "Infogagement" for Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE). In the paper, Matt predicted that journalism, technology and civic engagement were on a collision course. It seems today we're witnessing that collision and its harmful effects on our democracy in the form of  fake news, echo chamber groupthink, information overload, populist instability, the erosion of local journalism and the acceleration of society's trust crisis.
Last week, PACE, in partnership with Public Agenda, re-released this important paper which contains a new introduction from Matt and a series of commentaries from thought leaders across the fields of civic engagement, journalism, technology and philanthropy. How can we engage people constructively and productively in the digital age? What are the dangers we must overcome, and how can we do so?
The challenges are vast, but, as Matt notes, "... it isn't all bad news." 

Infogagement: Citizenship and Democracy in the Age of Connection is a must-read for anyone who wants to explore the implications of digital information and communications for democracy. 
Will Friedman PH.D.

Will Friedman
"The discussion of what the public square should look like needs to happen in more places, and with more people. It's the reason we 
re-released this paper - in the hopes of furthering those conversations at a time when they feel especially urgent. The fundamental questions remains: What kind of democracy do we want?"

- Matt Leighninger in the re-release of 

Public Agenda's research on price transparency was cited in a recently-released white paper authored by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La),
who is leading a bipartisan group of senators to develop health care price transparency legislation.  Public Agenda's Vice President of Research David Schleifer had the opportunity to brief the senator on our research earlier this year. David also presented our health care price transparency research to 250 state and local officials at the Government Finance Officers Association's annual conference in St. Louis earlier this month

The Public Engagement (PE) team has been busy!
Earlier this month, Matt traveled to Minnesota to audit the 2018 Civic Engagement Summit and provide feedback to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. Matt was also in Pittsburgh last week at the First Amendment Conference to announce the re-release of the 2014 paper, Infogagement: Citizenship and Democracy in the Age of Connection. Today, Matt is speaking on a panel at the 
World Bank Governance Conference - States of Disruption, Measuring Governance in a Changing World in Washington D.C.

The PE team was also recently awarded a grant through the Avenue NYC Organizational Development program to provide services and technical assistance to community-based organizations (CBOs) implementing commercial revitalization activities benefitting low- to moderate-income communities across the five boroughs.

We're continuing to bring to light the hidden common ground on incarceration in America. David and Vania Andre, Public Agenda's communications associate, briefed Ohio State Rep. Jeffrey Rezabek and a legislative aide to Ohio State Rep. Nathan Manning on the findings from our Hidden Common Ground report on incarceration. The two reps commented that they would share the findings with the Ohio Committee on Criminal Justice and Ohio Sentencing Commission. 

David also recently spoke with the office of US Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) on the findings from the same report. Jeffries is the author and the sponsor of the Prison Reform Bill that passed in the House of Representatives earlier this month.

Participatory budgeting may not just be about allocating funds for projects. David and Senior Research Associate Rebecca Silliman, along with former Public Agenda colleagues Carolin and Chloe, wrote a paper on 
theoretical pathways by which participatory budgeting could affect health disparities in local communities, which was recently published in the Journal of Urban Health.

Both Santiago de Cali, in Colombia, and Bologna, Italy, demonstrate the power of putting citizens at the center of governance, giving them opportunities to engage that are meaningful, enjoyable, regular, and sustained. Continue Reading

 A Major Step_ What Adults Without Degrees Say About Going _Back_ to College
A Major Step: What Adults Without Degrees Say About Going (Back) to College

This report from Public Agenda and sponsored by The Kresge Foundation offers insight into why some adults are considering going (back) to college and the challenges they think they'll face once they enroll.
Where Americans See Eye to Eye on Health Care
Where Americans See Eye to Eye on Health Care

This report from the Hidden Common Ground Initiative focuses on hidden or otherwise underappreciated common ground in health care. How do people talk across party lines about the problems facing our health care system? What do people think should be done to make progress?

_ Where Americans See Eye to Eye on Incarceration
Where Americans See Eye to Eye on Incarceration

This report from the Hidden Common Ground Initiative focuses on hidden or otherwise underappreciated common ground in the realm of criminal justice reform, specifically with respect to incarceration.

Distinguishing Between Factual and Opinion Statements in the News (Pew)
The politically aware, digitally savvy and those more trusting of the news media fare better; Republicans and Democrats both influenced by political appeal of statements. Continue Reading

Maine Tests a New Way of Voting, and Opts to Keep It (Governing)
On Tuesday, the state became the first to use ranked-choice voting, a system that could prevent "spoiler" candidates from causing havoc in crowded races. Continue Reading
Opportunity and Inequality
Seven reasons to worry about the American middle class (Brookings)
We have already wrestled with how we define this group, considered its changing racial composition, and called upon experts to outline major policiesgeared toward improving its fate. But why all of this attention? Here are seven of the reasons we are worried about the American middle class. Continue Reading 

What To Do About the Rise of Mega-Regions (CityLab)
We need to make urbanism more inclusive and democratic if we want to realize a better future, and that means devolving power from the dysfunctional nation-state to cities and neighborhoods. Continue Reading
Digital Equity Lab Launches in NYC (Government Technology)
The effort, based out of The New School, is led by Maya Wiley and addresses equitable models of digital access, digital equity frameworks for online issues, and the ways that smart cities create both benefits and risks for vulnerable communities. Continue Reading

To Build a Better Bus System, Ask a Driver (CityLab)
The people who know buses best have ideas about how to reform the system, according to a survey of 373 Brooklyn bus operators. Continue Reading
Higher Education and Workforce
The College-Graduation Problem All States Have (The Atlantic)
Across the country, black and Latino adults are far less likely to hold a college degree than white adults. Can better support for colleges that serve a high percentage of minorities change that? Continue Reading 

A New Spelling Champion; And Walmart Adds A College Option For Workers (Southern California Public Radio)
One dollar per day is all that Walmart employees will need to pay to take online classes towards a college degree. The company announced this week it will cover the rest - including books and other fees. Continue Reading
K-12 Education
Can lowering class size help integrate schools? Maybe, according to new research (Chalkbeat)
A recent study suggests a concrete way that schools can attract and keep white families, while also boosting student achievement: lower class sizes. That approach drew in tens of thousands of students from California's private schools into the public system, according to the research. Continue Reading

Why Are Rich, White Girls Struggling in Math? (The Atlantic)
A new study reveals the extent to which children's geographic surroundings contribute to gender disparities in schools. Continue Reading
Health Care
Is This the Hospital That Will Finally Push the Expensive U.S. Health Care System to Innovate? (Harvard Business Review)
There was a time when the American steel industry seemed invincible. The American automotive industry looked rock-solid. American consumer electronics industry seemed untouchable. In every one of these cases, global competition changed the game forever. Will the same happen to health care in the United States? Continue Reading 

Sen. Bill Cassidy's plan to 'make healthcare affordable again' (Becker's Hospital Review)
The paper endorses greater use of health savings accounts, more price transparency, high-risk pools, medical liability reform and repeal of the employer mandate. Continue Reading
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