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08.10 ENGAGING IDEAS - 08/10/2018

Friday, August 10th, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


Democratic Socialism Threatens Minorities (The Atlantic)
Nothing better protects victims of bigotry than a system where they can pursue their needs and wants outside the realm of popular control. Continue Reading

Facebook should shut down its News Feed until the midterm elections (
This week, Facebook announced that it had uncovered accounts and pages with a total of nearly 300,000 followers that were propaganda intended to interfere with the midterm elections this November. While the social media company's revelation fell short of stating that Russia was behind these covert accounts, other federal law enforcement and government officials later confirmed as much. Continue Reading

Preventing the suicide of American democracy (The Hill)
A new study of American public attitudes suggests our democracy indeed may be heading toward a cliff, but it also suggests ways we can pull it back toward health and long-term survival. Continue Reading


As Affordable Housing Crisis Grows, HUD Sits on the Sidelines (The New York Times)
The country is in the grips of an escalating housing affordability crisis. Millions of low-income Americans are paying 70 percent or more of their incomes for shelter, while rents continue to rise and construction of affordable rental apartments lags far behind the need. Continue Reading

The real reason you're not getting a pay raise (Vox)
The economy is growing strongly, the unemployment rate has been at or below 4.5 percent for 16 straight months, but wage growth remains disappointingly low. Continue Reading

How inequality is affecting nations' economic growth (Eyewitness News)
A new study by the Opportunity and Growth Institute at the Minneapolis Fed found that the housing boom and bust made middle-class Americans poorer but boosted wealth for the richest 10%, widening the income and wealth gap substantially. Continue Reading


Here's How Colleges Can Get More Involved in Elections - and Not Just in the Midterms (Chronicle of Higher Education)
A new report released on Thursday from the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education at Tufts University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, tries to answer that question. The report draws on years of research, including IDHE's data on college voter registration and turnout, said Nancy Thomas, director of the institute. Continue Reading

Stanford Undergrads Build New Platform to Connect Citizens with Elected Officials (Government Technology)
Pulse is a civic engagement platform that simplifies info about legislation, allows constituents to make their opinions known and gives elected leaders a simplified dashboard to process input. Continue Reading

Driving citizen engagement through mobile technologies (GCN)
Encouraging citizens to be more involved in their own governance is nothing new. The direct democracy model of ancient Athenian government, in which every (free) citizen voted directly on laws and other legislation, is perhaps the most famous -- and extreme -- example of the principle of citizen engagement. Continue Reading


Only 20% of US kids study a language in school-compared to 92% in Europe (Quartz)
Kids in the US take classes in English, which works out pretty well for them. The dominant global language right now happens to be their default. Perhaps that's one reason why only 20% of US students in kindergarten through 12th grade learn a foreign language, according to new Pew Research Center data. Continue Reading

More teachers are turning to crowdfunding sites to pay for books, supplies, and field trips (Vox)
Educators at high-poverty schools spend more out of pocket on their classrooms. Continue Reading

Worried about enrollment, some Colorado school districts are suing to prevent cross-district busing (Chalkbeat)
Six school districts and the associations that represent them are suing to stop a change to Colorado law that could increase access to school choice but that was approved under questionable circumstances. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

Why fewer kids work the kind of summer jobs that their parents used to have (
While the presence of teenagers in the summer workforce in July 1978 was at 72 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Population Survey reported a July 2016 teen labor force participation rate of 43 percent. A recent report by the Pew Research Center analyzed the average summer employment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds in June, July and August 2017 and found that only 35 percent of teens has a summer job. Continue Reading

Abuse Scandals Involving Doctors Have Shaken Several Colleges. Now Others Are Making Changes. (Chronicle of Higher Education)
Fallout from incidents at Michigan State, the University of Southern California, and Ohio State has driven institutions to add new protective measures - both to safeguard students and to minimize their own liability. Continue Reading

Netflix Versions of Higher Education Emerge (
Tech startups such as Coorpacademy are trying to break into the global corporate education sector, dominated by business schools and this year estimated to be worth $362 billion, according to analysts Training Industry Research. New entrants offer eye-catching alternatives, and are often aimed at younger workers. But they have a long way to go. Continue Reading

Health Care

Governors Association Works with Eight States to Improve Health Data Sharing (Government Technology)
In a 16-month initiative, the National Governors Association is working with eight states on health policies that could enhance data sharing and improve identity management and cost effectiveness. Continue Reading

Value-based purchasing programs tougher for academic hospitals (Modern Healthcare)
Academic medical centers are penalized more under the CMS' various value-based purchasing programs than community hospitals, according to a new report. Continue Reading

Are diagnostic health apps accurate? Researchers say there's no way to tell (Fierce Healthcare)
As more people turn to their phone or laptop for a medical diagnosis, some industry experts are pointing to a growing evidence gap that could leave consumers unable to determine which apps are most effective. Continue Reading

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08.06 Witnessing deliberative democracy up close

Monday, August 6th, 2018 | Billi Jo Maynard

Late on a Monday evening in July, roughly 30 people gathered at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church to discuss the Brooklyn neighborhood of Canarsie. Canarsie is a culturally vibrant community that for decades has welcomed many immigrants from the Caribbean. The participants at the meeting had come together to address a range of environmental and economic challenges facing their neighborhood, especially the long-term impacts of Superstorm Sandy and attempts to prepare for future disasters. Throughout my undergraduate studies as a political science major, I have come across the subjects of community engagement and public deliberation before. However, until this meeting in Canarsie, I had never had the privilege to witness them firsthand.

Several things surprised me throughout this meeting, but one thing in particular stood out to me. Before this meeting, I had the common misconception of thinking that all people who attend community engagement functions come because they are angry about something and they want to make a change. To my most pleasant surprise, the community members of Canarsie expressed a deep love for their community. This is not to say that everyone believed that Canarsie was a perfect place. In fact, there were several community problems addressed throughout the meeting that all individuals seemed to be in consensus on, such as the need for a central community center and more accessible community information. However, the community members seemed less angered by these problems, and more motivated by a desire to see their community thrive and grow.

At this time in American society, it is easy to feel disenchanted with the whole idea of community engagement. It seems as if the division we feel on politics will hinder any progress we hope to make whether it is on a large or a small scale. However, after witnessing the community members of Canarsie come together and find a common ground for everyone, I feel much more optimistic about the progress we can make through community engagement.

While the main point of the meeting was to develop an understanding of Canarsie and the problems that people in the community faced, I was also able to learn about all of the things people loved about this community. Simple things such as functioning transportation systems and quiet streets were mentioned multiple times. What stood out to me the most though, was the feeling of “home” everyone said they had of Canarsie. The Canarsie I read about on paper, and the Canarsie that I got to witness firsthand are two completely different places. One woman even said, “People have a deep sense of ownership here in Canarsie.”

Bill Jo Maynard is an honors student at Penn State University and Nevins Fellow who interned at Public Agenda this summer.

Public Agenda and the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay at CUNY: Brooklyn College in coordination with the Canarsie Community Development, Inc. hosted a listening session on July 16 with Canarsie residents to discuss issues relevant to the community and how relationships with elected officials can be strengthened.


08.03 ENGAGING IDEAS - 08/03/2018

Friday, August 3rd, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


New app News With Friends encourages users to share stories from outside their filter bubble (
The social app wants to fill the space left by Facebook deprioritising news content in its News Feed.Continue Reading

Facebook Identifies an Active Political Influence Campaign Using Fake Accounts (The New York Times)
Facebook said on Tuesday that it had identified a political influence campaign that was potentially built to disrupt the midterm elections, with the company detecting and removing 32 pages and fake accounts that had engaged in activity around divisive social issues.
Continue Reading

Social Movements Are Much More Partisan Than They Used to Be (The Atlantic)
There are definite parallels between today's protests and those of the 1960s, when Graham Nash wrote his classic anthem, "Teach Your Children." But increased polarization means changes in tactics and goals.
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One chart that shows how much worse income inequality is in America than Europe (Vox)
The income share of the poorest half of Americans is declining while the richest have grabbed more. In Europe, it's not happening.
Continue Reading

10 cities with the highest, lowest income inequality (Becker's Hospital Review)
Atlanta has the highest income inequality among the nation's metro areas, according to an analysis by Zippia, a career search and employment services company.
Continue Reading

Middle-class Americans still haven't recovered from housing bust, study finds (MarketWatch)
A new study by the Opportunity and Growth Institute at the Minneapolis Fed found that the housing boom and bust made middle-class Americans poorer but boosted wealth for the richest 10%, widening the income and wealth gap substantially.
Continue Reading


A Roadmap for Policy Change (GovEx)
GovEx created A Roadmap for Policy Change for cities, and with input from cities, to facilitate a new way to help municipalities rethink the way they solve problems and address the most salient policy challenges in urban governance. Read the Roadmap below.
Continue Reading

What's New in Civic Tech: Boulder, Colo., Works to Develop Better City Website by Engaging Users (Government Technology)
Boulder, Colo., is the latest local government to design a new website with guidance from the end users - the city's residents.
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New York City schools agree to bullying reforms in wake of lawsuit (Chalkbeat)
A legal settlement calling on the education department to do more to address bullying in schools was approved this week by a judge, despite objections from advocates.
Continue Reading

Many charter schools fail to disclose spending on low-income students, report says (EdSource)
The vast majority of California's charter schools sampled for a study failed to fully disclose how they spent money on students targeted for assistance under the state's funding formula. Some didn't account for any of that funding, as the state requires, according to a report released Wednesday by the nonprofit law and advocacy organization Public Advocates.
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Online learning can open doors for kids in juvenile jails (The Hechinger Report)
While online-only programs have come under fire for deprioritizing classroom relationships and providing too little instructional support for students, blended programs have been seen as able to strike an ideal balance.
Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

Colleges and Universities Woo Once-Overlooked Transfer Students (The New York Times)
Transfer students - whose challenges have often been ignored in higher education - are feeling a surge in popularity as colleges and universities are increasingly wooing them.
Continue Reading

The iGen Shift: Colleges Are Changing to Reach the Next Generation (The New York Times)
The newest students are transforming the way schools serve and educate them, including sending presidents and deans to Instagram and Twitter.
Continue Reading

Will Majoring in Psychology Make You Better Off? The Government Wants to Know (Wall Street Journal)
The Trump administration is moving to require colleges and universities to publish more detailed data on the finances of their graduates, part of a broader effort to make higher education more market driven and focused on consumer choice.
Continue Reading

Health Care

Value-based healthcare models require a better-educated, patient-centered workforce (Modern Healthcare)
The drive to attain value-based care is reshaping hospital staffing at every level, from hiring to education to teamwork.
Continue Reading

Majority of women in healthcare say it will take 25+ years to reach parity in workplace (Becker's Hospital Review)
The past year brought conversations about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace into mainstream discourse. Despite this newfound collective consciousness - or perhaps because of it - women are more pessimistic about how long it will take to reach gender parity in the workplace, according to an annual surveyof women in healthcare conducted by Rock Health, a digital health venture fund.
Continue Reading

The Health 202: 'Medicare for all' is the dream. 'Medicaid for more' could be the reality. (Washington Post)
"Medicare for all" is the hottest position on the left these days, but there's a quieter push afoot to create a public option using Medicaid..
Continue Reading


07.27 ENGAGING IDEAS - 07/27/2018

Friday, July 27th, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


Do-It-Yourself Legislative Redistricting (New York Times)
A Michigan ballot initiative points the way to reforming gerrymandering, one of the most anti-democratic practices in American politics. Continue Reading

What's Good for Democracy Is Also Good for Democrats (New York Times)
While it is tempting to view elections as being decided in the moment, much of the groundwork is set in place decades earlier.
Continue Reading

Can the US Save Democracy Through Civics? (Pacific Standard)
A new poll shows that America's polarization problem is only getting worse.
Continue Reading

The media malpractice destroying American politics (Washington Post)
Mitt Romney wasn't unfairly maligned in 2012. But he was victim of a toxic media and political culture. Continue Reading


A conservative scholar questions whether the US really has an inequality problem (Quartz)
Scott Winship started his career as a moderate Democrat, believing in progressive solutions to the US's economic issues. After college, he worked at the liberal community organizing-group ACORN on a campaign to increase in the minimum wage.
Continue Reading

How the new economy leaves millennials saddled with debt and doubt (Washington Post)
What "Squeezed" adds to the picture is a keen understanding of the bewilderment, shame and self-doubt that millennial parents now feel as they are forced to reckon with the fallout of their choices and the betrayal of the American promise that each generation will do at least as well as, if not exceed the fortunes of, the previous one.
Continue Reading


Visualizing Change in One of America's Fastest-Growing Cities (Government Technology)
New tools are offering Seattle a glimpse at how to solve problems related to rapid expansion without compromising on inclusivity.
Continue Reading

An Experiment in Civic Engagement (Government Technology)
MIT researchers are trying something new to see if they can explain -- if not repair -- the relationship between the public and the government.
Continue Reading

Government-run citizens' academies educate people on local public affairs (American City and County)
Citizen engagement is an ever-present challenge in local government, but programs across the country are bringing citizens closer to government by educating them on its inner workings.
Continue Reading


Private Schools Are Becoming More Elite (The Atlantic)
The decline of Catholic schools is making independent education less accessible to middle- and lower-class students.
Continue Reading

No, private schools aren't better at educating kids than public schools. Why this new study matters. (Washington Post)
Despite evidence showing otherwise, it remains conventional wisdom in many parts of the education world that private schools do a better job of educating students, with superior standardized test scores and outcomes. It is one of the claims that some supporters of school choice make in arguing that the public should pay for private school education. The only problem? It isn't true, a new study confirms.
Continue Reading

The feds are discouraging districts from using race to integrate schools. A new study points to a potential downside (Chalkbeat)
The Trump administration recently made waves by removing Obama-era guidance that offered ways for school districts to consider students' race in order to diversify and integrate schools. The rollback could have harmful consequences for students, according to a new study.
Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

DeVos to Eliminate Rules Aimed at Abuses by For-Profit Colleges (The New York Times)
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos plans to eliminate regulations that forced for-profit colleges to prove that they provide gainful employment to the students they enroll, in what would be the most drastic in a series of moves that she has made to free the for-profit sector from safeguards put in effect during the Obama era.
Continue Reading

GAO Seeks Better Promotion of Loan Program for Black Colleges (The Washington Post)
Government watchdog also criticizes Education Department for failure to analyze cost and benefits of program
Continue Reading

Poll: Most Americans See Higher Ed Headed in Wrong Direction (Inside Higher Ed)
Democrats worry about tuition rates; Republicans say professors bring their politics into the classroom and colleges have excessive concern about shielding students from ideas they find offensive. Older Republicans are the most critical.
Continue Reading

Health Care

Why don't more people shop for health care? Online tools exist, but most don't use them (Chicago Tribune)
Though consumers have long bemoaned rising health care costs, few people shop for health care the way they might shop for a car, comparing prices. Some don't realize a procedure can cost tens of thousands of dollars more at one hospital versus another.
Continue Reading

Doctors and Health Workers Reflect on Rural America's Limited Access to Care (New York Times)
Medical professionals and health care industry workers describe the hardships involved in trying to provide care in rural areas.
Continue Reading


07.20 ENGAGING IDEAS - 07/20/2018

Friday, July 20th, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


Complicating the Narratives (The Whole Story)
What if journalists covered controversial issues differently - based on how humans actually behave when they are polarized and suspicious? Continue Reading

FBI Director Says Russia Still Seeking To Interfere In U.S. Democracy (NPR)
FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday that he stands by the U.S. intelligence agencies' assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and he warned that the Kremlin has not stopped trying to undermine American democracy. Continue Reading

America's Factory Towns, Once Solidly Blue, Are Now a GOP Haven (Washington Post)
A generation ago, Democrats represented much of the country's manufacturing base. Now, it's in GOP hands, a swing remaking both parties. Continue Reading


Income Inequality in the U.S. Is Rising Most Rapidly Among Asians (Pew)
Asians displace blacks as the most economically divided group in the U.S. Continue Reading

The U.S. Does Poorly On Yet Another Metric of Economic Mobility (Forbes)
A new report from the World Bank tracks 148 countries, with 96 percent of the world's population, to answer the age-old question of how much economic opportunity and upward economic mobility a country really offers its citizens. Continue Reading


Inside the Creation of New York City's New Affordable Housing Design Guidelines (Pacific Standard)
A public design commission has created a guide that instructs developers in how to create more coherent design for housing projects across the city. Continue Reading

National Day of Civic Hacking (Code for America)
On August 11th, 2018, join the Code for America Brigades for a nationwide day of action that brings together civic leaders, local governments, and community organizations to tackle some of our toughest challenges. Continue Reading

Houston's Third Ward Residents Want More Say over Development (Next City)
"Because we don't have zoning and we don't have many regulatory processes, the community land trust means that we at least have an opportunity to determine who benefits from development in our community." Continue Reading


How food deliveries could change lunchtime at school (Christian Science Monitor)
Across the country, more food catering programs are making it easier for students to enjoy healthy lunches at school and easing the stress of packing lunches on parents by providing alternatives to what is offered at the cafeteria. Continue Reading

The Private-School Persuasion of the Supreme Court (The Atlantic)
Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's latest nominee for the bench, graduated from a Catholic high school. So did four of the current Justices. Continue Reading

Indiana spends $3M on scholarships for future teachers, but few students of color win them (Chalkbeat)
For the second year in a row, very few students of color received a prestigious Indiana scholarship designed to attract new teachers. Out of 200 high school seniors and current college students who received the Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship this year, only five come from under-represented minority groups, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education said. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

To Recruit Students, Colleges Turn to Corporate-Marketing Playbook (Wall Street Journal)
Schools borrow retailers' approach in analyzing consumer databases; triggering online ads. Continue Reading

Perpetuating Inequity Despite Higher Education Expansion (Inside Higher Ed)
Responding to the complex realities behind equity challenges is not especially easy in the context of a young, rapidly 'massifying', and under-resourced system. Continue Reading

Some Colleges Cautiously Embrace Wikipedia (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Academics have traditionally distrusted Wikipedia, citing the inaccuracies that arise from its communally edited design and lamenting students' tendency to sometimes plagiarize assignments from it. Now, Davis said, higher education and Wikipedia don't seem like such strange bedfellows. At conferences these days, "everyone's like, 'Oh, Wikipedia, of course you guys are here.'" Continue Reading

Health Care

Maryland health regulator expands hospital price transparency efforts (Fierce Healthcare)
The Maryland Health Care Commission is expanding its price transparency initiative with tools aimed at getting consumers pushing for information about cost and quality directly from hospitals and doctors. Continue Reading

The Astonishingly High Administrative Costs of U.S. Health Care (The Upshot)
Hidden from view: The complexity of the system comes with costs that aren't obvious but that we all pay. Continue Reading

Poll: Half of Americans find health care harder to afford this year (The Hill)
Nearly half of respondents in a new poll said they are now finding it more difficult to afford health care than they were a year ago, according to a poll released Thursday. Continue Reading


07.13 ENGAGING IDEAS - 07/13/2018

Friday, July 13th, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


Will a Five-Minute Discussion Change Your Mind? A Countrywide Experiment on Voter Choice in France (American Economic Association)
This paper provides the first estimate of the effect of door-to-door canvassing on actual electoral outcomes, via a countrywide experiment embedded in François Hollande's campaign in the 2012 French presidential election. Continue Reading

Is America hopelessly ungovernable? (Los Angeles Times)
Americans seem hell-bent on slicing our population into smaller and ever smaller groups of them and us. Continue Reading

Where American Politics Can Still Work: From the Bottom Up (New York Times)
Civic coalitions are succeeding at revitalizing old towns where governmental efforts have failed. Continue Reading


Key findings on the rise in income inequality within America's racial and ethnic groups (Pew)
The rise in inequality within America's racial and ethnic communities varies strikingly from one group to another, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Continue Reading

A TV Show So Dystopian Its Host Says It Shouldn't Exist (The Atlantic)
Paid Off delivers a queasy illustration of American inequality and political dysfunction. Continue Reading

Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative Throws Weight Behind Affordable Housing (Next City)
Facebook is voting "yes" on California's Proposition 1. Continue Reading


Nextdoor Is Betting a Social Network Can Still Be a Platform for Politics (New York Times)
Nextdoor, the neighborhood social media site, is partnering with local and state public agencies to bring voting information to more Americans. Continue Reading

Activism in the Social Media Age (Pew)
As the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag turns 5 years old, a look at its evolution on Twitter and how Americans view social media's impact on political and civic engagement. Continue Reading


Bill Gates spent hundreds of millions of dollars to improve teaching. New report says it was a bust. (Washington Post)
A major new report concludes that a $575 million project partly underwritten by the Gates Foundation that used student test scores to evaluate teachers failed to achieve its goals of improving student achievement - as in, it didn't work. Continue Reading

Educators Turn to Programs for Top Students to Narrow the 'Excellence Gap' (New York Times)
With test-score gaps narrowing but remaining stubbornly persistentafter years of efforts, some in the education field are taking a fresh look at programs for advanced students that once made them uneasy, driven by the same desire to help historically disadvantaged groups. Continue Reading

Students in Detroit Are Suing the State Because They Weren't Taught to Read (The Atlantic)
What to do when a school is infested with vermin, when textbooks are outdated, when students can't even read? Perhaps the answer is sue the government. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

You Graduated Cum Laude? So Did Everyone Else (Wall Street Journal)
With more students boasting flashy GPAs, academic honors lose their luster. Continue Reading

The New Toll of American Student Debt in 3 Charts (The New York Times)
The reach of America's student loan problem - total debt is now about $1.4 trillion - is vast. Millions of people are in default, and many young people are graduating into adulthood facing payments that limit their ability to buy homes and to start families of their own. Some employershave even begun dangling student loan repayment benefits as a perk to potential workers. Continue Reading

More high school grads than ever are going to college, but 1 in 5 will quit (Hechinger Report)
While the number of students has been rising, however, so has the proportion who begin as full-time freshmen but fail to come back for a second year. Fifty-five percent who started in 2015 were gone by the following year, the most recent period for which the figures are available, according to U.S. Department of Education data analyzed by The Hechinger Report. That's up from 44 percent two years before. Continue Reading

Health Care

By the numbers: Inequality impacts U.S. cancer death rates (Axios)
By addressing health disparities from socioeconomic issues that continue to be prevalent in the U.S., there could be an estimated 25% reduction in overall cancer death rates. Continue Reading

Can Big Data Solve the Health Insurance Transparency Problem (Health IT Analytics)
Could on-demand health insurance with a big data analytics foundation help consumers make smarter financial decisions and cut wasteful spending? Continue Reading

Americans are closely divided over value of medical treatments, but most agree costs are a big problem (Pew)
Americans have mixed assessments about the overall value of medical treatments today, even while a strong majority says science has generally improved the quality of U.S. health care, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. At the same time, a substantial majority considers quality health care unaffordable. Continue Reading

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06.29 ENGAGING IDEAS - 06/29/2018

Friday, June 29th, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


Gerrymandering Critics Suffer Twin Blows at the Supreme Court (Governing)
The Texas case involves racial gerrymandering, while the North Carolina case deals with partisan gerrymandering -- something the justices have hinted is unconstitutional but have yet to rule against.

The latest sign of political divide: Shaming and shunning public officials (Washington Post)
Anger and division in American politics are creating a rising phenomenon: the public shaming and shunning of political figures while they are going about their private lives.

How we know journalism is good for democracy (Local News Lab)
According to new data being released later this month, at least 900 communities across the United States have faced profound erosion in their access to local news and information since 2004.


The Minimum Wage Just Turned 80. Economists Don't Give It Enough Credit(Fortune)
At the deepest level, the minimum wage embodies justice. It speaks to the words of Martin Luther King Jr. that "all labor has dignity"-and so deserves a decent rate of pay..

'Squeezed' Explores Why America Is Getting Too Expensive For The Middle Class (NPR)
Author Alissa Quart writes that the costs of housing, child care, health care and college are outpacing salaries and threatening the livelihoods of middle class Americans.

An autopsy of the American dream (Vox)
Brill has been writing about class warfare in the US since 2011, and the picture he paints is as depressing as it is persuasive.


Re-released, Infogagement: Citizenship and Democracy in the Age of Connection (PACE)
So much about our lives, communities, and social compact is being re-envisioned. Yet here, in the intersection of information, technology, engagement, and public life, are seeds of current American upheaval.

Civic engagement declines when local newspapers shut down (Journalist's Resource)
Studies have found that areas with fewer local news outlets and declining coverage also have lower levels of civic engagement and voter turnout.

Smart Cities 3.0: 5G, Edge Computing and Citizen Engagement(State Tech Magazine)
With advanced technology and careful planning, city governments can alleviate growing problems seen in many of today's urban communities and become more sustainable for future generations.


AmeriCorps 'volunteers' in Denver schools were district employees, investigation finds (Chalkbeat)
The AmeriCorps program in Denver Public Schools has been terminated after an investigation found the district broke rules by recruiting its own employees to serve as volunteers, according to a report released Wednesday.

New education budget threatens dozens of low-performing Detroit schools with closure - again (Chalkbeat)
Dozens of struggling Detroit schools could face closure once again after Gov. Rick Snyder signed an education budget on Thursday that seeks to stiffen consequences for low-scoring schools.

A $1 billion Gates Foundation-backed education initiative failed to help students, according to a new report - here's what happened (Business Insider)
A seven-year, nearly $1 billion education initiative centered on improving teaching quality in low-income schools - and bankrolled in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - largely failed to help students, according to a new report from nonprofit policy think tank RAND.

Higher Ed/Workforce

Vocational Programs Get Boost From Congress(Wall Street Journal)
Bill that provides incentives for technical training programs set to pass, in rare moment of bipartisan agreement.

Should America's Universities Stop Taking So Many International Students? (The Atlantic)
Critics say the country's higher-education institutions should focus on ensuring more Americans get four-year degrees, but college presidents highlight the benefits of global diversity on campus.

Health Care

Can Low-Intensity Care Solve High Health Care Costs? (The Upshot)
The shift toward cheaper settings like outpatient clinics and homes is a worthy goal, but new research is showing us where we shouldn't cut corners.

White House wants to cut this public health service corps by nearly 40 percent (Washington Post)
The White House is proposing to reduce by nearly 40 percent the uniformed public health professionals who deploy during disasters and disease outbreaks, monitor drug safety and provide health care in some of the nation's most remote and disadvantaged areas.

Fewer Americans are spending their final days in the hospital and more are dying at home(Los Angeles Times)
The American way of dying seems to have become less frantic, desperate and expensive. That's the upshot of a new study that finds that seniors insured by Medicare who died in 2015 were less likely to do so in a hospital and more likely to pass away in a home or other community setting than those who died in 2000.


06.27 The Collision of Journalism, Technology and Civic Engagement

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018 | WILL FRIEDMAN, PH.D.

Part of our monthly "On The Agenda" newsletter. To receive the latest email updates from Public Agenda, click here.

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.


06.22 ENGAGING IDEAS - 06/22/2018

Friday, June 22nd, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


What Role Does Religion Play In American Politics? (NPR)
Rachel Martin talks to Cokie Roberts, who answers listener questions on how religion has influenced public policy in America. Continue Reading

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

** And take the quiz!

Video- Money in Politics with Robert Reich and Debbie Dooley (Living Room Conversations)
A conversation co-hosted by Tea Party Patriots co-founder Debbie Dooley and President Clinton's fmr. Secretary of Labor and UC Berkeley professor Robert Reich. Continue Reading


Living Paycheck to Paycheck, and Hour to Hour (CityLab)
A new survey finds that service workers in Connecticut are hungry for more hours, and for more predictable schedules.  Continue Reading  

It's time to move beyond the word gap (Brookings)
In our recent article in Child Development we sought to test the claim of Hart and Risley of a 30-million-word gap between the amount of vocabulary heard by our nation's poorest and most affluent children.  Continue Reading

Poor Americans Really Are in Despair (The Atlantic)
The wealth gap is also a happiness gap. Continue Reading


Not That Long Ago, New York City Really Was Run From a Smoke-filled Backroom (New York Magazine)
As late as 1989, an undemocratic entity called the Board of Estimate made the city's key decisions. When it was banned, a new political era was born. Continue Reading

Inclusive Growth and the Happiness Factor (Governing)
Tracking residents' feelings of well-being can guide cities toward policies that create opportunities for everybody. 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/Workforce

The Costly Downside to Ditching AP (Inside Higher Ed)
While the program has its downsides, schools looking to give their students a more equal footing as college candidates shouldn't overlook the benefits, argues Ali Lincoln. Continue Reading

Harvard Rated Asian-American Applicants Lower on Personality Traits, Suit Says  

(New York Times)
Harvard consistently rated Asian-American applicants lower than others on traits like "positive personality," likability, courage, kindness and being "widely respected," according to an analysis of more than 160,000 student records filed Friday by a group representing Asian-American students in a lawsuit against the university. Continue Reading

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


How bad is teacher pay? Nearly 1 in 5 teachers works a second job, report says (Washington Post)
Across the country, 18 percent of teachers earn income outside the classroom, according to a National Center for Education Statistics report released Wednesday. The finding comes from a nationally representative survey of teachers conducted in the 2015-2016 school year. 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

After five years, the Tennessee-run district isn't performing any better than low-performing schools receiving no intervention, research says (Chalkbeat)
After five years of trying to turn around low-performing schools, Tennessee's state-run schools aren't performing any better than schools that haven't received any intervention, according to new research released Tuesday. Continue Reading

Health care

Healthcare price transparency in U.S. not improved in recent years (Reuters)
Although government measures and healthcare industry initiatives have tried to make prices more accessible to U.S. patients recently, researchers say there has been little improvement. Continue Reading

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


06.15 ENGAGING IDEAS - 06/15/2018

Friday, June 15th, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


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

Poll Finds Most Parents and Kids Agree on Trump, Economy (US News & World Report)
A survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV finds that parents and their kids agree about a lot of things when it comes to politics. Continue Reading

California? Or Cali-Three-Nia? Proposal To Split State Will Be On Ballot In November (NPR)
A proposal to divide California into three separate states will appear on the ballot in November, after an idiosyncratic, years-long quest by a venture capitalist. 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

Building a strong middle class in the American Mountain West (Brookings)
In a new paper for Brookings Mountain West, "Upward Mobility in the American Mountain West," Mr. Reeves digs into some of the data on mobility, education, and class in the major cities and institutions of the region. Continue Reading

A radical plan to fix inequality is making waves with its many moral dilemmas (Quartz)
What if everything was for sale? What if you had to name a price for everything you owned and be willing to sell it if a buyer matched your offer? And you couldn't cheat by overestimating the price to keep your property because your taxes would be based on the value you chose. It's enough to make even the most ardent believers in free markets squirm a little. 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

The Future of Civic Engagement (Government Executive)
From its earliest days, American democracy has been rooted in vigorous civic engagement. More recently, there have been fears that increasing distrust in institutions will lead to large scale disengagement in civic life. Continue Reading

Community Engagement in Public Schools and How Not to Do It (Nonprofit Quarterly)
Community engagement provides the opportunity to open dialogue and hear different voices. Especially if you're a governmental entity, bureaucratic invitations and biased polling is no way to engender trust in the process. Continue Reading

Higher Education/Workforce

At Christian Colleges, a Collision of Gay Rights and Traditional Values (New York Times)
Christian colleges are also grappling with a giant generational rift over what it means to be Christian - from students' more accepting views of L.G.B.T.Q. individuals and the conviction that faith demands social justice activism, to their comfort with using social media to organize a counter movement. Continue Reading

Colleges and State Laws Are Clamping Down on Fraternities (New York Times)
There has been at least one school-related hazing death each year in the United States since 1961, according to Hank Nuwer, a Franklin College journalism professor and the author of multiple books on hazing. Most, but not all, have occurred during fraternity initiation events. 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


Dividing World History (Inside Higher Ed)
Another AP history exam comes under scrutiny, with critics saying a proposed rewrite of the AP World History exam, focusing on events after 1450, is too Eurocentric. Continue Reading

As caregivers struggle to make ends meet, 28,000 Detroit children go without care (Chalkbeat)
The financial demands of providing early education in Michigan have contributed to Detroit's status as a "child care desert," a place where access to quality early learning is limited or unavailable. The city is short licensed or registered early child care and education slots for at least 28,000 children ages birth to 5, according to IFF, a nonprofit community development financial institution. Continue Reading

Parkland students to travel cross-country to register young voters (Christian Science Monitor)
Students will also be advocating for gun control measures such as tighter regulation, universal background checks, and training for individuals who own an AR-15 and other semi-automatic riffles. Continue Reading

Health care

More independent rural hospitals will seek some type of affiliation with a larger hospital. (Modern Healthcare)
More than 40% of the country's rural hospitals that have been operating in the red as they try to manage care for a declining population that is often older, sicker and poorer than their urban counterparts. Continue Reading

NJ Passes Healthcare Price Transparency Law to Stop Surprise Bills (RevCycle Intelligence)
Providers in New Jersey must give patients information on out-of-network services and publicly post their standard charges under a new healthcare price transparency law. Continue Reading

Would a Single-Payer System Require Painful Sacrifices From Doctors? (New York Times)
It is true that there clearly would be constraints on the income of doctors and other service providers in a single-payer system, and many of them would surely feel aggrieved by any attempt to reduce their salaries. But cutting their pay directly probably wouldn't happen, nor would it make sense. Continue Reading


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