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10.12 ENGAGING IDEAS - 10/12/2018

Friday, October 12th, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA

Every week we curate stories and reports on complex issues. This week: A look at inequality from city to city. Boosting citizenship engagement in a digital world. Enrollment instability in schools. Spotting troubled students; a new role for faculty on campuses. Exploring what the CVS and Aetna merger means for the health care and pharmaceutical industry.


Estranged in America: Both Sides Feel Lost and Left Out (The Upshot)
Nearly half of Democrats say they feel this way, slightly more than Republicans. Continue Reading

Could populism actually be good for democracy? (The Guardian)
A wave of populist revolts has led many to lose faith in the wisdom of people power. But such eruptions are essential to the vitality of modern politics. Continue Reading

Elections: Understanding democracy in a divided America (Stanford News)
A divided electorate and intense partisanship have led to a tense public mood where feelings of polarization run deep. People are now more attached to their party affiliation than any other social identifier - like race and religion - according to Stanford scholar Shanto Iyengar. He argues that this only amplifies polarization further. Continue Reading


This Map Shows Income Inequality in Every American Metro Area (
Wealth and income inequality are growing areas of concern. A report from Oxfam found that 82% of all wealth created throughout the world in 2017 went to the top 1%. 8 individuals literally own as much money as 3.8 billion people. It's hard to grasp what these numbers really mean, so let's reframe the issue at the local level. How bad is income inequality where you live? Continue Reading

Poverty, Perseverance and a PhD (Hechinger Report)
An elite university helped her climb but changing class can be a lonely journey. Continue Reading

Is Your State Serving Black Students? (Inside Higher Ed)
New report from the University of Southern California's Race and Equity Center grades public institutions across the country. Continue Reading


Austin Ranks High In Voter Turnout In New Civil Health Checkup (
Residents in the Greater Austin area ranked high in voter turnout and knowledge of key issues, but have lent less of a helping hand, according to the 2018 Greater Austin Civic Health Index. Continue Reading

Bringing the e-commerce experience to civic engagement (eGov Innovation)
Boosting digital citizen interaction does not have to be complicated. Powered by the right technology and streamlined processes, both citizens and government entities benefit from a smarter approach to interactions. Continue Reading

PA Mention - Montana vote becomes a national referendum on public confidence in higher ed (Hechinger Report)
Fifty-eight percent of people polled by the think tank New America said colleges and universities put their own interests ahead of those of students. About the same proportion in a Public Agenda survey said colleges care mostly about the bottom line, and 44 percent said they're wasteful and inefficient. Continue Reading


In These Districts, Friday Is Not a School Day (Wall Street Journal)
For most students here, the weekend starts when the final bells ring on Thursday afternoons. Pueblo City Schools, in southern Colorado, this year joined a growing number of school districts hoping to save costs and attract teachers by shifting to a four-day week, a schedule once primarily used by rural districts that is now moving into suburban and urban areas. Continue Reading

Enrollment instability is a major reason why schools are struggling - so why isn't anyone tracking the problem? (Chalkbeat)
There's no question that Detroit schools are struggling with the serious consequences of students coming and going throughout the school year. What's less clear is how the problem compares to other cities and states. That's because no one is keeping close track nationally of these frequent school moves, known by academics as student mobility or enrollment instability. Continue Reading

You thought failing PE or art in high school doesn't matter? Not so, new Chicago study says. (Chalkbeat)
Failing a class like art or PE in the freshman year could be just as damaging to a student's chance of graduating as failing English, math or science, a newly released study of Chicago schools has found. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

At a growing number of colleges, faculty get a new role: spotting troubled students (Hechinger Report)
For many faculty, this new role requires a culture shift. Some still don't consider it their job, said Patricia Rieman, an associate professor of education at Carthage who is an advocate for, and was on the subcommittee that created, that school's early-alert system. "I'm not somebody's mother,'" she said some faculty have carped. "A lot of professors also don't feel they have time. We're expected to do more and more, without additional compensation." Continue Reading

The Secrets of Getting Into Harvard Were Once Closely Guarded. That's About to Change (Wall Street Journal)
This year, 42,749 students applied to Harvard College, and only 1,962 were admitted. How Harvard decides who makes the cut has long been a mystery. That's about to change. A trial beginning Monday in Boston federal court will examine how the elite institution uses race to shape its student body. It will force Harvard to spill details about its admissions practices. Continue Reading

The Little College Where Tuition Is Free and Every Student Is Given a Job (The Atlantic)
Berea College, in Kentucky, has paid for every enrollee's education using its endowment for 126 years. Can other schools replicate the model? Continue Reading

PA Mention - Students, employees scour college finances for waste, proof of unfair pay (Hechinger Report)
As public confidence declines, university budgets and investments face growing scrutiny. Continue Reading

Health Care

Providers are going digital to meet increased demand (Modern Healthcare)
As the U.S. population ages and develops chronic diseases more frequently, provider organizations are turning to digital tools to meet increased demand for healthcare, according to a new report from Ernst & Young. Continue Reading

CVS and Aetna merger a disruptive sign of the future (Healthcare Finance)
Two provider organizations have reacted negatively to Wednesday's announcement by the Department of Justice to allow the merger between CVS Health and Aetna contingent upon Aetna divesting of its Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. Continue Reading

Healthcare prices growing slowly: 4 findings (Becker's Hospital Review)
Healthcare prices in the U.S. showed low growth in the first half of 2018, according to an analysis from nonprofit health systems research and consulting organization Altarum. Continue Reading


10.05 ENGAGING IDEAS - 10/05/2018

Friday, October 5th, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


Russia, the internet and "political technologists" - is this the future of democracy? (Open Democracy)
As more revelations emerge about Russian interference in Western democracies, Nick Inman reviews a BBC broadcast that asks if Russia is merely where 21st century ideas of democracy died first. Continue Reading

'Can Democracy Work?' considers the perils and pitfalls of the institution across time (Christian Science Monitor)
Author and academic James Miller examines the idea of democracy in five distinct moments throughout human history, and chronicles how vastly different each iteration has been. Continue Reading

Democracy and the Internet (New York Times)
An expert discusses the continuing battle with tech companies to safeguard our institutions. Continue Reading



Union Membership Narrows the Racial Wealth Gap for Families of Color (Center for American Progress)
The data suggest that nonwhite union members receive a particular boost in their wealth because they see larger increases in pay, benefits, and employment stability than white union members. Continue Reading

Detailed New National Maps Show How Neighborhoods Shape Children for Life (The Upshot)
Some places lift children out of poverty. Others trap them there. Now cities are trying to do something about the difference. Continue Reading

The Most Important Least-Noticed Economic Event of the Decade (The Upshot)
A localized recession in manufacturing-heavy areas can explain a lot of things. Continue Reading


Managing Digital Change: Playing The Long Game For Participatory Democracy (Forbes)
At a time when social platforms are increasingly under scrutiny-censoring "fake news," deciding who has access to their tools for what purpose, determining if and where to draw boundaries around free speech-tech companies are reluctantly playing a role in defining "right" versus "wrong" for billions of people every day. Continue Reading

Promotion Standards and Public Engagement (Inside Higher Education)
A new study examined in Nature says that university guidelines on tenure and promotion still focus on publication metrics, rather than professed values such as public engagement. Continue Reading

What's New in Civic Tech: Long Beach, Calif., Establishes Office of Civic Innovation (Government Technology)
Long Beach, Calif., has established a new office of civic innovation within its city manager's office, according to a press release from the city. Technologists in the office will serve as in-house consultants to other departments, with a goal of co-creating effective approaches to pressing community issues. Continue Reading


11 charter schools get permission to open in New York, bringing the city closer to the legal limit (Chalkbeat)
Nearly a dozen new charter schools have gotten the green light to open in New York in the next three years, bringing the city closer to a looming limit on charters that has advocates fretting. The SUNY Charter Schools Institute, one of two entities able to approve new charter schools for the state, signed off on 11 applications during a meeting in Albany Thursday. All of the schools aim to open in the Bronx or Brooklyn, and while several would be part of existing school networks, others would be the first for their operators. Continue Reading

Working in a group might be the best way to help kids meet individual goals, study says (Hechinger Report)
A new study out by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), a nonprofit research firm, makes the argument that collaborative, group learning might actually serve each student's individual academic needs quite well. Continue Reading

Does Teacher Diversity Matter in Student Learning?

(New York Times)
Research shows that students, especially boys, benefit when teachers share their race or gender. Yet most teachers are white women. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

At Elite Colleges, Racial Diversity Requires Affirmative Action (New York Times)
Getting more low-income students into elite colleges like Harvard and Stanford is an important goal. But it can't replace race-based affirmative action. Continue Reading

Boston judge permits lawsuit against Harvard to go forward (Christian Science Monitor)
In a closely watched case that could influence affirmative action practices in college admissions decisions, a federal judge on Friday rejected a motion from Harvard University to rule in its favor. The university faces a lawsuit on the basis of discrimination against Asian-American applicants. The trial is set to begin on Oct. 15. Continue Reading

Education Department will miss deadline on rules affecting students in for-profit colleges (Washington Post)
The Education Department is going to miss a self-imposed deadline to deliver new rules governing how for-profit colleges and universities should deal with their students. But critics of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos say the delay is actually a good thing for students. Continue Reading

Health Care

Congress angles for air ambulance cost transparency (Modern Healthcare)
Last November, a fully insured North Dakotan was dispatched on an 84-mile medical air transport from Langdon, N.D., to Grand Forks. When the charges came in at more than $66,000, out-of-network insurance covered just $16,000.The patient was left with a $50,000 bill balance from Valley Med Flight. Continue Reading

Lawmakers: States need to gather better data about mothers dying in childbirth (Fierce Healthcare)
States are not doing enough to understand what went wrong after mothers die from pregnancy-related complications-a necessary step to figuring out how to stem growing maternal mortality rates in the U.S., experts told lawmakers on Thursday. Continue Reading

New Report Examines Healthcare in the "Amazon Era" (Healthcare Informatics)
Hospital business leaders are open, and even optimistic, about the benefits of innovation from non-traditional healthcare players, such as Amazon and Apple, according to a new report from Captains of Industry, a marketing consultancy. Continue Reading


10.01 Working Together to Advance Student and Teacher Success

Monday, October 1st, 2018 | VANIA ANDRE

With the school year in full swing, teachers, administrators and education leaders are once again fully entrenched in the day- to-day workings of ensuring students are receiving the skills and information they need to succeed. However, despite this earnest effort on their part, many teachers find themselves working in isolation, apart from other teachers, which ironically enough doesn’t maximize the likelihood that their efforts will be effective.

A growing body of research shows that when teachers work more collaboratively, student outcomes can improve, teachers can be more satisfied in their jobs and teacher turnover can decrease. Teacher Collaboration In Perspective, a joint project of Public Agenda and the Spencer Foundation, is designed to contribute to a better-informed dialogue about how teachers can work more collaboratively.

With more and more attention placed on teacher productivity from parents, government officials and other big name funders, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this “egg crate” model -- a compartmentalized and isolated working environment -- is not optimal for student or teacher success. While collaboration is routine in professions such as scientific research, health care, architecture and the performing arts, most schools are not structured so that teachers can learn from one another, coordinate lessons, discuss data or share ideas.

Fostering collaboration among teachers requires changing how schools and teachers’ work are organized. When schools are organized like egg crates, important information about the challenges that teachers encounter, the problems that puzzle them, and the expertise they might offer their peers remains limited by the confines of the classroom. Working together may make it easier for teachers to identify and address problems in students’ progress, share information about individual students from grade to grade or develop curricula and approaches to teaching that are consistent and coherent across grades and subject areas. Schools that are more collaborative have been shown to have stronger student academic outcomes than schools that are less collaborative. Studies have found that:

Overall, the goal is to ensure success for both students and teachers alike. The first step to guaranteeing this success, however, is a dialogue, where the needs and challenges of teachers are addressed and talked through so that important lessons can be gleaned from these conversations and, in turn, put into action. To learn how you can contribute to a better dialogue around student and teacher success visit to access a suite of materials designed to facilitate effective conversations on teacher collaboration. Also, sign up for email updates for more information on teacher collaboration and other topics critical to increasing student success.


09.28 ENGAGING IDEAS - 09/28/2018

Friday, September 28th, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


Golden could be the first Colorado city to lower the minimum voting age to 16 (
Colorado law limits voting to adults 18 and older, but as a home rule city, Golden could lower that age threshold for municipal-only races and ballot issues. People would still need to be at least 18 to hold office in Golden. If the measure passes, the first election that minors would likely be able to vote in would be November 2019. Continue Reading

The forgotten majority: how norms inform the practice of democracy (Vox)
We have a lot of norms about democracy. They're not all consistent. Continue Reading

Study Finds Partisan Beliefs Drive Attitudes Toward New Media (Courthouse News)
Nearly two years into Donald Trump's presidency, the partisan divide over the media and its role in the American democracy appears to have widened, a new study from the Pew Research Center says. Continue Reading


Black students default on college loans at a higher rate than others, study finds (Hechinger Report)
There's great disparity in the way that college graduates pay back student loans. Among black bachelor's degree holders, 21 percent defaulted on their student loans within 12 years of entering college, according to a report released this week from The Institute for College Access and Success. Only 8 percent of Hispanic degree holders and 3 percent of white degree holders defaulted within that time period. Continue Reading

Income inequality is changing how we think, live, and die (Vox)
Why society might be more stable if we had more poverty and less inequality. Continue Reading


College-age voters: increasingly courted - and thwarted (Christian Science Monitor)
Many students are too busy to care much about politics, but those who tune in can make the difference in a tight race - so battles are heating up over whether certain voting rules create unfair barriers. Continue Reading

Will de Blasio's ballot proposals make a difference? (City & State)
City Councilman Brad Lander evaluates the mayor's Charter Revision Commission. Continue Reading

How governments can let citizens call the shots (GovInsider)
Participatory budgeting can help citizens become decision-makers, serve the underprivileged and be a force for good on a national scale. Continue Reading


Want to boost test scores and increase grad rates? One strategy: look outside schools and help low-income families (Chalkbeat)
A large and growing body of research backs up Marquita's experience, documenting not only that poverty hurts students in school, but that specific anti-poverty programs can counteract that harm. These programs - or other methods of increasing family income - boost students' test scores, make them more likely to finish high school, and raise their chances of enrolling in college. Continue Reading

Report: 44 states have implemented at least one K-12 computer science policy (Education Dive)
Since 2013, the number of states with at least one policy related to computer science education in K-12 schools has increased from 14 to 44, according to a State of Computer Science Education report released Thursday from the Advocacy Coalition and the Computer Science Teachers Association. Continue Reading

The Future of Education: K-12 Superintendents' Views (Gallup)
U.S. public school superintendents remain enthusiastic about the future of their school district, but they are much less excited about public education nationwide. Eighty-six percent of K-12 superintendents agree they are excited about the future of their district, including 53% who strongly agree. Only half as many, 42%, agree they are excited about the future of K-12 public education in the U.S. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

Diversity Fatigue Is Real (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
For many folks of color in the academy, the language of diversity itself is tired and appears to be bandied about primarily for branding purposes. Continue Reading

How the Great Recession changed higher education forever (Washington Post)
For some colleges, the past 10 years have involved moving from one year to the next while grasping for strategies that might last longer. Others have approached the challenges of this past decade by hunkering down, hoping the tough times will simply pass. Rarely do enough college leaders peer far enough into the future, instead confronting the challenges ahead of them, incrementally, one year at a time. Continue Reading

Report: Colleges need more time to fill their incoming classes (Education Dive)
As competition for students increases, colleges are struggling to meet their target enrollment numbers by the traditional May 1 deadline, according to Inside Higher Ed's 2018 Survey of College and University Admissions Directors. The survey analyzed responses from 499 senior admissions or enrollment management professionals. Continue Reading

Health Care

Tennessee joins push for Medicaid work requirements (Modern Healthcare)
Tennessee officially posted its Medicaid waiver that would require enrollees to either seek or maintain work.It's the fourth state to propose a Medicaid work requirement this month for comment. Continue Reading

Health Care Transparency Effort Lags (WLRN)
With just months left in his term, one of Gov. Rick Scott's key health-care initiatives remains in limbo. Scott convinced legislators to set aside $3.5 million to create a new website and to create a claims database that would allow Floridians to shop around when it comes to health care. But with Scott ready to leave the governor's office in January, the health-care price information still isn't available to Florida consumers. Continue Reading

Bipartisan Negativity in Views of the Healthcare Industry (Gallup)
Republicans and Democrats have held similar views of the U.S. healthcare industry over the last two years since President Donald Trump took office, with 37% of Republicans and 33% of Democrats viewing it "very" or "somewhat" positively. However, this reflects a significant souring of Democrats' views of the healthcare industry since Barack Obama's second term as president. Republicans' views of the industry have recovered to pre-Obama levels. Continue Reading


09.21 ENGAGING IDEAS - 09/21/2018

Friday, September 21st, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


The death of democracy and birth of an unknown beast (The Economist)
History provides uncomfortable lessons. Among them is that systems of governance are not immortal and that democracies can devolve into autocracy. As institutions decay and social norms fray, democratic processes and practices are prone to apathy, demagoguery and disintegration. Continue Reading

Democracy Will Still Surprise Us (New York Times)
Of late, Western democracy has concentrated rather than spread wealth, suggesting it serves injustice. But it is stubborn and adaptable. Continue Reading

US democracy is not at risk - it's working like the Constitution intended it to (Business Insider)
American democracy might depend on the three branches of government functioning, but there are three other powers that keep it alive: the states, constitutionally protected institutions, and most importantly, the people. Continue Reading


Latest Fed Data On Household Wealth Mask Massive Inequality (Forbes)
The Federal Reserve released its latest data on the country's finances on September 20. The household data show continued increases in wealth, but that is not the whole story. Millions of households are left out of the stock and housing booms. Continue Reading

Rich-world wage growth continues to disappoint (The Economist)
THE world is still in recovery mode fully ten years after the financial crisis of 2008-09. Inflation-adjusted wages grew by an average of 27% in the decade before the crisis in the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries. In the ten years since, real wages have increased by just 8.4%, on average. Continue Reading

Ray Dalio: Rising debt, income inequality and political polarization are a recipe for a nasty downturn (MarketWatch)
The billionaire hedge-fund manager warns the next financial crisis will threaten capitalism and democracy Continue Reading


Residents use art to encourage civic engagement in their neighborhoods (The Rapidian)
Dwelling Place summer get out the vote events allowed residents the freedom to drop by and paint a poster, register to vote, check their registration status and more. Continue Reading

The art of civic engagement (University of New Mexico)
Beyond the world of entertainment, there's an intersection where art and activism meet. This is where you will find For Freedoms, a self-described "hub for artists and art institutions who want to be more engaged in public life." In collaboration with For Freedoms, The University of New Mexico (UNM) Art Museum and College of Fine Arts are joining the 50 State Initiative, a project centered around "the vital work of artists." These student-driven projects are art with an endgame - getting people to participate in democracy. Continue Reading

Participatory Budgeting Kicks Off, Help Decide How to Spend More Than $1.5 Million in District (Greenpoint Post)
Another round of participatory budgeting is in the works for the district, with more than $1.5 million on offer to fund local projects, Council Member Stephen Levin announced last week. Continue Reading


Jeff Bezos Cites a Big Number, but Few Details, in Plan for Low-Income Montessori Preschools

(New York Times)
When Jeff Bezos announced last week that he and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, would create and operate a national network of Montessori preschools, few were more surprised than Montessori organizations and leaders themselves. Continue Reading

The learning experience is different in schools that assign laptops, a survey finds (The Hechinger Report)
More than twice as many principals in 2017 said students in their schools were assigned some type of mobile device, like a laptop or tablet, than in 2015. That's according to the Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning, which found that 60 percent of principals who responded to its latest survey say they assign these devices, compared with 27 percent two years earlier. Continue Reading

Brooklyn middle schools eliminate 'screening' as New York City expands integration efforts (Chalkbeat)
New York's Department of Education on Thursday approved sweeping changes to the way students are admitted to middle schools across an entire Brooklyn district, marking one of the most far-reaching integration efforts under Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

In Race for Students, Colleges Offer to Match Tuition at Rival Schools (Wall Street Journal)
Price-match guarantee, a sales tactic borrowed from retailers, illustrates how fiercely competitive higher education has become. Continue Reading

Colorado College Helps Dreamers Afford Higher Education (US News & World Report)
Dreamers, or those eligible for the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, can work and pay taxes but are not eligible to receive state or government financial aid. They can apply for private college scholarships, and in Colorado they are eligible for in-state tuition if they have lived in the state for three years, but for many higher education can still seem like a distant reality. Continue Reading

Giving all students a voice is key to more effective higher education (Arizona State University)
Frank Rhodes Lecture speaker Cathy Davidson encourages a 'provocative way of thinking' when it comes to learning. Continue Reading

Health Care

Health Pros Nudge Senate Toward Care Quality, Price Transparency (Patient EngagementHIT)
A Senate HELP meeting discussed the need for better care quality and price transparency for patient healthcare decision-making. Continue Reading

Lack of price transparency impeding informed care decisions (Health Data Management)
Consumers are being blindsided by the high costs of their healthcare because of the lack of available price transparency data to make informed buying decisions. Continue Reading

HHS wants private sector input on healthcare innovation, investment (Health Data Management)
The federal agency in charge of healthcare delivery is seeking to increase the dialogue on increasing innovation and investment in healthcare. Continue Reading


09.14 ENGAGING IDEAS - 09/14/2018

Friday, September 14th, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


America's Slide Toward Autocracy (The Atlantic)
Democracy has taken a beating under President Trump. Will the midterms make a difference? Continue Reading

Republicans' Turn in the Barrel (Wall Street Journal)
With the last primary in New York this Thursday, the 2018 general election is fully under way. Let's take stock of the political landscape as the contest enters its final eight weeks. Continue Reading

Americans Aren't Practicing Democracy Anymore (The Atlantic)
As participation in civic life has dwindled, so has public faith in the country's system of government. Continue Reading


The Inequality Industry (The Nation)
Since 2008, wonks, politicians, poets, and bankers have all started talking about inequality. But are they interested in making us more equal? Continue Reading

Research: How the Financial Crisis Drastically Increased Wealth Inequality in the U.S. (Harvard Business Review)
We live in unequal times. The causes and consequences of widening disparities in income and wealth have become a defining debate of our age. Researchers have made major inroads into documenting trends in either income or wealth inequality in the United States, but we still know little about how the two evolve together - an important question to understand the causes of wealth inequality. Continue Reading

Queens College Ranked In Top 1% In Country For Upward Mobility
The results of a recent study, as reported on this week in the Chronicle of Higher Education, provides insight into how well Queens College is propelling students up the economic ladder. The Chronicle's list is drawn from Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility, the widely reported study in which a team led by former Stanford economics professor Raj Chetty assessed colleges' impact on social mobility. Continue Reading


In Chicago, The Obamas' Civic Engagement Programs Are In Action (NPR)
The Obama Foundation has raised more than a quarter of a billion dollars so far to build the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago's South Side. Key to the Foundation's mission are programs to train the next generation of civic leaders. Continue Reading

Civic engagement app launches facial recognition feature to identify politicians (Biometric Update)
An app has been launched for iPhone and Android which identifies public figures with facial recognition to improve civic engagement. The CVX Civic Engagement app's "Name to a Face" feature compares an image in a photo taken by the user to a database of public officials with AI and machine learning to identify prominent U.S. politicians. Continue Reading


Rethinking What Gifted Education Means, and Whom It Should Serve (New York Times)
Montgomery County is one of several districts that is successfully diversifying its gifted programs, in part by overhauling the admissions process and rethinking the fundamental mission of such programs. Continue Reading

Passing schools, struggling students: Colorado reconsiders its formula for rating schools (Chalkbeat)
The vast majority of Colorado schools and districts get a passing score from state regulators who track their performance. Yet fewer than half of Colorado third-graders meet state expectations in literacy and just 34 percent meet state expectations in math. Continue Reading

In latest move, Gates Foundation looks to help - and learn from - charters serving students with disabilities (Chalkbeat)
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's new charter school strategy is taking shape. The foundation has made four grants in recent months focused on helping charter schools better serve students with disabilities. That's one of the ways Bill Gates said last fall that the influential foundation would focus its education giving over the next five years, along with efforts to grow networks of schools and improve curriculum. (The Gates Foundation is a supporter of Chalkbeat.) Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

Higher-education spending is falling (The Economist)
Universities are increasingly reliant on funds from the private sector. Continue Reading

Education Dept. Reopens Rutgers Case Charging Discrimination Against Jewish Students (New York Times)
The new head of civil rights at the Education Department has reopened a seven-year-old case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University, saying the Obama administration, in closing the case, ignored evidence that suggested the school allowed a hostile environment for Jewish students. Continue Reading

Colleges welcome first-year students by getting them thinking about jobs (Hechinger Report)
This new attention to career advising largely stems from growing expectations that institutions will help students get good jobs - which 85 percent of first-year students rated as "very important" among their reasons for going to college in the first place, according to a national survey conducted by an institute at UCLA. That's more than any other reason they considered "very important," including "to gain a general education and appreciation of ideas" and "to learn more about things that interest me." Continue Reading

Health Care

Hospitals sue HHS over 340B price transparency (
Hospital associations have launched a lawsuit that would prompt a court order to require drug companies to disclose the ceiling price for 340B drugs. Such requirements were already lawful under the Affordable Care Act, but the effective date has been delayed five times, according to the American Hospital Association. Continue Reading

Senators ask CMS to include opioid treatment in Medicare Advantage model (Modern Healthcare)
A bipartisan group of senators asked the CMS to expand the Medicare Advantage value-based insurance design model to include substance abuse disorder patients, saying it could help combat the opioid epidemic.Starting in 2020, the CMS should add substance use disorders to the specified clinical conditions identified in the current demonstration, Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa) wrote in a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma on Wednesday. Continue Reading

States are trying to lower drug prices. Here's how their efforts are being thwarted (Fierce Healthcare)
High drug prices may be a hot-button issue for the Trump administration with its blueprint to take on the problem released back in May. But faced with increased budget burdens tied to rapidly expanding prescription drug costs, state officials aren't waiting around for federal solutions for drug prices. Continue Reading


09.07 ENGAGING IDEAS - 09/07/2018

Friday, September 7th, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


This Is a Constitutional Crisis (The Atlantic)
Impeachment is a constitutional mechanism. The Twenty-Fifth Amendment is a constitutional mechanism. Mass resignations followed by voluntary testimony to congressional committees are a constitutional mechanism. Overt defiance of presidential authority by the president's own appointees-now that's a constitutional crisis. Continue Reading

Artificial intelligence is transforming social media. Can American democracy survive? (Washington Post)
Cambridge Analytica's harvesting of Facebook accounts and pairing with voter profiles merely represents a small first step for social manipulation. Advanced public relations firms, propagandists and campaigns, now and in the future, seek a full digital pattern-of-life on each potential voter. Continue Reading

An Avalanche of Speech Can Bury Democracy (Politico)
For the longest time, we thought that as speech became more democratized, democracy itself would flourish. But in 2018, it is increasingly clear that more speech can in fact threaten democracy. Continue Reading


New Research Debunks the Upward Mobility Myth (Pacific Standard)
In America, if you're ambitious and work hard, you can move up the socioeconomic ladder. At least, that's the truism we all grew up believing. But new research suggests such social mobility is far from the norm. It finds you are significantly more likely to hold a high-status (which usually means higher-paying) job if your parents held similarly prestigious positions. Continue Reading

Affirmative action should be based on class, not race (The Economist)
Focusing on the disadvantaged of all races is fairer and more appealing, writes Richard Kahlenberg, a scholar Continue Reading

Income Inequality Is Skyrocketing, Especially In These 5 States (Forbes)
After analyzing Census Bureau American Community Survey data from 2011 through 2016, five U.S. states in particular display unsettling levels of income inequality and, worse, its continuing rapid growth. Continue Reading


Follow up with your fans (and your ex-fans): Here's how to create a successful culture of listening in your newsroom (Nieman Lab)
A new civic engagement campaign called 'Hofstra Votes' aims to educate members of Hofstra University's community and surrounding area about pertinent political and policy issues. Continue Reading

Keeping Democracy Alive in Cities (Stanford Social Innovation Review)
Cities continue to be the place where citizens can engage most directly with government-especially when nonprofits are there to offer capacity, expertise, and reach. Continue Reading


Lifting the veil on education's newest big donor: Inside Chan Zuckerberg's $300 million push to reshape schools (Chalkbeat)
The numbers offer new perspective on a philanthropy that has quickly become one of the biggest in U.S. education, thrusting itself into the ongoing debate over the appropriate role for private dollars in education policy. Continue Reading

Gamification can help education - here's how (Venture Beat)
Teachers and parents hear it over and over again: "make learning fun" to keep kids engaged. Gamified education apps for use outside of the classroom have proliferated, leading students to expect gamification when they're back inside of the classroom, too. Continue Reading

Students sue New York City, saying black and Latino athletes have fewer sports opportunities (Hechinger Report)
The complaint states that 17,323 black and Latino teens attend a school with no PSAL teams at all. The P.S.A.L. funds teams for about 45,000 student-athletes citywide. According to P.S.A.L. data cited in the lawsuit, between 2012 and 2017, only about half of requests for sports team from schools that had more than 90 percent black and Latino students were approved, whereas about three-quarters of such requests were approved for schools whose student bodies were 10 percent or less black and Latino students. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

Diversity or discrimination? What's at stake in the Harvard admissions lawsuit (Christian Science Monitor)
Asian-Americans - and the US Department of Justice - are weighing in as a court determines whether the Ivy League school's approach to admissions has been discriminatory. Continue Reading

College Board sued over allegedly recycled SAT test questions (Washington Post)
A class-action lawsuit was just filed in U.S. District Court in Florida by the father of a student who took the SAT on Aug. 25. Students reported the test included questions that had appeared on a 2017 SAT administered in Asia and that had been put on social media. Continue Reading

Fraternities Vote to Ban Hard Alcohol After Deadly Hazing Episodes (New York Times)
The trade association that represents dozens of fraternities across the nation and around the world has voted to ban hard alcohol in the wake of a series of high-profile hazing episodes that have resulted in deaths and lawsuits, officials announced this week. Continue Reading

Health Care

Mandatory joint pay model slashes spending in just eight months (Modern Healthcare)
A mandatory pay model aimed at reducing Medicare spending on joint replacement surgeries was able to save money in its first year. The CMS in recent years has scaled back and canceled mandatory models. Continue Reading

Justice Department Nearing Antitrust Approval of Health Mergers Combining CVS-Aetna, Cigna-Express Scripts (Wall Street Journal)
The Justice Department has identified some competition concerns surrounding the nearly $70 billion CVS-Aetna deal, and the companies will be required to sell off assets related to Medicare drug coverage to resolve those issues, some of the people familiar with the matter said. Continue Reading

'First of its kind' hospital-led generic drug company Civica Rx aims to address shortages, high prices

(Fierce Healthcare)
Some of the largest providers in the U.S. have officially joined forces to launch a nonprofit generic drug company. Civica Rx was formally established Thursday after it first announced in January. The idea, which was spearheaded by Intermountain Healthcare, drew plenty of interest from hospitals and health systems; more than 120 healthcare organizations-including one-third of U.S. hospitals-have signed on. Continue Reading


08.31 ENGAGING IDEAS - 08/31/2018

Friday, August 31st, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


The Politics of Homeownership (Citylab)
Homeowners are more active in national and local politics than non-owners. This disproportionate involvement can potentially limit the economy and further divide our politics. Continue Reading

Republicans' anger at McCain speaks volumes about America's tribal politics (Washington Post)
Over the past few decades, Americans have fled to the political poles, leaving fewer in the once vibrant and decisive middle. Increasingly, those partisan voters are being driven more by fear and loathing for the opposition party than admiration for their own party's leaders - a phenomenon that political consultants call "negative partisanship."Continue Reading

How the Democratic Party Can Turn the Sun Belt Blue (The Atlantic)
From Florida to Texas, November's elections provide an opening for Democrats to shift the balance of power-and make up for lost ground in the heartland. Continue Reading


If You Want Less Displacement, Build More Housing (Citylab)
Blocking new development doesn't keep people from moving in. It often prices residents out of the neighborhoods they're trying to preserve. Continue Reading

Divided By Wealth: 13 Places In America With The Worst Income Inequality (Forbes)
Income creates a disparity in every U.S. city, but the gap is markedly bigger in some areas versus others. A 2018 study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) recently identified U.S. states, cities and counties most divided by wealth. Continue Reading

Investing to end poverty: On fostering economic growth and mobility in Philadelphia (
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's community development advisor and outreach manager, Noelle St.Clair, writes about new models of moving capital for social good. Continue Reading


Before Cuomo-Nixon debate, Hofstra announces civic engagement campaign (Long Island Business News)
A new civic engagement campaign called 'Hofstra Votes' aims to educate members of Hofstra University's community and surrounding area about pertinent political and policy issues. Continue Reading

City Council Begins Work On 2019 Participatory Budget Options (Queens Gazette)
In NYC Council District 22, residents of Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Sunnyside, cast ballots last April on how to allocate $1 million in discretionary funding for community proposals ranging from improvements to the children's room of the Queens library's Steinway branch to lighting upgrades at Astoria Houses Community Center. Continue Reading


New York spends more per student than any other state. A new study suggests it should spend more. (Chalkbeat)
Education advocates have insisted the state has skimped on funding its schools. But New York State already has the highest per-student funding rate of any in the country - could moving that number up make a difference? Continue Reading

Newark's new superintendent shares his big plans with 7,000 district employees (Chalkbeat)
School hasn't started yet in Newark, but the district's students and staffers are already learning that their new boss intends to do things differently. He ordered every district employee to call several students' families in the coming days to remind them about the start of school on Sept. 4. And he summoned all 7,000 or so of those employees - everyone from teachers to custodians to central-office staffers - to the Prudential Center in downtown Newark on Tuesday for a meeting that was part pep rally, part strategy session. Continue Reading

Making the preschool magic last as children get older (Hechinger Report)
Although intensive family supports can be costly, research shows the need is clear. Trauma and stress, brought on by factors like poverty, food and housing insecurity, and violence in the community can impede the brain's development and lead to long-term mental and physical health issues. Schools like Christopher House try to reduce the impact of these negative experiences by addressing them head-on, providing early interventions in the form of high-quality education and family supports. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

Community colleges try new 'pathway' to student success (The Orange County Register)
California's community colleges are embarking on the most far-reaching reform they have ever adopted, in a bid to tackle their biggest challenge: to improve on historically low rates of student graduation and transfers to 4-year colleges and universities. Continue Reading

Google Launches New Tools To Help U.S. Veterans Find Jobs And Promote Businesses (Forbes)
"Through Grow with Google, our initiative to help create opportunities for all Americans, we hope to use our technology to help veterans understand the full range of opportunities open to them across many different fields. Right now those opportunities are getting lost in translation." Continue Reading

America's Education 'Deserts' Show Limits of Relaxing Regulations on Colleges
The market for higher education is strongly local, with sparse options for many potential students, so merely giving them more information may not work. Continue Reading

Health Care

Complete care: Hospitals tackling social determinants set the course (Modern Healthcare)
Individual behaviors are the largest contributors to premature death, accounting for 40%, according to a 2007 New England Journal of Medicine story, while healthcare made up just 10%. Continue Reading

Tech Giants Pledge to Ease Patient, Provider Access to Health Data (Wall Street Journal)
Major tech companies committed Monday to removing technological barriers that have hindered patient and provider access to health-care data online. Continue Reading

Moody's report shows trouble on horizon with "unsustainable path" for nonprofit hospitals (Fierce Healthcare)
Nonprofit and public hospitals in the U.S. are increasingly facing a pretty daunting financial picture.

The latest evidence: A report from Moody's Investors Services this week shows the growth of expenses is outpacing the growth of their revenue. That gap is putting the sector on an "unsustainable path," Moody's reported in its research announcement. Continue Reading


08.24 ENGAGING IDEAS - 08/24/2018

Friday, August 24th, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


Elections 2018: Is misinformation killing democracy? (ZDNET)
We all create a bit of propaganda and misinformation everyday. Is it all that surprising we're so primed to fall for social networking misinformation campaigns? Continue Reading

OPINION: Breaking Norms Will Renew Democracy, Not Ruin It (New York Times)
Most of President Trump's alleged transgressions offend against the etiquette of modern liberal governance, not the Constitution. Continue Reading

Tech Giants are Becoming Defenders of Democracy. Now What? (Wired)
ON TUESDAY, A trifecta of tech companies announced that they had thwarted what appear to be significant cyberattacks from Russia and Iran. Continue Reading


Many Data Sets Show High U.S. Inequality (Wall Street Journal)
A variety of measurement angles show that economic inequalities are higher in the U.S. than in most other OECD countries. Continue Reading

Elizabeth Warren's revolutionary plan to reduce income inequality (Washington Post)
Why increased corporate responsibility could diminish the need for government redistribution. Continue Reading

OPINION: Why Prosperity Has Increased but Happiness Has Not (New York Times)
Our well-being is local and relative - if you live in a struggling area and your status is slipping, even if you are relatively comfortable, you are probably at least a bit miserable. Continue Reading


City launches new public engagement platform (Mercer Island Reporter)
The City is launching this new platform to make it easier for residents and business owners to engage with City issues at a time and place that is most convenient for them. Continue Reading

What's New in Civic Tech: South Bend, Ind., Launches New Digital Inclusion Center (Government Technology)
South Bend, Ind., has launched a new digital inclusion center through a collaboration between the city, St. Joseph County Library and St. Joe Valley Metronet, officials announced in a press release. Continue Reading

LA County OKs Open-Source Election System (Government Technology)
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla's office has certified the first open-source, publicly owned election technology for use in the county. Continue Reading


How Do You Get Better Schools? Take the State to Court, More Advocates Say (New York Times)
The legal complaints have different areas of focus - from school funding to segregation to literacy - but all of them argue that the states are violating their constitutions by denying children a quality education. Continue Reading

Students are dropping out of college before even starting. Here's how educators are trying to stop the trend. (Washington Post)
Every spring, thousands of high school seniors in the District make plans to go to college. Every summer, many of their ambitions get shelved as graduates miss registration deadlines, overlook the fine print in financial aid packages or shift course because of worries about jobs and money. The phenomenon known as "summer melt," which sidetracks an estimated 10 percent or more of college plans nationwide, hits teenagers from low-income families harder than others. Continue Reading

Union chief says de Blasio's plan to scrap the SHSAT is going nowhere in Albany (Chalkbeat)
The head of New York City's teachers union offered a bleak assessment of Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to integrate the city's specialized high schools Thursday, saying it likely won't come to fruition any time soon and the plan's rollout was "fraught with mistakes." Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

Why some new higher education reforms may hurt students rather than help (Washington Post)
Colleges and universities have been trying to find ways to provide wider and easier access to what they have to offer - or, at least, that is what many say they are trying to do. Continue Reading

Tuition Insurance Catches On as Costs Rise, Students Struggle to Adjust (Wall Street Journal)
'The cost of college is driving this,' said an official with one firm selling the policies. 'Families cannot afford the loss of $30,000.' Continue Reading

Welcome Students, Let's Talk About Confederate Statues (Wall Street Journal)
In the South, colleges grapple with historical markers; Silent Sam falls at UNC Continue Reading

Health Care

Democratic lawmakers say Medicaid work requirements could force families off coverage (Fierce Healthcare)
Work requirement programs have become a centerpiece of the Trump administration's plans for Medicaid, but two Democratic lawmakers are urging HHS and CMS to consider how the new rules will affect low-income families. Continue Reading

Trump's Plan on Drug-Pricing Transparency Takes Step Forward (Bloomberg)
White House staff are reviewing a proposal that may require pharmaceutical companies to be more transparent about their pricing, a key piece of President Donald Trump's plan to lower drug costs. Continue Reading

The case for price transparency: Why it pays to empower patient choice (Becker's Hospital Review)
As consumers become more responsible for footing their own healthcare bills, they have an urgent need to know upfront costs associated with their medical needs. While enabling a more transparent system poses risks to both patients and providers, consumers are ready for a more open environment when it comes to healthcare pricing. Continue Reading


08.17 ENGAGING IDEAS - 08/17/2018

Friday, August 17th, 2018 | PUBLIC AGENDA


Why a Free Press Matters (The Atlantic)
Journalists have been keeping a check on power since the creation of the First Amendment. Now, they're being tested. Continue Reading

On the Ambiguity of "Democracy" in America (
In American public discourse - articulated by public officials, media outlets, and ordinary citizens of virtually all political stripes - the United States is called a democracy. However, this attribution is false and has been so since the foundation of the republic. Many know this, but many don't. And the misuse of the term has become unusually, politically consequential since November, 2016. Continue Reading

What Americans want from reform in 2018 (Brookings Institution)
The rebuilders now have the momentum to win a plurality in the midterm elections and are on track to becoming a president-maker in 2020, even as the dismantlers fight to maintain control. Continue Reading


Maybe Worker Inequality Isn't Inevitable After All (Bloomberg)
In the 2000s and coming out of the great recession, increased inequality between educated knowledge workers and less-educated and goods-producing workers seemed inevitable. Continue Reading

2017 was a great year for CEOs. Not so much for the average worker. (Vox)
A new study shows that CEOs made about 312 times more money in 2017 than the average worker. Continue Reading

What American inequality looks like from above (Fast Company)
The story of inequality in the United States is written in its streets. In Silicon Valley, it looks like a homeless encampment carved out of a scruffy patch of land that's separated from Facebook and Instagram headquarters by the expressway filled with private tech buses. In Baltimore, it looks like an empty highway that displaced thousands of families and was never even completed. In Detroit, it looks like a cinderblock wall that was built in the 1940s to separate black and white neighborhoods and shape the street grid. Continue Reading


State Rep. supports civics education bill (The Landmark)
Senate Bill 2631, An Act to promote and enhance civic engagement, passed the House of Representatives and Senate unanimously on July 25 by votes of 151-0 and 37-0, respectively. The bill, which is now under review by Governor Charlie Baker, represents a compromise between two earlier versions of the legislation previously approved by the two branches. Continue Reading

Despite the Risks, Some States Are Handcuffed to Limited Online Voting Options (Government Technology)
Top computer researchers gave a startling presentation recently about how to intercept and switch votes on emailed ballots, but officials in the 30 or so states said the ease with which votes could be changed wouldn't alter their plans to continue offering electronic voting in some fashion. Continue Reading

Need help understanding the city budget? Grab a toy car and get to work (Denverrite)
Starting on Thursday, and for five days only, Denverites interested in art, weird machines or civic engagement can catch a blend of all three of those things in a new installation by Warm Cookies of the Revolution, the quirky "Civic Health Club" whose mission is to connect people with their city in innovative ways. Continue Reading


Florida told its low-scoring schools to make their days longer. It helped, new research finds (Chalkbeat)
In Florida, the extended-day push began in 2012 with the state's 100 lowest performing schools and expanded to 300 schools in 2014. Continue Reading

Undocumented students face hurdles getting into college. Here's how Indiana teachers have helped them succeed (Chalkbeat)
Navigating the college admissions process can be a challenge for any student, but in Indiana, undocumented students can face extra hurdles in pursuing higher learning. That's because Indiana is one of just six states that prohibits undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition rates at public universities. Continue Reading

A year of personalized learning: Mistakes, moving furniture and making it work (Hechinger Report)
In the first year of a new program, a large San Diego district experiences small victories despite growing pains. Continue Reading

Higher Ed/Workforce

Surprise Gift: Free Tuition for All N.Y.U. Medical Students (New York Times)
The New York University School of Medicine announced on Thursday that it would cover the tuition of all its students, regardless of merit or need, citing concerns about the "overwhelming financial debt" facing graduates. Continue Reading

Why Does Publishing Higher-Ed Research Take So Long? (Chronicle of Higher Education)
Growth in the discipline, a spike in quality and international submissions, reluctance by scholars to review articles, and focus on a limited number of top publications all contribute to backlogs and sluggish turnaround, say editors of the top three journals in the field. Scholars are buzzing about prospective solutions, including more and bigger journals, honoraria to encourage article reviews, and an increase in online publication. Continue Reading

Vocational Training Is Back as Firms Pair With High Schools to Groom Workers (Wall Street Journal)
The renewed popularity of so-called career education programs marks a shift away from the idea that all students should get a liberal-arts education designed to prepare them for college. Continue Reading

Health Care

Rebates don't correlate to drug price spikes, AHIP study says (Modern Healthcare)
A new Milliman study commissioned by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) downplayed the overall impact of rebates offered by drugmakers to insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) on total drug spending. The report blamed spiking costs on lack of competition. Continue Reading

Study links real-time EHR alerts with fewer complications, lower costs (Fierce Healthcare)
When physicians get the right kind of alert in an electronic health record-and actually follow its recommendation-it could result in fewer complications and lower costs among hospitalized patients, according to a new study. Continue Reading

New rule pushes for hospital price transparency (Employee Benefit Adviser)
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a proposed rule aimed at providing patients with a clear price listing of the cost of their hospital charges. In an effort to fulfill the proposed rule's objective, CMS suggested an amendment to the requirements previously established by Section 2718(e) of the Affordable Care Act. Continue Reading


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