Tuesday, October 27th, 2015 | Allison Rizzolo
From left to right: Public Agenda president Will Friedman, moderator Brian Lehrer, Wendy Puriefoy and Alison Kadlec. Tuesday, October 27, 2015.
Education has long been held as the best means for all people to get ahead and have a good life. As a nation, we haven't always enabled our education system to fulfill its promise as a great opportunity equalizer. Yet for all the challenges we face – challenges that will surely increase in an uncertain future – we have reason for cautious optimism.
In a discussion last week with WNYC's Brian Lehrer, education experts Wendy Puriefoy and Alison Kadlec spoke frankly about the historic challenges facing the public K-12 and higher education systems, including dwindling funding and an unpredictable future.
Still, education is an ideal woven into the fabric of our nation, Puriefoy noted. The American public broadly believes in public schools and agrees that our country must strive to educate everyone at high levels (though we of course disagree on how to do it).
When it comes to putting this ideal into practice, the nation is failing miserably on its promise to deliver a quality education to all students. Among the problems Puriefoy and Kadlec pointed out:
Thursday, October 15th, 2015 | Allison Rizzolo
The New York metro area is no stranger to controversy on policing. New York City's stop-and-frisk policy was deemed unconstitutional by a federal appeals court. Its broken windows policy drew sharp criticism and protests following the death of Eric Garner.
Results from our recent survey with WNYC suggest that the communities that may need police the most are also most likely to say their relations with the police are problematic.
Residents who live in New York City are far more likely to say crime is a serious problem where they live, compared to residents living in the surrounding and farther out suburbs. Likewise, black and Hispanic residents throughout the entire New York metro area are more likely than white residents to say crime is a serious problem in their cities and towns.
Wednesday, October 14th, 2015 | Allison Rizzolo
New York area residents are concerned with keeping up with the high cost of living in the region. That includes high taxes, which they view as a serious problem. But at the same time, 70 percent say they favor raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy to pay for efforts to help people get ahead.
What's more, even as residents favor higher taxes on corporations, they also favor tax breaks for new companies to bring jobs to the region and for developers to build more affordable housing.
These findings are not as contradictory as they may seem at first glance.
The results, from the Public Agenda/WNYC New York Metro Area Survey, provide a clear sense that people are looking for greater investments to improve opportunity for everyone. Remember, area residents also say the costs of living, housing, and college and are among the region's most serious problems. And they're willing to tax the wealthy in order to make these investments.
Tuesday, October 13th, 2015 | Public Agenda
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2015
6:30 - 8:00 pm
Macaulay Honors College
35 West 67th Street, New York, NY 10023
Click here to register, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the U.S. is truly to be a land of opportunity for all, what role can and must education play? How will our education system -- K-12 and higher ed -- have to change in order to play that role? And what are the limits of education as a cure-all for the challenges of diminishing opportunity in the U.S.?
We are excited to announce the first in our Restoring Opportunity series. "Restoring Opportunity: The Role of Education" will take place at Macaulay Honors College on October 22, 2015 from 6:30-8pm.
Restoring Opportunity is Public Agenda's 10-year commitment to help communities and the nation address one of the great challenges of our day, stagnating prospects for too many Americans.
For the program, moderator Brian Lehrer of WNYC will interview a panel of two dynamic education experts: Public Agenda board member Wendy Puriefoy, the former president of the Public Education Network and a K-12 expert, and Public Agenda’s Alison Kadlec, an expert on higher education reform.
10.13 In Solving Region's Problems, New York Area Residents See a Role for Government, and for Themselves
Tuesday, October 13th, 2015 | Allison Rizzolo
Residents of the New York metro area say our region is facing some serious problems: the gap between the wealthy and everyone else is growing, costs are increasingly unaffordable, wages are stagnating and opportunity is diminishing. Moreover, they say the government is not doing a good job addressing their concerns.
But they don't view these problems as unsolvable. And they see a role for both the government and for themselves in solutions.
We asked local residents about a number of policy approaches for addressing the issues they view as serious problems. In general, residents favor policies that will make education and housing more affordable and that will bring good jobs to the area, even if those policies include tax increases.
Monday, October 12th, 2015 | Allison Rizzolo
We're all aware that income inequality is growing, say the gap in income between the rich and everyone else is a serious problem in their community.
We were curious: in the New York region, do people have a problem with the basic premise of the rich getting richer? Or are they ok with it, as long as they have an opportunity to get ahead too? This is an issue our co-founder has opined on in the past, writing on his blog:
Americans are big fans of economic success. Unlike many Europeans, we are remarkably free of envy about some of us making zillions of dollars. But the legitimacy of their doing so comes with an all-important qualification: the insistence that all of us should be free to take advantage of our system of open-ended opportunity to improve our lot in life.
We wanted to test his hypothesis.
Sunday, October 11th, 2015 | Allison Rizzolo
Our primary purpose in surveying residents of the greater New York metro area was to understand what issues most concerned them. It turns out, regardless of where people live, affordability is something they worry about the most.
We asked people about 19 different public issues, from housing costs, to crime, to parks and recreation. We wanted to know whether people thought each issue was problem or not in their cities and towns. Everyone, whether they lived in New York City or the suburbs, regardless of age and income, identified these four issues as the most serious problems where they live:
- High cost of living
- High cost of housing
- High taxes
- High cost of college
Residents also worry about the lack of well-paying and secure jobs and the lack of affordable health care. Again, these concerns cut across demographics and geography, though lower income residents throughout the region and residents of New York City proper are most acutely worried about rising costs and economic instability:*
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015 | MEGAN ROSE DONOVAN
For those of us exploring ways to deepen and expand public participation in democracy, we know how essential evaluation is to our cause. Both government officials and the public have limited time, energy and resources. And furthermore, many may already be disillusioned by current and past efforts to include the public in decision making.
We need to be able to demonstrate to officials, the public, interested funders, community partners and others that their investment in new public engagement methods will be worth it. Will more people participate, particularly those who have been historically less civically engaged? Will the new form of engagement lead to better decisions and policies that residents support? Will the public feel like their voices have been heard, and will they come to understand the complexities and trade-offs inherent in many policy decisions? Will the method build trust among officials and the public and open pathways for collaboration among community-based organizations and the government?
At the same time, we as public engagement practitioners are very busy. Evaluation can be time consuming and complicated, especially when we’re attempting to measure something amorphous like deeper public participation. As such, evaluation too often gets lost among everything else we're doing.
For these and other reasons, we are particularly excited about one of our current projects: an initiative to help make it easier for practitioners to evaluate participatory budgeting efforts.
09.08 NYC EVENT: From Application to Enrollment: Helping Students Make Better Decisions on Going to College
Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 | Public Agenda
Monday, September 21, 2015
06:30 PM – 08:15 PM
156 Fifth Avenue, Second Floor
New York, NY 10010
Prospective students often start their college searches with high expectations, and soon into their exploration, high anxiety. Both students fresh out of high school and older adults returning to school are making crucial choices about their educations without key information and resources and with misconceptions about everything from application requirements to financial aid and sound student loan options.
According to recent research from Public Agenda and New America's Education Policy Program, 41 percent of students say they did not find enough helpful information to make their college decisions, and less than 1 in 5 adult prospective students has used an interactive website like the College Scorecard when considering college choices. And when it comes to paying for college, for example, 48 percent of students from families making less than $50,000 were unfamiliar with the Pell Grant, the cornerstone of federal financial aid for low-income students.
What do these findings mean for the systems of higher education admissions and recruiting? As Congress begins looking towards the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, how can policymakers and education practitioners better address students' needs and help them become savvier about choosing the college that's right for them?
Click on the link below to listen to a presentation of respective surveys from Public Agenda and New America. This presentation is followed by a panel discussion with college admissions, recruiting and counseling professionals, who are charged with helping New York's prospective students make beneficial choices for their educations and their futures.
Paul Marthers, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor and Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success, State University of New York
Carmel Paleski, Ed.M.
Director of Academic Affairs, Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center
Laura A. Bruno, M.S.W.
Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management, Queensborough Community College, City University of New York
R. Ummi Modeste, M.S.Ed.
College Advisor, City-As-School High School
Moderator: Kim Clark
Senior Reporter, Money Magazine
Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 | Public Agenda
Thursday, September 17, 2015
09:00 AM – 11:30 AM
1899 L Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC, 20036
It's that time of year. Recent high school grads are loading up the family car and heading to State U or a private liberal arts college. They chose this college after carefully weighing their options, with help from their family members and guidance counselor. They'll spend the next four years coming of age living on a cozy campus.
Yet people don't realize that many first-time college students don't fit the traditional college student archetype that society tends to envision. They're not entering college straight from high school. They're taking classes while working full- or part-time. Many have families to care for. Moreover, many don't know about or have access to resources to help them make careful, well-informed decisions about what college is best for them.
The current research base on how students - especially older, "nontraditional" students - decide to attend and pay for college is incredibly thin. A lack of understanding about nontraditional students encourages policymakers to craft policies that are targeted only to a narrow subset of college students. It also promotes a system where students lack key information to help inform their decisions.
Recent survey research from Public Agenda and New America aims to help practitioners, researchers and policymakers better understand the expectations and concerns of today's students and the factors they consider when choosing a college. Findings from that research include:
- 41 percent of students said they did not find enough helpful information to make their college decision.
- Just 37 percent of community college students say they seriously looked into other schools before enrolling.
- Less than 1 in 5 adult prospective students has used an interactive website like the College Scorecard when considering college choices.
- 48 percent of students from families making less than $50,000 were unfamiliar with the Pell Grant, the cornerstone of federal financial aid for low-income students.
How can the findings of these surveys help inform policymaking focused on improving student outcomes, particularly as Congress looks to reauthorize the Higher Education Act? How can we help prospective students have a better understanding of which college will be the right fit for them?
Click on the video below for a presentation of respective surveys from Public Agenda and New America and a follow-up panel discussion with researchers and policymakers.
9:00 AM: Breakfast and Registration
9:30 AM: Welcome and Opening Presentation
10:00 AM: Panel Discussion
Manager of Government Relations and Community Affairs, American Student Assistance
Principal, Pryor Education Insights
Director of Partnerships and Policy, National College Access Network
Moderator: Libby Nelson
Education Reporter, Vox