Public Agenda
Public Agenda Alert -- April 4, 2013
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Immigration Reform
On the Agenda Recently
PA in the News
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Is a Bipartisan, Publicly Endorsed Solution
to Immigration Possible?

Immigration is one of the more emotionally charged issues that our country has faced. Yet it seems as though our nation's leaders may reach a bipartisan compromise on immigration reform. What's more, the compromise may also align with public opinion.

Over the weekend, New York State Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" committed to comprehensive immigration reform, noted that the group has come to a working compromise on the larger elements of an immigration reform bill.


The American public is ready -- more than ready. We've seen that the public is hungry for compromise on the part of their leaders.


When it comes to immigration reform specifically, half of Americans say current immigration policy needs to be completely rebuilt, and another 41 percent support fundamental changes to the system, according to a 2010 CBS News/New York Times poll. More recently, just over half of Americans said the President and Congress need to act on immigration reform this year, according to Pew Research Center.


What do they want out of that reform? Most say that unauthorized immigrants should be eligible for either citizenship or permanent residency, again according to Pew.


The parameters of the Gang of Eight's plan will not be public until next week. But based on the framework the group released in January, it seems as though the plan will ultimately align with the majority of American opinion. This also appears to be the case based on what members of the Gang of Eight,  including Sen. Lindsey Graham, have stated to the media.


So it seems quite possible that we may be in store for the outcome that we at Public Agenda hope to see every day: progress, in spite of differences, aligned with the needs and concerns of the public.


In all likelihood, this progress won't be perfect. But that's okay -- as President Obama said about immigration reform, "It's never going to be 110-percent perfect, but what we can do is to continue to improve it." 


We're all exhausted by partisan gridlock. We hope that the Gang of Eight continues on the right track. We also hope that, ultimately, this example of progress in spite of differences can help refresh our mindsets when it comes to finding workable solutions to our nation's other tough issues.

On the Agenda: Faculty Voice, Guidance Counselors, and Online Education
The newest from Public Agenda's blog, On the Agenda includes:



Senior Vice President and Director of Public Engagement, Alison Kadlec, Ph.D., writes about the need for faculty voice in improving assessments of learning outcomes, especially in the complicated processing of transfer credits. Drawing from work with faculty at community colleges in several states, she emphasizes the need to lay blame aside and get down to looking at the relationship between student access and success.



Senior Fellow Jean Johnson explores a possible avenue for addressing low-income students' success rate: high school guidance counselors. She explains that not only do they need to be more abundant, but they also need better training in order to get the brightest students from all income levels into the top colleges.  


On Opinions of Online Education: Hit "Refresh" 


Christopher DiStasi from the research department analyzes the shift in how Americans view the legitimacy of an online education. This post also supposes tradeoffs in the MOOC movement and gives insight into what we've heard from students and employers. 

PA in the News 


Alison Kadlec, director of public engagement, brought the voice of students into a conversation on college transfer credits on the Hechinger Report. 


In light of Chicago's announcement to close 54 public schools, The Washington Post  suggested taking a page from our latest report, Will It Be on the Test?, to improve and understand the varied definitions leaders and parents have of accountability.


Senior Fellows Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson  disentangle questions about the best way to control rising health care costs on their Huffington Post blog.

About Us
Public Agenda is a nonprofit organization that helps diverse leaders and citizens navigate complex, divisive issues. Through nonpartisan research and engagement, it provides people with the insights and support they need to arrive at workable solutions on critical issues, regardless of their differences. Since 1975, Public Agenda has helped foster progress on K-12 and higher education reform, health care, federal and local budgets, energy and immigration. Find Public Agenda online at

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