Public Agenda Alert -- Thursday, March 6, 2014
This Week's Headlines
Community-School Collaboration
Patients' Views on Reforming Health Care Payment
Engaging Ideas
Quick Links

Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook Find us on Pinterest
Click here to subscribe to this newsletter
Join Our Mailing List

Community-School Collaboration on 

Local Education 

What happens when local school leaders sit down to talk with teachers, parents, and other members of the community about local education? Can people bringing different perspectives and experiences settle on needed changes and decide what signifies genuine progress?


To find out, we brought together these diverse groups of people in four cities across the U.S. to talk about improving education and learning in their community. We call this process "co-framing." The ultimate objective of co-framing is for districts and communities to work together to set goals, identify solutions and assess progress in education.


In many respects, the results of this project are enormously encouraging. In others, they suggest barriers that will require additional examination and raise questions for future experimentation and research. Find out more about these results on our website.


The project also included a review of past research on the opinions of school administrators, teachers, and parents and other community members toward issues like accountability, testing, teacher evaluation and charter schools. We've compiled this data into a summary useful for journalists, researchers and students. Check out the catalog of opinion research on divisive education issues here.

Patients' Views on Reforming 

Health Care Payment

Over on the Health Affairs blog last week, one of our senior researchers David Schleifer made the case that, if policymakers want to move payment reform in health care forward, they must not neglect engaging the public.


Growth in health care costs has been slowing recently. But if we want to make that slowdown stick, we'll likely have to reform the way we pay doctors and hospitals. In fact, nearly every serious proposal for reducing costs includes payment reform.


Experts we've spoken to have been skeptical about the public's interest in discussing health care costs  -- especially payment reform, as it's a pretty wonky and technical part of the health care cost conversation.


However, our recent research suggests that, under the right conditions, members of the public are interested in talking about payment reform, and they can do so thoughtfully and civilly. We walked participants through the current fee-for-service system and what reform could look like. This experience helped them better understand why they had been subject to care that they described as overly aggressive and how reform may affect them personally.


In our experience, lack of meaningful citizen engagement on tough policy choices can lead to pushback. Our research, however, demonstrated that the public could play a productive role in advancing payment reform. But to do so, health care leaders will need to do a much better job engaging patients and the public than they have in the past.


Read David's Health Affairs blog post in full here. We'd love for you to share it with your colleagues and associates. If you're on Twitter, here are a few tweets you can easily copy and paste:


If policymakers want to move #healthcare payment reform forward, they must not neglect engaging the public.


Payment reform could help the slowdown in #healthcare costs stick. So what do #patients think?


Patients speak up on #healthcare payment reform:


What do #patients think about the way #doctors are paid? #healthcare


Engaging Ideas

A collection of stories and reports from the past couple weeks that have caught our attention and sparked thoughtful consideration on ways to problem solve and make progress on divisive issues. 

Darrell West and Beth Stone of The Brookings Institution explain the pitfalls of "Noah's Ark reporting" that only looks at two sides of a story - the liberal and the conservative  - in their new paper. 


A recent survey asked representatives from local governments about the goals of public participation in government, along with the state of that participation in their communities.
 Only 12 percent of respondents indicated that their communities have a high level of participation. Find tips on how public officials and community leaders can improve public participation through public engagement on our website.  
A new study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, examines patient-centered and person-centered incentives to encourage people to improve their health behaviors. 

Respondents to a recent survey on attitudes toward deportation are split along partisan lines - with Republicans more supportive of the practice than Democrats. There are also sizable differences between Hispanics and whites. If you'd like to lead a discussion that weighs the pros and cons of this divisive issue, have a look at our issue guide to immigration
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

Help our nation make progress on its toughest challenges. Donate today.