October 6, 2017

Food for Thought

Governing has been rolling out a series of articles tied to its 30-year anniversary.  Most of them are worth checking out, but three in particular caught our eye.

The first is a retrospective piece, “What’s Changed (and What Hasn’t) Since Governing Started 30 Years Ago.”  It is not a particularly optimistic look at the future, but it shows how the federal government’s relationship with state and local governments has changed and what those changes mean for the future.

The second outlines three seminal policy events that define modern federalism.  They are not unexpected, but the piece provides a useful overview of the ways that 9/11, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the Affordable Care Act affect our federal government model.

The final is a prospective article highlighting “5 Government Trends to Watch.”  None of the predictions are earth-shattering, but there are several important reminders:

  • The current stresses and predicted stresses of the aging population should begin to level off by 2030.
  • The emphasis on balanced budgets and the state level will be replaced by new focus on sustainable budgets.
  • The challenges created by failing infrastructure and cybersecurity will continue to be costly and require systematic policy solutions.

Dropping Knowledge

The Pew Research Center published a trend sheet looking at social and digital news tendencies.  A few of the key findings:

  • The gap between television and online news consumption is narrowing. As of August 2017, 43% of Americans report often getting news online, a share just 7 percentage points lower than the 50% who often get news on television.
  • Nonwhites and the less educated increasingly say they get news on social media. About three-quarters of nonwhites (74%) get news on social media sites, up from 64% in 2016.
  • Online news that comes via emails and texts from friends or family is the type of news encounter most likely to result in a follow-up action.

The report’s final finding was particularly interesting.  “An analysis of nearly 2,700 different search terms associated with the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, shows that online searches can be a good proxy for the public’s interests, concerns or intentions.”  The Center and our colleagues at EdNC have been thinking a lot about the information feedback loop and how reader interests and preferences drive coverage.  The Pew report suggests that search term inquiries can reflect public interest, direct media coverage, and ultimately lead to public policy responses.

In the Weeds

CityLab has an accessible overview of the European statistical office’s annual report.  While we tend to focus on domestic and in-state trends, it is interesting to see how Europe is evolving and how it’s evolution relates to that of the U.S.

Need to Know

Two noteworthy occurrences related to EducationNC:

  1. On Tuesday, October 10, author David Osborne is speaking at the Hunt Library at N.C. State University.  Osborne is the author the recently released Reinventing America’s Schools and will talk about the book and his ideas for 21st century education.  (Full disclosure: Mr. Osborne is also the father of Molly Osborne, a policy analyst here at the Center and at EdNC.)
  2. EducationNC and the Reach NC Voices initiative was recently included in the News Integrity Initiative’s first cohort of grant recipients.  Click here for more information about Reach NC Voices or the recent award.

  • Should we dumb down tech?

    American Enterprise Institute | 10/04/2017

  • Americans Commuting Choice: 5 major takeaways from 2016 census data

    Brookings | 10/03/2017

  • Is the Rise of Contract Workers Killing Upward Mobility?

    Knowledge@Wharton | 10/02/2017

  • Free college made universities less equal - in England, at least

    MarketWatch | 10/02/2017

  • Is Health Care A Right?

    New Yorker | 10/02/2017

  • How investing in public health could cure many health care problems

    The Conversation | 10/01/2017