Related: Vincent Schiraldi of the Columbia Justice Lab writes in USA Today about the experience of Rayshard Brooks, who was well aware of the flaws of probation before he was killed by police, and says his words should be heeded amid calls for reform. “Supervision systems can, and routinely do, incarcerate people for non-criminal acts, like using alcohol or having contact with a police officer. Brooks knew this and knew that his liberty and the life he had built was in jeopardy before a shot was fired.”
When COVID-19 hit, Christian Alvarez-Silva saw his vibrant college experience at The George Washington University dwindle to a stream of one-way virtual lectures while his on-campus support system crumbled. Add to that new stressors at home, and “there are a lot of distractions,” said Alvarez-Silva, 19. “It takes away from being able to focus on my studying.”
The problem: The shift to online learning has put students like Alvarez-Silva at greater risk of falling behind and, if patterns from previous recessions hold, primed the higher education landscape for a new crop of predatory for-profit institutions eager to put students in massive debt for a subpar online education. “Outcomes across the board for online education are worse than in-person,” says Kelly McManus, Director of Higher Education at Arnold Ventures. “But those outcomes and gaps for low-income students and students of color are even more pronounced.”
A spring 2020 survey revealed some worrying statistics about the realities of online learning:
20 percent of students are using their mobile data plan to access courses
20 percent have problems connecting to live video lectures
A stunning 40 percent reported that they predominantly use their smartphone to complete coursework.
Bottom line: The pandemic has exacerbated inequities that already existed in higher education (like it has in almost every other system across America), and advocates worry that disadvantaged students will fall further behind. They’re looking to a range of policy interventions to deliver quality education and regulate for-profit entities.
By Rhiannon Meyers Collette, Communications Manager
It’s like they took the words right out of our mouths. In a new report, a key Congressional advisory committee on Medicaid policy stated that integrating care for individuals who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid would help to better address the needs of vulnerable people and reduce healthcare spending.
Medicaid and Medicare are two big and very different government programs that were never designed to work together, which has led to fragmented care and misaligned incentives. Health outcomes for the dual-eligible population are among the worst in the nation — and despite comprising only a fraction of the Medicaid/Medicare demographic, they drive one-third of total spending.
The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (or MACPAC, in health wonk circles) says evidence shows integrated care and financing models work best — but only 1 out of every 10 dual-eligible beneficiaries is enrolled in one.
More can — and should — be done to boost enrollment in these models, MACPAC says. We couldn’t agree more.
This Q&A on how the pandemic has impacted homicide rates. Arnold Ventures spoke with Thomas Abt of the Council on Criminal Justice and Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri–St. Louis about an Arnold-Ventures commissioned report showing that American homicide rates declined dramatically in April and May, presumably as a result of coronavirus business closures and stay-in-place orders. But there’s reason to think 2020 will be more violent than 2019.
Related: “It has been nearly a quarter century since New York City experienced as much gun violence in the month of June as it has seen this year.”
Related: CNN covers the report in an interview featuring Abt.
There aren’t many silver linings to COVID-19, but this one is worth thinking about. In an op-ed, health care leaders with the Smarter Health Care Coalition argue that the pandemic is presenting a “once in a century” opportunity to move away from low-value care. The New York Times echoed the sentiment.
This Slate story about a mother and son — Jenny and Man-Man — that illustrates the devastating toll on whole families when courts leverage fines and fees on teenagers.
This opinion piece by Katherine Gehl and Michael E. Porter on how innovations such as ranked-choice voting could help change a political system that rewards entrenched interests and career politicians. The pair just released “The Politics Industry,” a new book on reshaping our system for the benefit of all. All proceeds go to the Institute for Political Innovation.
'Canceling Cops: Why Hollywood Loves the Police', a discussion on 1A about the profitable relationship between Hollywood and law enforcement and the way crime television distorts our view of police work and people of color and propels “copaganda.” Gabrielle Healy hosts Henry Molofsky of the “Running From COPS” podcast, Dr. Steven Thrasher of Northwestern University, Soraya McDonald, culture critic for The Undefeated, and Glen Mazzara, a former executive producer of "The Shield." This episode had me rethinking some of my guilty viewing pleasures, such as “Law & Order” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” Better options: “The Shield” and “The Wire,” which also had the most accurate depiction of a newsroom this former copy editor has ever seen from Hollywood.
What We're Watching
Hasan Minhaj taking on our partisan, two-party system in a new “Patriot Act” episode, arguing that “we are doing elections wrong” thanks to a winner-take-all voting system. The solution? Ranked choice voting, a more democratic alternative. While the full episode is a bit meandering, this quick compilation is worth a watch.
This one is a bit older, but hey, we are in lockdown 2.0 here, so it’s catch-up time: Planet Earth II is a follow-up to the 2006 documentary that blew my mind (and horrified me — the bats and cockroaches scene will forever haunt my dreams). The stunning cinematography remains, but climate change also gets a starring role alongside the snow leopards and hyenas.
Related: James Baker, George Shultz, and Ted Halstead argue for a carbon fee to combat climate change, via Fox News.
By Stuart Buck, Arnold Ventures Vice President of Research
In the past few months, COVID-19 research has been released at a breakneck pace: MedRxiv (the preprint server) has 4,602 papers mentioning "COVID" as of 6/25/2020, while PubMed has archived over 25,000 such papers. Unfortunately, as we've seen, quite a few of the high-profile findings covered in the news turn out to be shaky or even deserve retraction.
Some observers have criticized the rise of preprints, assuming that their lack of peer review makes them more unreliable or even dangerous. But is that really so? Some of the most egregious COVID papers so far have appeared in the top 5 peer-reviewed medical journals. And perhaps that is no surprise. In a Wired column, psychology professor Simine Vazire makes the case that "journals don't even pretend to ensure the validity of scientific findings" by reexamining data or code; instead, peer reviewers are stuck judging the surface-level write-up, which is "like asking a mechanic to evaluate a car without looking under the hood."
Perhaps worse, journals often can be overly influenced by factors that don't actually bear on scientific quality — the anticipated publicity a study might gather, or how famous a scholar is. Vazire has an alarming story from her editor days at a top psychology journal: She chose to reject a submission from a famous psychologist because of "serious methodological flaws." But the famous scholar complained to the journal committee that had hired Vazire; the committee then warned her about stepping on toes.
The jury is still out on how much value (if any) peer review adds once all the costs and benefits are taken into account. But that fact is itself surprising — with so little evidence that peer review actually works, why not experiment with new models of scientific publication?
The outpouring of support for Black-owned businesses and restaurants, which are easy to find thanks to several apps.
A stay-at home dad who is shattering stereotypes about Black fatherhood with his creation, The Dad Gang, and its accompanying Instagram page.
This woman who made 1,200 pans of lasagna for those in need after being furloughed from her job, earning her the nickname “Lasagna Lady.” (Full disclosure: The only lasagna lady in my life is my dear mother — when others have turkey or ham on Christmas, we eat lasagna.)
Stephanie DiCapua Getman develops and executes Arnold Ventures' digital communications strategy with a focus on multimedia storytelling and audience engagement and oversees daily editorial operations and design.
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