This week, AV Director of Higher Education Kelly McManus writes about the broken system of college sports:
As March Madness bracket predictions fall apart and fans and sports analysts reset their expectations in the midst of the Sweet 16, there is a very different conversation about college sports rumbling beneath the surface, one that highlights the ugly underbelly of big business college athletics.
Bigger spending on coaches’ salaries and facilities is juxtaposed with stories about student athletes who can’t afford to eat and universities cutting funding in other critical areas. Disparitiesbetween the treatment of men’s and women’s teams are alarming. There are systemic racial inequities in who creates value and on whom that revenue is spent. And colleges ask athletes to sacrifice their physical, and often mental, health, at the expense of their education.
“From public opinion polls to the Supreme Court, there is a growing consensus that the entire intercollegiate enterprise is fundamentally flawed. That it takes economic advantage of the athletes it purports to uplift; that it shortchanges too many of those athletes in the classroom while failing to safeguard their physical health and psychological well-being; that these problems are especially acute for black athletes who predominate the biggest money-making sports, basketball and football; and that the NCAA and its primarily white member institutions are too invested in the status quo to chart a new and more equitable path.”
While sports is not the usual fodder for this space, AV’s mission is to fix broken systems — and this is a classic example. We don't have answers or solutions yet, so we've convened five leading thinkers on college athletics who are raising the hard questions about — and proposing some bold answers to — the fundamental flaws of college sports. Read the series of papers, in partnership with Athletic Director U, from Kevin Blue, Ph.D., Eddie Comeaux, Ph.D., Victoria Jackson, Ph.D., Gabe Feldman, J.D., and Welch Suggs, Ph.D.
A system that takes economic advantage of athletes, fails them in the classroom, and puts their safety at risk, all while spending exorbitantly on coaches and facilities, is in need of reform. We hope these discussions spark new conversations, ideas, and questions, and we'll keep looking for ways to convene conversations that begin to seek solutions.
— Kelly McManus, AV director of higher education
Follow Kelly on Twitter @KellyMcManusEdu
The Hidden Costs
of Pretrial Detention
By Evan Mintz, communications manager
As policymakers and advocates across the nation debate bail reform, new research supported by Arnold Ventures reveals how jailing people before trial doesn’t appear to deter future crime and may actually undermine community safety.
Pretrial detention — for any length of time — is associated with a higher likelihood of arrest for a new crime before case disposition.
Pretrial detention — for any length of time — is not consistently associated with likelihood of appearing for court.
Pretrial detention is associated with an increased likelihood of receiving a sentence and a longer sentence compared to those who were released pretrial.
Why It Matters: Nearly 500,000 people sit in jail cells in the United States every day, still innocent of any crime, largely due to a broken cash bail system that detains
individuals on the basis of their wealth. The Hidden Costs Revisited findings show this overly broad use of pretrial detention, contrary to many "tough-on-crime" assumptions, may actually make communities less safe.
“Too often, pretrial decision-makers don’t consider the negative impacts of detention,” said Alison Shames, a director at the Center for Effective Public Policy who helps lead the Advancing Pretrial Policy and Research initiative. “Having an empirically based study that demonstrates that detention at pretrial for any amount of time — before someone is found guilty — can make that person and the community less safe, that’s a really important point.”
What's Next: The U.S. Supreme Court has held that detaining people before trial should be the “carefully limited exception,” yet pretrial populations have nevertheless skyrocketed over the past several decades. Researchers and advocates hope that this study will convince lawmakers and judges that pretrial detention should not be the default option and only reserved for limited circumstances.
Related: Read Bloomberg CityLab’s coverage of the Hidden Cost report, which puts the findings in context of the ongoing debate over New York's bail reform.
Safeguarding Free Speech
in a Digital Era
By Rhiannon Meyers Collette, communications manager
The First Amendment and freedom of speech are cornerstones of American democracy — yet the modern interpretation of these principles has largely been defined by court battles from 50 and 60 years ago led by the dominant media outlets of the time, newspaper publishers seeking to codify press freedom.
“Many things have changed since then,” said Jameel Jaffer, executive director for the Knight Institute, an Arnold Ventures journalism grantee. “We have new technology, we have new business models, new communications platforms. A lot of the principles we took for granted, a lot of the basic assumptions of First Amendment doctrine and free speech, may not apply given the context we’re living in now.” In this new era of media and discourse marked by a rise in social media and a decline in the legacy for-profit newspaper space, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University has found its footing in defining the First Amendment for the digital age.
Why it Matters: The Knight First Amendment Institute, which is supported in part by a journalism grant from Arnold Ventures, uses a combination of litigation, research, and public education to safeguard freedom of thought and expression and ensure government transparency. One of its biggest wins so far has been an effort to make public opinions issued by the Office of Legal Counsel, a little-known government agency often called the Supreme Court of the executive branch that has been involved in some of the biggest decisions of the modern era, including writing memos that authorized torture and drones. As a result of the Institute 's litigation, the OLC has agreed to release all unclassified opinions between 1945 and 1994, opening a window for examination by historians and journalists.
What's Next: As social media continues to pose new opportunities and challenges for free speech, the Knight First Amendment Institute continues its efforts to establish case law, particularly around government officials and their use of social media and the power afforded to social media companies in shaping discourse in public forums.
Save the Date: On April 8,Knight First Amendment Institute is hosting a symposium exploring how the law regulates or should regulate false and misleading speech. Learn more.
Women Making History
For Women's History Month this March, we're recognizing the women who are making history today by working to impact policy change for the future. Meet two of them:
Georgetown CHIR’s Katie Keith
is Taking on Surprise Medical Billing
By Juliana Keeping, communications manager
As a health care policy expert and faculty member at the Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms (CHIR), Keith is focusing on surprise medical billing, working to provide technical assistance to federal and state policymakers as they implement the No Surprises Act, the new law protects consumers from surprise bills.
It was service in the Peace Corps in Ghana that inspired Keith to pursue a career in health policy, and personal experience with the health care system has only further motivated her work.
“I’m driven by the idea that our health care system does not work for millions and millions of people. I lost my father to cancer, my mom is a nurse, and I’ve experienced and witnessed the health care system first-hand.”
Amanda Martinez: A Voice
for Civil Rights in Higher Education
By Torie Ludwin, communications manager
“It was almost like searching for a treasure that I couldn't find,” said Martinez about the lack of Latino/Hispanic colleagues, students, or even data on this group in her graduate education and work in federal education policy. She realized she could address these gaps in research and understanding in her career. As a senior policy analyst on higher education at UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, she elevates the voices of the underserved and better educates policymakers on the Latino experience in higher education.
Martinez talks with us about her experiences as a civil rights representative to the U.S. Department of Education’s negotiating rulemaking committee, which decides the rules governing how schools can access federal student aid.
Brandon Garrett, professor of law at Duke University School of Law and the lead federal monitor for Harris County’s 2019 bail reform settlement known as the ODonnell Consent Decree. The decree changed the county’s approach away from reliance on cash bail schedules and toward a requirement of prompt release for people charged with most misdemeanor offenses. The National Partnership for Pretrial Justice spoke with Garrett about how the landmark reform has reduced misdemeanor cases and narrowed racial disparities; the media’s role in portraying — and sometimes misunderstanding — bail reform; and lessons for other jurisdictions. “Pretrial reform does not have to be complicated,” he says. “Some of the simplest rules adopted under this consent decree have been very effective.”
This Brennan Center for Justice report finds no connection between bail reform and crime rates in New York State, even as Gov. Kathy Hochul proposes changes to the law, after initially calling for a patient and data-driven approach to evaluating its effects.
Inquest highlights how government agencies and private companies trap and profit off incarcerated people and their loved ones.
A single weekend saw at least nine mass shooting events across the country, and the violence shows no signs of easing, writes The New York Times. (Free link for our readers.)
A Fort Worth Star-Telegram investigation finds Dallas-Fort Worth schools push some children who need special education services out of school and into the criminal justice system for perceived misbehavior.
I-MAK's Tahir Amin writes in Health Affairs Forefront how strengthening existing tools at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office could address high prescription drug prices by weeding out weak patents that keep older drugs overpriced and out of reach for people who rely on them to survive.
Doctors don’t know the price of the drugs when prescribing them to patients, who may discover the out-of-pocket price only when ringing up at the pharmacy. Professor Robin Feldman of The Center for Innovation at UC Hastings makes the case for a patient price guide.
The Senate Special Committee on Aging hosted a hearing on the importance of investing in home and community-based services (HCBS) and care. Read more about ways to make HCBS more uniform and improve access.
Related: For-profit home health and hospice agencies “have been linked to lower standards of care, fewer patient visits, higher hospitalization rates and poorer pay than their nonprofit counterparts,” per McKnights Home Care.
A report from George Washington University finds a “virtually universal consensus” on the value of integrating family planning with managed care (such as Medicaid), which was enacted 40 years ago on a bipartisan basis.
Analyzing the third session of the U.S. Department of Education’s negotiated rulemaking committee, New America summarizes where final negotiations landed on gainful employment, financial responsibility, and the closing of the 90/10 loophole in the use of the G.I. Bill in education. The committee’s consensus on closing this loophole helps ensure veterans are no longer seen as “nothing more than dollar signs in uniform,” according to Vice President for Veterans and Military Policy Will Hubbard.
Sameer Gadkaree of The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) and Michele Jolin of Results for America outlinehow states can use federal relief funds to raise college graduation rates by investing in evidence-based programs such as Bottom Line, CUNY ASAP, and others.
Learn how the Oscars use ranked-choice voting to choose winners in this interactive from The Wrap and FairVote.
A bill allowing ranked-choice voting throughout all of Maine’s communities has advanced in the Maine House, The Press Herald reports.
Judi Greenwald and Patrick White from the Nuclear Innovation Alliance presented on advanced nuclear power and regulation to the Minnesota Senate Committee on Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy at its hearing this week. “Because of all the innovation going on in the United States, there is a real opportunity through advanced nuclear energy to re-establish American global leadership in nuclear technology, which in the past few years, we have unfortunately ceded to state-owned enterprises in China and Russia.”
“Part poet, part guardian.”Nieman profiles the founder of AV grantee Public Health Watch, a nonprofit news site dedicated to examining complicated public health subjects.
Kudos to AV journalism grantees — the Texas Tribune/ProPublica partnership, Center for Public Integrity, CalMatters and Tradeoffs — for their recognition by the Association of Health Care Journalism for stellar health care reporting. Their stories examining carbon monoxide deaths, states’ COVID-19 policies, nursing home violations and lawsuits, and third-party administrators are helping hold the powerful to account.
What We're Watching
In honor of Women’s History Month, here’s a roundup of some documentaries to stream showcasing incredible women:
“Fannie Lou Hamer's America” profiles the lesser-known life of Fannie Lou Hamer, one of America’s most gifted orators and a civil rights icon. It uses public speeches, personal interviews, and her powerful songs to explore her activism and the injustices she sought to right. It’s streaming for free on PBS.
“Julia” tells the story of how chef Julia Child broke into the male-dominated world of French cuisine and highlights her lasting impact on public television, the American cookbook industry, and the way we cook and eat. “Food is love,” she said. It’s from the same team that made the stellar “RBG” about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with whom Child had some things in common: Both were fearless barrier-breakers with adoring, supportive husbands in the wings. It’s streaming on Amazon.
In HBO Max’s “Phoenix Rising,” actress Evan Rachel Wood is the picture of bravery as she names rock’s Marilyn Manson as her abuser and turns her pain into advocacy by successfully lobbying for passage of The Phoenix Act, legislation that extends the statute of limitations for domestic violence cases in California.
Save the Date
On Wednesday, March 30, at 1 p.m. ET, the National Conference of State Legislatures will hold a webinar on its series “State Options for Scaling Evidence-Based Workforce Solutions.” The panelists will discuss how states may use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to build a strong workforce using evidence-based programs. Register here.
On Thursday, March 31, from 3-3:45 p.m. ET, AV Director of Higher Education Kelly McManus will moderate the virtual panel “Leveraging State and Local Relief Funds to Increase College Completion Rates,” co-hosted by TICAS, SHEEO, and Results for America. The discussion will highlight how states and localities are using these funds to invest in proven programs aimed at increasing college persistence, graduation, and lifetime earnings. Register here.
Some Final Inspiration
Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has a powerful message for aspiring students: Persevere.
Madeleine Albright fled the Nazis as a child in her native Czechoslovakia and grew up to become the first female U.S. secretary of state and icon to a generation of young women. Read her obituary.
The inventor of the gif has died (and he had thoughts about how to pronounce his creation.)
Need a pep talk? A pick-me-up? Call 707-998-8410 for some profound (and adorable) advice from kindergarteners. Highly recommend pressing 4.
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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