Global Skill Partnerships: A Proposal for Technical Training in a Mobile World

Global Skill Partnerships: A Proposal for Technical Training in a Mobile World (brief). Center for Global Development. Michael Clemens. October 11, 2017.

Within a decade, Europe will require hundreds of thousands more nurses than it is likely to train. To meet the growing need, nurses will move in large numbers to Western Europe from other countries, including those in Eastern Europe. But Eastern Europe currently lacks nurses already relative to Western Europe, while Eastern European youths crave opportunities in skilled employment. How can nurses trained in Eastern Europe move to Western Europe in a way that benefits both regions? [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Civic Engagement: How Can Digital Technologies Underpin Citizen-Powered Democracy

Civic Engagement: How Can Digital Technologies Underpin Citizen-Powered Democracy. RAND Corporation. Talitha Dubow et al. October 11, 2017

The report gives an overview of the discussions held as part of an expert consultation on how digital technologies can be used to support citizen-powered democracy. It summarises what participating experts considered the current situation to be, overviews the key benefits and challenges associated with the use of digital technologies in our democracy, and elaborates further on potential strategies for overcoming these challenges. The report also focuses on collective aspirations for the future, and presents the consultation group’s vision of what a digitally-supported citizen-powered democracy might look like, and what the characteristics of such a democracy would be. These include: strengthened transparency and trust in democratic processes; an improved informational environment for civic and political decision-making; and the existence of well-networked, empowered communities. Emerging ideas for what kinds of digital tools might support this vision are described, which includes ideas for the analysis, synthesis and presentation of data. Finally, the report concludes with some overarching reflections on the consultation discussions, focusing in particular on the role of different actors and stakeholders in contributing to this vision. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 25 pages, 296.93 KB].

Foreign aid 101: A Quick and Easy Guide to Understanding US Foreign Aid

Foreign aid 101: A Quick and Easy Guide to Understanding US Foreign Aid. Fourth edition. Oxfam International. October 2017.

Foreign aid contributes to global poverty reduction, helps protect basic rights and liberties, and benefits America’s interests – all for less than one percent of the US federal budget. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 24 pages, 6.75 MB].

Dual Language Learners: A National Demographic and Policy Profile

Dual Language Learners: A National Demographic and Policy Profile. Migration Policy Institute. Maki Park, Anna O’Toole, and Caitlin Katsiaficas. October 2017.

Dual Language Learners (DLLs)—those under age 8 with at least one parent who speaks a language other than English at home—make up 32 percent of the U.S. young child population and a growing share of children in most states. While these young learners stand to benefit disproportionately from high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC), they are less likely than their peers to be enrolled in such programs—potentially contributing to lags in kindergarten readiness and later academic achievement.

The fact sheets in this series offer a sociodemographic sketch of the DLL population (and comparison to non-DLL peers) at both the national level and in the 30 states with the most DLLs, providing data on age and enrollment, race/ethnicity, income and poverty levels, parental English proficiency and educational attainment, and top home languages spoken in DLL households.

The fact sheets also provide an overview of the policies states have introduced to support DLLs and their families in accessing quality ECEC programs, drawing from an MPI survey of state ECEC agencies. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Ethics Pledges and Other Executive Branch Appointee Restrictions since 1993: Historical Perspective, Current Practices, and Options for Change

Ethics Pledges and Other Executive Branch Appointee Restrictions since 1993: Historical Perspective, Current Practices, and Options for Change. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Jacob R. Straus. September 29, 2017

On January 28, 2017, President Donald Trump issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13770 on ethics and lobbying. E.O. 13770 created an ethics pledge for executive branch appointees, provided for the administration and enforcement of the pledge, and revoked President Barack Obama’s executive order ethics pledge that covered his Administration (E.O. 13490). President Trump’s executive order shares some features with President Obama’s executive order and a previous executive order issued by President Bill Clinton.

Executive order ethics pledges are one of several tools, along with laws and administrative guidance, available to influence the interactions and relationships between the public and the executive branch. The ability of private citizens to contact government officials is protected by the Constitution. As such, the restrictions placed by executive order ethics pledges, laws, and administrative guidance are designed to provide transparency and address enforcement of existing “revolving door” (when federal employees leave government for employment in the private sector) and lobbying laws.

[PDF format, 29 pages, 822.52 KB].

Digital Currency: Transacting and Value Exchange in the Digital Age

Digital Currency: Transacting and Value Exchange in the Digital Age. RAND Corporation. Katherine Stewart, Salil Gunashekar, Catriona Manville. October 11, 2017.

Digital platforms and technologies have led to innovation in the way we trade: from early online mail order shops, to today’s complex cryptocurrencies and digital assets. Understanding the economic, social and political implications of such change in the way we make transactions — and how these fit into the context of wider socioeconomic trends — are key areas of focus for policymakers who wish to address social challenges and also make the best use of such platforms for public benefit. This report captures discussions among participants and key themes that arose over a two-day Thought Leadership consultation held at St George’s House, Windsor, in April 2017. It captures preliminary ideas about how digital technologies are changing the way we are able to transact and the implications of such changes on society, as well as providing recommendations for further research. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 24 pages, 572.67 KB].

What We Know about Career and Technical Education in High School

What We Know about Career and Technical Education in High School. Brookings Institution. Brian A. Jacob. October 5, 2017

Career and technical education (CTE) has traditionally played an important role in U.S. secondary schools. The first federal law providing funding for vocational education was passed in 1917, even before education was compulsory in every state.

CTE encompasses a wide range of activities intended to simultaneously provide students with skills demanded in the labor market while preparing them for post-secondary degrees in technical fields. Activities include not only specific career-oriented classes, but also internships, apprenticeships and in-school programs designed to foster work readiness. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Globally, Broad Support for Representative and Direct Democracy

Globally, Broad Support for Representative and Direct Democracy. Pew Research Center. Richard Wike et al. October 16, 2017.

A deepening anxiety about the future of democracy around the world has spread over the past few years. Emboldened autocrats and rising populists have shaken assumptions about the future trajectory of liberal democracy, both in nations where it has yet to flourish and countries where it seemed strongly entrenched. Scholars have documented a global “democratic recession,” and some now warn that even long-established “consolidated” democracies could lose their commitment to freedom and slip toward more authoritarian politics.

A 38-nation Pew Research Center survey finds there are reasons for calm as well as concern when it comes to democracy’s future. More than half in each of the nations polled consider representative democracy a very or somewhat good way to govern their country. Yet, in all countries, pro-democracy attitudes coexist, to varying degrees, with openness to nondemocratic forms of governance, including rule by experts, a strong leader or the military. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 43 pages, 593.52 KB].

Amtrak: Overview

Amtrak: Overview. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. David Randall Peterman. September 28, 2017

Amtrak is the nation’s primary provider of intercity passenger rail service. It was created by Congress in 1970 to preserve some level of intercity passenger rail service while enabling private rail companies to exit the money-losing passenger rail business. It is a quasi-governmental entity, a corporation whose stock is almost entirely owned by the federal government. It runs a deficit each year, and relies on congressional appropriations to continue operations.

Since Amtrak’s inception, Congress has been divided on the question of whether it should even exist. Amtrak is regularly criticized for failing to cover its costs. The need for federal financial support is often cited as evidence that passenger rail service is not financially viable, or that Amtrak should yield to private companies that would find ways to provide rail service profitably. Yet it is not clear that a private company could perform the same range of activities better than Amtrak does. Indeed, Amtrak was created because private-sector railroad companies in the United States lost money for decades operating intercity passenger rail service and wished to be relieved of the obligation to do so.

[PDF format, 29 pages, 1.02 MB].

Orthodox Christianity in the 21st Century

Orthodox Christianity in the 21st Century. Pew Research Center. November 8, 2017.

Over the last century, the Orthodox Christian population around the world has more than doubled and now stands at nearly 260 million. In Russia alone, it has surpassed 100 million, a sharp resurgence after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Yet despite these increases in absolute numbers, Orthodox Christians have been declining as a share of the overall Christian population – and the global population – due to far faster growth among Protestants, Catholics and non-Christians. Today, just 12% of Christians around the world are Orthodox, compared with an estimated 20% a century ago. And 4% of the total global population is Orthodox, compared with an estimated 7% in 1910. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 64 pages, 861.33 KB].