Pages tagged "Featured Blog"


Questioning the Givens

By Jack Byrd, Jr., Interactivity Foundation. Reposted from InteractivityFoundation.org.

When students entered Dr. Anita Sherwood’s class she handed each of them a tennis ball. “We are going to do a simple demonstration today. I want each group to form a circle. You should give all the tennis balls to one person who will start the demonstration. Then that person will pass the tennis balls to others in the same order. The time when the last tennis ball gets to the final student will be measured. You will get three attempts to improve your time.”


Business Leaders Must Step Up

Like so many other Americans I am frustrated with the unbridled lack of civility, crippling partisanship and dysfunctional gridlock that prevents our country from solving the serious problems we face on a daily basis.

We must require a higher standard from our elected officials. A new paradigm of politics — one based on civil political discourse, critical thinking, and personal accountability.   This can and should be demanded by the electorate of its leadership, and the time to do so is now.


5 Things Facilitators Can Do When Conversations Get Hot

Reposted from WhatIsEssential.org.

When I’m working with new facilitators, one of the most common questions I get is some version of, “What do I do when things go off the rails?” 

This question is often rooted in fear and worst case scenario thinking. But there are also times when that question is rooted in a particular experience of destructive or dysfunctional communication patterns. Perhaps you’ve witnessed it happen in your own classroom or staff meeting and you’ve felt stuck, unsure of how to proceed, repair the harm done, and keep the group moving forward together.


Tech & Innovation: Priorities for 2021 and Beyond

By Jeffrey Westling, R Street Institute. Reposted from RStreet.org.

With the pandemic forcing Americans online, the role that technological innovation and deployment play in promoting prosperity has never been more clear. As the new administration begins to prioritize different policy initiatives, technology policy must remain at the forefront. And while legislators may feel the impulse for broad regulatory reforms, targeted actions can better help industry bring services to consumers without some of the significant unintended consequences which may come with overbearing regulations.


History Repeats: A New Era of Reform May Model the Old

By Beth Hladick. Reposted from UniteAmerica.org.

America emerges from the 2020 election as polarized as ever before. Divided government may offer opportunities for bipartisan policymaking, but is more likely to devolve to partisan gridlock. Yet, we’ve been here before and have emerged stronger from it. 


Danger in demagoguery, hope in collaboration

January 6, 2021 is Statement_BA_Social_Media__1.pnga day that will live in infamy.

The Capitol Building of the United States, for the first time in our lifetimes, was attacked and overrun by violent extremists during the ceremonial counting of the Electoral College’s votes to certify Joseph R. Biden’s victory in the 2020 Presidential election. As the nation watched, many of us feared that the very foundations of our democratic republic were in peril.

Many Americans want  things to return to “normal,” but democracy is not a spectator sport. We the People are responsible for upholding the freedoms that define who we are as citizens of the United States. 

We must invest our time individually and with one another to thwart the demagoguery that has overshadowed our nation, fueled by our adversaries with disinformation and conspiracies. We must strengthen our resolve to heal the wounds and bridge the divides that separate us. 

The Bridge Alliance is dedicated to bridging the many divides that separate us by finding common ground, building understanding, and healing the wounds that have ripped us apart. You can find organizations doing so here.  


12 numbers to know about the money in the 2020 presidential election

By Amisa Ratliff, Research Associate. Reposted from IssueOne.org.

Staggering sums of money were injected into the 2020 presidential race. 

Here are some of the most critical numbers to know about the money spent by the presidential candidates, and their allies, according to an Issue One analysis of campaign finance reports.

$4.9 billion: The total amount of money that was spent by all candidates and outside groups during the 2020 presidential election — the equivalent of about $22 per voter

$2.74 billion: The total amount of money that was spent by the campaigns of President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as well as by outside groups supporting them during the general election. Biden and his allies controlled about 61% of this sum ($1.68 billion), while Trump and his allies controlled about 39% ($1.06 billion).

$1.7 billion: The total amount of money spent by the Trump and Biden campaigns. Biden’s campaign alone spent about $1.01 billion, while Trump’s campaign spent about $710 million. In other words, Biden’s campaign spent nearly $1.50 for every $1 Trump’s did.

$1.02 billion: The total amount of money spent in the general election by outside group allies of President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Pro-Biden outside groups together spent about $668 million, while pro-Trump outside groups spent about $349 million. In other words, pro-Biden groups spent nearly $2 for every $1 spent by pro-Trump groups.

$820,600: The total amount of money a single individual donor was able to donate this year to Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee that benefited Trump’s presidential campaign, the Republican National Committee, and Republican parties in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

$830,600: The total amount of money a single individual donor was able to donate this year to the Biden Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee that benefited Biden’s presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and Democratic parties in 46 states and the District of Columbia.

$82 million: The minimum amount of money that President-elect Joe Biden’s bundlers raised for his campaign, according to a voluntary disclosure that showed more than 800 individuals raised at least $100,000 to support Biden’s candidacy. Some bundlers each raised millions of dollars, so the actual total is likely far higher than the voluntary disclosure indicates. President Donald Trump did not voluntarily release any information about the more than 3,000 people who reportedly raised money for his reelection effort. Under both Democratic and Republican presidents, bundlers have been rewarded with plum positions, such as ambassadorships and positions on commissions.


Opportunities for Bipartisanship in a Divided Government

Reposted from: CFRB.org

In 2021, the United States is likely to operate with divided or near-divided government. Democrats are slated to control the White House and the House of Representatives, while the Senate will either be under Republican control or equally split between Republicans and Democrats.1

Given this makeup, it is unlikely President-elect Joe Biden will be able to enact the entirety of his ambitious agenda of tax and spending increases. However, divided government does not mean legislating should stop. There are many issue areas where Republicans and Democrats have made similar proposals, which could present opportunities for bipartisanship.

From a fiscal and budgetary perspective, policymakers from both parties should be able to find common ground in several areas, including enacting COVID relief, lowering health care costs, improving tax compliance, reforming the budget process, and preparing for the insolvency of major trust funds.

Provide COVID Relief

Neither the COVID pandemic nor its negative effects on the economy are likely to be over by the time President-elect Biden takes office on January 20, 2021. Both Democrats and Republicans have put forward proposals to provide assistance to struggling households and businesses, support an economic recovery, and manage the public health situation. Hopefully, this is an area where policymakers can compromise, either now or in 2021.

The parties appear to have narrowed their differences somewhat from when House Democrats introduced and passed the $3.4 trillion Heroes Act and Senate Republicans put forward the roughly $1 trillion HEALS Act (see our comparison). A bipartisan package would likely include some extension and partial restoration of expanded unemployment insurance benefits, support for small businesses, aid to state and local governments and school districts, financial support for COVID testing, treatment, and vaccination, and other measures.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates an output gap of roughly $900 billion in 2021 – though it is likely to be smaller in light of recent economic news. That output gap represents the economic slack policymakers could try to fill with further fiscal support, though some policies are more cost-effective than others.


Don’t Let an Election Destroy Your Humanity

By Rory Margraf. Reposted from FreeThePeople.org.

While the media has made the call and numerous lawsuits, challenges, and conspiracies loom in the ether, the only thing it seems we can do is fester in our own anxiety. The American staple of the grumpy uncle stirring the political pot at Thanksgiving dinner is appearing to be less of a humorous tradition and more of a runaway freight train that will collide with our sensibilities around the second trip to the carving table. And yet, the world still turns.

Since I awoke on election day, a familiar quote has been rattling around in my mind. On April 22, 1800, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to William Hamilton. In the letter, Jefferson acknowledged the several years since they last crossed paths (John Adams’ Inauguration, 1797) and apologized for failing to remain in contact.


Tips for Keeping Control of Difficult Conversations in Virtual Classrooms

Reposted from iCivics.org 

 NOVEMBER 05, 2020

While remote learning has presented educators with many challenges, one unique hurdle has been figuring out how to keep control of student conversations on tough or timely topics. Virtual classrooms have made it much harder to maintain respectful, engaged dialogue when students are not physically in the room together or abiding by typical in-person classroom rules or norms.

To provide you with tools and strategies for keeping control of difficult conversations in virtual classrooms, we recently partnered with Share My Lesson on a free webinar to provide tips. If you missed it, you can watch the full recording, access our free videos and guides for teaching controversial issues, and explore the highlights below:

Laying the Groundwork
Teaching controversial issues should not occur "off the cuff". Successful discussions require preparation and the use of thoughtfully selected teaching strategies. In the preparation process, you should clarify your goals for having these discussions and the skills you want students to gain. This can help you better communicate with families, administrators, and other stakeholders about your plans. And teaching strategies create structure and a procedure to follow, which will help you maintain effective classroom management. They also require the use of texts that ground students' arguments in facts.

 


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