The central role of free college and loan forgiveness in the Democratic primary


In a prior post, I argued that charter schooling had become the litmus test issue for Democrats on the K-12 side.

In higher education policy, that mantle is clearly held by college affordability and, specifically, free college and loan forgiveness policies.

These will be key topics of conversation from now through the Democratic convention.

Source: The central role of free college and loan forgiveness in the Democratic primary

What a High-Pressure College Entrance Exam Reveals About China


More than 10 million Chinese students took this year’s gaokao, five times the record-breaking 2.1 million students in the United States who took the SAT last year.

In China, the test falls on the same two days every year, June 7 and 8, which many regard as the most important time in a Chinese person’s life—“more important than your wedding day,” one parent told me. The single score from this test is the sole criteria for university admissions in China. A good score, many believe, leads to a good school, and with it the right networks, career opportunities and, of course, the right spouse.

“The higher your score, the more options you have,” Luo Xing’s mother told me matter-of-factly. But a bad test day is the start of a lifelong uphill battle.

The gaokao not only shapes the course of a student’s life; it can also serve as a litmus test of trends in Chinese society—of technology as a tool for social stability, of superficial versus structural reforms, and of an avowedly patriotic form of education.

Overall, reforming China’s college entrance exam is a microcosm of attempting institutional change in China. The reforms are difficult to realize when pitted against larger structural issues and vested interests—hardly a new challenge in the country.

Source: What a High-Pressure College Entrance Exam Reveals About China

America’s Loneliness Epidemic: A Risk to Individuals and Organizations | Government Executive


Much has been written about America’s loneliness epidemic, including in the workplace.

But the word “loneliness” in the work context is a misnomer. It doesn’t capture the whole story.

What about all the individuals who might not think of themselves as lonely and yet the demands of work and task-oriented activities such as time in front of screens have crowded out time for anything more than superficial relationships?

Many people lack sufficient, positive human connection (or social connection) and may be unaware of the ramifications. Left unchecked, the deficiency of connection today presents widespread risks not just to individuals but to organizations.

From a biological standpoint, social connection is a primal human need.

Its presence appears to improve the cardiovascular, endocrine and immune systems’ performance.

In contrast, studies have shown that “disconnection” is unhealthy for individuals …

Source: America’s Loneliness Epidemic: A Risk to Individuals and Organizations – Government Executive

The Rebalancing That U.S. Trade Policy Actually Needs


President Donald Trump likes trade wars because he thinks they are “easy to win,” as he infamously put it, and because he thinks they will help improve the trade balance. Trump claims past American presidents have been weak, allowing other countries to take advantage of the United States in trade negotiations. As evidence, he points to the large American trade deficit.

But any economist worth her salt will tell you that the deficit doesn’t reflect what Trump thinks it does.

Instead, it simply reflects the propensity of Americans to spend more than they save and invest.

Source: The Rebalancing That U.S. Trade Policy Actually Needs

How to Get Ahead in a Winner Take All World | Government Executive


The wave of trust-busting and rise of unions in the early 20th century removed some of the industrial economy’s worst downsides, but industrial capitalism boomed over the ensuing decades nonetheless. Similarly, the crucial question facing ordinary Americans, no matter how the debates over corporate power play out in the years ahead, is how to harness this reality to have fulfilling careers.

That’s what my book set out to help them do—showing how cultivating adaptability and the ability to connect different type of technical skills in team-based work is crucial to thriving in these organizations.

If we want to be successful in the corporate world of the 21st century, we need to make sure we know how to work in the types of large, information-driven organizations that, one way or another, are going to remain central to the American economy.

Our careers depend on it, whether we like it or not.

Source: How to Get Ahead in a Winner Take All World – Government Executive

AI Could Be the Engineer’s Friend | EE Times


Engineers may worry that artificial-intelligence (AI) and machine-learning (ML) algorithms will eventually replace them as circuit designers. A panel session on June 4 at the 2019 IEEE International Microwave Symposium held here tackled that touchy subject.

The opinions were generally positive for engineers, but panelists acknowledged that AI/ML will change analog/RF engineering jobs but not necessarily replace engineers.

Source: AI Could Be the Engineer’s Friend | EE Times

How Brain Drain Makes Social Segregation and Political Division Worse | US News


West Virginia suffers from it. So do Oklahoma, the Dakotas, the Deep South and the post-industrial states of the Mid-Atlantic. It’s brain drain, and it’s not only affecting the economies and budgets of the states, but is contributing to political polarization as educated people leave the middle of the country for the coasts.

Left unchecked, the trend threatens to result in two, mutually suspicious Americas: one that’s more urban, liberal and diverse, and one that’s more rural, conservative and homogenous.

And across the country, states are fretting about losing educated residents the way a plaintive parent wheedles children who have left the nest: Why did you leave us, and what can we do to get you to come back home?

Source: How Brain Drain Makes Social Segregation and Political Division Worse | Best States | US News

Walmart expands education program for workers ahead of controversial shareholders meeting | Reuters


Walmart Inc said on Tuesday it is seeking to attract high school students by offering them a low-cost path to a college degree and will expand an education program it started a year ago – in a new bid to draw workers in a tight labor market.

Walmart’s announcement comes a day before its annual shareholders meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas, which will be attended by Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.

Source: Walmart expands education program for workers ahead of controversial shareholders meeting – Reuters

The Romanian diaspora – a force to be reckoned with | EURACTIV.com


“It’s been seven hours since I’m here and I didn’t get to vote yet. The process is extremely slow,” complains a man in his 60s.

Although rare in Brussels, such scenes have become all too familiar for Romanian expats trying to cast their ballots across Europe. Many already attempted – and failed – to vote in the 2014 European election as well as in the 2016 presidential election.

Now, they are laying the blame on an intentionally poor organization, suggesting bureaucratic hurdles are deliberately being placed across their way.

Romanians are the second biggest EU community in Brussels, amounting to tens of thousands of people. Romanian authorities reserved six polling stations for them.

“It seems like they don’t want us to vote. They are afraid of the diaspora vote because we know they’re thieves,” says a young man who was nevertheless determined to stay until the end.

“Even if we don’t get to vote tonight, what we want is at least to send a clear message to our government that we are here to fight for our country”.

Source: The Romanian diaspora – a force to be reckoned with – EURACTIV.com

EU job carousel keeps turning as new hires announced | EURACTIV.com


While government leaders clashed Tuesday evening (28 May) over who should lead the main EU institutions, less glamorous yet important jobs were being doled out.

On Wednesday, the European Commission announced a slew of appointments, with three new faces set to head important departments in the EU executive.

Michel Barnier’s deputy Brexit negotiator, Sabine Weyand, will lead the trade directorate from 1 June, a decision that elicited praise from her former French boss, as well as from Swedish trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.

Source: EU job carousel keeps turning as new hires announced – EURACTIV.com