The Weekly Wonk is a podcast from New America focused on the ideas and policy challenges that will shape our future.
Get Your BA from the University of Everywhere
Higher education is in crisis, in large part because - as Kevin Carey points out in his new book, The End of College - students (and their parents) are paying more and getting less. The announcement that Sweet Briar College will close at the end of this year illustrates how untenable the current system is. On this episode, Carey, director of New America's education policy program, talks with ProPublica's Marian Wang about his book and how information technology will facilitate the creation of institutions that serve what Carey calls the "big middle" in education, who are currently left behind or saddled with debt.
Technology for the People, By the People
If you use a smartphone or your kid has a tablet, you should already be wondering how we can educate, engage, and retain diverse talent in tech. But experts say you should also be curious to know why Ida B. Wells is Aliya Rahman's favorite data scientist. On this episode, Anne-Marie Slaughter talks with Rahman, program director of Code for Progress, as well as Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer at the White House, and Jessica Rosenworcel of the FCC, about how leadership can make an impact in tech.
The Internet Everywhere, Really
We can make planet-wide, always-on, high-speed(ish) Internet communications a reality for everyone. In other words, a universal Internet is possible, say Alan Davidson, New America's Vice President for Technology Policy and Strategy and Director of the Open Technology Institute (OTI), and Danielle Kehl, a policy analyst with OTI, in this conversation with Anne-Marie Slaughter (and in New America's Big Ideas series on CNN). According to Davidson and Kehl, now that the goal of internet everywhere for everyone is on the horizon, global and local participation and investment are the keys to getting to that finish line.
Our (North American) Passport To A New America
Borders are perhaps the biggest and most contentious issue when it comes to trade, immigration, diplomacy, and innovation. Twenty years after NAFTA and with the Trans-Pacific Partnership on the horizon, it's time to update the United States' border-sharing relationships with its neighbors. One provocative way to start the conversation: Let's create a North American passport, say Andres Martinez and Daniel Kurtz-Phelan in this conversation with Anne-Marie Slaughter (and in New America's Big Ideas series on CNN). Martinez and Kurtz-Phelan point out that the privileges of movement and access shared among the United States, Canada, and Mexico should reflect just how interwoven our respective economies--including education, manufacturing, and research, in addition to trade itself--have become.
Being Unemployed Shouldn't Make You Unemployable
In the story of the American Dream, the moral is that with hard work, making a comeback or reinventing yourself is possible. Inherent in that moral is the viability of second chances. Real life for the long-term unemployed in America tells a different story, say Rachel Black and Aleta Sprague in this conversation with Anne-Marie Slaughter (and in New America’s Big Ideas series on CNN). Black and Sprague report that for America to have a real second-chance economy, we must make policy changes that will remove barriers for dreamers of the American Dream to re-enter our economy.
Leisure Is the New Productivity
Instead of working harder to be more productive, we need to work smarter by taking time out to relax and connect with friends and family. In study after study, the research shows that by taking breaks in between periods of focused attention, we will get more done and could even make strides toward greater gender and class equality, says Brigid Schulte in this conversation with Anne-Marie Slaughter. According to Schulte, author of the best-selling book Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, it's when we hit the pause button that our brains unlock their most powerful creativity and innovation.