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Enhancing EU Education Policy: Building a Framework to Help Young People of Migrant Background Succeed

November 28, 2014 Comments off

Enhancing EU Education Policy: Building a Framework to Help Young People of Migrant Background Succeed
Source: Migration Policy Institute

While many countries in Europe have high-quality, well-established education systems, socioeconomically disadvantaged communities across the continent suffer from inequality of access and lower-quality education. Children from these groups, including children with a migrant background—those who are immigrants themselves or have immigrant parents—tend to underperform in the classroom compared with their native peers. Children from a migrant background (defined here as from countries outside the European Union) have particular educational needs that mainstream education policy does not always meet, including overcoming language barriers and discrimination. Recognizing the importance of education in allowing countries to realize their potential, the European Commission has developed a series of goals in the form of the Education and Training Strategy (ET 2020) to help Member States reduce school dropout and increase rates of tertiary education completion.

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Medical and Prescription Drug Deductibles for Plans Offered in Federally Facilitated and Partnership Marketplaces for 2015

November 26, 2014 Comments off

Medical and Prescription Drug Deductibles for Plans Offered in Federally Facilitated and Partnership Marketplaces for 2015
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

Most health plans require enrollees to pay a portion of the cost of care when they seek services. While there are lots of forms of cost sharing — deductibles, copayments, coinsurance – people often focus on the deductible amount because it often provides the simplest indication of how generous a plan may be. A deductible is the amount that an enrollee must pay toward the cost of covered services before the plan will start paying for most types of care covered by the plan. Certain preventive services must be covered without cost sharing in all plans in the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplaces, and insurers sometimes pay towards other services, usually physician office visits or prescription drugs, before the enrollee has met his or her deductible. Still, people need to be prepared for the fact that they may need to pay the entire deductible amount out of pocket if they need a significant amount of care during a year.

The slide show provides an initial look at the deductibles for medical care and the specific deductibles applied to prescription drugs for the plans offered in the federally facilitated and partnership Marketplaces available healthcare.gov. The amounts are simple averages of the plans available (see Methods). The amounts are shown separately by metal level (“Bronze,” “Silver,” “Gold,” and “Platinum”). Deductible amounts are shown separately for plans where medical spending and prescription drug spending are both subject to the same deductible (called “combined) and for plans where there are separate deductibles for medical spending and prescription drug spending (called “separate”). Not surprisingly, deductibles tend to decrease as one moves from the levels with lower actuarial values (“Bronze” and “Silver”) to the higher levels.

The slides do not show the deductibles for silver plans that provide reduced cost sharing for people with low incomes (e.g., people receiving cost-sharing subsidies). Many people in Marketplace plans receive these subsidies, and would not be subject to the deductible amounts shown in the slides. We will be releasing a more complete analysis that has information for these plans and for the other types of cost sharing (e.g., copayments, coinsurance amounts) in the near future.

Level Up Learning: A National Survey on Teaching with Digital Games

November 26, 2014 Comments off

Level Up Learning: A National Survey on Teaching with Digital Games
Source: Joan Ganz Cooney Center

Digital games have the potential to transform K-12 education as we know it. But what has been the real experience among teachers who use games in the classroom? In 2013, the Games and Learning Publishing Council conducted a national survey among nearly 700 K-8 teachers. The report reveals key findings from the survey, and looks at how often and why teachers use games in the classroom, as well as issues they encounter in their efforts to implement digital games into their practice.

Search and Breast Cancer: On Disruptive Shifts of Attention over Life Histories of an Illness

November 24, 2014 Comments off

Search and Breast Cancer: On Disruptive Shifts of Attention over Life Histories of an Illness
Source: Microsoft Research

We seek to understand the evolving needs of people who are faced with a life-changing medical diagnosis based on analyses of queries extracted from an anonymized search query log. Focusing on breast cancer, we manually tag a set of Web searchers as showing disruptive shifts in focus of attention and long-term patterns of search behavior consistent with the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. We build and apply probabilistic classifiers to detect these searchers from multiple sessions and to detect the timing of diagnosis, using a variety of temporal and statistical features. We explore the changes in information-seeking over time before and after an inferred diagnosis of breast cancer by aligning multiple searchers by the likely time of diagnosis. We automatically identify 1700 candidate searchers with an estimated 90% precision, and we predict the day of diagnosis within 15 days with an 88% accuracy. We show that the geographic and demographic attributes of searchers identified with high probability are strongly correlated with ground truth of reported incidence rates. We then analyze the content of queries over time from searchers for whom diagnosis was predicted, using a detailed ontology of cancerrelated search terms. Our analysis reveals the rich temporal structure of the evolving queries of people likely diagnosed with breast cancer. Finally, we focus on subtypes of illness based on inferred stages of cancer and show clinically relevant dynamics of information seeking based on dominant stage expressed by searchers.

Americans’ Perceptions of Privacy are Varied

November 24, 2014 Comments off

Americans’ Perceptions of Privacy are Varied
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

To better understand how the public thinks about privacy, a representative sample of 607 adults were asked an open-ended question in an online survey: “When you hear the word “privacy,” what comes to mind for you?” The responses that followed were striking in their variance, ranging from one-word entries to lengthier descriptions that touched on multiple concepts.

Once the responses were coded, a set of key words and themes emerged as the most frequently referenced and top-of-mind for the general public. Each of the top ten themes was referenced in at least 5% of the total responses. However, a full 22% of the responses referenced some other theme that was mentioned only a handful of times or was entirely unique.

Retirement Benefit Decisions by City and County Governments

November 21, 2014 Comments off

Retirement Benefit Decisions by City and County Governments
Source: Center for State and Local Government Excellence

Key findings:

  • Workers who work a full career in their city or county can expect a retirement income of between 45 and 80 percent of their pre-retirement income.
  • Career employees of local governments who participate in Social Security can expect retirement income replacement rates of 20 to 30 percentage points higher than employees whose governments do not participate in Social Security.
  • These and other variations mean that many local workers will need to be disciplined about participating in savings plans, outside of their primary plans, to meet their retirement security goals.

Losing the Future: The Decline of U.S. Saving and Investment

November 21, 2014 Comments off

Losing the Future: The Decline of U.S. Saving and Investment
Source: Tax Foundation

Key Findings

  • Saving and investment are necessary for a society to adequately provide for its future.
  • Saving and investment have declined substantially as a percentage of GDP over the last 40 years, and have collapsed almost entirely since the financial crisis.
  • American private saving barely keeps pace with total government deficits. On the whole, the country saves very little.
  • American investment barely keeps pace with depreciation; U.S. private and public capital stock and infrastructure deteriorates almost as quickly as it can be repaired or replaced with new investment.
  • The U.S., overall, does not save enough money to fund all of the worthwhile domestic investments and relies substantially on foreign investors to make up the difference.
  • Tax reform could help the U.S. become a forward-looking economy that invests and saves at more prudent rates.
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