New America Policy Papers: 2014

Papers and other formal publications from our policy programs are available below. To jump to another year in the archives, please use the links at right.

Militancy in Pakistan and Impacts on U.S. Foreign Policy

  • By Saba Imtiaz
August 25, 2014
The state of internal security in Pakistan is a potentially disruptive factor for the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. Even if there is no threat posed to the U.S. and/or American interests by Pakistan-based militant groups, the United States is concerned by the rise of religious militancy in Pakistan and the risks it poses to the state, to its ability to govern effectively, and the toll it is taking on the civilian population. 
 

Making the Hours Count

  • By
  • Alex Holt,
  • New America Foundation
August 6, 2014
With growing public interest in how states and localities provide access to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, policymakers are increasingly being forced to confront the numerous, contradictory ways in which children’s learning opportunities are measured. Labels like “half-day” and “full-day” have become widely embraced by state and local governments offering pre-K and kindergarten, but these terms have come to take on widely varying meanings.

Surveillance Costs: The NSA's Impact on the Economy, Internet Freedom & Cybersecurity

  • By
  • Danielle Kehl,
  • Kevin Bankston,
  • Robyn Greene,
  • Robert Morgus,
  • New America Foundation
July 29, 2014

It has been over a year since The Guardian reported the first story on the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs based on the leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, yet the national conversation remains largely mired in a simplistic debate over the tradeoffs between national security and individual privacy. It is time to start weighing the overall costs and benefits more broadly.

Common Core Goes To College

  • By
  • Lindsey Tepe,
  • New America Foundation
July 21, 2014

Each year, hundreds of thousands of American students graduate from high school and enter college without being adequately prepared to succeed there. This is partly the result of misaligned high school standards and higher education expectations. There are real, sobering consequences: millions of students have fallen short of earning a college degree.

Emerging Market Portfolio Globalization:

  • By Jay Pelosky
July 17, 2014
In 2014 emerging markets have shown remarkable resiliency despite negative news and record foreign investor outflows. Jay Pelosky, founder of J2Z Advisory LLC, suggests the answer lies with financial asset expansion in the emerging economies themselves—or what Pelosky calls “a rising tide of middle-class wealth.”

Beyond Subprime Learning

  • By
  • Laura Bornfreund,
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • Clare McCann,
  • Conor Williams,
  • New America Foundation
July 15, 2014

Education policymakers must put more focus on teaching and learning in the early years and continue that work up through third grade, according to Beyond “Subprime Learning”: Accelerating Progress in Early Education, a new report from New America’s Early Education Initiative.

The Case Against Exit Exams

  • By
  • Anne Hyslop,
  • New America Foundation
July 15, 2014
In the 2013-14 school year, twenty-four states required students to be proficient on standardized tests in order to graduate from high school. But starting next year, and in the years to come, states will launch more rigorous, college- and career-ready assessments aligned to the Common Core. As they do so, they should revisit the stakes on these tests for students and consider eliminating, or modifying, their exit exam policies.

The Wizard of Jobs:

  • By Daniel Alpert
July 15, 2014
At first glance, the U.S job picture continues to improve with the U.S. economy generating an average of 222,000 new private sector jobs a month in the first half of 2014.  But as Daniel Alpert, a founding member of the World Economic Roundtable, explains in his latest review of America’s job market there is a more sobering reality behind these headline numbers.

Breaking with Tradition

  • By
  • Ben Miller,
  • New America Foundation
July 10, 2014

In the public mind, college students are recent high school graduates in their late teens or early 20’s, who attend school full-time, and are supported by their parents. This ‘traditional’ view of students informs our modern federal financial aid system, but it is also increasingly misguided: the majority of Americans enrolled in higher education today are actually ‘non-traditional’ students, who are more likely to be older, attending school part-time, and/or living independently from their parents.

Programs:

Federal Funding for Students with Disabilities

  • By
  • Clare McCann,
  • New America Foundation
June 27, 2014

In Federal Funding for Students with Disabilities: The Evolution of Federal Special Education Finance in the U.S., New America provides a history of special education financing in the U.S., and highlights the latest shift in the mission of the IDEA funding formula: a change from providing dollars directly based on the number of special education students, to ensuring the federal government provides sufficient resources for those students without encouraging the over-identifi

Investing in Children

  • By
  • Terri Friedline,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Nik Schuetz, University of Kansas' School of Social Welfare
June 24, 2014
Properly designed and integrated Child Development Accounts (CDAs) can have lasting, positive effects on children's educational development and can improve their long-term economic outcomes.

The Lesson of the Surge

  • By Col. (Ret.) Derek Harvey and Michael Pregent
June 24, 2014
As the United States considers its options against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), we should start by reviewing our earlier war against ISIS’s previous incarnation, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and remember what worked and what did not. The air power and special operations that many in Washington are now discussing can be an important component of a counterinsurgency or counterterrorism campaign, but our history with AQI/ISIS shows that by themselves they are not sufficient to put an end to the threat.

What Would Minsky See Today?

  • By Daniel Alpert
June 21, 2014
Economist Hyman Minsky had the rare ability to stand back from conventional wisdom and see beyond the current market’s irrationality. In the closing dinner remarks at the Levy Economic Institute’s Hyman P. Minsky Summer Seminar, Daniel Alpert, a founding member of the World Economic Roundtable and author of “The Age of Oversupply: Confronting the Greatest Challenge to the Global Economy,” took up the question  “What would Minsky see today”?

Children's Savings Accounts

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • Rachel Black,
  • Justin King,
  • New America Foundation
June 18, 2014
The American Dream is built upon the enduring values of equal opportunity and personal responsibility. Ensuring that this dream remains attainable depends upon America being able to promote these values among rising generations. Research and experience in the field consistently supports the thesis that children's savings accounts (CSAs) can provide a vehicle to support these objectives.

The Emerging Power of Big Data

  • By Emerging Leaders, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
June 17, 2014
Big data is transforming the commercial marketplace but it also has the potential to reshape government affairs and urban development.  In a new report from the Emerging Leaders Program at the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, Lincoln S. Ellis, a founding member of the World Economic Roundtable, and other authors from the Emerging Leaders Program, explore how big data can be used by mega-cities to meet the challenges they face in an age of resource constraints to improve the lives of their residents.
 
Programs:

America's Debt Problem

  • By
  • Joshua Freedman,
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • New America Foundation
June 16, 2014

Over time, the US economy has become more dependent on debt to fuel economic growth. American households, in particular, have become dependent on debt to maintain their standard of living in the face of stagnant wages. Rising levels of private debt have also fueled consecutive investment asset bubbles, whose bursting not only caused the Great Recession but also left a large and burdensome debt overhang that is still being dealt with today.

Building a New AAU

  • By
  • Kevin Carey,
  • New America Foundation
June 2, 2014
Criteria used to select members of America’s most influential higher education organization are encouraging colleges to adopt policies of exclusion, harming the cause of higher learning by closing down learning opportunities and raising college prices, according to a new policy brief released today by New America.

The paper, entitled Building a New AAU: The Case for Redefining Higher Education Excellence, can be downloaded here.

Solving the Retirement Puzzle

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • Justin King,
  • Elliot Schreur,
  • Aleta Sprague,
  • New America Foundation
May 12, 2014
The growing recognition that millions of Americans are ill-prepared for retirement has prompted a number of state and federal policy proposals to promote retirement security. Yet even the most promising proposals fail to acknowledge a prerequisite to sustaining long-term savings: access to flexible resources that can be tapped in an emergency or can support productive investments that can pay off over the long haul.

The Art of the Possible: An Overview of Public Broadband Options

  • By
  • Benjamin Lennett,
  • Patrick Lucey,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Joanne Hovis and Andrew Afflerbach, CTC
May 6, 2014
Broadband has become a critical infrastructure for communities in the 21st century. From a variety of sectors, including commerce, education, healthcare and government services, the demands for more advanced, reliable, and affordable broadband is challenging local governments to develop effective strategies for connecting their citizens, businesses, and institutions.

Building an AOTC Movement

  • By
  • Stephen Burd,
  • Rachel Fishman,
  • New America Foundation
May 1, 2014
Today, too many families fail to claim higher education tax benefits for which they are eligible. For example, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found that one in seven taxpayers—or 1.5 million tax filers—who were eligible for either the Tuition and Fees Deduction or the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC) in 2009 failed to claim those benefits. Another 237,000 of these filers made a “suboptimal choice,” choosing a tax break that did not “maximize their potential benefits.”

A Network Model of Broadband Adoption: Using Twitter to Document Detroit Future

  • By
  • Joshua Breitbart,
  • Greta Byrum,
  • Georgia Bullen,
  • Kayshin Chan,
  • New America Foundation
May 1, 2014

From 2010 to 2012, the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition (DDJC) conducted a federally-funded training program in digital media that they called “Detroit Future.” The purpose of the program was to use broadband adoption as a means of strengthening economic development and community organizing in Detroit. To that end, the DDJC developed a “networked” model of broadband adoption as part of its implementation of the program. The coalition documented the program with the Twitter hashtag #detroitfuture.

Pay More, Get Less

  • By
  • Joshua Freedman,
  • New America Foundation
April 30, 2014
The American middle class faces an uncertain future. Staring headlong into a difficult – and changing – world economy that has yet to fully recover from the Great Recession, many middle class families are trapped between low, stagnant wages and an increasingly expensive set of social and economic supports.

Strategic Empathy

  • By Matt Waldman, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
April 9, 2014
As the United States withdraws from Afghanistan, it leaves violence and uncertainty in its wake. The election of a new Afghan president gives some grounds for optimism and could improve the fraught relationship between Afghanistan and the U.S. But no Afghan election since the 2001 intervention has brought about a diminution in violence – and the conflict shows no signs of abating. The Taliban is powerful, tenacious and increasingly deadly. Civilian casualties are rising and the fighting forces some 10,000 Afghans from their homes every month.  The linchpin of the U.S.

Envisioning a Digital Age Architecture for Early Education

  • By
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • New America Foundation
March 26, 2014

The young children of today will soon grow into the middle-schoolers of the next decade, the high school graduates of the late 2020s, and the citizens and workforce of the future.

The Graduate Student Debt Review

  • By
  • Jason Delisle,
  • New America Foundation
March 25, 2014

A New America analysis of recently available Department of Education data reveals that much of America’s student debt problem may be a result of expensive graduate and professional degrees—not unaffordable undergraduate educations. In fact, around 40 percent of recent federal loan disbursements are for graduate student debt, suggesting that a large chunk of the ubiquitous “$1 trillion in outstanding federal student debt” number is, in fact, graduate debt.

Time To Improve

  • By
  • Melissa Tooley,
  • Laura Bornfreund,
  • New America Foundation
March 24, 2014
While educator preparation has always been important, it is now more important than ever. Currently, there are more first year teachers in the United States than teachers of any other experience level—and at many schools, most of the teachers have only been teaching for a few years. Meanwhile, the skills and responsibilities expected of educators are expanding, as higher standards and new technologies are implemented to improve student learning. 

Uncontrolled Global Surveillance: Updating Export Controls to the Digital Age

  • By
  • Tim Maurer,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Edin Omanovic, Research Officer, Privacy International; Ben Wagner, Researcher, European University Institute
March 24, 2014

In 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported “the annual value of the retail market for surveillance tools has increased from ‘nearly zero’ in 2001 to around $5 billion a year.” The Arab Uprising and the fallen regimes’ documents that became public in the aftermath shed light on this growing industry. Some authorities employed this technology for political control and to facilitate internal repression, the suppression of the media and civil society, and other violations of fundamental human rights.

Driving Out of the Red with Greener Cars

  • By
  • Lisa Margonelli,
  • New America Foundation
March 24, 2014

Income inequality in California is already high, and it continues to increase. This income inequality is exacerbated by unequal access to jobs, credit, and efficient vehicles. Wages in California's Central Valley are lower than in the rest of the state, and workers there must commute long distances, with little access to alternative transportation, in older, inefficient cars. As a result, some working families in the Central Valley spend as much as a third to half of their income on fueling and maintaining their vehicle.

Rebalancing the Scales

  • By
  • Rachel Black,
  • New America Foundation
March 19, 2014
The 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty naturally prompts reflection on how much progress has been made and how to chart a path forward. While there is a marked divergence in the diagnosis of poverty’s roots and the policy prescriptions necessary to address them, a consensus is emerging that new efforts are needed to promote opportunity, economic mobility and to ensure that the American Dream remains attainable.
 

Brief: Methodology for Identifying and Addressing Urban Areas with Low Broadband Adoption

  • By
  • Greta Byrum,
  • Joshua Breitbart,
  • Georgia Bullen,
  • New America Foundation
March 13, 2014
This brief describes the different phases of research to prepare for planning and managing broadband interventions at various scales. Using this guide, researchers can compile geospatial broadband profiles including environmental and demographic data, local community assets, and available technical infrastructure.

College Blackout

  • By
  • Amy Laitinen,
  • Clare McCann,
  • New America Foundation
March 11, 2014
Ever-rising college costs, more than $1 trillion in outstanding federal student loan debt, and graduates doubtful that they’ll be able to earn enough to repay their loans have driven college value to become a major concern for most prospective students. Yet students, families, and policymakers are finding their questions can’t be answered—because the higher education lobby has fought to keep it that way.

Increasing Competition and Choice

  • By
  • David Balto,
  • New America Foundation
  • and James Kovacs
March 6, 2014
For much of the past decade, Congress, regulators, and industry lobbyists have played a game of cat and mouse when it comes to how the Medicare prescription drug program (“Part D”) is administered. With the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) once again considering new rules around Medicare prescription drug coverage plans; a new white paper from New America addresses the following:

The U.S. Economy After The Great Recession

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • Samuel Sherraden,
  • New America Foundation
March 4, 2014
The bursting of the housing bubble in 2008 plunged the U.S. economy into a serious crisis, leaving American households with a huge debt overhang and the economy with a large gap in output and employment. This report reviews the economy’s deleveraging and recovery experience more than five years after the crash. It explores the following questions:  
  • How far has the economy come in the deleveraging process? Is private sector debt now at a sustainable level or do households and the financial sector continue to need to pay down debt?  
  • To what extent has the U.S.

Key Questions: Education Policy in the President's Fiscal Year 2015 Budget

March 4, 2014
President Barack Obama submitted his fiscal year 2015 budget request to Congress on March 4, 2014. The proposal, which includes $1.014 trillion in appropriations spending, slightly exceeds the limit passed earlier this year by Congress and signed into law by the president of $1.012 trillion, with the exception of an Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative fund that would provide additional funding offset by revenue increases or spending cuts.

The Financial Health Check

  • By Antoinette Schoar, MIT, and Piyush Tantia, ideas42
March 3, 2014
Managing day-to-day finances is about as complex as changing the oil in a car – with some skill and instruction we can manage it, but there’s a good chance we’ll wind up with a big mess of black gunk everywhere. For the messy task of changing oil, most of us choose to hire a trained specialist like a mechanic at Jiffy Lube. For the essential task of managing finances, many of us choose to hire financial services specialists, though most of the time they only serve the wealthy.

Arab Uprisings & Social Justice

  • By Abdulla Zaid, New America Foundation; Hassan Sherry, Arab NGO Network for Development; Mahinour El-Badrawi, Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights; and Joshua Haber, New America Foundation
February 27, 2014
Economies of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are the most heavily subsidized in the world.

Connected Communities in an Age of Digital Learning

  • By
  • Danielle Kehl,
  • Sarah Morris,
  • Lindsey Tepe,
  • New America Foundation
February 26, 2014
​The need to upgrade America’s Internet infrastructure to support innovative digital learning tools and services has never been greater. In the past year, members of Congress, Federal Communications Commissioners, and President Obama have all recognized the issue, publicly calling for an expansion of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) E-rate program to provide next-generation Internet connectivity to schools and libraries across the country.

Connecting Tax Time to Financial Security

  • By
  • Rachel Black,
  • Elliot Schreur,
  • New America Foundation
February 25, 2014
The ability to accumulate and access savings is a fundamental determinant of economic security for many families, especially those with low incomes and limited resources. Since every family’s circumstance is different, so too are their savings needs, which can range both in time horizon and flexibility of purpose. Current federal policy favors longer-term, targeted purposes, such as savings for retirement, leaving a void in policy supports for households whose savings needs are more immediate.

Raising Arizona: Lessons for the Nation from a State’s Experience with Full-Day Kindergarten

  • By CJ Libassi
February 24, 2014
Though recently much attention has been given to the importance of early childhood education, one stubborn shortcoming of education in the early grades remains largely ignored: Unlike every other grade in the K-12 system, some students in the United States still do not have access to free, full-day kindergarten at their local public schools. In fact, just 11 states and the District of Columbia require their public schools to provide free, fullday kindergarten by law. Alternatively, six states have no statute requiring any kindergarten at all.

The Student Debt Review

  • By
  • Ben Miller,
  • New America Foundation
February 17, 2014
Student debt is not a new concern. But it is a complex story, the details of which vary greatly depending on the type of college a student attends, and the credential they earn. Using the last four quadrennial NPSAS surveys, our Student Debt Review report examines how different students, pursuing different credentials, experience debt differently.

Federal Education Budget Update

  • By
  • Jason Delisle,
  • Clare McCann,
  • New America Foundation
January 30, 2014
Congress completed the fiscal year 2014 appropriations process on January 17, 2014, finalizing annual funding for Department of Education programs through September 30, 2014 at $67.3 billion, up nearly $1.6 billion from the prior year.

Subprime Learning

  • By
  • Lisa Guernsey,
  • Laura Bornfreund,
  • Clare McCann,
  • Conor Williams,
  • New America Foundation
January 21, 2014
Five years ago, the United States was in the thick of the Great Recession, coping with a stock market crash and loss of jobs that would send aftershocks throughout early education. Yet early 2009 was also a time of great hope among advocates for young children. President Barack Obama, newly sworn in, had called attention to early education throughout his campaign, aiming for $10 billion in public investments for children from birth to age five, educational infrastructure grants for states, and improvements in teaching. Many states already had been making investments in public preschool.

Reining in the Cost of Connectivity

  • By
  • Nick Russo,
  • Patrick Lucey,
  • Danielle Kehl,
  • Hibah Hussain,
  • New America Foundation
January 15, 2014

Below you will find the text of Reining in the Cost of Connectivity: Policies for Better Broadband in 2014, a policy paper from the Open Technology Institute that examines America's broadband challenges. This paper builds on data from The Cost of Connectivity 2013, a survey of high-speed Internet prices in 24 cities worldwide.

Do NSA's Bulk Surveillance Programs Stop Terrorists?

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • David Sterman,
  • Emily Schneider,
  • Bailey Cahall,
  • New America Foundation
January 13, 2014
On June 5, 2013, the Guardian broke the first story in what would become a flood of revelations regarding the extent and nature of the NSA’s surveillance programs.  Facing an uproar over the threat such programs posed to privacy, the Obama administration scrambled to defend them as legal and essential to U.S. national security and counterterrorism.

The Parent Trap

  • By
  • Rachel Fishman,
  • New America Foundation
January 8, 2014

In fall 2011, the U.S. Department of Education quietly tightened the credit check criteria for Parent PLUS loans, a federal program that provides loans to parents to send their children to college above and beyond the federal loans available to students. As a result, many families and higher education institutions were shocked to find that parents approved for the loan one year were suddenly denied the next. Students in the middle of their academic careers found themselves scrambling to cover a much larger portion of their bill upfront.

Public Pathways

  • By
  • Alissa Black,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Bita Neyestani
January 8, 2014
The technology is available. Residents are using it to self-organize neighborhood groups. Non-profits are using it to campaign for causes. Even so, municipalities have been slow to adopt online tools to advance civic engagement. The challenge does not lie with the tools; it lies with the value placed on engaging the public.
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