Dana Goldstein

Dana Goldstein, a former associate editor and writer at the Prospect, comes from a family of public school educators. She received the Spencer Fellowship in Education Journalism, a Schwarz Fellowship at the New America Foundation, and a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellowship at the Nation Institute. Her journalism is regularly featured in SlateThe AtlanticThe NationThe Daily Beast, and other publications, and she is a staff writer at the Marshall Project. 

Recent Articles

PUBLIC PLAN INVENTOR: GIVING UP IS "A TRULY UGLY IDEA."

On Tuesday, Mark offered a history of how the public option became the dominant progressive priority for health reform. This morning, with the future of the public option at risk, its inventor -- Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker -- and its chief political defender, Roger Hickey , co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future -- held a conference call to ask Congress not to vote for health reform that does not include a strong public plan. Sixty House Democrats have already made that commitment, including Progressive Caucus co-chairs Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva , who were on the call. But there are reports that some members of that group might consider non-profit health care co-operatives -- the Finance Committee's preferred alternative -- a "public option." Co-ops "are a political solution to a political problem," Hacker said, "unlike the public plan, which is a policy solution to a real world problem. That real world problem is the consolidation of our health system...

BILL GATES AND FEDERAL EDU POLICY.

I've written before about the outsize influence of Bill Gates on national education policy. That influence is growing. According to Education Week , as the Department of Education prepares to dole out $4.3 billion in federal grants as part of the Race To the Top program -- an effort to foster education reform and innovation at the state level -- the Gates Foundation is offering 15 states up to $250,000 to hire consultants to fill out the complex application to the program, which the DOE estimates could take up to 642 hours. Those states are Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. During a time of state budget cuts and layoffs, the Gates funds could mean the difference between a barely completed application and one given enough attention to win the competition. According to the DOE's own standards, one of the Gates-supported states, New York, may not be eligible...

BEYOND THE PUBLIC OPTION.

For the past two years, New York City has been running an experimental pilot program called OpportunityNYC, in which poor people -- mostly black and Latina single moms and their kids -- are paid for "good behaivor." In the Prospect 's current print issue , I report on how that program is faring. While the jury is out on whether cash incentives can improve academic performance or encourage single moms to find part-time work, it seems that monetary rewards work quite well when it comes to encouraging good health: Forty-five percent of all Opportunity NYC payments were for health-related activities, compared to just 18 percent for work-related activities. Families enrolled in the program can earn $600 per adult for maintaining private health insurance, or $40 per month for enrolling in Medicaid. Each child or parent can earn $200 for an annual medical check-up, $100 for a recommended follow-up exam, and $100 for a visit to a dentist. Opportunity NYC is an interesting lens through which...

THE PUBLIC OPTION FREAK OUT.

Ezra makes a good point : The administration's recent ambiguity on the public option is not unusual; various members of the executive branch have been saying since April that the public option is not an absolutely essential part of reform. That said, as I wrote last week , Obama's decision to give Max Baucus and his Gang of Six near-veto power over elements of the reform package gave the death of the public option an air of inevitability. So if the public option will almost certainly be bargained away, the question then becomes: What health reform goals should progressives hold absolutely fast to, as the ground shifts? (I'm taking for granted here that reform is still likely to prevent insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-exisitng conditions, and that any legislation will do away with the practice of capping a policy-holder's lifetime health spending, which has contributed to shameful rates of health-related personal bankruptcy.) A few thoughts: National health...

Behavioral Theory

Can Mayor Bloomberg pay people to do the right thing?

(AP Photo)
Groundwork is a tiny, storefront service agency that sits across the street from a hulking housing project in East New York, the Brooklyn neighborhood infamous for being one of the poorest and most dangerous in New York City. Though on the surface many blocks in East New York lack the blight of inner-city Detroit or Baltimore, the statistics here speak volumes: The infant mortality rate is double that of the city as a whole. Half of all residents rely on public assistance. Two years ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg shut down the local public high school, which had a graduation rate of only 29 percent. On a rainy spring morning, a string of East New Yorkers visit Groundwork's office, looking for help. A middle-aged man with a speech impediment is confused about the status of his taxes; a staff member offers to call the Internal Revenue Service for him. An elderly woman wants to arrange nurse visits for a homebound friend. A laid-off Verizon fieldworker comes in to update the staff: He has...

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