The 2015 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences will kick off a Washington State University Foley Institute lecture series that will explore the issue of inequality in the United States.
“Our hope is this series will help people rethink what they think about inequality,” said Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute of Public Policy and Public Service.
“One of the things that we’ve been trying to do at the Foley Institute at least one semester of the year is run a series on a particular topic then teach a course that coincides with that lecture series,” Clayton said. “We decided the politics of inequality was a particularly good topic, given how important it is right now in terms of driving the national dialogue. The series also aligns with this year’s Common Reading Book, Tales of Two Americas.”
In news that should be unsurprising to anyone trying to find housing or merge onto Interstate 90 anytime near rush hour, Spokane and Kootenai counties together saw more than 100,000 new residents over the past decade, according to recently released U.S. Census data.
Such an increase, and the national trend of increasing population away from rural areas and closer to more urban and suburban areas, will almost certainly influence electoral politics in state Legislatures, said Travis Ridout, a professor of government and public policy at Washington State University.
“It means more power for the cities and suburbs, and less power for those rural areas,” Ridout said.
Neither Washington nor Idaho will gain any new seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Representation in that chamber of Congress is determined by a formula based on a state’s total population that was written in 1940.
Several Washington State University faculty are the recipients of a $1.4 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences to refine and expand an assessment that helps address truancy in K-12 schools.
Paul Strand, WSU Tri-Cities professor of psychology, Brian French, Berry Family Distinguished professor and director of WSU’s Learning and Performance Research Center and Psychometric Laboratory, Nick Lovrich, WSU Regents professor emeritus, and Bruce Austin, research associate in educational psychology and the LPRC, have worked since 2014 to evaluate and refine WARNS. With the grant, the group is adding to their team to help refine the tool.
“The grant allows us to explore the context of student situations and how to refine WARNS to reflect that context,” Strand said.
If you use Facebook, and about two-thirds of Americans do based on current estimates, you may have noticed plenty of political ads as the campaigns heated up last year.
A group of political scientists, which includes Washington State University’s Travis Ridout, has gone beyond noticing such things to quantifying the use of Facebook by political campaigns.
Facebook ads weren’t as likely as television to be used for issues because the viewer’s attention span is so short, said Ridout, who is the Thomas S. Foley distinguished professor of government and public policy and the director of WSU’s School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs.
“It’s a criticism we used to level at TV,” he said. But with television, a campaign could always count on some viewers being too lazy to change the channel and picking up the message. With social media platforms, ads can be dismissed with the swipe of a finger on a smart phone screen. “They really have to capture your attention in the first seconds.”
The Pledge of Allegiance is repeated by students across the nation as they start their days at school. It is announced by refugees and other immigrants who recite it during their naturalization ceremonies . The echoes of the pledge can be heard during Congressional sessions and other government meetings, including those of the Spokane City Council (at least before meetings became virtual in the pandemic).
“The pledge was initially rooted by the panic of mass migration and a nativist fear,” said Cornell Clayton, the director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service and a professor of political science at Washington State University. “It encouraged immigrants to appreciate their new homeland as they arrived from all over Europe.”
Washington state requires each school to have a visible flag on display during school hours. It is also requires for each classroom to have a flag on display to accompany the ritual recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the school day. Washington state does not require students to recite the pledge, but asks that “students not reciting the pledge shall maintain a respectful silence.” The law also says that the pledge or National Anthem “shall be rendered immediately preceding interschool events when feasible.”