At every level of government, the people who make the laws in the United States come from much more privileged backgrounds than Americans as a whole. Members of Congress, state legislators, even city council members – all tend to be significantly wealthier, more educated, and more often from white-collar occupations than the citizens they represent. Although observers routinely downplay this disconnect as insignificant, in reality the upward-tilted composition of our political institutions has serious consequences for the balance of power between the haves and the have-nots in our political process.
By Camille Peeples
The phrase “higher education” usually conjures images of leafy college quads, imposing stone buildings and school spirit fed by winning sports teams. That image leads to a bad case of “Harvard envy,” and a mismatch between the current system and the educational needs of the majority of the population, according to Andy Rosen, PPS/History '82, chairman and CEO of Kaplan Inc., the for-profit education and test-preparation company.
Great mentorship can make the difference between success and failure in graduate school.
Daniel Werfel MPP’97 established a reputation as a problem-solver during his 15 years of service at the White House Office of Management and Budget. That reputation led to his appointment as acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service in May 2013, when the agency was under fire for possible political discrimination.
After two months in Sudan, Idrissa Kamara MIDP’02 was ready to give up. He and his fellow humanitarian aid workers for Save the Children arrived in what is now South Sudan in March 2005 to help implement a basic health, water, hygiene and HIV/AIDS services program. They found themselves fighting intense heat, sleeping on dirt floors and treating contaminated water from a nearby river.
Lawyer and businessman Michael Sorrell MPP'90/JD’94 took the reins at Paul Quinn College, a historically black college (HBCU) in Dallas on the verge of collapse, in the spring of 2007. Sorrell turned the situation around with significant changes and accomplishments during his tenure.
By Becky Richards
As the executive director of the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research (NCCPPR), Ran Coble MPP’77 has had a long career in public policy, providing nonpartisan, independent research on issues important to the state. Coble recently announced his upcoming retirement in September from the position to which he has devoted the past 33 years.
When Catherine Herrold PhD’13 traveled to Cairo, Egypt, to conduct her dissertation research on philanthropy, she could not have anticipated finding herself in the midst of the political unrest of the Arab Spring.
Mary Adkins PPS’04 has always had two great passions: law and the arts. On the path that led to her living a “dual track life,” Adkins consistently alternated between the two interests. Recently she found the balance that allows her to combine these passions into the influential website, Life of the Law, which features blogs, podcasts, and live events about the transformative role of the legal system in the lives of Americans.
When Bill Adair launched the PolitiFact website at The Tampa Bay Times in 2007, he wanted to provide a different kind of campaign coverage through fact-checking. With its Truth-O-Meter rating scale, ranging from “True” to “Pants on Fire” for the most ridiculous falsehoods, the site became the go-to source for evaluating politician’s claims. The site was such a success that it won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009.