A new tool that our organization, the American Human Development Project, developed with United Way illustrates in very concrete terms the nature and extent of the costs we all pay for the terrible inequities that characterize our educational system — the Common Good ForecasterTM. This online web tool uses the most recent official data available on U.S. states and counties to put a human face on the effects of decisions we make as a society. It offers a snapshot of educational outcomes in our communities today and paints a picture of a different tomorrow.
At the American Human Development Project, we’re honored that the Globalist—a media, education, and publishing venture that features writings on key economic, political, and cultural issues, has selected The Measure of America among its FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2008. Other works on the list of 10 favorites include Robin Wright’s Middle Eastern Dreams and Shadows, Kishore Mahbubani’s The New Asian Hemisphere, Jeffrey Sachs’ Common Wealth, and others.
The New York Times online opinion page today ran a piece called “Michelle Obama’s Balancing Act” about Mrs. Obama’s decision to champion the issue of work-life balance. One way the First Lady might use her bully pulpit is to bring to the attention of American businesses, workers and policy-makers the ways in which other countries help moms and dads balance their jobs at home and their jobs at work. Where does the U.S. stand in comparison to its peer nations?
First up is Mayor Bloomberg’s recent announcement of a new way to measure poverty in New York City. Using the new Bloomberg gauge, 23 percent of New Yorkers are classified as poor; under the standard federal poverty measure, 19 percent are. What accounts for the difference?
Our aim with the American Human Development Project is to introduce to our own country an international approach and tool for measuring human well-being that we’ve seen used around the world with great success – the human development approach and the human development index. Human development is, in the words of Amartya Sen, about “advancing the richness of human life” and expanding the opportunities, choices, and freedoms of ordinary people. With our book, The Measure of America, and this website, we hope to stimulate fact-based public dialogue and debate about human development here at home.