This week, we discuss what's next for the United States and North Korea; whether teachers and principals agree on school leadership; artificial intelligence bias; U.S. policy in Afghanistan; how the opioid crisis affects infants; and how jobs can help improve the lives of Syrian refugees and their host countries.
It's been two weeks since the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un collapsed. Is Kim sincere about his offer to denuclearize? If not, U.S.–North Korea relations face a difficult future, says RAND's Bruce Bennett. But if Kim is genuine, then it's time for him to match his words with actions. To start, he could provide a list of key nuclear facilities and allow the international community to confirm that weapon production has stopped.
School principals almost universally rate their leadership highly. Teachers also rate principals highly, but they are slightly less positive. That's according to a new RAND survey. For example, more than 98 percent of principals said they communicate a clear vision, while 79 percent of teachers agree. Such gaps in perception may get in the way of creating a cohesive school culture.
Conversations about unintentional bias in artificial intelligence are becoming more common. And no wonder, says RAND's Douglas Yeung: The harm unintended bias can cause is real. But intentional bias is also a concern. Why might someone knowingly introduce bias? For the same reasons they hack systems or engage in other illicit activities, he says.
The latest round of U.S.–Taliban peace talks wrapped up this week. There are reports of progress, but an agreement remains elusive. In the absence of Afghan peace, the next U.S. president may face the same decision that Presidents Obama and Trump have faced. It's “not a choice between winning and losing,” says RAND's James Dobbins, “but rather the choice between losing and not losing.”
As a neonatologist, Dr. Stephen Patrick treats infants who were exposed to opioids before birth. In studying this problem with Vanderbilt University and RAND, he found a strong link between opioid-exposed babies and long-term unemployment, suggesting that the opioid crisis is partly an economic crisis. This is particularly true for remote, rural areas—including Patrick's hometown.
Millions of Syrian refugees are living in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. While many are finding ways to get by, they still face barriers to sustainable employment. Job-matching assistance and job-specific training could help, say RAND experts. But such programs should extend to both refugees and host-country workers. These efforts can create opportunities for all—and support stability in the Middle East.
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