Policy and Practice 2012-2013

The student-run journal of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

Welcome to the 2012-2013 edition of Policy and Practice, a student-run academic journal comprised of all disciplines within the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Policy and Practice publishes effective and inspiring policy reports that address global issues on a multi-disciplinary level.

Created in 2009 by graduate students of the USC Price School, Policy and Practice incorporates the expertise of all programs at the Price School of Public Policy. The goal of the journal is to promote discourse amongst graduate and professional degree students of Public Policy, Public Administration, Real Estate Development, Health Administration, and Planning programs by encouraging students to produce work that inspires dialogue on a broad range of topics.


Educational Policy

The A–G Resolution and Educational Equity in LAUSD High Schools

by Beatrice Fuchs

Abstract — This paper analyzes the A–G Resolution passed by the LAUSD Board of Education that altered district-wide high school graduation requirements, adding a mandatory 15-course sequence that aligns with the requirements for admission to the University of California and California State University. This paper analyzes the impacts of the first of two implementation phases, begun in 2005. The paper provides a detailed examination of the policy goals, target population, implementing agent, implementation process, mandate design, and existing evaluation, supported by academic research. The paper concludes with a recommendation to the LAUSD Board of Education for the second implementation phase, which began in the fall of 2012. Read more »

LA Gang Prevention Programs

Gang Prevention Programs in Greater Los Angeles

by Jaclynn J. Guilfoyle

Abstract — This brief examines two gang activity prevention programs in Los Angeles: Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) and Summer Night Lights (SNL). Prevention programs, when successful, can have a great return on investment for a city. School districts and police departments in Los Angeles have long relied on GREAT, a school-based program, to deter youth from joining gangs. However, gang membership and violence remain constant, and future federal grants for GREAT are uncertain due to recent Congressional budget cuts. In its first three years, SNL’s community-based strategy yielded positive results as a viable crime prevention program for at-risk youth. Read more »

Educational Reform

Proposed Reform to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010: Secondary Application Reviews for the National School Lunch Program

by Joanna Kabat

Abstract — A proposed change to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 introduces new application review protocols for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). These protocols intend to strengthen the integrity of the program, but there are significant implications for its administration. The new review process will affect the program’s credibility, the organizational culture of the various institutions that oversee its administration, and the craft of their employees. These trade-offs are ultimately necessary for overall NSLP viability, especially in the most vulnerable communities and schools nation-wide. Read more »

Healthcare Administration

The EHR Initiative: Cash for Compliance

by Ashley Lai

Abstract — According to a recent report, only 37% of smaller medical practices have adopted an electronic health record (EHR) system compared to 77% of hospitals who have not (Terry, 2012). As sophisticated advances are being made in healthcare information systems, the federal government is making a push for technological integration in order to increase industry continuity and improve quality of care in the US. To facilitate this shift, lawmakers have introduced an aggressive five-year timeline with substantial monetary consequences in an effort to encourage modernization in late adopters. These changes raise grave concerns, specifically among small-scale independent practices that fear the costs of compliance and penalties of non-compliance with EHR standards will threaten the financial solvency of their businesses. In light of this national debate, the purpose of this paper is to analyze the ethics of this legislation and the financial hardship it poses on small-scale providers. Although the new federal initiative for implementation of electronic health records would streamline clinical practices and reduce medical errors, it is unethical to punish providers with heavy financial penalties to enforce industry-wide compliance by 2015. Doing so would present paralyzing financial challenges for many small-scale organizations. Read more »

Implementing Emergency Preparedness Education

Increasing the Los Angeles Metropolitan Region’s Resiliency by Implementing Emergency Preparedness Education in Los Angeles County Elementary and Middle Schools

by Laura Martinez

Abstract — The fact that a large number of Los Angeles (LA) County adults have failed to prepare themselves and their households for emergencies or disasters will have serious consequences for families and the metropolitan region’s resiliency after a large-scale mass-casualty event. This paper examines the consequences of unpreparedness, the benefits of becoming prepared, and current research and education programs, in the context of the LA county metropolitan region’s risks. To increase preparedness of individuals and families, LA County should explore the practical solution of incorporating emergency preparedness and response curricula into K-8 public education. Implementing such a program countywide would increase resiliency and provide the world an active, large experiment on the positive effects of emergency preparedness education. Read more »

Healthcare Policy

What Providers Need To Know Before Adopting Bundling Payments

by Dan Mirakhor

Abstract — Bundling Payments to healthcare providers is going to be utilized more often as a strategy to curb the cost of healthcare in the United States. Theoretically, adapting to bundled payment schemes reduces the incentive to provide unnecessary care, decreases the variation in cost among payers, and improves quality by systematizing episodes of care. The research applied from administering bundling payment projects provides mixed results. In cases such as knee replacement surgery, when a more standardized approach to treatment can be applied, bundling payment reduces cost of care and improves quality by decreasing potentially avoidable complications. However, agreeing upon which services belong in a bundle is a major reason why bundling pilot projects such as Prometheus have shown slow progress. The purpose of this paper is to use the research from bundling payment projects to inform healthcare providers of the obstacles to adapting to bundling payment schemes. Read more »

Public Health

Neurodiversity and the Future of Autism

by Paulina Ong

Abstract — This article recognizes autism as an urgent and largely neglected social issue and frames autism in the context of the neurodiversity movement. In comparing the ideology of this school of thought with that of the dominant medical model, this article analyzes the social implications of each. It seeks to promote the notion of self-advocacy among individuals with disabilities and discusses possible applications to policy and intervention. By mobilizing the community to raise awareness of autism-related issues, stronger support systems can be built, and notions of inclusion and diversity can be fostered within society. Read more »