This week, #TCFBest covers the gamut, from Millennials obtaining health insurance, to disability benefits. The Guardian, in a new series focused on the financial struggles of Generation Y, highlights the tradeoffs young people make when deciding whether to purchase health insurance or take their chances. At Al Jazeera America, Nicholas Tampio writes an op-ed concerning Common Core standards and the opportunity gap. In the Urban Institute’s MetroTrends blog, a map portrays the share of adults receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (DI).

The “young invincibles”

In contrast to Obamacare’s high enrollment numbers this past month, many Millennials are instead opting to pay the penalty outlined in the Affordable Care Act rather than purchase coverage.The Guardian interviews several young adults who are facing financial tradeoffs between rent, student debt and transportation costs. To some, even affordable health insurance is not affordable enough when “fine print” costs like deductibles are factored in. While 18 percent of college graduates are under-employed, this extra bill will continue to add up. One interviewee said, “This is not something that is affordable, per se. I can afford it, but after I account for all of my expenses, this is it. I can’t do anything more.” Get the itemized explanation at The Guardian.

Finding Common ground

In New York, if you’re of elementary or middle school age, chances are you’ve just finished a round of Common Core testing — but do these tests violate civil rights? Stanford professor Linda Darling-Hammond thinks so, at least in implementation. At Al Jazeera, Darling-Hammond claims Common Core testing widens the opportunity gap between wealthy, white students and poorer districts with high minority populations. This type of reform, Darling-Hammond says, narrows curriculum, leaving room for only those materials that can be evaluated, which also widens the gap between public schools who must adhere to the standards, and private schools, which do not. What can be done? Focus more on income inequality, according to Nicholas Tampio, the author of the piece. Get educated at Al Jazeera.

Mapping disability

The Urban Institute recently published a piece on their MetroTrends blog highlighting a puzzling depiction of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) recipients concentrated in the south. Even more bizarre is the occurrence of concentration in some counties, but not in their immediate neighbors. A possible explanation is that disability rates are generally higher in the south and southwest. Additionally, all of the most concentrated counties have a large coal mining industry, which could explain stark contrasts between counties. Get more stats at MetroTrends.