Links of Note 10/21/16

The Promise of Personalized Learning in Rural America [Bellwether Education Partners]
I haven’t read this but I would think that many of the issues facing rural K-12 schools would be similar to those faced by rural or otherwise isolated adult education programs.

Not Working Makes People Sick [Bloomberg View]
Does dropping out of workforce due to illness make you more sick? I think additional research would be needed to justify this conclusion, but it’s an interesting theory nonetheless.

Here’s What Economists Don’t Understand About Race [Institute for New Economic Thinking]
“The real driver of inequality… is not an individual’s level of education and productivity, but the resources that parents and grandparents are able to transmit.”

Where the Jobs Are

Drives me little crazy when on the one hand you read about all these jobs that are going to be taken over by robots leaving people unemployed, and then you read stuff like this:

In surveys, people say overwhelmingly that they want to remain at home as they age. To enable that, the country will need another 633,000 home care workers by 2024, P.H.I. projects.

The generation behind the aging boomers is smaller, however. Given the low pay, scant benefits and high injury rates, will enough workers materialize? “We’re reaching a breaking point,” said Abby Marquand, P.H.I.’s director of policy research.

The “care” economy is going to be growing like crazy for the foreseeable future, even if the generation behind the baby boomers is smaller: people are living longer and medical advances are not only prolonging life but making it possible for more people to live at home as they age. While technology may eliminate certain kinds of jobs, it’s not going to eliminate these kinds of jobs, which by definition require human interaction that machines cannot replicate.

It’s similar to my frustration with crumbling infrastructure. We have bridges falling down and old people to take care of. There should be plenty of jobs for everyone. That’s assuming that we invest in the infrastructure and, especially on the caregiver side, (as this article makes clear) create policies that support decent pay, hours, benefits etc. And in all cases training people to do those jobs well.

At least that’s what I would do if you put me in charge. That plus outlawing reserve seating at movie theaters. Also, there shouldn’t be NHL teams in places like Arizona. #commonsensereforms

Links of note 9/14/2016

U.S. Household Income Grew 5.2 Percent in 2015, Breaking Pattern of Stagnation [New York Times]
White House trumpeting these three takeaways: (1) median household income in 2015 up 5.2 percent from the previous year — the largest single-year increase since record-keeping began in 1967; (2) about three and a half million people moved out of poverty since last year—the largest one-year drop in poverty since 1968; and (3) the uninsured rate is the lowest since they began keeping records. The Times article emphasizes those points, but notes that median household income is still 1.6 percent lower than in 2007, adjusting for inflation, and 2.4 percent lower than the peak reached during the late 1990s. The Times also notes that the income gains “came mostly from job growth rather than wage growth. More people are working, but many of them are still struggling to maintain their standard of living.”

Related articles:

Goldman Sachs Isn’t That Worried About Technology Destroying Your Job [Bloomberg]
“[W]orkers are already responding to the new employment landscape by taking on “adaptive occupations” that are better insulated from the rise of the machines. Such occupations include nurses and web developers but can also extend to more traditional vocations such as carpenters, plumbers, and tailors.”

International Literacy Day 2016

ILD 2016 Poster

ILD 2016 Poster – Click for full size

Today is the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day (ILD), an annual observance promoted by UNESCO to “actively mobilize the international community and to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies.”

UNESCO is celebrating ILD’s 50th anniversary under the banner “Reading the Past, Writing the Future,” in recognition of the past five decades of national and “international engagement, efforts and progress made to increase literacy rates around the world.”

The main global celebration of the day takes place at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, in the form of a two-day conference and the awarding of UNESCO’s International Literacy Prizes for 2016. In addition, a new program, the Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL) will be launched. UNESCO calls GAL a “new and ambitious initiative to make all major stakeholders pull together to promote literacy as a foundation for lifelong learning.”

There are events, articles, and statements from government officials around the globe today to mark the occasion. ILD celebrations are generally more prominent outside of the Unites States, although many U.S. adult literacy programs mark the day as well. This UNESCO page has links to some of the more prominent ILD 2016 events.

I find that ILD provides a good opportunity to explore literacy efforts outside the U.S., and so I always take some time out on September 8 to explore ILD-related activities in other countries. If I have time today, I will post a few links.

For those of you who are fans of infographics, here is the official UNESCO ILD 2016 infographic (click on it to see the entire thing):

ILD 2016 - Link to Infographic