Links of Note 8/18/16

Launching a new semi-regular feature today: occasional posts that simply compile links to announcements, new research and other news about adult education or tangentially related topics (probably more of the latter), with little to no commentary from me to get in your way. Just click and go. There are those who will describe these kinds of posts as “curated links.” I’m not one of them, but if you are, then you have the basic idea.

I welcome your suggestions.

In Many Courtrooms, Bad Interpreters Can Mean Justice Denied [Pew/Stateline]
“Because there are so many U.S. residents — roughly 25.6 million — who have limited proficiency in English, the credibility of the nation’s justice system relies on competent interpreters.” I witnessed this problem firsthand in Boston courts 25 20 years ago; it seemed to me that non-English speakers were often targeted for minor traffic violations. Many were frankly terrified and the lack of translation services certainly didn’t help.

DACA at Four: Participation in the Deferred Action Program and Impacts on Recipients [MPI]

  • “Examining DACA application rates against the MPI population estimates suggests that 63 percent of the immediately eligible population had applied as of March 2016; the rate fell to 48 percent when including the share that did not appear to meet the educational criteria but may have enrolled in a qualifying adult education population.”
  • “[T]he vast majority eligible to renew the two-year DACA grant have done so—93 percent MPI estimates.”

Lessons From a Year Teaching Digital Literacy [Pacific Standard]

Veteran Hillary Clinton Education Adviser Named to Candidate’s Transition Team [Politics K-12 – Education Week]

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton Say They’ll Ease the Burden of Child-Care Costs [Real Time Economics – WSJ]
Summary of the two major party candidates’ proposals.

Overlooked: Women and Jails in an Era of Reform [VERA]
“Women in jail are the fastest growing correctional population in the country—increasing 14-fold between 1970 and 2014. Yet there is surprisingly little research on why so many more women wind up in jail today. This report examines what research does exist on women in jail in order to begin to reframe the conversation to include them.”

Two Lingering Suspicions About Economic Statistics [Bloomberg View]
Helpful primer (for me, anyway) on data smoothing (such as the seasonal adjustments made by the BLS to unemployment data) and “Pollyanna creep,” defined here as the likelihood that changes in economic indicator measures/calculations that make the economy look better are more likely to be implemented than changes that do not, resulting in a cumulative effect that is increasingly removed from reality. “[C]hanges made in the calculation of inflation over the past quarter-century… have come under the most fire.”


Changes to this Blog

Regular readers may have already noticed some small changes I’ve made to this site over the last week or two, as I’m beginning the process of transitioning this blog into something that’s more than just a personal diary for my own policy musings (and occasional Run DMC videos).

This site was originally just a place for me to post policy items that were more or less leftovers from other jobs. Later I started taking it more seriously and have been using it as a way to discipline myself to write regularly. I’m very gratified that over time the blog  has developed a decent-sized regular readership. For this reason, (and also because of some significant changes in my own professional life, which you can read about here), I’ve decided the time has come to see if we can take this blog to the next level, which means transitioning it from a personal blog to one that includes multiple contributors, and (hopefully) starts to evolve into a “real” digital publication and online community. In the process, I plan to cut back significantly on my own posting and move into more of an executive editor/publisher role, concentrating my time on recruiting and mentoring a cadre of contributors, and, over time, developing the resources to make the site self-sustaining.

I have no idea if this will actually work, although I do have confidence that it can work, and that I have the skills to make it happen. But it won’t get off the ground at all unless  I’m able to recruit strong contributors. Interested? Know someone who might be? Here’s an overview of the kind of contributors I’m looking for.

Malpractice in Kamloops

“After limping along for the past two years without government funding, adult literacy instruction in Kamloops has a shot in the arm.”

via The Kamloops Daily News

Surprising GED News

For those of you following the whole GED saga, the GED Testing Service made a surprising announcement earlier today: the new, computer-based test being rolled out in 2014 will not only be computer based, but will only display correctly on high-definition, 3D-capable screens of at least 27 inches in diameter.

Adult education programs—and many states—have already expressed concerns over the switch to computer-only testing, and this news will likely fan the flames of discontent even more. (Some states have already announced plans to replace the test with another exam.)

GED Testing Service officials noted that the screen size/resolution is necessary in order to properly display the full range of content planned for the new test.

“Last we checked, the real world was both in color and in high def,” officials said. “Without these changes, employers will have no way of knowing whether potential employees can work in such environments.”

Asked why the displays would need to be 3D-ready, officials noted that the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University estimates that by 2017, nearly 73% of all jobs will require experience using and manipulating objects in three dimensions, which means that future versions of the exam will need to take that into account. “The old paper-and-pencil GED is part of the past,” they said. “I mean, does anyone even know where you can go to buy pencils anymore? The new infrastructure we’re putting into place today looks forward towards a Minority Report-like future, where you can just point and wave your hands at the screen, and stuff happens.”

“The existing test is so putridly and disgustingly out of date we can hardly stand to look at it without becoming slightly nauseous,” officials continued. “And then we realized that even our original designs for the revised computer-based version were kind of out-of-date too. With the new technical requirements we are announcing today, adults without a high school diploma—especially those who already own a set of 3-D goggles—can be confident that we’ll be rolling out the kind of exam that will prepare them for work, college—and beyond. Putting off these changes would only result in another generation of individuals denied the opportunity to prepare for the increasing number of jobs that exist outside the old, black & white, 2-D world of the past.”

In related news—which, like the above, is not as good as last year’s—the Center on Education and the Workforce also announced today that by the year 2030, the majority of jobs in the U.S. will require not only college, but a Ph.D. and “at least some” astronaut experience.