Links of Note 8/29/16

Donald Trump Taps Indiana Lawmaker’s Staffer to Craft School Choice Plan [Politics K-12 | EdWeek]
Rob Goad, who used to work for Indiana Rep. Luke Messer, is “the first adviser for Trump to focus specifically on education issues,” but apparently he will be focused on “school choice” issues.

How Much Slack is Left in US Labor Markets? [Conversable Economist]
Not much, according to Timothy Taylor. The bad news: “[W]hatever you dislike about the labor market cant really be blamed on the Great Recession any more. So if you’re worried about issues like a lack of jobs for low-wage labor, too many jobs paying at or near the minimum wage, not enough on-the-job training, not enough opportunities for longer-term careers, loss of jobs in sectors like manufacturing and construction, too much part-time work, inequality of the wage distribution, one can no longer argue that the issues will be addressed naturally as the economy recovers.(my emphasis)

Immigration Issues That Trump and Clinton Don’t Talk About (Much) [Roll Call]
“The presidential candidates have primarily butted heads over high-profile topics like border security, Syrian refugee resettlements, deportation policies, and a pathway to legal status for millions of undocumented U.S. residents. But back in Washington, members of Congress have a longer list of immigration issues to tackle, which have received less attention on the campaign trail.” Roll Call‘s list of their concerns includes: Cuban migration, EB-5 investor visas, guest worker programs, biometric entry-exit systems, and special visas for Afghan allies. Addressing immigrant education needs or integrating immigrants into the workforce? Didn’t make the cut.

Brain wiring needed for reading isn’t learned—it’s in place prior to reading [Ars Technica]
“By peeking at brain connections prior to the VWFA forming, doctors may be able to anticipate years in advance if kids will have reading difficulties or disorders such as dyslexia.”

Links of Note 8/24/16

The Hidden Costs of Low Literacy in Australia [SBS News]
Nicely organized explainer with compelling personal stories.

Rauner Signs Juvenile Justice Reform bills [Chicago Tribune]
Governor Rauner said the legislation was just one step in a larger effort that should address, among other things, the “lack of job skills” among the prison population in Illinois.

Coding Boot Camps Attract Tech Companies [Wall Street Journal]
“The Flatiron School’s 12-week course costs $15,000, but earns students no degree and no certificate (my emphasis). What it does get them, at an overwhelming rate, is a well-paying job.”

Here’s Proof That the Economic Recovery Is Over [CNBC]
What I thought was interesting here is the notion that despite the generally good news regarding employment, there is evidence to suggest that many of these jobs are not “quality jobs.”

“If the employment condition is booming why are payroll taxes falling?

There are a couple of answers to that question and neither is favorable. The BLS numbers are either wrong or the quality of new jobs created must be very poor. The latter response seems the most credible; a combination of an increase in the proportion of part-time workers and full-time jobs that provide lower compensation.”

This Helpful Chart Reveals if a Robot Is Coming For Your Job [Business Insider]
McKinsey report that purports to predict the likelihood of jobs becoming automated by analyzing work activities rather than occupations. Interesting that such human qualities as patience, empathy, and kindness aren’t on their list. Work that involves caring for others, such as caring for the elderly, sick, children etc. is an area of employment that is growing and where future needs will be great. I can’t imagine these jobs being done very well without empathetic, human interaction, even if technologies are used to assist.

I welcome your suggestions.

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.”

 

Why Irregular Work Scheduling Matters

Irregular work schedules and long hours are likely a significant barrier to many low-skilled adults who would like to participate in adult education. How much of a barrier I don’t know—this is yet another place where we are achingly lacking in data. But students dropping out of classes after being switched to a different shift, for example, is not an uncommon occurrence. It’s not the only barrier, by any means, but it’s an important one. Addressing the “upskilling” problem in anything other than a token manner will likely require significant changes in employment practices on a large scale.