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.”


Warning of the Day

From John Huppenthal:

The state’s top education official warned Wednesday that Arizona schools could be inundated with tens of thousands of immigrant children at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars if President Obama enacts some kind of amnesty.

But John Huppenthal conceded he has absolutely nothing to back that up. In fact, Huppenthal acknowledged that federal law already requires Arizona — and all states — to educate children regardless of their immigration status. That, he said, means the children who he fears might be granted amnesty likely already are here and in Arizona schools.

“Perhaps,” he said, saying there is no way to know “all of the implications” of what the president might order. (my emphasis)

It’s true. For all we know the President will announce the rollout of some kind of mutant clone army to escort illegal aliens across the boarder and into our schools. Best to prepare for the worst you can make up imagine.

An Immigration Reform Strategy That Includes Investments in Skills for All

Jared Bernstein looks at the impact of immigration on poverty in the U.S., and concludes that it doesn’t have much of an impact on poverty trends over time:

The fact that immigration isn’t placing much pressure on poverty rate trends suggests that if we want to reduce those trends, we’re less likely to get there by trying to reduce immigration.  A far better strategy would be to improve the earnings capacity–the skills, the availability of decent paying jobs, the work supports—available to all low-wage working families, regardless of their nativity. (my emphasis)

This was more-or-less the premise we started from when I worked with the National Skills Coalition on this set of immigration reform recommendations. That is, we looked at  immigration reform as an opportunity to begin overhauling the federal workforce development system across the board (including investing in more skills training and adult education). In fact, immigration reform seemed to me at the time to be the best chance to get something resembling workforce development legislation passed in the near term (even if prospects for WIA look a bit better right now), because, at least in the case of last year’s Senate bill, there were some significant dollars attached for education and training.

I also wonder if embedding immigration reform inside a broader education and workforce development strategy might be helpful from a political perspective, by placing it in the context of a political issue with a broader constituency. It might also give some structure by which to diffuse the argument that immigration reforms will result in immigrants taking away jobs from U.S.-born workers. (I know that a lot of people have made the case for immigration reform in the context of broader economic growth , but I’m not sure among that this connects very well with the general public in the way that jobs and job training does.)

Summer of Immigration Reform?

Major Garrett reads the tea leaves on immigration reform in the House and likes the chances for progress next year. He notes not only House Speaker John Boehner’s hiring of Rebecca Tallent, but thinks that the budget deal has demonstrated that the Boehner and his leadership team can work around hard-line conservatives in his party. He also notes the Obama administration’s increasing willingness to accept the piecemeal, bill-by-bill approach the House wants to take (as opposed to one big comprehensive bill, which is what the Senate did last year), and thinks Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) may end up playing significant role. Here’s how he thinks it might play out:

Boehner has to wait for the bulk of primary season to pass (May or June) before serious immigration work can begin. By then, much of the legislation can be written and the calendar cleared for action in the summer. The House GOP leader on the budget deal, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., may emerge as a key figure. Ryan’s pedigree is not on immigration policy, but conference conservatives will follow him. He has the scars of the budget fights, the experience of a national campaign, and a wide-open calendar to freelance now that spending numbers have been set for the next two years. Ryan has boundless policy energy and equally boundless ambition. If Boehner needs or wants a new driver on immigration, one tested by fire from the right, he may well choose Ryan.

A lot can change between now and May, but right now, this seems like a reasonable scenario.

By the way, those who lobbied for the immigration integration programs proposed in the Senate bill last spring (which included resources for english language instruction, job training, and legal services), will have their work cut out for them during the House process (assuming it ever gets going). I don’t think integration programs are seen right now as an integral part of whatever legalization scheme they come up with in the House.