February 2, 2018

Contextual Healing

Two reports were released this week on fairly controversial issues — charter schools and identification systems. While both have obvious slants — one for charter schools and the other against government identification systems — they conducted 50 state reviews that are useful in understanding where North Carolina stands on both policies.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools published their ranking of state public charter school laws. Indiana came in first for the third year in a row, and North Carolina ranked 16th. The report recommended improving equitable operational funding, ensuring transparency regarding educational service providers, and strengthening accountability for full-time virtual charter schools.

The Cato Institute report reviewed state policies on national identification systems such as the REAL ID and E-Verify program. According to the report, North Carolina participates in REAL ID and E-Verify, uses facial recognition and license plate readers, and has signed a memorandum of understanding with the FBI to participate in the Next Generation Identification (NGI) initiative.

A New Slant

Reports about the effect of automation on jobs always point to the trucking industry. Self-driving trucks, they say, will decimate the trucking industry and hit states with large trucking sectors, like North Carolina, particularly hard. New research from Uber (yes, they do have a dog in this fight) shows those fears may be overblown.

Uber teamed up with economists and industry experts to project the number of truck drivers needed based on a variety of different scenarios. They found that while self-driving trucks may complete more long-haul trips (on highways and interstates), trucks will still need drivers to navigate cities, docking and loading, and congestion:

“In total, we considered 9 scenarios. In each one, we saw the same overall trends when self-driving trucks were deployed — a shift from long haul to local haul and an overall net increase in trucking jobs.”

uber

For Your Consideration

The latest jobs report came out today, and the numbers have people feeling optimistic. The U.S. added 200,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent. Despite positive growth over the past year, wages have been slow to respond. This report shows average earnings increased by 9 cents an hour, making them up 2.9 percent over the past year.

The New York Times has a good interactive explainer of why wages have been slow to respond to persistent job growth. Reasons include:

  • declining unionization
  • restraints on competition
  • a lagging minimum wage
  • globalization and automation
  • sluggish productivity
  • outsourcing

  • Customer Satisfaction at the Push of a Button

    The New Yorker | 02/01/2018

  • EdX Quietly Developing ‘MicroBachelors’ Program

    EdSurge | 01/26/2018

  • This Pastor is Putting His Faith in a Virtual Reality Church

    Wired | 02/02/2018

  • When More Women Join the Workforce, Wages Rise — Including for Men

    Harvard Business Review | 01/31/2018

  • Air pollution: black, Hispanic and poor students most at risk from toxins – study

    The Guardian | 02/01/2018

  • The Connection Between Retiring Early and Living Longer

    The Upshot | 01/29/2018