Susan Dynarski examines the research on charter schools for The Upshot:
Social scientists, like medical researchers, can confirm only whether, on average, a given treatment is beneficial for a given population. Not all charter schools are outstanding: In the suburbs, for example, the evidence is that they do no better than traditional public schools. But they have been shown to improve the education of disadvantaged children at scale, in multiple cities, over many years.
Nicholas Zill examines how family transitions affect student achievement for the Family Studies blog:
Among journalists who write about education, the stock explanation for student underachievement and school discipline problems is poverty. Yet there are examples in every school system of students from impoverished family circumstances who do well academically, as well as instances of students from affluent families who get D’s and F’s or wreak havoc in class. When poverty is overemphasized as a cause of instructional ills, other aspects of family life—such as conflict between parents or changes in student living arrangements due to divorce or remarriage—are typically ignored or underemphasized.
Ben Casselman of FiveThirtyEight analyzed data from the Current Population Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation and found that minimum wage workers are less likely to move out of those jobs than they were in the mid-1990s.
Even those who do get a raise often don’t get much of one: Two-thirds of minimum-wage workers in 2013 were still earning within 10 percent of the minimum wage a year later, up from about half in the 1990s. And two-fifths of Americans earning the minimum wage in 2008 were still in near-minimum-wage jobs five years later, despite the economy steadily improving during much of that time.
Ana Swanson of Wonkblog examines a new study by Nolan McCarty, John Voorheis and Boris Shor that shows that the growing ideological gap between Republicans and Democrats may be due in part to the widening gap between rich and poor.
By looking at extensive data on U.S. states over the last few decades, the researchers show that the widening gap between the rich and the poor in recent decades has moved state legislatures toward the right overall, while also increasing the ideological distance between those on the right and those on the left.
The paper is Unequal Incomes, Ideology and Gridlock: How Rising Inequality Increases Political Polarization
The U.S. Department of Education released the data it used for the College Scorecard, along with data on completion rates, financial aid, debt and earnings.
Via Flowing Data: “And it doesn’t look and work like an outdated government site. With all of my frustrations with government sites, the education release feels pretty great. It’s as if the department actually wants us to look at the data. Imagine that.”
Oliver Roeder of FiveThirtyEight examines the phrase “mass incarceration” and how it relates to the prison population.
October’s cover of The Atlantic carries a headline that, even a decade ago, you probably never would’ve seen: “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration.” The 20,000-word article attached to it, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, covers the remarkable growth in the United States’ prison population and its outsize impact on black individuals, families and communities. That Coates’s piece employs the phrase “mass incarceration” 17 times is telling. The term has become ubiquitous in conversations about prison in the United States. But 10 years ago, barely anybody put the two words next to each other to talk about what the phrase has come to represent for many: everything that’s wrong with the American justice system.
The Census Bureau has release a new selection of data products on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage. These reflect the redesigned income questions included in a portion of the 2014 survey sample for the 2013 estimates. The new products include:
H/T: Data Detectives
Here’s a great piece using a mix of administrative data (complaint calls to the police), on-line forums, spatial data, and traditional census data to see what happens in the transition zones across neighborhoods. The first link is to the easy-to-read version as reported in CityLab; the second is the original piece, with more details about the methodology.
When Racial Boundaries Are Blurry, Neighbors Take Complaints Straight to 311
Laura Bliss | CityLab
August 25, 2015
In NYC, calls about noise and blocked driveways are most frequent in zones between racially homogenous neighborhoods.
Contested Boundaries: Explaining Where Ethno-Racial Diversity Provokes Neighborhood Conflict
Joscha Legewie and Merlin Schaeffer | Presentated at the American Sociological Meetings
August 21, 2015
Max Ehrenfreund of Wonkblog uses rumors of a revival of the Will Smith show “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” to discuss changes in the suburbs since that show first aired in the 1990’s.
It’s a show about what happens when a young black man moves out of the inner city and finds himself surrounded by the kind of culture and neighborhood traditionally associated with white America.
If Smith wants to bring the show up to date, he’ll have plenty of material. In the 25 years since “The Fresh Prince” first aired, hundreds of thousands of families of color have moved out of the city and into the suburbs over the past two decades, especially in the Sun Belt.