Friday Roundup: Unemployment, the minimum wage, social mobility, school funding, and charter schools

There are always a few items we’ve read during a week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

FiveThirtyEight: The Rising Unemployment Rate is Good News

The labor force grew by nearly 400,000 people in March, and the participation rate — the share of adults who are either working or actively looking for work — rose for the fourth month in a row, the first time that’s happened since 1992.

Nielsen (PSBJ commentary): Focus on ‘how’ we fund schools, not ‘how much’

The question is not so much about the need for more money, but rather the need to re-examine how we allocate the money we now spend. There is very little data to support the contention that spending more money will, by itself, yield greater academic gains. We have been trying that for decades with no meaningful progress.

There are numerous states and districts that spend far more per child than do we, and their results are worse — Newark, New Jersey, comes immediately to mind. They spend well over $20,000 per-child per-year and have abysmal results.

The Lens: Charter Schools Rescue Bill Will Stand

“The question from here is will we shift gears and think of these as another type of public school,” said Robin Lake, director of the UW Center for Reinventing Public Education. Leaders could help set that tone of moving beyond labels, she said, by placing equal importance on charter school students.

New Geography: Aristocracy of Talent: Social Mobility is the Silver Lining to America’s Inequality Crisis 

What is the future trajectory of wealth in America? One thing seems certain: the twin tech capitals of Bay Area and Seattle, now home to nine of the 400, are likely to expand their reach. One clear piece of evidence is age; people generally do not get richer when they retire. In contrast, virtually all self-made billionaires under 40 are techies

Seattle Times op-ed: Follow the pho: An update on Seattle’s minimum wage impact

While prices in most sectors — grocery stores, gas stations, drugstores and other retail outlets — showed minimal changes last year, restaurant prices increased by an average of 7.7 percent.

If Seattle’s pho providers — and other restaurateurs — survive by cutting back hours, charging more, serving smaller portions or skimping on service, that’s bad news for customers. If customers react by cutting back on their patronage, this could eventually harm workers and business owners alike.

Washington Post Wonkblog: The $15 minimum wage sweeping the nation might kill jobs — and that’s OK

“Why shouldn’t we in fact accept job loss?” asks New School economics and urban policy professor David Howell, who’s about to publish a white paper on the subject. “What’s so bad about getting rid of crappy jobs, forcing employers to upgrade, and having a serious program to compensate anyone who is in the slightest way harmed by that?”