So far, there’s little evidence that LCFF is, in fact, narrowing the achievement gap, but defenders of the status quo say it just needs more time and more money to show results.
One of the many fronts in the school war has been the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which requires states, as a condition of receiving federal school aid, to provide some of the direct oversight and accountability that the Equity Coalition seeks, especially in identifying failing schools.
Torlakson and the state school board have chosen to comply with the law minimally but just before Christmas the U.S. Department of Education politely told them, via a 12-page letter, that the plan they submitted was falling short of the ESSA law’s requirements.
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline is expected to go up about 19 cents in 2018, according to the annual Fuel Price Outlook put out by GasBuddy, a tech company based in Boston that helps motorists find the cheapest gasoline in a given area. The average price in the U.S. is projected to go from $2.39 a gallon to $2.57 a gallon, the highest price since 2014. The increase will hit California drivers harder, since the average price for gasoline in the Golden State is higher (about $3.10 a gallon), due to higher taxes and the special blending requirements for fuel that are aimed at reducing air pollution.
The local picture is not much better, according to data released through Stanford University in October. Funded in part by a nonprofit that advocates pension reform and conducted by Joe Nation, a former Democratic assemblyman who is now with the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, the study found that the city of Sacramento has more than doubled its contribution to CalPERS in the past nine years, going from $42.4 million in 2008 to $88.2 million in 2017. Sacramento’s pension costs are expected to reach about $150 million by 2022.
One study found that a $1,000 increase in the EITC led to a 7.3 percentage point increase in employment and a nearly 10 percentage-point reduction in the share of families in poverty. Its benefits are far-reaching, too. For lower-education single mothers, an additional $1,000 in the EITC is associated with a 6.7 to 10.8 percent drop in the share of infants being born with low birth weights, with bigger impacts for black mothers.
New research by David Neumark and Peter Shirley of the University of California, Irvine, shows that the effects are not just short-term, either. The EITC does not just boost earnings and reduce poverty rates when it is received, but improves the lifetime earnings trajectories of unmarried women with kids.
In U.S. cities with the tightest labor markets, workers are finding something that’s long been missing from the broader economic expansion: faster-growing paychecks. Workers in metro areas with the lowest unemployment are experiencing among the strongest wage growth in the country. The labor market in places like Minneapolis, Denver and Fort Myers, Fla., where unemployment rates stand near or even below 3%, has now tightened to a point where businesses are raising pay to attract employees, often from competitors.