California posted strong job gains in October, as the Golden State’s economic engine pushed the unemployment rate down to 4.9% from 5.1% a month earlier.
In all, the state added 31,700 net new jobs last month, according to data released Friday by the Employment Development Department.
The report marked the first time since March that employers added jobs in consecutive months, boosting confidence in an economy that has slowed somewhat from last year.
Another prominent education research and advocacy organization that disapproves of California’s approach to school accountability has ranked California’s new system at the bottom nationwide in a report released Tuesday.
The low score by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute reflects a core disagreement over how best to identify and work with schools needing help. California education leaders are unapologetic about the route they’ve chosen, and they say the Fordham analysis contains a key error.
Like Bellwether Education Partners, which harshly criticized the state’s approach in an August analysis, Washington, D.C.- and Ohio-based Fordham gives high grades to states that will rank schools with an A-F letter grade or a similar method that’s understandable at a glance. States will use rankings to select the lowest-performing schools, as required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
Three recent and seemingly discrete events neatly frame California’s political and legal war over whether the state’s six million K-12 students are being adequately educated.
The conflict pits the state’s education establishment against a coalition of civil rights groups, education reformers and charter school advocates over the “achievement gap” that separates poor children, particularly Latinos and African-Americans, from more privileged white and Asian students.
The battle has been waged in the Legislature, before the state school board and local boards and quite often in the legal arena.
From December 2016 to March 2017, gross job gains from opening and expanding private-sector establishments were 7.3 million, a decrease of 127,000 jobs over the quarter, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over this period, gross job losses from closing and contracting private-sector establishments were 6.7 million, a decrease of 391,000 jobs from the previous quarter. The difference between the number of gross job gains and the number of gross job losses yielded a net employment gain of 654,000 jobs in the private-sector during the first quarter of 2017. (See tables A and 1.)
A key moment in the modern myth-making around small business came in 1978. That’s when MIT economist David Birch published claims – which he repeated in testimony before Congress – that small firms had accounted for 80 per cent of all new employment opportunities between 1968 and 1976. Critics quickly pointed out that Birch’s findings were quite wrong, largely because he defined firm size according to how many employees worked in a given location (like a branch office, factory, or store), not how many the firm employed altogether. In fact, most job creation, in the 1970s and today, comes from a small number of very fast-growing firms, while most small firms either fail (killing jobs) or remain small. Birch later admitted that the 80 per cent figure was a ‘silly number’, but the claims took firm root in popular mythology and political rhetoric by the 1980s. ‘Small businesses create eight out of every 10 new jobs,’ said Richard Lesher, president of the largest pro-business lobbying organisation, the US Chamber of Commerce.