School closures mostly impact primarily-minority neighborhoods

EDUCATION | City Paper’s Aaron Weiner writes about the planned DCPS school closures,  all but two of which are in majority black/Hispanic neighborhoods. The other two schools have student populations that are majority black/Hispanic. However, there is a reasonable explanation (CP, 5/15):

Parents in the poorer, eastern neighborhoods of the city—which tend to be overwhelmingly black—are more likely to want to send their kids to charter or out-of-boundary schools, to get them away from rougher schools or rougher streets on the way to school or both. This doesn’t happen as much at schools in richer parts of town…So schools in poorer (and, yes, blacker and more Hispanic) neighborhoods get depopulated and close down.

While the explanation makes sense, it also implies a self-perpetuating cycle of disadvantage. Students have to commute further. Parents face the added stress of seeking out less convenient education options for their kids. And neighborhoods become less attractive to prospective residents. Not good.

LOCAL | DCist mapped out public sector employment in the Greater Washington region by neighborhood. The results are interesting and give us a really great sense of the employment diversity in our region. (DCist, 5/15)

HOUSING | The Nonprofit Roundtable retweeted an interesting report that asks a great question – are student loans causing home and auto sales to decline? (Federal Reserve, 4/17) Yes, they are. Believe you me.

Related: Young Americans are driving less and buying fewer cars. (NYT, 5/14)

Event: This Saturday, the Communications Action Network (CAN), is sponsoring its Parade of Homes. The event features open houses at 20 affordable housing communities across the region. It’s a great opportunity to see the many types of local affordable housing options and how they are impacting the region. [Learn more.]

WORKFORCE | A proposal in front of the D.C. Council would require “big box” stores to set a higher minimum wage ($11.25 hr) than other local businesses. (WAMU, 5/14)

Here are couple of thoughts on this. The minimum wage should be higher across the board. Singling out one type of business over another seems unfair and arbitrary. And “higher” and “hire” are homophones.

PHILANTHROPY | Charities Want More Insight Into Grant-Making Decisions, Says Study (Chronicle, 5/15)

DEMOCRACY | In hopes of building the levels of civic engagement, Takoma Park will now allow most 16 and 17 year-olds to vote in local elections. (WAMU, 5/15) One might argue that a 16 year-old isn’t informed enough to vote. I would respond by laughing heartily and pointing out that many adults aren’t either.

Imagine looking up on a sunny day and seeing this! That’s pretty darn funny.

Also, here’s a fun comparison – biopic actors and the real people they play. Part one and part two.