Philadelphia is closing almost two dozen of its public schools. The move prompted outcry in the nation's fifth largest city, but the schools in Philly face declining enrollment, aging infrastructure and massive state budget cuts. And those forces came to a head last night when the city's school reform commission took a vote. Benjamin Herold is covering the emotional decision from member station WHYY.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. 7.7 percent is the latest unemployment rate. That's the number for February, according to the Labor Department's report out this morning. Economists were expecting a ho-hum job survey. Instead, they got a pleasant surprise, as NPR's Dan Bobkoff reports.
Some U.S. Senators are demanding answers after an Air Force commander dismissed a sexual assault conviction against one of his officers. Lieutenant Colonel James Wilkerson had been sentenced to a year in prison and dismissal from the military for aggravated sexual assault, but he's been reinstated. Senators Jean Shaheen and Barbara Boxer called the decision a travesty of justice. They and Senator Claire McCaskill have written to defense officials about the case.
A week after a sweeping and controversial education bill was adopted by the Alabama Legislature, the measure is on hold, with a circuit judge and the state's supreme court reviewing separate lawsuits filed over it. Democrats say Republicans broke the rules when they inserted school choice language into a bill that was originally meant to give school districts flexibility in meeting standards.
The February jobs report was just the latest proof that the economy doesn't really care how much it confounds the messaging strategies of Washington's political class.
News that the economy created 236,000 jobs last month and that the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, its lowest level in more than four years, caught nearly everyone by surprise after economists forecast perhaps 171,000 new jobs.
As lawmakers in Washington continue to negotiate over immigration policies, they'll have to grapple with a fundamental disagreement about the link between immigrants and crime.
Elected officials from Pennsylvania to Arizona have argued that undocumented immigrants contribute to higher crime rates, but some social scientists tell a different story. They argue that first-generation immigrants actually make their communities safer — and they point to some of the nation's biggest cities as proof.