Economist 1/5/16

  1. NEW estimates from America’s Census Bureau show that states in the south and the west had the fastest population-growth rates between 2014-15, continuing a trend over several decades.Using the new estimates, Election Data Services (EDS), a consultancy, has predicted which states might gain or lose seats if these population shifts extend to 2020 when the next census takes place (see map). Not surprisingly, some states in the Midwest and north-east lose out—New York has lost congressional seats following each census since 1950—and the south and west gain.Based on the 2015 data, Oregon would gain a seat with only 422 people to spare. Rhode Island would lose a seat, meaning it would join seven other states each represented by a single congressman.The once-a-decade redistribution of congressional seats is calculated from states’ total populations.
  2. Gianandrea Noseda, the music director of Turin’s Teatro Regio, is to become music director of Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra, the fourth Italian in recent years to be tapped for a major American orchestra. He joins Riccardo Muti at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Nicola Luisotti at the San Francisco Opera and Corrado Rovaris at the Philadelphia Opera.According to Marco Armiliato, a Genoa-born conductor, Italy is experiencing what he calls the Federer Effect: one famous practitioner inspiring lots of younger people to pursue the same path.Italian conducting was dominated by Arturo Toscanini who, before he died in 1957, had been music director at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and the Metropolitan Opera (the Met) as well as the New York Philharmonic and the NBC Symphony Orchestra. After his death, his heirs Claudio Abbado and Riccardo Muti went on to great success, conducting both opera and symphonic works.And now, Italian conductors are everywhere.What’s more remarkable is that men in their twenties and early thirties have chosen conducting as a career, given that Italy’s opera houses—the bread and butter of the country’s music-making—are in such poor shape.
  3. It was with violent schools like Furr in mind that Texas began stationing police officers in its schools in the early 1990s, which helped start a national trend.The federal government launched a supportive funding programme, Cops in Schools. By 2007 there were an estimated 19,000 school policemen, known as School Resource Officers, plodding the corridors of America’s schools, in addition to many regular police and private security officers.Most American public high schools now have a permanent police presence.It is not clear why. Over the same 25-year period juvenile violent crime rose through the early 1990s but, like the overall crime rate, has since collapsed. Juvenile arrests are also at their lowest level for three decades and juvenile murders at a thirty-year low.
  4. When asked in a national survey, in 2005, why they had brought cops onto their campus, only 4% of school principals and the cops themselves cited violence as the main reason. About a quarter of the teachers instead cited media reports of violence elsewhere; a quarter of the cops said the school was unruly. The most popular response was “other”, a category that included the availability of federal funds.Preventing school shootings hardly registered; it is a rare sort of calamity, which, as it happens, the presence of armed officers does not prevent.police like to keep themselves busy, has been a disproportionately high number of arrests in such schools, pitching black and Hispanic juveniles into the criminal justice system. Of 260,000 students referred to the police in the 2011-2012 schoolyear, 27% were black, though blacks represented only 16% of the student population.
  5. There are several reasons why the policy has gone bad, which vary from place to place. One is uncertainty about who is in charge, cops or principals. Sometimes, as in Houston, the cops answer to the school board, sometimes, as in New York, only to the police chief;The eagerness of weak, or badly under-resourced, teachers to outsource classroom discipline to the cops is another part of the problem.Draconian laws, inflexibly applied, make matters worse. Until recently in Texas it was a criminal offence to cause a rumpus on a school bus; in South Carolina, it still is to cause a disturbance in school.After arrest—a fate until recently experienced by around 1600 students in Philadelphia each year—the arrested child is taken to the district police headquarters for finger-printing and processing, which takes about six hours, much of it spent in a prison cell.
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