UrbaNERD: It’s 10 O’Clock. Do You Know Where the Nearest Rat is?

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When you call 311 in New York City, your complaint is logged into the NYC open data system, which has now been translated into a plethora of helpful and/or terrifying maps. Looking to avoid an untrustworthy landlord? Consult the Landlord Watch List which shows you the city’s most mismanaged buildings. Hoping to add to your list of nightmares? Then the Rat Map is perfect for you! There are many other very helpful maps too, but you will never stop thinking about this rat map.

Go ahead, try. Try not to think of a rat. Right now. Can’t do it. But perhaps you can distract yourself with one of these interesting reads from the past week.

News flash: Higher wages will mean more money for people
The benefits of an increased minimum wage have been tossed vaguely about for a while, but now we’re starting to see some projected figures. The proposed minimum wage increase to $10.50 statewide and $11.50 in NYC could mean an additional $1.5 billion in wages next year according to the New York State Department of Labor. This news comes at the same time that Moody’s Analytics predicts a rise in high-paying, accessible jobs in the city. Such optimistic economic outlooks are an exciting thing to hear, but we’ll believe it when hot dog vendors in midtown aren’t charging $3.50 for a dog with just mustard.

Sex for survival
An extensive study on LGBTQ youth working in the sex trade industry was released last week by the Urban Institute. The first study of its kind, “Surviving the Streets of New York: Experiences of LGBTQ Youth, YMSM, and YWSW Engaged in Survival Sex” has given new insight into an issue affecting one of the city’s most marginalized communities, the majority of whose members told researchers they wish they could stop that line of work. The study concludes with a series of policy and practice recommendations that suggest New York City “adopt nondiscrimination, confidentiality, and complaint procedures in shelters, programs, and out-of-home placements,” and “design police-training curricula to improve relationships with LGBTQ youth and decrease profiling, harassment, and abuse.”

True or false: Teacher evaluations make perfect sense
David A. Gamberg from School Leadership 2.0 has written a clear and cutting criticism of the current system of standardized testing in American schools. Likening the evaluation of teachers to an example of how we would similarly judge doctors, he has made it clear how ridiculous the set-up has become. This comes at a time when more and more students are choosing to opt out of the ever-occurring tests. Hopefully this movement will make strides toward a school system that functions to improve its students, not just its funding. We can standardize testing once we standardize humanity. Now, please read Gamberg’s post and be prepared to answer 35 multiple-choice questions about it.

Other stories you may have missed this week:

Bill de Blasio, SUPERSTAR!

NYC Fire Department gets first female and first openly lesbian chaplain

Study: Marriages More Likely to End in Divorce When Wives Get Sick

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jasmineJasmine Pierce is a New York City-based comedian and writer. She writes for the internet, including bylines at Reductress.com and TheNationalSomething.com. In addition to stand up, she creates comedy with her sketch team, Fun With Jerks, and runs the Sleepyhead Podcast.