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.
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.
Like many humans, most young animals approaching adulthood tend to leave their parents and siblings and strike out on their own. They want to avoid competing with relatives. They want to avoid incest. In certain species, they want to avoid nagging.
But a new paper published in Thursday's Science shows there's at least one species that bucks this trend. Prairie dogs, especially female prairie dogs, stay home. They tend to only leave their native territories when all of their relatives are gone.
The Roman Catholic Church is one small step closer to a new pope today. Church cardinals have picked a date to begin their conclave. That's the gathering behind closed doors to elect the next pope. The cardinals will gather next Tuesday morning for a special mass, and they'll enter the Sistine Chapel in the afternoon, after which point they'll be incommunicado with the outside world until a new pope is elected.
There is an advertising battle going on over the Arabic term jihad. In Chicago, a group has launched a bus and subway ad campaign meant to reclaim the term jihad from another series of ads that presents jihadists as violent.
And now for some political reaction to those jobs numbers and other events of the week, we turn to columnist E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and the Brookings Institution. E.J., welcome back.
E.J. DIONNE: Good to be here.
BLOCK: And sitting in for David Brooks this week, we have Mary Kate Cary. She's a former speech writer for President George H.W. Bush, a columnist with U.S. News & World Report and she's also a regular political analyst on NPR's Tell Me More. Mary Kate, welcome to you.