robertogreco + funding   137

Data for Social Good: Crisis Text Line CEO Nancy Lublin | Commonwealth Club
[video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRlCX597JhA ]

"Suicide and mental health are hard subjects—so Crisis Text Line leveraged the power of the data it collects to help their counselors determine the best way to talk about the topics with those in need. The nonprofit, founded in 2013 by CEO Nancy Lublin, has provided a free text-based and human-driven service to support those experiencing mental health stress, gathering data points from more than 75 million text messages sent and maximizing the impact of their information to better train counselors and support their community. Its innovative and data-driven methodology for tackling hard conversations can also be applied to more than the mental health space, including to Lublin’s latest venture: Loris.ai. 

Lublin’s entire career has focused on initiatives addressing social issues, and she founded Dress for Success and Do Something prior to Crisis Text Line. With her technology lens on big challenges, she continues to iterate on innovative mechanisms and creative solutions to sticky problems. At INFORUM, she’ll be joined in conversation by DJ Patil, head of technology at Devoted Health and former U.S. chief data scientist in the Obama administration, to dig into the power of data to effect change. Come curious!"
data  mentalhealth  socialgood  crisistext  nancylubin  djpatil  2019  nonprofit  nonprofits  911  socialmedia  suicide  society  government  crisiscounseling  emoji  language  communication  responsiveness  texting  sms  stress  funding  fundraising  storytelling  technology  siliconvalley  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  charity  startups  capitalism  importance  charitableindustrialcomplex  canon  noblesseoblige  humanism  relationship  courage  racism  connection  humanconnection  loneliness  pain 
yesterday by robertogreco
Why College Is So Expensive In America - YouTube
"College in the United States is expensive. The cost of higher education just keeps going up. Tuition costs at both public and private universities have doubled since the late 80s, while accounting for inflation.

"I think that it's so ingrained in your head that you have to go to college, that college is the next step after graduation," said Jarret Freeman, a college graduate with roughly $50,000 in student debt. "I think in hindsight, I see that college is not for everyone."

But a college education is becoming more and more necessary to succeed in today's economy. Georgetown University estimates that by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs will require more than a high school degree.

Students graduate with an average of $37,172 in student loan debt. It all adds up to $1.5 trillion across the country.

Watch the video above to learn how higher education became big business, hear from former students facing mounting debt and explore why it's so important to solve the student debt crisis."
colleges  universities  tuition  studentloans  studentdebt  money  2019  education  highered  highereducation  rankings  usnewsandworldreport  wealth  inequality  tests  testing  meritocracy  data  sat  standardizedtesting  funding 
6 weeks ago by robertogreco
Future of Cities: Medellin, Colombia solves city slums - YouTube
"Medellin, Colombia offers a window into the future of cities. Once synonymous with the drug violence of Pablo Escobar's murderous cocaine cartel, Colombia's second largest city undergone a remarkable transformation. Medellín has done so largely by investing heavily in upgrading slums and connecting them to the city center. A centerpiece of this effort: innovative public transportation, such as a Metrocable gondola system that helps residents of informal communities get around town and enjoy all the benefits of a reinvented city.

In collaboration with Retro Report, learn more here: https://qz.com/is/what-happens-next-2/ "

[See also:
"Slums are growing around the world—but a city in Colombia has a solution"
https://qz.com/1381146/slums-are-growing-around-the-world-but-a-city-in-colombia-has-a-solution/ ]
medellin  medellín  colombia  cities  urban  urbanism  housing  poverty  2018  urbanplanning  justinmcguirk  slums  favelas  transportation  mobility  publictransit  urbanization  libraries  infrastructure  juliodávila  funding  policy  government  cablecars  economics  informal  education  schools  edésiofernandes  omarurán  janiceperlman  eugeniebirch 
8 weeks ago by robertogreco
Inequality - how wealth becomes power (1/2) | (Poverty Richness Documentary) DW Documentary - YouTube
"Germany is one of the world’s richest countries, but inequality is on the rise. The wealthy are pulling ahead, while the poor are falling behind.

For the middle classes, work is no longer a means of advancement. Instead, they are struggling to maintain their position and status. Young people today have less disposable income than previous generations. This documentary explores the question of inequality in Germany, providing both background analysis and statistics. The filmmakers interview leading researchers and experts on the topic. And they accompany Christoph Gröner, one of Germany’s biggest real estate developers, as he goes about his work. "If you have great wealth, you can’t fritter it away through consumption. If you throw money out the window, it comes back in through the front door,” Gröner says. The real estate developer builds multi-family residential units in cities across Germany, sells condominium apartments, and is involved in planning projects that span entire districts. "Entrepreneurs are more powerful than politicians, because we’re more independent,” Gröner concludes. Leading researchers and experts on the topic of inequality also weigh in, including Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, economist Thomas Piketty, and Brooke Harrington, who carried out extensive field research among investors from the ranks of the international financial elite. Branko Milanović, a former lead economist at the World Bank, says that globalization is playing a role in rising inequality. The losers of globalization are the lower-middle class of affluent countries like Germany. "These people are earning the same today as 20 years ago," Milanović notes. "Just like a century ago, humankind is standing at a crossroads. Will affluent countries allow rising equality to tear apart the fabric of society? Or will they resist this trend?”"

[Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYP_wMJsgyg

"Christoph Gröner is one of the richest people in Germany. The son of two teachers, he has worked his way to the top. He believes that many children in Germany grow up without a fair chance and wants to step in. But can this really ease inequality?

Christoph Gröner does everything he can to drum up donations and convince the wealthy auction guests to raise their bids. The more the luxury watch for sale fetches, the more money there will be to pay for a new football field, or some extra tutoring, at a children's home. Christoph Gröner is one of the richest people in Germany - his company is now worth one billion euros, he tells us. For seven months, he let our cameras follow him - into board meetings, onto construction sites, through his daily life, and in his charity work. He knows that someone like him is an absolute exception in Germany. His parents were both teachers, and he still worked his way to the top. He believes that many children in Germany grow up without a fair chance. "What we see here is total failure across the board,” he says. "It starts with parents who just don’t get it and can’t do anything right. And then there’s an education policy that has opened the gates wide to the chaos we are experiencing today." Chistoph Gröner wants to step in where state institutions have failed. But can that really ease inequality?

In Germany, getting ahead depends more on where you come from than in most other industrialized countries, and social mobility is normally quite restricted. Those on top stay on top. The same goes for those at the bottom. A new study shows that Germany’s rich and poor both increasingly stay amongst themselves, without ever intermingling with other social strata. Even the middle class is buckling under the mounting pressure of an unsecure future. "Land of Inequality" searches for answers as to why. We talk to families, an underpaid nurse, as well as leading researchers and analysts such as economic Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz, sociologist Jutta Allmendinger or the economist Raj Chetty, who conducted a Stanford investigation into how the middle class is now arming itself to improve their children’s outlooks."]
documentary  germany  capitalism  economics  society  poverty  inequality  christophgröner  thomaspiketty  brookehrrington  josephstiglitz  neoliberalism  latecapitalism  brankomilanović  worldbank  power  influence  policy  politics  education  class  globalization  affluence  schools  schooling  juttaallmendinger  rajchetty  middleclass  parenting  children  access  funding  charity  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  status  work  labor  welfare  2018  geography  cities  urban  urbanism  berlin  immigration  migration  race  racism  essen  socialsegregation  segregation  success  democracy  housing  speculation  paulpiff  achievement  oligarchy  dynasticwealth  ownership  capitalhoarding  injustice  inheritance  charlottebartels  history  myth  prosperity  wageslavery  polarization  insecurity  precarity  socialcontract  revolution  sociology  finance  financialcapitalism  wealthmanagement  assets  financialization  local  markets  privateschools  publicschools  privatization 
january 2019 by robertogreco
The 'Future Book' Is Here, but It's Not What We Expected | WIRED
"THE FUTURE BOOK was meant to be interactive, moving, alive. Its pages were supposed to be lush with whirling doodads, responsive, hands-on. The old paperback Zork choose-your-own-adventures were just the start. The Future Book would change depending on where you were, how you were feeling. It would incorporate your very environment into its story—the name of the coffee shop you were sitting at, your best friend’s birthday. It would be sly, maybe a little creepy. Definitely programmable. Ulysses would extend indefinitely in any direction you wanted to explore; just tap and some unique, mega-mind-blowing sui generis path of Joycean machine-learned words would wend itself out before your very eyes.

Prognostications about how technology would affect the form of paper books have been with us for centuries. Each new medium was poised to deform or murder the book: newspapers, photography, radio, movies, television, videogames, the internet.

Some viewed the intersection of books and technology more positively: In 1945, Vannevar Bush wrote in The Atlantic: “Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified.”

Researcher Alan Kay created a cardboard prototype of a tablet-like device in 1968. He called it the "Dynabook," saying, “We created a new kind of medium for boosting human thought, for amplifying human intellectual endeavor. We thought it could be as significant as Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press 500 years ago.”

In the 1990s, Future Bookism hit a kind of beautiful fever pitch. We were so close. Brown University professor Robert Coover, in a 1992 New York Times op-ed titled “The End of Books,” wrote of the future of writing: “Fluidity, contingency, indeterminacy, plurality, discontinuity are the hypertext buzzwords of the day, and they seem to be fast becoming principles, in the same way that relativity not so long ago displaced the falling apple.” And then, more broadly: “The print medium is a doomed and outdated technology, a mere curiosity of bygone days destined soon to be consigned forever to those dusty unattended museums we now call libraries.”

Normal books? Bo-ring. Future Books? Awesome—indeterminate—and we were almost there! The Voyager Company built its "expanded books" platform on Hypercard, launching with three titles at MacWorld 1992. Microsoft launched Encarta on CD-ROM.

But … by the mid-2000s, there still were no real digital books. The Rocket eBook was too little, too early. Sony launched the eink-based Librie platform in 2004 to little uptake. Interactive CD-ROMs had dropped off the map. We had Wikipedia, blogs, and the internet, but the mythological Future Book—some electric slab that would somehow both be like and not like the quartos of yore—had yet to materialize. Peter Meirs, head of technology at Time, hedged his bets perfectly, proclaiming: “Ultimately, there will be some sort of device!”

And then there was. Several devices, actually. The iPhone launched in June 2007, the Kindle that November. Then, in 2010, the iPad arrived. High-resolution screens were suddenly in everyone’s hands and bags. And for a brief moment during the early 2010s, it seemed like it might finally be here: the glorious Future Book."



"Yet here’s the surprise: We were looking for the Future Book in the wrong place. It’s not the form, necessarily, that needed to evolve—I think we can agree that, in an age of infinite distraction, one of the strongest assets of a “book” as a book is its singular, sustained, distraction-free, blissfully immutable voice. Instead, technology changed everything that enables a book, fomenting a quiet revolution. Funding, printing, fulfillment, community-building—everything leading up to and supporting a book has shifted meaningfully, even if the containers haven’t. Perhaps the form and interactivity of what we consider a “standard book” will change in the future, as screens become as cheap and durable as paper. But the books made today, held in our hands, digital or print, are Future Books, unfuturistic and inert may they seem."

[sections on self-publishing, crowdfunding, email newsletters, social media, audiobooks and podcasts, etc.]



"It turns out smartphones aren’t the best digital book reading devices (too many seductions, real-time travesties, notifications just behind the words), but they make excellent audiobook players, stowed away in pockets while commuting. Top-tier podcasts like Serial, S-Town, and Homecoming have normalized listening to audio or (nonfiction) booklike productions on smartphones."



"Last August, a box arrived on my doorstep that seemed to embody the apotheosis of contemporary publishing. The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition was published via a crowdfunding campaign. The edition includes a book of images, three records, and a small poster packaged in an exquisite box set with supplementary online material. When I held it, I didn’t think about how futuristic it felt, nor did I lament the lack of digital paper or interactivity. I thought: What a strange miracle to be able to publish an object like this today. Something independently produced, complex and beautiful, with foil stamping and thick pages, full-color, in multiple volumes, made into a box set, with an accompanying record and other shimmering artifacts, for a weirdly niche audience, funded by geeks like me who are turned on by the romance of space.

We have arrived to the once imagined Future Book in piecemeal truths.

Moving images were often espoused to be a core part of our Future Book. While rarely found inside of an iBooks or Kindle book, they are here. If you want to learn the ukulele, you don’t search Amazon for a Kindle how-to book, you go to YouTube and binge on hours of lessons, stopping when you need to, rewinding as necessary, learning at your own pace.

Vannevar Bush's “Memex” essentially described Wikipedia built into a desk.

The "Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is an iPhone.

In The Book of Sand, Borges wrote of an infinite book: "It was then that the stranger told me: 'Study the page well. You will never see it again.'" Describing in many ways what it feels like to browse the internet or peek at Twitter.

Our Future Book is composed of email, tweets, YouTube videos, mailing lists, crowdfunding campaigns, PDF to .mobi converters, Amazon warehouses, and a surge of hyper-affordable offset printers in places like Hong Kong.

For a “book” is just the endpoint of a latticework of complex infrastructure, made increasingly accessible. Even if the endpoint stays stubbornly the same—either as an unchanging Kindle edition or simple paperback—the universe that produces, breathes life into, and supports books is changing in positive, inclusive ways, year by year. The Future Book is here and continues to evolve. You’re holding it. It’s exciting. It’s boring. It’s more important than it has ever been.

But temper some of those flight-of-fancy expectations. In many ways, it’s still a potato."
craigmod  ebooks  reading  howweread  2018  kindle  eink  print  publishing  selfpublishing  blurb  lulu  amazon  ibooks  apple  digital  bookfuturism  hypertext  hypercard  history  vannevarbush  borges  twitter  animation  video  newsletters  email  pdf  mobi  epub  infrastructure  systems  economics  goldenrecord  voyager  audio  audiobooks  smarthphones  connectivity  ereaders  podcasts  socialmedia  kevinkelly  benthompson  robinsloan  mailchimp  timbuktulabs  elenafavilli  francescacavallo  jackcheng  funding  kickstarter  crowdfunding  blogs  blogging  wikipedia  internet  web  online  writing  howwewrite  self-publishing  youtube 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Dodie Bellany: Academonia
"In this lively, entertaining collection of essays, Dodie Bellamy has written not only a helpful pedagogical tool, but an epic narrative of survival against institutional deadening and the proscriptiveness that shoots the young writer like poison darts from all sides. By the 90s funding for the arts had dwindled and graduate writing programs—“cash cows”—had risen to fill the slack. Simultaneously, literary production moved from an unstable, at times frightening street culture where experiment was privileged beyond all else, to an institutionalized realm—Academonia!—that enforces, or tends to enforce, conservative aesthetic values.

Among the questions Bellamy raises: how does the writer figure out how to write? How will she claim her content among censorious voices? Can the avant-garde create forms that speak to political and spiritual crisis? Can desire exist in a world of networking structures? To the keepers of the status quo, what is so goddamned scary about experimental writing? Bellamy’s textual body morphs through sex, ravenous hunger, aging, displacement, cuddling with animals. Along the way she invokes Levi Strauss, Kurosawa, Marvin Gaye, Christiane (the faceless daughter in Georges Franju’s 1959 horror classic Eyes Without a Face), Alice Munro, Michael Moore, Quan Yin, Cinderella, and the beheaded heroine Lady Jane Grey. On Foucault’s grid of invisible assumptions, Academonia casts a blacklight vision, making it glow in giddy FX splendor.

*****

There are the institutions that are created without our input and the institutions that we create with others. Both sorts of institutions define us without our consent. Dodie Bellamy’s Academonia explores the prickly intersection among these spaces as it moves through institutions such as the academy, the experimental writing communities of the Bay Area, feminist and sexual identities, and group therapy. Continuing the work that she began in The Letters of Mina Harker pushing memoir and confession out of its safety zones and into its difficulties, this book provokes as it critiques and yet at the same time manages to delight with its hope.

--Juliana Spahr

Way back in the seventies, and before Bellamy, pastiche and bricolage as applied to literature made me yawn. Smug attacks on linear narrative through the use of tired language games aroused my contempt. As far as I was concerned, theory had ruined fiction by making critic and artist too intimate. Then Bellamy’s pioneering graftings of storytelling, theory and fractured metaphor changed all that, giving birth to a new avant-garde. Her writing sweeps from one mode of thought to another in absolute freedom, eviscerating hackneyed constructs about desire and language and stuffing them with a fascinating hodgepodge of sparkling sensory fragments. The result is true postmodernism, not the shallow dilettantism of the “postmodern palette.” She sustains it on page after page, weaving together sex and philosophy, fusing trash with high culture, injecting theory with the pathos of biography and accomplishing nothing less than a fresh and sustained lyricism. What is more, her transfiguration of the trivial details of life by the mechanisms of irony, fantasy, disjunction, nostalgia and perverse point of view prove that it’s not the life you live that matters, but how you tell it.

--Bruce Benderson"
writing  howwewrite  books  dodiebellany  institutions  proscriptiveness  academonia  academia  highered  highereducation  akirakurosawa  levistrauss  marvingaye  alicemonroe  michaelmoore  quanyin  cinderella  ladyjanegrey  foucault  institutionalization  julianaspahr  brucebenderson  bricolage  literature  linearity  form  feedom  structure  language  senses  sensory  postmodernism  dilettantism  culture  bayarea  experimental  experimentation  art  arts  funding  streetculture  2006 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Home • Advancement Project
[via: "California Today: How Progressive Is the Golden State?"
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/27/us/california-today-how-progressive-is-the-golden-state.html ]

[See also: "RACE COUNTS: Advancing Opportunities For All Californians: WINTER 2017" [.pdf]
http://www.racecounts.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Race-Counts-Launch-Report-digital.pdf

RACE COUNTS: A GOLDEN STATE FOR ALL OF US
http://www.racecounts.org/ ]

"WHAT WE DO
Reinventing California to work for everyone.
We work alongside our partners to transform public systems and shift investments to achieve racial equity."



"California can lead the way for our country by demonstrating what it means to have power shared equitably by its people. This is why we champion the fair distribution of opportunities and privileges so that every Californian can thrive. We work alongside community activists and policymakers to generate momentum for evidence-based solutions that produce more just outcomes for all.

EDUCATIONAL EQUITY
The Educational Equity program expands educational opportunities and ensures appropriate school facilities for low income and disadvantaged children from birth through high school graduation. In recent years, our education work has concentrated on ensuring that there are adequate facilities for students to learn and that early care and education (ECE) opportunities are expanded and improved to provide a springboard for future academic success.

Current Key Issues
• Early Care & Education
• Dual Language Learners
• Family & Community Engagement
• K-12 Education Policy

Impact of Our Work:
• Elevate the needs of California’s youngest learners in policymaking through Water Cooler • • • • Network convenings
• Renovated a million classroom spaces in California because of additional funding
• Helped pass the California English Learner roadmap, reversing the harmful effects of Proposition 227 (198) that placed nearly all English learners in English-only classrooms

HEALTH EQUITY
The Health Equity Program brings about real change in the well being of low-income people of color who suffer disproportionately from chronic health conditions and other negative health outcomes. This change comes by ensuring neighborhoods, schools, and health services support and enable healthy choices throughout California via grassroots, data-driven advocacy campaigns.

Current Key Issues:
• Access to Health Care
• Transportation Equity

Impact of Our Work:
• Launched newest version of HealthyCity.org, which features curated data on equity and new mapping tools
• Helped secure funding to end traffic-related deaths in Los Angeles through the Vision Zero Alliance

EQUITY IN PUBLIC FUNDS
We partner with low-income communities of color to advance their goals by ensuring budgets align with their priorities, while also building their power and expertise to be high-impact advocates. Through trainings, research, and policy analysis, we empower communities to leverage their understanding of public budgets and build partnerships with policymakers to create vibrant and healthy communities for all California families.

Current Key Issues:
• Justice System Reform
• Land Use & Infrastructure
• K-12 Education
• Youth Development

Impact of Our Work:
• Trained advocates to understand and shift government funding to their neighborhoods
• Developed campaigns to move funds to support high-need students
• Identified funding streams to support the development of parks, safe housing and water projects

POLITICAL VOICE
Political Voice works to make state and local governments more participatory and representative of the communities they serve. Our goal is that all community members are able to genuinely participate in the making of effective public policy, in ways that go beyond just voting, and that governments respond equitably to community concerns. To accomplish this goal, we advocate for racially and economically just democracy reforms.

Current Key Issues:
• Public Participation in Governance
• 2020 Census
• Fair Elections
• Fair District Lines

Impact of Our Work:
• Convened the Census Policy Advocacy Network (CPAN) and secured $3 million in the 2017-18 • CA state budget to support 2020 Census planning
• Revealed racial disparities in political participation through Unequal Voices, a two-part report that analyzed voting and other forms of political engagement"
california  future  progress  health  politics  policy  education  justice  socialjustice  funding  inequality  equity  race 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Liberty Foundation
"Through my time organizing XOXO and Build I’ve been lucky enough to meet countless exceptionally talented and hard-working independent creators in many different fields. However, a lot of these artists are struggling with the same problem. Many are unable to break the cycle of burying their own goals below part-time or full-time work, living project to project without the benefit of breathing room to assess and develop their careers.

This project aims to break that cycle.

The Liberty Foundation supports artists who work on the internet by giving them the tools they need to grow their practice into an independent business.

The Foundation will begin by offering a number of fellowship awards. Under the guidance of our advisory board, we will be prioritizing awarding our fellowships to a diverse and representative group of artists working in contemporary fields such as film, music, podcasts and audio storytelling, writing, comics, tabletop and board games, and video games.

Our fellows will each receive a $60,000 cost of living grant and support for health insurance costs for one year. These grants will not be project-based, but rather aimed at giving creators a chance to step back and make decisions based on curiosity and long-term growth rather than dire and immediate need.

The second aspect of the Foundation supports this goal by providing an extensive coaching and support program to help artists maintain momentum, focus on their work, and grow it into a sustainable business. This will involve workshops and tutorials focused on business development, marketing, financial planning, and legal support.

Our goal is to give as many artists as possible the resources they need to build an independent career. With that in mind, we will publish all the resources we produce, making them freely available in our online library for future creators to access. Our ultimate aim is to help remove barriers for any artist who could be making a sustainable career out of their work.

Applications will open later this year. If you’re interested in learning more, follow us on Twitter, or sign up for our mailing list.

Thanks to MailChimp, Intercom, and our private benefactors for their support. If you’d like to help, or you’re interested in becoming a benefactor, email andy@theliberty.foundation.

— Andy McMillan"
art  economics  funding  artists  andmcmillan  residencies 
june 2017 by robertogreco
The Fault isn’t with Napolitano: On Funding California Higher Education – Boom California
"The 2008-2010 recession generated havoc in state revenues and was especially bad for the unprotected areas of the state budget. Douglass reports a cut of $813 million in the funding of the UC system in 2009 and 2010.[4] Public funding, the bedrock of long-term planning in the early decades of the Master Plan, is now more volatile and less predictable than tuition revenues and other private sources. UC campuses are beginning to imagine a future in which state funding is negligible. In the decade between 2002-03 and 2012-13, state revenues received by University of California Berkeley declined from $497 to $299 million in current dollars, a reduction in constant price terms of 54 per cent.[5] Successive state governments have learned that they can reduce university funding without a severe public backlash, but there is more likely to be public opposition if they sanction the tuition increases necessary for institutions to make up the shortfall. From the 1990s onwards, a new pattern was established, in which the years of funding recovery were insufficient to compensate for years of reductions. Small cuts were not undone and tended to accumulate. In this asymmetrical policy framework, and given the continued legal/fiscal constraints on the state, California’s recession-induced cuts now look to be largely irreversible.

Like their public sector counterparts in many other states, the UC and CSU finds (and will continue to find) it extremely difficult to secure state support to raise tuition so as to compensate for the effects of state cutbacks. Nevertheless, tuition increases sufficient to plug the gap in spending also carry problems. Public institutions depend on public support, both to secure favorable state policies and more generally, to function effectively in a highly networked society and economy. Public support is no doubt undermined by rising tuition, and this also eats into the access mission of the University of California, which so far has been largely maintained despite the circumstances. On the other hand, public support is weakened also by reductions in service quality due to insufficient funding, and the access mission needs to be subsidized.[6] In 2013, after the recession, the student-to faculty ratio in the University of California was 24 to 1, compared to 19 to 1 a decade earlier, and 15 to 1 in the 1980s.[7] The public university campuses find themselves positioned between the Scylla of a resource decline that would undermine all objectives, including the research outputs and quality on which so much else depends, and the Charybdis of public unpopularity and mission compromise. They feel forced to become more like a private university, so as to uphold their public mission effectively in social competition with the real private sector. They have limited options, with only research funding, foreign students and noncore revenues as potential sources of much needed additional resources. In this setting the University of California campuses have no clear-cut forward strategy.

The problem is specific to public higher education rather than general to higher education as a whole. The effects of the recession differentiated between the University of California, which depends partly on the Californian state budget and whose tuition is state regulated; and private universities such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Princeton, which are free to manage their prices and carry significantly larger endowments than Berkeley, UCLA, and UC San Diego. Though both state funding and university endowments fell sharply in value in the first two years of recession, the recovery in each case was different. By 2014 endowments had been largely restored in value but the state funding cuts seemed at least partly permanent.

While the UC campuses and the beleaguered UCOP are struggling to cope, right now, the deeper effects of today’s crisis will play out over decades. Of all the jewels of American science, California public education has shined the brightest. As I discuss in my book published last year, The Dream is Over: The Crisis of Clark Kerr’s California Idea of Higher Education, the UC still houses four of the world’s top twenty research universities, in terms of the amount of high quality science produced—Berkeley, UCLA, San Francisco, and San Diego—and seven of the world’s top sixty. Not if present trends are maintained.

Money matters in research and education, as it does in most everywhere else. Past patterns show this. In a study of American science , James Adams finds that in the 1990s there was an overall slowdown in the output of the public universities. Though their share of federal research grants grew their revenues from their respective state governments fell, which ate into the capacity to sustain research infrastructure and faculty time on research.[8] It is a sign of what is to come. The drop in state support across the country in the 1990s, studied by Adams, was nothing compared to what happened after the 1990s in California. Between 2002-03 and 2012-13 the proportion of Berkeley’s revenues coming from state sources dropped from 34 to 13 per cent.[9] That decline is continuing. Unless the state, and ultimately the taxpayer, have a change of heart the UC position is going to get much worse."
funding  universityofcalifornia  education  highered  highereducation  california  2017  history  taxes  proposition13  simonmarginson  uc 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Alan Kay's answer to What made Xerox PARC special? Who else today is like them? - Quora
[I noted on Twitter that "1 through 5 easily adaptable for education. For example: teach students, not subjects."]

"A good book (pretty much the only good book) to read about the research community that Parc was a part of is “The Dream Machine” by Mitchell Waldrop. There you will find out about the ARPA (before the “D”) IPTO (Information Processing Techniques Office) set up in 1962 by the visionary JCR Licklider, who created a research community of 15 or 16 “projects”, mostly at universities, but also a few at places like RAND Corp, Lincoln Labs, Mitre, BBN, SDC, etc.

There was a vision: “The destiny of computers is to become interactive intellectual amplifiers for everyone in the world pervasively networked worldwide”.

A few principles:

1. Visions not goals

2. Fund people not projects — the scientists find the problems not the funders. So, for many reasons, you have to have the best researchers.

3. Problem Finding — not just Problem Solving

4. Milestones not deadlines

5. It’s “baseball” not “golf” — batting .350 is very good in a high aspiration high risk area. Not getting a hit is not an error but the overhead for getting hits. (As in baseball, “error” is failing to pull off something that is technically feasible.)

6. It’s about shaping “computer stuff” to human ends per the vision. Much of the time this required the researchers to design and build pretty much everything, including much of the hardware — including a variety of mainframes — and virtually all of the software needed (including OSs and programming languages, etc.). Many of the ARPA researchers were quite fluent in both HW and SW (though usually better at one than the other). This made for a pretty homogeneous computing culture and great synergy in most projects.

7. The above goes against the commonsense idea that “computer people should not try to make their own tools (because of the infinite Turing Tarpit that results)”. The ARPA idea was a second order notion: “if you can make your own tools, HW and SW, then you must!”. The idea was that if you are going to take on big important and new problems then you just have to develop the chops to pull off all needed tools, partly because of what “new” really means, and partly because trying to do workarounds of vendor stuff that is in the wrong paradigm will kill the research thinking.

8. An important part of the research results are researchers. This extends the “baseball” idea to human development. The grad schools, especially, generally admitted people who “seemed interesting” and judgements weren’t made until a few years down the road. Many of the researchers who ultimately solved most of the many problems of personal computing and networking were created by the ARPA community.

Parc was the last of these “ARPA Projects” to be created, and because of funding changes from the Vietnam war, got its funding from a corporation rather than from ARPA-IPTO. But pretty much all of the computer people at Parc had grown up in ARPA projects in the 60s, and Bob Taylor, who set up the computing research at Parc, had been the 3rd director of ARPA-IPTO.

Bob’s goal was to “Realize The ARPA Dream”.

Parc was highly concentrated with regard to wealth of talents, abilities, vision, confidence, and cooperation. There was no real management structure, so things were organized to allow researchers to “suggest” and “commit” and “decommit” in a more or less orderly fashion.

Quite a lot of the inventions Parc is most known for were done in the first 5 years by a rather small pool of researchers (Butler Lampson estimates about 25 people, and that seems about right).

One of the most interesting ideas at Parc was: “every invention has to be engineered for 100 users”. So if you do a programming language or a DTP word processor, etc, it has to be documented for and usable by 100 people. If you make a personal computer, you have to be able to make 100 of them. If an Ethernet, it has to connect to 100 devices, etc.

There was no software religion. Everyone made the languages and OSs and apps, etc that they felt would advance their research.

Hardware was trickier because of the time and costs needed for replication and doing and making new designs. In practice this worked out pretty easily most of the time — via not too many meetings — and the powers of HW geniuses like Chuck Thacker. A few things — like the disk sectors and simple Ethernet protocols, etc. — were agreed on, mainly to allow more important things to be done more idiosyncratically. In practice, Parc designed and put in the field a variety of Alto designs (about 2000 Altos were built), MAXCs, Dolphins, Dorados, NoteTakers, Dandelions, etc over a period of about 10 years — i.e. quite a lot.

There were key figures. For example, Parc would not have succeeded without Bob Taylor, Butler Lampson, Chuck Thacker, and a few others.

I would call the first 5 years “effectively idyllic”. And the second 5 years “very productive but gradually erosive” (the latter due to Xerox’s many changes of management, and not being able to grapple with either the future, or a possible grand destiny for the company)."
alankay  zeroxparc  2017  vision  goals  funding  milestones  deadlines  errors  tools  toolmaking  education  learning  innovation  creativity  arpa  sfsh  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  openstudioproject  lcproject  problemsolving  problemfinding 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Experiment | Crowdfunding Platform for Scientific Research
"Experiment is an online platform for discovering, funding, and sharing scientific research.

We're based in New York City. We're a team of scientists, designers, and technologists passionate about helping ideas grow. Our mission is to democratize science.

Where does the most impactful science come from? What makes science beautiful? What if anyone could be a scientist? There are a lot of big questions in science, but these are the ones we ask."
science  crowdfunding  funding  research  crowdsourcing  academia 
february 2017 by robertogreco
Best of San Diego 2016: People | Julian Klincewicz - San Diego CityBeat
"Adept at VHS videography, modeling, music and more, San Diego artist Julian Klincewicz is usually on the road for work. In the past 10 months he's traveled to Los Angeles, New York, Italy, Cuba, Iceland, Paris, Moscow and Tokyo.

"Between January and October I haven't been in San Diego for more than three weeks at a time at most," says 21-year-old Klincewicz.

Klincewicz's resume makes him an in-demand artist, hence all the traveling. He's shot video for fashion institutions such as Vans and Acne, held art shows and performed music in Tokyo, designed for trendy lines like Retrosuperfuture and filmed the YEEZY Season 3 presentation for Kanye West in Madison Square Garden.

Klincewicz likes creating at home in San Diego but wishes there were more art opportunities. He thinks individuals with money and real estate should invest in the art community.

"My general feeling towards San Diego is that there's a lot of younger people 30 and under who want to do visual arts...and don't necessarily have a place to grow that's within San Diego," Klincewicz says.

Most recently, he put together a local fashion show. Part of his ongoing project, "Hey I Like You," the show was held last month at San Diego Art Institute. Klincewicz says he designed 30 looks, packed the venue and got press coverage.

"If I can do that, there's no reason that all the people who actually have money and resources can't make that happen in a much cooler and better and relevant way," he says."
sandiego  art  funding  julianklincewicz  2016 
december 2016 by robertogreco
Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’ | Environment | The Guardian
"Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding as the president-elect seeks to shift focus away from home in favor of deep space exploration"
2016  climatechange  donaldtrump  nasa  earthscience  science  policy  priorities  funding  space  spaceexploration  politics 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Corporations are taking advantage of our underfunded public schools
"There are a lot of problems with McTeacher Nights, teachers and advocates for reduced commercialism in school argue. The Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood conducted research last year on how much money is actually raised on these nights and found that they typically only provide $1 to $2 per student. In return, McDonald’s gets free labor from teachers, free advertising, and introduces a product to children in the hope of creating brand loyalty.

“What are we saying to educators? Are we not telling our educators to put in eight hours a day and then asking them to work a shift at McDonalds? For paltry field trip money?” said Cecily Myart-Cruz, NEA vice president of United Teachers, Los Angeles, who added that teachers shouldn’t be promoting unhealthy food. “It’s another way to privatize education. Education is already privatizing and this is just another way to do it.”

These events also help its public image. McDonald’s looks like a great corporate citizen, despite the fact that it could simply donate money to schools in amounts that would dwarf what schools receive from participating in McTeacher’s Nights."
schools  publischools  labor  economics  funding  money  politics  policy  privatization  corporatization  uber  mcdonalds  verizon  advertising  nestle  pepsico  generalmills  bumblebeefoods  cocacola  togethercounts 
october 2016 by robertogreco
Don’t need no education: What Danes consider healthy children’s television | The Economist
"A DAY into my holiday (spent with my wife’s family) in Denmark, and the changes are striking enough to move me back to the keyboard. Perhaps it was the display of life-sized nude photographs of young women, kicking off discussion about whether the choice of bodies was representative enough. Or perhaps it’s the casual way Danes use the English word "fuck", not because they’re especially foul-mouthed but because the word was imported without much of its taboo force. On the flight over I heard a nicely dressed middle-aged mother use it with her young daughters, in mild irritation but not anger.

But perhaps the most striking raw difference is on television, and specifically Ramasjang, the public children’s television channel. (It is part of DR, Denmark’s equivalent of the BBC.) It is everything that American or British kids’ programming is not.

It is naughty. Perhaps its most beloved character is Onkel Reje (“Uncle Shrimp”), a sailor-themed character in a red suit with a scruffy beard. He picks his nose. His stinky socks tell each other jokes. But much more than that, in the best Danish tradition, he mocks beloved institutions: his grandmother lights a fart on fire. He says the worst gift he ever got for Christmas—from Queen Margarethe herself—was the washbasin she washes her bare bottom in. And God he says, lives in heaven with Santa Claus and their dog Marianne, implying that the Supreme Being is not only imaginary, but also gay.

DR should have known this is what they would get when they hired, for the actor playing Onkel Reje, Mads Geertsen, who had previously recorded as a kind of avant-garde musician under the name Je m’appelle Mads. It boggles the mind that the producers at Ramasjang saw this video—in which a mostly naked Mads offers rude tributes to Denmark like a dancing pack of cigarettes and a cow pooing—and said “let’s give that man a children’s show.”

Yet somehow it’s also incredibly wholesome. The adult actors are frequently fat or ugly, in a way they never would be in America. Some have tattoos or nose-rings, just as they do in the real world. The shows—mostly live-action or puppets, not animation—move at an unhurried pace, two or three characters on the screen at the time, with little frenetic music and infrequent special effects. Whether made in the 2010s or the 1980s, Ramasjang’s shows are downright languid. The contrast is all the clearer when a British or American animated show that DR has licensed comes on, with every corner of the screen buzzing with unnecessary and overstimulating movement.

Probably most striking, though, is another thing lacking: education. Quite simply, there is none, academic or moral. “Kaj and Andrea”, a pair of puppets, are sweet friends, but also goofily flawed: Kaj is terribly self-obsessed, Andrea is warbling and neurotic. When other characters do something wrong, there is little of the obvious consequence-and-lesson resolution of American shows; the results are usually left to speak for themselves. “Buster’s World”, a glacially slow live-action show from the 1980s, follows the title character through various realistic hardly-adventures in and around a country house. When an older boy bullies Buster’s sister, Buster, in revenge, sabotages the older boy’s motorcycle, causing him to go flying off it. This would only make it past American lawyers if a finger-wagging adult lectured Buster and the audience at the end. Instead, Buster finds that his revenge changed little, and the show wanders aimlessly on.

Finally, there is hardly any of the ABC-123 stuff that fills American public television like “Sesame Street”. Ramasjang is entertainment, not a replacement for parents or school. Parents are expected to know when to switch it off (but just in case, the characters go to bed at 8.00pm, and are shown sleeping until the morning) rather than pretend that it is self-improvement.

What’s the secret? DR, including Ramasjang, is a training ground for the much-admired Danish film and television industry. Though its budget is nothing next to the BBC’s or a big American broadcaster’s, it’s big for Denmark, meaning that it brings in the best young film-makers, writers and actors looking for experience. If this state-led approach seems typically Scandinavian, it is also Danish in the best sense of innovating constantly, while refusing to take itself seriously.

Danish kids begin school much later than they do in Britain or other countries pushing the beginning of formal education earlier and earlier. There is plenty of time for school, and when Danes get there, they end up doing rather well. But until then, they seem utterly unharmed by a childhood of hearing about the queen’s bottom and watching grandma light some bodily gas on fire."

[plenty of Onkel Reje on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Onkel+Reje ]
denmark  television  tv  education  parenting  society  via:tealtan  2016  us  uk  comparison  learning  animation  film  funding 
august 2016 by robertogreco
We need to stop treating nonprofits the way society treats poor people | Nonprofit With Balls
[via: https://twitter.com/tiffani/status/755092034243928064

"This is a good list of reasons (except in one instance) I've basically stayed away from foundations in fundraising for The @HumanUtility. Not to mention too many foundations are slow, conservative, + not interested in funding things that stray too far from stquo. And when you're a new organization w/ a very small staff, still trying to streamline operations, small, yet restricted grants are dangerous. I read an essay a few weeks ago about a large foundation that basically ran a startup into the ground w/program requirements. The foundation's program officers didn't seem the least bit contrite. It was weird. One literally said they didn't regret what they did smh. Of course, it was also on the startup's leadership to have planned to not have the foundation's funds become a distraction, but still. They who have the gold make the rules, but you have to be wary of processes that excessively distract you from the work to get the gold. I sat with someone for 30mins once + landed a gift of $25K. Then I got back in the car and went back to work. Now, that was from a (very) warm intro, but they didn't want letters of inquiry or 30-pg proposals. OTOH, a foundation I talked to in Maryland was interested in our work, but wanted a letter of inquiry just for permission to ask for $25K."]

"Many leaders, from both nonprofit as well as foundations, have been speaking up against restricted funding for years now—here’s a compelling piece by Paul Shoemaker [https://philanthropynw.org/news/reconstructing-philanthropy-outside ]—and I’m glad to see that it is starting to make some progress. But it is still slow, and it makes me wonder why this is. Why is general operating so difficult for many to accept? Why is it OK for us to be OK with the fact that millions of hours each year are wasted by nonprofits trying to comply with some funders’ unrealistic, and frankly, destructive [http://nonprofitwithballs.com/2016/02/the-myth-of-double-dipping-and-the-destructiveness-of-restricted-funding/ ] requirements?

I think the answer may be that there is a strong parallel between how we treat nonprofits, and how society treats low-income people. I don’t think it is intentional. Like implicit racial or gender biases, most people are not even aware that it’s affecting their behaviors. But it’s important for us to examine these parallels, so we can better understand and change them:

The teach-a-man-to-fish paternalism. This philosophy, so ingrained in our culture, is patronizing and often ineffective, sometimes harmful. It assumes one person is a fount of knowledge while the other is an ignorant, empty vessel to be filled with wisdom. It ignores systems and environmental variables. We can teach someone to fish, but if they have no transportation to get to the pond, or if the pond is polluted, or if better-equipped corporations have been destroying aquaculture through over-fishing, then they’re still screwed while we feel good about ourselves. We see the same dynamics in funding via this belief that nonprofits can be self-sustaining if we just teach them to earn their revenues instead of constantly asking for free fish in the form of grants and donations.

The Bootstrap Mentality: This belief that people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps has been plaguing our low-income families for decades. It manifests in individuals who have found success to think they actually did it all on their own, blaming poor people for their situations, never mind again the privilege and system issues. In the nonprofit sector, it is seen in people from for-profits having an inflated sense of superiority, thinking “If my for-profit was successful in generating revenues, why can’t these lazy nonprofits also pull themselves up by their bootstraps?” Never mind the fact that over half of for-profits fail and that nonprofits and for-profits are completely different from each other.

The assumption of inability for future planning. There is an assumption that poor people don’t know how to plan for their future. If they do, why are they so poor then? Obviously they suck at planning ahead. The same assumption plays out in our sector. There is a belief among many people that if we give nonprofits too much money, they won’t know what to do with it. A program officer once told me, “I don’t want to give multi-year funding, because I think that will stop nonprofits from being innovative.” Because nothing encourages innovation better than regular bouts of night-terror-inducing, morale-sinking cash-flow emergencies.

The lack of trust in people’s ability to manage money: Society thinks poor people don’t know how to spend the money we give them. That’s why we have to monitor how they do it. Let’s restrict their ability to spend their food stamps on junk food; left to their own devices, they’ll probably just guzzle beer while feeding their kids tons of Hot Cheetos. Same with nonprofits. We need to monitor every penny they spend; otherwise, they’d probably waste money on fancy chairs and blinged-out business cards. And if we can’t protect these irresponsible organizations from themselves, then at least let’s make sure our own money is not being used to fund these things.

The No-Free-Lunch: There have been idiotic proposals by clueless politicians designed to punish the poor for violating whatever ridiculous expectations are set out for them. Like taking away food stamps if their kids don’t get good enough grades or if they’re not volunteering or seeking out employment, despite the fact that there are only so many volunteer and paid positions to go around. In our sector, our funding gets threatened if we don’t comply with various requirements, such as working toward “sustainability.” A colleague mentioned a grant that won’t pay for staff wages and other indirect expenses, and applicants have to demonstrate that they will be completely self-sustaining within a year. That gave us all a good chuckle.

The punishment of success. Ironically, while we expect poor people to work and save up money so they can stop being dependent, we punish them when they succeed at that, removing their benefits if they earn close to an amount where they may actually be able to no longer need the benefits. It’s weirdly paradoxical, demotivating, and insulting. In nonprofits, many funders expect sustainability and yet punish nonprofits for having a strong reserve, which is probably the most important factor for sustainability. You need to be sustainable, but if you are too successful at that, we’re not funding you, or we take away the money we gave you. I remember frantically trying to spend some left-over money because it otherwise would have had to be returned, per the requirement of this funder, even though the reason we had leftover was because we were spending it wisely; that money we saved would have greatly helped our programs if we had been allowed to put it into reserve.

The avoidance of eye contact. Poor people make the general public sad. That’s why most people avoid eye contact with individuals experiencing homelessness. And in our sector, it leads to some donors and foundations to avoid nonprofits, creating barriers in the form of “safe space” that prevent those doing the work from communicating and collaborating with those funding the work.

The expectation of gratitude: Every single time I bring up some sort of feedback regarding ineffective, time-wasting funding practices in our sector—such as requiring board chair signatures on grant applications (Why? Whyyyyy?!)—inevitably some people will counter with things like, “So people are giving you their hard-earned money, and you’re whining? You should just be grateful and comply.” It’s the same as poor people being expected to just be happy and appreciative of whatever scraps they manage to get."



"So many funding and accounting practices are anchored in a severe and pervasive distrust of nonprofits, the same distrust we heap on individuals with low-income. It goes without saying that these myths and philosophies are destructive, toward both our low-income community members and toward nonprofits. We must begin with trust as the default, or our community loses. If we are going to effectively address society’s numerous, complex problems—and recent tragedies and violence nationally and internationally highlight just how complex and serious things are—the way we currently view nonprofits must change. The relationships between funders, donors, nonprofits, for-profits, media, and government must change. We must see each other as equal partners with different but complementary roles to play. We must understand where philosophically our requirements come from and how they are affecting our partners, how it helps or hampers their work. We must be able to provide each other honest feedback and push one another to do better for our community. "
nonprofit  nonprofits  2016  funding  foundations  paulshoemaker  fundraising  restrictedfunding  sustainability  grantwriting  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  charitableindustrialcomplex  money  power  control  gratitude  trust  management  administration  leadership  planning  capitalism 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Department of Children, Youth and Their Families
"The Department of Children, Youth and Their Families (DCYF) brings together City government, schools, and community based organizations to help our city’s children and youth, birth to age 24, and their families lead lives full of opportunity and happiness. Through our work we help our community to:

• succeed in school and prepare for the future;
• engage in positive activities when school is out;
• and live in safe and supported communities.

The people of San Francisco made this unique, first of its kind commitment to our community in 1991 by dedicating property tax revenues to a Children and Youth Fund to finance vital services for our city’s children, youth, and their families.

Over the past 25 years, DCYF has remained a national leader in funding a wide range of essential and innovative programs. Through the Children and Youth Fund, San Francisco has made significant progress in enhancing services to all children, youth, and families in the City, with an emphasis on connecting the most vulnerable and disconnected residents to high-quality programs.

Research has shown that high-quality out-of-school time and family support opportunities lead to positive outcomes at different points throughout a child’s life trajectory. DCYF uses data analysis and evaluation to help us expand the scope and accountability of our services, with the goal of continuously increasing impact."
sanfrancisco  children  youth  families  government  dcyf  education  well-being  funding  afterschoolprograms 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Universities Are Becoming Billion-Dollar Hedge Funds With Schools Attached | The Nation
" Students are beginning to urge divestment."



"All told, hedge funds have over $3 trillion worth of assets under management globally. In theory, they exist to provide a “hedge” to protect investor portfolios in tough times. Hedging, seen in this light, is simply one investment strategy among many. In practice, however, they are alternative investment vehicles that tend to be housed offshore to avoid oversight and taxes, which means they are largely unregulated, face minimal disclosure requirements, and can engage in all sorts of risky bets and market manipulations.

Not long ago universities were, in the words of one report, “careful stewards of endowment income” and avoided such shenanigans. In the early seventies Harvard and Yale spearheaded committees on investor responsibility and devised ethical investment policies for endowments that considered things like social impact. In the nineties things began to change. Many schools, private and public, have become high-risk gamblers, with finance overtaking fundraising as the main engine of endowment growth. A more aggressive approach to investing paid off—until the economy melted down and caused some endowments to lose up to 30 percent of their value.

But experts and activists have other concerns. Some commentators, for example, are troubled by public tax-exempt educational institutions doing business with companies notorious for dodging taxes in offshore havens. More generally, tax exemption is a giant government subsidy that disproportionately benefits elite schools (the ones that attract the biggest donations and earn the largest investment returns), thus further polarizing an educational system already separated into haves and have-nots.

And it gets worse. In a report called “Educational Endowments and the Financial Crisis,” Joshua Humphreys, president and senior fellow at Croatan Institute points to an even more disturbing consequence of risky investment practices. By embracing speculative trading tactics, exotic derivatives, hedge funds and private equity, “endowments played a role in magnifying certain systemic risks in the capital markets,” Humphreys writes. What’s more, their initial success encouraged other institutional investors (think pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and foundations) to follow in their footsteps, amplifying the system’s overall volatility and instability. In other words, endowments were not just innocent victims of the 2008 financial crisis, but actually helped enable it.

“Hedge funds, as they were initially conceived, have a potential role to play in a long-term endowment seeking to ‘hedge’ certain risks,” Humphreys told me, making clear he’s hesitant to write them off entirely. “But their arbitrarily high fee structures, the excessive compensation of their managers, and their deliberate evasion of taxes and transparency make hedge funds easy targets for stakeholders rightly concerned about the simmering crisis of higher education today.”"



" The time has come for students to connect the dots between ballooning student debt, the poor treatment of campus workers, and the obscene wealth of hedge fund oligarchs. Once they do, they can fight back by following in the footsteps of recent mobilizations against the financial sector. In 2013, a group called Kick Wall Street Off Campus forced Minnesota’s Macalester College to move some, though not all, of its money out of Wells Fargo to protest the bank’s role in community foreclosures. In June of last year, Santa Cruz County pulled together to get its money out of five giant banks—including Citicorp and JPMorgan Chase and Barclays—that pleaded guilty in the spring to felony charges that they rigged the world’s foreign-currency market. Similar campaigns could easily be waged against university endowment partnerships with hedge funds.

Of course, kicking hedge funds of campus won’t solve the college crisis or instantly reform the financial sector. Nevertheless, targeting hedge funds remains a promising tactic for uniting students and workers against hedge funds’ efforts to increase inequality, and using our tuition dollars and public subsidies to do so. This tactic would be especially effective at public institutions where divestment campaigns should be coupled with calls for increased state funding for higher education and better pay for low-wage workers.

“It’s easy to feel powerless, but hedge funds need university endowments, just like they also need public pensions. If that money was taken away, it would really affect them,” Strain says, and he’s right. Campus divestment movements have a proven track record, going back to campaigns against Apartheid in the 1980s. Over the last few years, climate activists have pressured school trustees to divert trillions of dollars from fossil fuels, and last year Columbia became the first university to divest from private prisons. Hedge funds deserve to be next on the chopping block."
astrataylor  education  neoliberalism  2016  universities  colleges  endowments  divestment  finance  politics  money  hedgefunds  highered  highereducation  nonprofit  taxes  taxation  funding  inequality  ivyleague  harvard  princeton  stanford  yalconflisctsofinterest  nonprofits 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Why Harvard should be taxed ["Harvard is a 'hedge fund with a university attached to it'"] - Business Insider
"“The joke about Harvard is that it’s a hedge fund with a university attached to it,” Mark Schneider tells me. It’s a quip that, for obvious reasons, has become pretty popular in recent years.

In 2014, the university’s legendary endowment, overseen by a team of in-house experts and spread across a mind-bending array of investments that range from stocks and bonds to California wine vineyards, hit $36.4 billion.

“They’re just collecting tons, and tons, and tons of money,” says Schneider, a former Department of Education official who is currently a fellow at the American Institutes for Research.

Of course, normal hedge funds have to pay taxes on their earnings. Because it’s a nonprofit, Harvard doesn’t. And since bestowing tax exemptions is the same as spending cash from the government’s perspective (budgeteers call them “tax expenditures” for a reason), that means the American public effectively subsidizes Harvard’s moneymaking engine.

The same goes for Stanford (endowment: $21.4 billion), Princeton (endowment: $21 billion), Yale (endowment$23.9 billion), and the country’s other elite institutions of higher education.

Aiding wealthy research universities that cater to largely affluent undergraduates might have been acceptable in a more flush era. But at a time when state colleges are still suffering from deep budget cuts that have driven up tuition and politicians are stretching for ways to make school more affordable for middle-class students, clawing back some of that cash to spend on needier schools is starting to sound awfully appealing. Which is why it might just be time to start taxing Harvard and its cohort.

This isn’t a new idea by any stretch—in 2008, lawmakers in Massachusetts considered slapping a 2.5 percent tax on large university endowments—but Schneider has made an especially intriguing case for it."



"Another quandary: Today, the government generally doesn’t tax savings. It taxes income. So why take a cut of wealth from colleges when we don’t do it to individuals? As Kim Rueben, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, put it to me, “We’re going to tax Harvard, but we’re not going to tax Warren Buffet?”

And, of course, there might be unintended consequences. Even with write-offs for financial aid, taxing endowments could encourage schools to spend less on things society generally likes, such as new research labs. The government could tax schools and require them to spend a minimum amount, which is how it treats private foundations. But then you have to consider to what creative lengths Harvard might go to avoid the IRS.

Cutting down the tax advantages of rich schools, obviously, would not be simple. But it still worth seriously considering the idea. Maybe we should consider taxing the Met as well. Maybe the government could stick to what it knows and tax Harvard’s capital gains instead of its whole endowment. Maybe we could learn to live with a little tax avoidance. However we choose to do it, I think we’d all like to spend a little less money sending other people’s kids to Harvard."
colleges  highered  highereducation  nonprofit  universities  money  finance  taxes  taxation  funding  inequality  ivyleague  harvard  endowments  princeton  stanford  yale  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  government  hedgefunds  jordanweissmann  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  nonprofits  capitalism  power  control 
february 2016 by robertogreco
What Happened to the Great Urban Design Projects? - The New York Times
"— Dave Eggers, “This Bridge Will Not Be Gray”

This new book, a collaboration between Eggers and the artist Tucker Nichols, who created the deceptively simple paper cutout illustrations, is a love letter to infrastructure. Eggers’s proclamation that the Golden Gate is beloved because it’s outrageous and weird may fly in the face of just about everyone’s attitude about infrastructure, but it also gets at exactly what we should be feeling about bridges and tunnels.

Awe.

American infrastructure is deferred home maintenance on a massive scale. We just keep putting it off until something major — and often catastrophic — happens, and then it ends up costing twice as much as it would have had we taken care of it proactively. This is a bad strategy — yet it’s the strategy that seems to define United States infrastructure.

There is no awe. There are issues of structural integrity. There are mind-blowing cost overruns. Accidents. Sinkholes. Problems with bolts.

The first design proposed for the Golden Gate was, writes Eggers, “the strangest, most awkward and plain old ugly bridge anyone had every seen ... people compared it to an upside-down rat trap.” (Here is what it looked like.) The public demanded something better — and they got it.

A century later, we’ve lost our collective faith in the power of great projects like the Golden Gate, not to mention our trust in the government to fix a pothole on time and on budget, let alone create an inspiring bridge. How can we restore that faith in possibility?

Let’s take some inspiration from Atlanta — yes, Atlanta! — which is putting the finishing touches on the Atlanta BeltLine, one of the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment programs currently underway in the United States.

The BeltLine is a 22-mile loop of old railroads encircling downtown Atlanta that connects 45 neighborhoods. The project repurposes this historic rail corridor as a new transit greenway, featuring streetcars that connect to existing rail and 11 miles and counting of trails for running, walking and biking. Mostly underutilized industrial properties surround it. These are now becoming perfect sites for new mixed-use, dense projects, including 5,600 units of affordable housing.

The Atlanta BeltLine began as a master’s thesis project. (I don’t know about you, but my master’s thesis project is in a cardboard box in the garage.)



"Yet engineers, planners and policy makers tend to focus on wonky stuff like percentage of parkland per person. They’re awash in acronyms like V.M.T. (vehicle miles traveled), too reliant on planning terms like modeshare that don’t resonate with the general public. These things may be useful in measuring the metrics of a city, but they sure don’t get to the reasons people want to live there. You don’t move to one city because it has 35 percent more parkland per person than another city. You move there because you fall in love with it, or with someone there, or you get a job there, or your family is from there. We need to address metrics, but the bigger goal is to make cities that we love.

Los Angeles, a seemingly even more unlikely candidate to bring awe to infrastructure, is nevertheless doing it, with a dazzlingly ambitious transportation plan (the city’s mayor, Eric Garcetti, has even publicly crooned for road improvements), and also by rediscovering the long-neglected (and abused, frankly) river it was built around. Now, the once largely paved-over 51-mile L.A. River, like the BeltLine, has taken on this mantle of the future again.

Elon Musk’s fanciful Hyperloop may never be built, but let’s give him credit for capturing our collective imaginations. (For a look at other examples of bold, courageous and unusual infrastructure that do, see the slide show.) We can take a lesson from Musk and from Gravel, too, that infrastructure shouldn’t be viewed as an obstacle or a headache but something to behold. That it’s part of something bigger. “People don’t love the physical thing of the BeltLine,” says Gravel. “They love that it’s changing the city. It allows us to look beyond the shortcomings of the city and look ahead to the future and be excited about that.”

In an age of cost overruns, project delays, safety risks and the other, seemingly infinite obstacles to infrastructure, this all might sound awfully reductive, even naïve. But keeping our eye on what’s possible is certainly as important as fixating on what isn’t."
2016  atlanta  planning  metrics  urbanplanning  allisonarieff  daveeggers  infrastructure  goldengatebridge  history  ryangravel  atlantabeltline  beltline  transportation  housing  funding  politics  policy  losangeles  elonmusk  hyperloop  lariver  losangelesriver 
february 2016 by robertogreco
When They Promise the Netflix for Education, Cover Your Wallet | Just Visiting
"According to education consultant Michael Horn,[1] college has a lot in common with “your cable TV package.”

Horn says, “You really want just the accounting degree and you also get the football team alongside it. You’re paying for things that you will never ever use. It’s not tailored to actual needs.”

Horn (and his disruptor ilk) maintain that education needs to be “Netflixed.”

Do we really need to run through these arguments again and point out that education is not merely a content delivery system? Did the great MOOC hype collapse not already expose this fiction?

We already have things that are the educational equivalent of Netflix. I call them libraries, and guess what? They’re even better than Netflix because rather than relying solely on algorithms, they come stocked with trained professionals who will help you fulfill your content needs.

But never mind, because like all things, education must be disrupted. I just wish for once, the disruptors spoke to actual, you know, students before engaging in their disruptory ways.

Someone who thinks that football is not important to college choice must not be aware of student attitudes at places like Alabama, Clemson, or University of Michigan, where you will find many non-athlete students who indeed chose the school because of the football team.

But remember that Horn is not an educator. These people are never educators. He comes out of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation Boogaloo. He is now a principal in something called Entangled Solutions, a higher ed consultancy that uses their “startup connections to bring cutting edge technology to the academic world.”

Interestingly, the principals at Entangled Solutions with their “let them eat competency” attitudes have degrees from U. Chicago, Yale, Harvard MBA, CalTech, and Wharton.[2]

Their enemy is accreditation, and so Horn and others have formed a “task force” to challenge the control accreditors have over which institutions get access to federal grant and loan money. If they are successful, they will “open the door for the Airbnbs and Ubers of higher education.”

Do you join me in wondering how the introduction of rent-seeking entities into higher education could possibly benefit the broader public?

I don’t doubt these people deep down mean well, and sincerely believe their own B.S., but let’s not lose sight of the fact that it is B.S., and these companies are indeed on the grift. If their ideas were so good, they wouldn’t need to attach themselves to the public teat to fund them.

Indeed, programming bootcamps have managed to thrive in the marketplace, with the chief strategy officer at Reactor Core, the parent of the successful Hack Reactor camps telling the Washington Post that seeking accreditation, “Seemed like a lot of overhead and no real benefit for the students.”

Hack Reactor and the bootcamps like it are filling an underserved niche and bringing benefit to their customers and the industries they serve. For now. It seems inevitable that this sector too will overshoot the mark of demand and some providers will fall by the wayside, as they should in a free and open market.

Not satisfied with nibbling at the underserved edges, the higher ed disruptor crowd flat doesn’t like how college works, not in terms of education, but as a marketplace, and want to take their own shot at the problem. They don’t want to compete with legacy institutions so much as wreck them so they can rise in their place.
It’s unfortunate then, that our futuristic saviors seem to know so little about actual human beings.

It’s true, many fewer people would be interested in a four-year college experience if it didn’t come bundled with a degree. And yet, when you talk to students they will name dozens of other reasons they are glad to be in college: to grow as a person, to figure out what they want to do, to make friends and connections, to learn, to have fun, and yes, to go to football games.

College is like life, something to be lived, experienced, and we can't really predict or quantify the outcomes.

If you talk to students (and I do) and ask them if they want or would benefit from an “unbundled” education, you will find very few who answer in the affirmative.
My students are somewhere between befuddled by (Why would anyone want that?) and terrified of (I would fail, hard) such a future.

I teach a very traditional cohort of students, and the traditional college and university structure doesn’t make sense for everyone pursuing post-secondary education. There is indeed a role for competency-based education serving industries where discrete, demonstrable skills are necessary.

Though, I remember a time when the business themselves provided this service and called it “training,” but never mind.

And I am not one to deny the very real problems institutions face. The cost of college to students is a crisis. Of course the cause of this crisis is the disinvestment of public money in education, a fact the disruptor crowd almost always ignores because to acknowledge it would mean casting doubt over the necessity for disruption.

They see public disinvestment as a fixed state of being, as opposed to a reversible policy choice.

The idea that we’ll technology our way out of this is a fantasy. Entangled Solutions should know this better than anyone, as one of its other principals, Paul Freedman, had his first educational venture, Altius Education, which was supposed to help people move from associates degrees to four-year colleges, go splat after underperforming, and attracting a Justice Department investigation.[3]

But the disruptors continue to push a narrative of broken institutions, failing students, and too much of the policy-making public is willing to accept that story.

I have a counter-narrative, the oldest one in the book: History repeats itself.

Just as the worst actors of the for-profit industry slink off the stage, followed by lawsuits and government fines, we see our techno-solutionists stepping into the breach, claiming that higher education is “over-regulated.”
Tell that to the former customers of Corinthian Colleges.[4]
Different players, same game. Let’s not be fooled."
2016  johnwarner  education  michaelhorn  highered  highereducation  claytonchristensen  publicgood  funding  unbundling  corinthiancollege  privatization  forprofit  disruption  technology  training  competency  policy 
february 2016 by robertogreco
The Crowd, the Community, and Patronage | Harry Giles
"I like talking about patronage, though, and I like the idea of opening up what patronage can be. I like making it clear that art is not something that just happens, is not something that other people decide to make happen, but rather something that we all have a stake in making happen, and in making happen in more radical ways. For me, Patreon is a way of not asking single entities for patronage, but asking the crowd — or the community — for support. Like all crowdfunding, it’s a means of circumventing various power structures and barriers to survival, but unlike Kickstarter and most crowdfunding sites, the regular contribution makes it more about sustainable support, long-term income, and a relationship with the people who like what you do.

It’s also just about the only way I can think of to make the art I really want to make. Possibly because I grew up on the internet, making lots of things and giving them away feels natural to me. I don’t just want to make the art that sells, and I don’t just want to make the art that meets the targets of state funding bodies: I want to make the art that I believe in. And I don’t just want to make big monolithic state-of-the-world art projects (though sometimes they’re fun): I want to do little things, and silly things, and radical sparks, and awkward moments that drive a wedge into difficult politics. And I don’t want only the people who can afford it to be able to enjoy my art: I want everyone to be able to enjoy it, and then pay me if they like it. I think I’m good at making art like that. Maybe I want too much. Maybe that’s not the world we’re in together. But I’d like to try, and this seems like a good way of asking everyone if I can."
harrygiles  patronage  art  2014  via:tealtan  funding  making  internet  glvo  openstudioproject  lcproject  small  crowdfunding  income  relationships 
january 2016 by robertogreco
The Neverending Hunt for Affordable Housing Funds
"Q: One of the big criticisms that comes up in any discussion of affordable housing is that it costs too much to build. How do you handle that argument?

A: We build things like four-bedroom apartments. Three bedrooms, you’ll find in upscale new developments that that are high- to mid-market, truly market rate. Here, the market would never produce them. So, we’re building things that the market doesn’t do and doesn’t do for a reason.

Housing traditionally does not serve all classes. When you go back in history, what you typically have is tenements. You have naturally affordable housing that is obsolete or substandard and therefore not commanding a market price. It’s cheap because it’s not the most desirable. And so that’s how, in most of human history, the poorest people have lived in undignified conditions. Our goal as an organization is to try to provide dignified, safe housing for all members of society.

Q: What about for-profit developers who say, “Just make it easier for us to build market-rate housing, just increase the supply and then there’s … ”

A: The trickle down? There’s some truth in that. If you want to talk mega economics and go back to [urbanist and activist] Jane Jacobs , she will talk about diversity as being desirable and one of the diversities is diversity of [housing] tenure — the types, sizes, whether people rent or own. Diversity of age is valuable because … in an ideal world, you’re constantly providing almost enough housing so that there is always stuff falling into lowercase-a “affordability” — hopefully it’s not too obsolete and not too degraded.

But we have these incredible housing cycles of boom and bust, so we have big gaps in when housing is aging. There hasn’t been enough housing produced here. I think you’d have to go back to maybe the ‘60s to find a time when enough housing was being produced. … So that’s that boom-and-bust cycle and suddenly nothing older’s coming on the market and suddenly, boom, everything is aged out to 30 years. If we could smooth out the cycles, that would certainly help.

But the core issue: Is just gross supply part of the formula? And the answer is yes, of course. But can we build our way out of it? There’s some builders who are sitting on subdivisions because they know they can make more money releasing it in tranches over time. They have 10, 20, 30-year business plans. Are there people saying, “Release us to build and we shall build,” who actually have land they could build on? There are some of those, yes. Is it too difficult to build? It can be.

Q: But then you have communities that absolutely don’t want you to add another unit of housing.

A: The question of density is key. From an environmental standpoint, we know that the “City of Villages” is essentially a climate action plan, if you will, of transit-oriented development, really focusing on transit and putting the density in the right place where people can live rich, fulfilled lives within a narrow walking radius.

We’re going to have to work to see that enough multifamily land is zoned. Look at where we are right now. This zoning doesn’t exist everywhere in the city. We couldn’t do this and just replicate it down the street. The issue of density is, one, we have to get more multifamily zoning. In every community plan update we do, we have to look at where it makes sense. And then we have to show how it improves quality of life and I think we’re starting to get more examples.

When [Metro Villas] was being built, there was a lot of community opposition, “We don’t want more affordable housing.” Well, now we hear, “We want to see more things like this.” It’s the high point of the neighborhood. We have marvelous, beautiful examples of affordable housing being the finest housing in the community.

Similarly with density, people are screaming to get into North Park, they’re screaming to get into Little Italy. We simply have to do a better job of demonstrating the quality of life benefits and actually funding improvements to the public realm that make it so that it is more desirable … so that it has a vibrancy as opposed to a crowdedness. Is it crowded or is it vibrant? It really depends on all of these other environmental cues and how did they get there? Are you sitting next to cars and parking or are you in a plaza? All these different kinds of elements come together."

[See also: http://cityheightsinitiative.org/historic-projects/metro-center/ and
http://www.sandiego.gov/redevelopment-agency/pdf/affhousing/fsmetrovillas.pdf ]
sandiego  housing  2015  stephenrussell  affordablehousing  funding  redevelopment  cityheights  density  metrovilla  landuse  class 
december 2015 by robertogreco
EdCamp Monsanto
"Earlier today, I found out Monsanto - yes, that Monsanto - is sponsoring EdCamp St. Louis. This makes perfect sense for Monsanto, and is part of Monsanto's corporate strategy, but it raises some questions about whether it makes sense for EdCamp.

What does it mean for an organization like EdCamp - that explicitly references a distributed model with respect for local control - when local camps agree to take money from an organization that has made billions destroying local agricuture?

What does it mean for an organization like EdCamp - which is the most visible face of the locally run events - to have local chapters preparing co-branded materials with companies that are, at best, ethically challenged? While this specific instance is about Monsanto, I imagine an EdCamp sponsored by Altria, with the EdCamp logo smoking a cigarette. Or maybe EdCamp Boulder can get sponsorship from a dispensary?

Can an organization like EdCamp claim to be about global connections when local EdCamps can create co-branded sponsor relationships that completely ignore the global connections and misdeeds of sponsors?

Given that EdCamps grew to prominence via small, non-corporate, locally run events, can they retain their authenticity if they are increasingly sponsored and co-branded by large multinational companies? What does it mean for the future of EdCamps if the rhetoric of their events drifts from the sponsorship of their events?

The EdCamp foundation can help by providing publicly accessible sponsorship guidelines. The following two changes would help dispel some of the confusion.

• Clarify that sponsorships should favor local small businesses (potentially defined by numbers of employees, for example, 50 or under) first. If EdCamps are about elevating local voices, that should extend to sponsorships as well. The camps can have a process for handling exceptions that documents if and why an exception to these sponsorships get made.

• Define what sponsors get. Do they get access to attendee contact info? Do they get to display a logo at the event? If they are buying lunch, do they get the chance to pitch and hand out swag during lunch? Right now, these guidelines appear to be nonexistent, which leaves local sponsors exposed to, at the least, cranks on twitter sounding off.

Now that EdCamp has a foundation and some funding, they should fill in this infrastructure. They will be facing some obvious tensions as they attempt to grow EdCamp in a way that doesn't sell out or destroy the locally developed feel that made EdCamps work in the first place."

[via: http://hackeducation.com/2015/12/23/trends-business/ ]
billfitzgerald  edcamp  sponsorship  ethics  2014  money  influence  partnerships  funding  bedfellows  branding 
december 2015 by robertogreco
BUREAU of CREATIVE WORKS by Mike Ambs — Kickstarter
[See also: http://www.bureauofcreative.works/ ]

"A year-long short film collective. Each month a new filmmaker will release a fully original short film exclusively to supporters."



"WHAT YOU'RE FUNDING

You're helping 12 different filmmakers create 12 original short films over the following year.

80% of the funds go directly towards the production budgets, the other 20% is split between Kickstarter / Amazon / VHX fees, and then operating cost, ie, The BUREAU helping to promote and distribute these films to you, the supporters!

THE FILMS & ALL THAT COMES WITH THEM

As a backer, you might be most excited about the 12 short films — which we can understand — but!, your support also gives you access to materials created throughout each film’s production, things like: storyboards, scripts, behind the scenes footage, insight into a range of low-budget filmmaking techniques, etc.

WHY THE BUREAU IS IMPORTANT

“Artists shouldn’t be making art on the side, it should be their job. We need to re-train audiences who’ve grown used to the free YouTube model that shorts are worth paying for.”

The above quote is from the immensely talented Don Hertzfeldt, director of ‘World of Tomorrow’ and 'It's Such a Beautiful Day', and we’re sharing it here because it so perfectly articulates the sentiment and ambitions behind The BUREAU.

From an audience perspective: we’re bringing together a highly engaged community of people who love unique stories, and, most importantly, a community that doesn't simply curate the hard-work of other artists after-the-fact, but instead, a community that directly contributes to the earliest stages of creative work.

From a filmmaker perspective: we’re creating a consistent and flexible platform that supports unique short films. Short films that otherwise might never exist. Not only is this platform ongoing, it directly connects filmmakers with their audience."



"WHAT THE BUREAU DOES

The BUREAU has long list of responsibilities, all of which we take quite seriously - this project connects audiences with filmmakers, and we’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that relationship is a healthy and exciting one for everyone involved.

Seek out talented filmmakers. Bring together a highly engaged audience. Provide financial support for filmmakers to produce original short films. Distribute these films directly to supporters (subscribers). Highlight the importance and value in supporting creative work. Provide 'a safe place to build' for filmmakers. In other words, we aren't giving notes, we aren’t tweaking ideas. We provide the financial means and the creative-cover for filmmakers to make truly original and unique short films. Helping filmmakers take risk they might not otherwise be able to take. "
film  funding  filmmaking  bureauofcreativeworks 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Is It Time to Give Up on Computers in Schools?
"This is a version of the talk I gave at ISTE today on a panel titled "Is It Time to Give Up on Computers in Schools?" with Gary Stager, Will Richardson, Martin Levins, David Thornburg, and Wayne D'Orio. It was pretty damn fun.

Take one step into that massive shit-show called the Expo Hall and it’s hard not to agree: “yes, it is time to give up on computers in schools.”

Perhaps, once upon a time, we could believe ed-tech would change things. But as Seymour Papert noted in The Children’s Machine,
Little by little the subversive features of the computer were eroded away: … the computer was now used to reinforce School’s ways. What had started as a subversive instrument of change was neutralized by the system and converted into an instrument of consolidation.

I think we were naive when we ever thought otherwise.

Sure, there are subversive features, but I think the computers also involve neoliberalism, imperialism, libertarianism, and environmental destruction. They now involve high stakes investment by the global 1% – it’s going to be a $60 billion market by 2018, we’re told. Computers are implicated in the systematic de-funding and dismantling of a public school system and a devaluation of human labor. They involve the consolidation of corporate and governmental power. They involve scientific management. They are designed by white men for white men. They re-inscribe inequality.

And so I think it’s time now to recognize that if we want education that is more just and more equitable and more sustainable, that we need to get the ideologies that are hardwired into computers out of the classroom.

In the early days of educational computing, it was often up to innovative, progressive teachers to put a personal computer in their classroom, even paying for the computer out of their own pocket. These were days of experimentation, and as Seymour teaches us, a re-imagining of what these powerful machines could enable students to do.

And then came the network and, again, the mainframe.

You’ll often hear the Internet hailed as one of the greatest inventions of mankind – something that connects us all and that has, thanks to the World Wide Web, enabled the publishing and sharing of ideas at an unprecedented pace and scale.

What “the network” introduced in educational technology was also a more centralized control of computers. No longer was it up to the individual teacher to have a computer in her classroom. It was up to the district, the Central Office, IT. The sorts of hardware and software that was purchased had to meet those needs – the needs and the desire of the administration, not the needs and the desires of innovative educators, and certainly not the needs and desires of students.

The mainframe never went away. And now, virtualized, we call it “the cloud.”

Computers and mainframes and networks are points of control. They are tools of surveillance. Databases and data are how we are disciplined and punished. Quite to the contrary of Seymour’s hopes that computers will liberate learners, this will be how we are monitored and managed. Teachers. Students. Principals. Citizens. All of us.

If we look at the history of computers, we shouldn’t be that surprised. The computers’ origins are as weapons of war: Alan Turing, Bletchley Park, code-breakers and cryptography. IBM in Germany and its development of machines and databases that it sold to the Nazis in order to efficiently collect the identity and whereabouts of Jews.

The latter should give us great pause as we tout programs and policies that collect massive amounts of data – “big data.” The algorithms that computers facilitate drive more and more of our lives. We live in what law professor Frank Pasquale calls “the black box society.” We are tracked by technology; we are tracked by companies; we are tracked by our employers; we are tracked by the government, and “we have no clear idea of just how far much of this information can travel, how it is used, or its consequences.” When we compel the use of ed-tech, we are doing this to our students.

Our access to information is constrained by these algorithms. Our choices, our students’ choices are constrained by these algorithms – and we do not even recognize it, let alone challenge it.

We have convinced ourselves, for example, that we can trust Google with its mission: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” I call “bullshit.”

Google is at the heart of two things that computer-using educators should care deeply and think much more critically about: the collection of massive amounts of our personal data and the control over our access to knowledge.

Neither of these are neutral. Again, these are driven by ideology and by algorithms.

You’ll hear the ed-tech industry gleefully call this “personalization.” More data collection and analysis, they contend, will mean that the software bends to the student. To the contrary, as Seymour pointed out long ago, instead we find the computer programming the child. If we do not unpack the ideology, if the algorithms are all black-boxed, then “personalization” will be discriminatory. As Tressie McMillan Cottom has argued “a ‘personalized’ platform can never be democratizing when the platform operates in a society defined by inequalities.”

If we want schools to be democratizing, then we need to stop and consider how computers are likely to entrench the very opposite. Unless we stop them.

In the 1960s, the punchcard – an older piece of “ed-tech” – had become a symbol of our dehumanization by computers and by a system – an educational system – that was inflexible, impersonal. We were being reduced to numbers. We were becoming alienated. These new machines were increasing the efficiency of a system that was setting us up for a life of drudgery and that were sending us off to war. We could not be trusted with our data or with our freedoms or with the machines themselves, we were told, as the punchcards cautioned: “Do not fold, spindle, or mutilate.”

Students fought back.

Let me quote here from Mario Savio, speaking on the stairs of Sproul Hall at UC Berkeley in 1964 – over fifty years ago, yes, but I think still one of the most relevant messages for us as we consider the state and the ideology of education technology:
We’re human beings!

There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

We’ve upgraded from punchcards to iPads. But underneath, a dangerous ideology – a reduction to 1s and 0s – remains. And so we need to stop this ed-tech machine."
edtech  education  audreywatters  bias  mariosavio  politics  schools  learning  tressuemcmillancottom  algorithms  seymourpapert  personalization  data  security  privacy  howwteach  howwelearn  subversion  computers  computing  lms  neoliberalism  imperialism  environment  labor  publicschools  funding  networks  cloud  bigdata  google  history 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: Some Post-Reform Education Theses
"The last 15 years have destroyed the intellectual foundation of American education
My favorite example is the argument in favor of teaching science and history for the purpose of improving "literacy." We don't have any working definitions of the core academic disciplines. Or a working definition of a "discipline" or its role in education. The basic definition of education has been hijacked as "college and career readiness," etc., etc. After Vietnam, the US military went back to Clausewitz to try to figure its role out again from first principles. We need to start over with Dewey.

Half-assed technocrats don't cut it.
Educational administrators are always going to tend toward technocracy, but right now we have a generation of terrible, uninterested, uneducated, ideological technocrats. It is the worst case scenario.

The international educational status quo is a decent starting point.
Every system has its strengths and weaknesses, but we don't have to act like we're solving a novel problem, as we have been, even as people go on and on about "international benchmarking."

Be realistic about where we are actually putting in real effort today.
For example, the current conversation about the difficulty of building social capital in low-income neighborhoods. This isn't something we're trying to do and failing. We are barely trying at all. We're not even adequately funding the existing public institutions (libraries, community centers, parks and rec., etc.) in low-income neighborhoods. Why don't we try that first before starting the handwringing?

Fund schools from general funds, not grants, especially private ones.
Some districts will waste their money. Get over it.

The ed-tech market does not work.
Actually the whole educational publishing market doesn't work either.

Enough with the standardized tests.
Professional teachers can evaluate their students. It is their job. They do it all over the world.

AP is a product, not a proxy for quality.
Increased AP enrollment just means the school is moving more product.

It is easy to mislead people about what "we" believed and did just a few years ago.
The memory hole is voracious.

Education can't be the most important problem in the world -- that we can only attempt to fix without spending more money.
Well, it is ok to give money to consultants, charter administration, and real estate scams."
education  policy  us  edreform  schools  teaching  learning  ap  testing  standardizedtesting  johndewey  assessment  funding  money  memory  socialcapital  poverty  ideology  2015  tomhoffman 
june 2015 by robertogreco
CURMUDGUCATION: Can We Rebuild Social Capital?
"Can We Rebuild Social Capital?
I often disagree with his answers, but Mike Petrilli frequently asks excellent questions.

In the recent National Review, Petrilli is spinning off Robert Putnam's latest book about America's children and discussing the idea of social capital. The problem is simple, and clear:"the fundamental reality of life for many children growing up in poverty in America today is the extremely low level of 'social capital' of their families, communities, and schools."

The problem with any deliberate attempt to build social capital, as Petrilli correctly notes, is that nobody has any idea how to do it. Petrilli accuses Putnam of suggesting that we throw money at the problem. Well, I haven't read the book yet (it's on the summer reading list), so I can't judge whether Petrilli's summation is correct or not.

But Petrilli himself offers three strategies for addressing the issue. And as is often the case, while he raises some interesting and worthwhile questions, his line of inquiry is derailed by his mission of selling charters and choice.
1. Invite poor children into schools with social capital to spare.

No, I don't think so. Social capital is about feeling supported, connected, and at home in your own community. You cannot feel at home in your own community by going to somebody else's community.

Schools contribute to social capital by belonging to the community, by being an outgrowth of the community which has significant role in running those schools. Inviting students into schools that are not in their community, that do not belong to those students and their families-- I don't think that gets you anything. Social capital finds expression in schools through things like evening gatherings at the school by people from the community. It depends on students and families who are tied through many, many links-- neighbors, families, friends. It depends on things as simple as a student who helps another student on homework by just stopping over at the house for a few minutes. These are things that don't happen when the students attend the same school, but live a huge distance apart.

Making a new student from another community a co-owner in a school is extraordinarily different. But anything less leaves the new student as simply a guest, and guests don't get to use the social capital of a community.

2. Build on the social capital that does exist in poor communities.

The basic idea here is solid. Putrnam's grim picture aside, poor communities still have institutions and groups that provide social capital, connectedness, support. I agree with Petrilli here, at least for about one paragraph. Then a promising idea veers off into shilling for charters and choice.

Education reformers should look for ways to nurture existing social capital and help it grow. Community-based charter schools are one way; so (again) is private-school choice.

Churches, service organizations (in my neck of the woods, think volunteer fire departments), and social groups (think Elks) are all community-based groups that add to social capital. Unfortunately, as Putnam noted in Bowling Alone, those sorts of groups are all in trouble.

One of the fundamental problems of social capital and these groups is a steady dispersing of the people in the community. People spend too much time spreading out to come together. Spreading them out more, so that their children are all in different schools and no longer know each other-- I don't see how that helps. Social capital is about connection.

3. Build social capital by creating new schools.

Exactly where does a high-poverty community come up with the money to build a new school? The answer, he acknowledges, is for charter operators to come in from outside and create a new school from scratch. He also acknowledges that it's an "open question" whether such schools create any new social capital.

I would also ask if it's really more inexpensive and efficient to spend the resources needed to start a new school from scratch than it is to invest those resources in the school that already exists. Particularly since with few exceptions, that new school is created to accommodate only some of the students in the community. If the community ends up financing two separate but unequal schools, that's not a financial improvement, and it is not creating social capital.

Do we actually care?

In the midst of these three points, Petrilli posits that growing social capital and growing academic achievement (aka test scores) are two different goals that are not always compatible, and we should not sacrifice test scores on the altar of social capital.

On this point I think Petrilli is dead wrong. There is not a lick of evidence that high test scores are connected to later success in life. On the other hand, there's plenty of evidence that social capital does, in fact, have a bearing on later success in life. High test scores are not a useful measure of anything, and they are not a worthwhile goal for schools or communities.

Petrilli's is doubtful that lefty solutions that involve trying to fix poverty by giving poor people money are likely to help, and that many social services simply deliver some basic services without building social capital, and in this, I think he might have a point.

And it occurs to me, reading Petrilli's piece, that I live in a place that actually has a good history of social capital, both in the building and the losing. I'm going to be posting about that in the days ahead because I think social capital conversation is one worth having, and definitely one worth having as more than a way to spin charters and choice. Sorry to leave you with a "to be continued..." but school is ending and I've got time on my hands."
socialcapital  mikepetrilli  petergreene  community  communities  busing  education  schools  testscores  testing  poverty  cityheights  libraries  reccenters  connectedness  support  edreform  reform  robertputnam  society  funding  neighborhoods  guests  connection  academics  inequality  charterschools 
june 2015 by robertogreco
tricia the wolf en Instagram: “#triciaaftergradschool - One thing that I learned over the last 8 years is that I now know the difference between commitment and co-dependence. In the process of being committed to finishing #gradschool, I became #codepend
"#triciaaftergradschool - One thing that I learned over the last 8 years is that I now know the difference between commitment and co-dependence.

In the process of being committed to finishing #gradschool, I became #codependent on finishing. Co-dependence is when you allow your emotional state to be triggered by another entity. For me, this entity morphed from student drama to fieldwork to waiting for a grant to finishing a paper and in the end writing my dissertation #synthesisnow. I used to think that it was great that I couldn’t fall asleep due to a fast beating heart because then I had the adrenaline to write more. I used to feel good about being woken up with heart palpitations because it gave me energy to process more fieldnotes. The list goes on. In the process, I stopped asking why. Why am I doing this? What is my purpose here? Why do I have to write this grant? Why do I have to panic over this paper?

In all these unnoticeable ways, I had absorbed the temporal logic of #gradschool EVEN THOUGH I didn’t even want to get an academic job! Isn’t that crazy!?!?! I allowed my own identity to become so tied to what I was doing that I stopped asking why.

But now that I’ve been done for a year and in rehabilitation to join society again, I found out that I experience insomnia, anxiety, breathing issues, writers block, and guilt when relaxing. So I’ve been working on all of that over the last year and it feels GREAT to become human again.

So now that I’m mindful of co-dependent behavior, I am also more aware of what commitment feels like. To me, commitment is a mindful decision to do something on terms that make sense for you and the parties involved. I always want to make sure wellbeing, joy, trust, and presence are the axis in which I align myself with whatever I commit to. I never want my identity to be so wrapped up in something that I can’t see the difference. I want to do this with every relationship I have whether it is with a person, job, or movement. Good bye co-dependence, hello commitment.

#triciainsandiego #sociology"

[Also here: http://blog.triciawang.com/post/119633986686/triciaaftergradschool-one-thing-that-i-learned

related posts:

https://instagram.com/p/3AGuI8t8F_/ + http://blog.triciawang.com/post/119634222266/

"#triciaaftergradschool - I am now wondering why I never spoke to the dpt about the cruel and stifling #microaggression directed towards me and other students during #gradschool. I mean wasn’t the only one who struggled - 50% of my cohort dropped out the first year.
It was hard to even recognize the pattern because these things happened over a period of several years.

But ultimately, I didn’t think it was easy to talk to the dpt because they never explicitly encouraged or condoned any of this petty behavior. But I am realizing now that they have created and participated in a measurement obsessed structure that allows such terrible behavior to flourish.

Ultimately, sociology #gradschool as it is set up now, can model corrupt regime behavior - it’s a party of a few people creating and enforcing policies that justify their existence. This justification is done through measurement & ranking in the name of “professionalization” of #sociology. This professionalization pressure is on top of existing departmental and institutional budget cuts that decreased research funding, a broken tenure system (that no one talks about openly), and the department’s failure to help graduates get good teaching positions. In addition, the majority of cohorts are made up of young students who lack real life experience. So all of this creates a competitive anxious group of homogenous students who will engage in selfish behavior and gang up on others if they feel threatened. The people who suffer the most in this system are the few students of color or working-class backgrounds who are allowed into the program.

So while my dpt has never condoned cruelty amongst students, their policies and values foster it. It’s similar to how no US city approve of police brutality, but it happens because the system creates conditions that allow it to flourish. The macro enables the micro - that is sociology 101.

#triciainsandiego (at UC San Diego Social Sciences)"

https://instagram.com/p/3AHPVPN8G-/ + http://blog.triciawang.com/post/119634502396/

"#triciaaftergradschool - Walking into the graduate lounge is triggering memories of so much petty shit that I witnessed and was subjected to during #gradschool. Here are just a few things that come to my mind:

1. Students made fun of me for wearing high heels and reading gossip magazines.

2. Students reported to faculty that I was texting with another student in class, disrupting seminars.

3. I was repeatedly told that I wasn’t theoretical enough or fit to be a sociologist. In #sociology speak, this means you don’t belong cuz you’re too stupid to be in this program.

4. I was told by students to keep it a secret that I didn’t have plans to go into academia because the dpt will not give me grants & professors won’t engage with me. I didn’t keep it a secret. My research was never funded.

5. I was told to never publish #livefieldnotes or any blog posts about my research or else I’d never find a job.

6. Faculty reminded me several times that studying cellphones and the internet was “not sociological enough.”

7. Professors would say the dumbest shit that students would repeat & accept as truth! For example, a few faculty told us when we get tenured positions we will be more free than people who have jobs because we can do whatever we want and we’re smarter than people without Phds.

8. I dealt with sexual harassment from students and a professors.

9. A group of students told the grad director that I was creating problems amongst the grad students because I didn’t invite the to the parties that I was hosting at my house. Seriously high school shit.

#triciainsandiego #sociology (at UC San Diego Social Sciences)"

https://instagram.com/p/3AIs5Nt8Jg/ + http://blog.triciawang.com/post/119635295101/

"#triciaaftergradschool - Having just visited the Stasi Museum in Berlin (above) and UCSD #socialscience building (below) for #gradschool reflections, it’s interesting to note the similarities between totalizing institutions.

By NO way am I conflating #sociology #gradschool with East Germany/GDR under the Eastern Bloc. However, I think think the line between micro individual agency & macro structural forces are so thin that my personal processing of how the Sociology dpt created a cruel environment amongst grad students is helping me understand how people can turn on each other under institutional forces.

Totalizing institutions creep into people’s lives in benign ways. A few seemingly logical policies to measure & organize people into categories can create such terrible behavior.
These policies are always created by privileged elites who use it to justify their own existence & actions. And then a few sane ones start to question their own sanity, & perhaps to survive they go along with some of the policies.

I saw this happening in my #sociology department on a very small & benign scale. It happened even to me. The professionalization of sociology is treating people as ranked numbers to be slotted into categories that deem intelligence. Individual well-being is cast aside for the sake of the institution’s mission. If a student doesn’t perform like a normative #sociologist, then you’re marked as abnormal.

During my time, I eventually performed “sociology”. I wrote in the 3rd voice to appear more objective. I generated undecipherable intellectual garble papers. I formulated causal models, hypothesizing all sorts of variable isolation. I excelled in theory classes & became successful at obtaining funding from scientific instit. But I was miserable.

Eventually my mentors helped me realize that I had lost my voice as a writer. I wrote like a boring sociologist removed from society. That scared the shit out of me. Doing ethnographic work saved me, by observing humans I became human again.

All totalizing institutions become experts at removing the human experience, because once they do that, they can program people to do anything."

https://instagram.com/p/3AJO0Gt8KP/ + http://blog.triciawang.com/post/119635578466/

"#triciaaftergradschool - Today, I voluntarily came to UCSD #socialscience #sociology building for the first time post #gradschool. Lots of memories are coming back. When I first started grad school, I so badly wanted to enjoy it. I had this vision that I would weave a fun life between working in NYC and reading sociology books on #sandiego beaches.
Man was I wrong. I was so miserable in the program but I didn’t realize how terrible it was until this trip. I don’t think I ever truly allowed myself to acknowledge or even admit how traumatic it was on me while I was in the program. Why do so many experience #gradshcool as isolating, dark, and depressive? Why does it have to be this way when getting any degree, much less a PhD, is such an act of privilege and luck. Brilliant people around the world don’t even get the chance to read books much less step inside a university just because they were born into failed systems. I think I felt this weight of privilege on me, so I didn’t want to even allow myself to come off as unappreciative of this fabulous life I have as a Westerner. But that’s my reason, is there a larger reasons that cuts across all programs?

#triciainsandiego #gradschool #sociology

(at UC San Diego Social Sciences)"

https://instagram.com/p/3AJ6efN8LO/ + http://blog.triciawang.com/post/119635943301/

"#triciaaftergradschool - I am a fucking doctor. That’s right, I have a fucking phd. I am so proud of myself for getting this credential.

Although I think it’s important to remember that credentials do not reflect the quality of a person’s skillsets or intelligence. It makes me sick that #gradschool promotes intellectual superiority within our degree obsessed society.

… [more]
triciaang  2015  ucsd  gradschool  education  commitment  co-dependence  sociology  academia  richardmadsen  thewhy  purpose  triciawang  capitalism  highereducation  highered  2014  socialsciences  measurement  ranking  funding  research  behavior  groupdynamics  professionalization  control  dehumanization  elitism  privilege  isolation  objectivity  self-justification  bullying  systemicracism  institutions  institutionalizedracism  abuse  institutionalizedabuse  classism  class 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Eyeo 2014 - Leah Buechley on Vimeo
"Thinking About Making – An examination of what we mean by making (MAKEing) these days. What gets made? Who makes? Why does making matter?"



[uninscusive covers of Make Magazine and composition of Google employment]

“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”

"I'm really tired of setting up structures where we tell young women and young brown and black kids that they should aspire to be like rich white guys."

[RTd these back than, but never watched the video. Thanks, Sara for bringing it back up.

https://twitter.com/arikan/status/477546169329938432
https://twitter.com/arikan/status/477549826498764801 ]

[Talk with some of the same content from Leah Buechley (and a lot of defensive comments from the crowd that Buechleya addresses well):
http://edstream.stanford.edu/Video/Play/883b61dd951d4d3f90abeec65eead2911d
https://www.edsurge.com/n/2013-10-29-make-ing-more-diverse-makers ]
leahbuechley  making  makermovement  critique  equality  gender  race  2014  via:ablerism  privilege  wealth  glvo  openstudioproject  lcproject  democratization  inequality  makemagazine  money  age  education  electronics  robots  robotics  rockets  technology  compsci  computerscience  computing  computers  canon  language  work  inclusivity  funding  google  intel  macarthurfoundation  opportunity  power  influence  movements  engineering  lowriders  pottery  craft  culture  universality  marketing  inclusion 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Denying New York Libraries the Fuel They Need - NYTimes.com
"Suppose you guess where people spend at least some of their time in the city.

For instance, what attractions draw the most visitors?

A. Major museums, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Museum or Museum of the City of New York.

B. Libraries, including the neighborhood branches and research centers.

C. Performing arts, like those at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, City Center and Snug Harbor.

D. Sports teams like the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Jets and Giants.

E. Natural-world attractions: the botanical gardens, Wave Hill, the zoos and aquariums.

Lots of people buy tickets for sports, even if they don’t always show up. Last year, the Yankees listed attendance as 3.4 million; the Mets, 2.14 million. At Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center, the two basketball teams and the Rangers hockey team brought in a total of 2.2 million. The two professional football teams in northern New Jersey drew 1.3 million.

Those hefty numbers add up to about nine million. How about attendance at museums, live performances and zoos? “Approximately 21 million New Yorkers and other visitors attended the 33 city-owned museums, performing arts centers, botanical gardens, zoos and historical sites,” the mayor’s office reported in September.

But wait.

The city’s libraries — the fusty old buildings, and a few spiffier modern ones, planted in all five boroughs — had 37 million visitors in the last fiscal year, said Angela Montefinise, a spokeswoman for the New York Public Library, which runs branches and research centers in Manhattan and the Bronx and on Staten Island. The Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Library have their own extensive systems.

So the city’s libraries have more users than major professional sports, performing arts, museums, gardens and zoos — combined.

No one who has set foot in the libraries — crowded at all hours with adults learning languages, using computers, borrowing books, hunting for jobs, and schoolchildren researching projects or discovering stories — can mistake them for anything other than power plants of intellect and opportunity. They are distributed without regard to wealth.

Over the last decade, they have not gotten anywhere near the kind of capital funding enjoyed by sports teams.

From the 2006 fiscal year through 2014, the city budgeted at least $464 million to build new baseball stadiums for the Yankees and the Mets, and $156 million for the Barclays Center. That’s $620 million for just those three sports arenas — a sum more than one-third greater than the $453 million that the city committed for capital improvements to the its 206 branch libraries and four research centers, which serve roughly seven times as many people a year as attend baseball games. (The budget figures were provided by the city’s Independent Budget Office; the teams are getting an additional $680 million in subsidies spread over 40 years.)

For decades, the libraries have served a single function in the city budget process: hostages. Mayors say they have to cut library hours to make the financial books balance. The City Council rises up in outrage. During the negotiations, hours are ultimately restored, usually swapped for something else that the mayor actually wants.

Despite these annual rescues, library hours in New York “trail behind cities throughout the nation,” according to a study by David Giles published this month by the Center for an Urban Future."
nyc  libraries  nypl  learning  funding  books  education  2015  publicgood 
april 2015 by robertogreco
The Next Bond Money Fight: Swimming Pools - Voice of San Diego
"San Diego Unified is still in the midst of a court battle over millions of bond dollars spent improperly on stadium lights, but that’s not stopping officials from plunging into a similar endeavor: building swimming pools.

The district is forging ahead with a Pools for Schools initiative that’ll build 10 or more pools on or near school campuses. District officials have floated a $20 million price tag.

But the pools plan is remarkably similar to the district’s use of bond money to fund new stadium lights – an approach the Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected. The taxpayer group that successfully sued over the field lights has put the district on notice that it plans to sue again once a drop of bond money is spent on the pools.

That’s not the only factor that could complicate the initiative: The bonds the district wants to use are tax-exempt and must be used for a public purpose. It could be fine if they jump through the hoops of various tax laws, but renting out the pools too often and putting any of them on private property could call the funding into question.

The district’s in-house counsel, Andra Donovan, did not respond to several inquiries.

The district’s bond counsel, Mary Collins of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, declined to discuss the pools and referred me to district officials.

“The ‘plan,’ as you call it, is still being developed. No work has been done yet,” Cynthia Reed-Porter, a spokeswoman for the district, said in an email. “The district is working closely with bond counsel to ensure that the plans that are developed meet the requirements for expenditure of bond funds, and that the tax-exempt status is preserved.”

Lee Dulgeroff, chief facilities planning and construction officer for the district, said the pools are still a go.

“Our legal counsel is confident, and that’s our opinion,” Dulgeroff said. “Our goal is to make sure our kids are water-safe.”

♦♦♦

The district announced the Pools for Schools initiative in May 2013, just two months after being told by an appellate court that it could not spend bond money on field lights because they were not sufficiently disclosed to voters who passed Proposition S, a $2.1 billion school bond measure, in 2008.

This time, the district would use funds from another school bond measure, the $2.8 billion Proposition Z, passed in 2012, to build pools throughout the district. The YMCA would maintain and operate the pools as part of a joint-use partnership. Win-win, says the district.

The pools would provide students, YMCA members and paying outside parties the space for competitive swimming, water polo, physical education classes and recreational use.

A presentation made to the school board showed several schools getting a pool on campus, including Mira Mesa, Madison and Patrick Henry high schools, and Roosevelt Middle, while several others would get to use pools built by the district at nearby YMCA sites.

Lincoln High students would use a pool at the Jackie Robinson YMCA, Point Loma High students would use a pool at a future YMCA site at Liberty Station and Scripps Ranch High students would use a pool at a future Scripps Ranch YMCA site.

The district inked a preliminary deal late last year with the YMCA of San Diego County to operate and maintain the pools once they’re built, and again listed YMCA sites among the pool locations, although district officials said exact locations have yet to be finalized.

Officials, though, are relying on near identical ballot language to rationalize the construction of swimming pools that a court said was insufficient to justify the field lights paid for with Proposition S funds.

Just like the field lights, the swimming pools are only explicitly mentioned on the ballot in a section near the bottom that shows “other costs incidental to and necessary for completion of the listed projects.”

For the district to justify the pools, it’ll have to sell the notion the pools are necessary to complete other projects listed on the ballot.

What Proposition Z does have that S didn’t is the district’s plan to pursue projects at all sites that “improve physical education, athletic facilities,” “expand or develop joint-use athletic facilities” and “Develop or improve education, recreation and/or community resource facilities for joint-use to support students and neighborhood families.”

Whether that broad language is enough to defend the pools may be left to another court to decide.

The same taxpayer group that successfully sued the district over the field lights – and is seeking a court order to get the district to repay its bond fund $2.6 million – plans to sue again if the district proceeds with using bond funds for pools.

“Someone needs to challenge this, because this is not what the voters voted on,” said Ron Anderson, president of Taxpayers for Accountable School Bond Spending.

“Why the push for these controversial projects? If there was such a need for them, why weren’t they front and center on the bond measure?” Anderson said. “Nobody is against kids learning how to swim. If there is an intent to build pools, then float a bond and put it squarely in there, stating that the money will be used to build aquatic centers.”

Anderson said he opposes any plans that use public money to improve private property.

“It is too early in the process to comment on the plan and its successful outcome,” said Loni Lewis, spokeswoman for the YMCA of San Diego County.

♦♦♦

There’s also a separate issue that could pose legal obstacles.

Proposition Z bonds are tax-exempt so long as they are used for tax-exempt purposes.

To avoid being reclassified by the Internal Revenue Service, the district will need to make sure it’s using the bonds according to laws that limit the benefits afforded to non-governmental entities, including nonprofits like the YMCA.

“This would have to be done carefully,” said Darien Shanske, a professor who teaches public finance and federal, state and local tax courses at UC Davis School of Law. “There are very detailed regulations about how much non-governmental use is permitted for tax-exempt bonds. I would hope with good advice, they can make this possible.”

Perry Israel, a Sacramento-based municipal finance tax attorney, said the district would need to follow rules for qualified 501(c)(3) bonds if they want to build pools on YMCA property. Such bonds generally require that the “facility must be used 95 percent of the time for governmental use and nonprofit use,” Israel said.

For pools on school sites, Israel said the district has another option and may follow rules for governmental bonds that generally require at least 90 percent government use and meet other requirements in the YMCA management contract.

While the details of the pools deal will be hammered out as site funding becomes available, the memorandum signed with the YMCA in December says the district “desires to have sole and exclusive use during school hours while school is in session” and preferential use at other times.

It also says “The Parties will jointly develop a schedule of proposed uses, programs, hours of operations, and fees to users (such as swim lessons, private practice lane rentals, special competitions, etc.) that generates the maximum potential use of the pool and facilities, minimizes District funding and expenses, and sustains the operation of the facilities.”

How much the pools are rented out, however, is something the district will need to consider and likely restrict.

If the pools are frequently rented out to paying parties, that could interfere with what’s known as the public purpose doctrine, a principle built into state constitutions that generally restricts government resources from benefitting private parties.

Proposition S and Z are general obligation bonds backed by the taxes, and as such “have to satisfy a public purpose,” said Clayton Gillette, a professor of local government law at NYU School of Law.

Still, what constitutes a “public purpose” is an “extraordinarily flexible notion,” interpreted differently by the courts throughout history, he said.

“The more it (the pool) is open to all students the easier it is going to be to satisfy a public purpose requirement,” Gillette said. “The more that members of the YMCA have preferential access with fees, the more it would raise a public purpose question.”

Gillette also said the YMCA’s religious affiliation might raise questions about “an improper mixing of the state and religion,” but since the pools are “for a non-religious purpose, it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Former school board member Scott Barnett, who helped put together the Pools for Schools plan before leaving office last year, touted the partnership as a prudent cost-saver.

“I didn’t want the district to get into the business of operating, maintaining and staffing pools, because that’s not the primary task of the district,” Barnett said. Nor did he want the pool programs to be vulnerable to budget cuts.

He said he recalls some discussion about using a lease-leaseback method to build the pool at the Jackie Robinson YMCA, but he doesn’t recall looking at the field light decision before forging ahead with the Pools for School plan, and strongly objects to any comparisons.

“To in any way equate the language in Prop. Z with the language in Prop. S is absolutely reckless,” Barnett said. “The bond has thousands and thousands of bond expenditures that are not mentioned in the bond language at all. The specific plumbing and drainage of the fields,” for instance.

“Anyone can sue over anything that they aren’t happy with.”"
sandiego  sdusd  schools  pools  swimming  swimmingpools  bonds  funding  srg  edg  glvo  2015  ymca  schoolbonds  propositions  propositionz  education 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Colleges Are Raising Costs Because They Can | Al Jazeera America
"Why does college cost so much? Commentators continue to look for clues. So far, two main schools of thought have emerged. According to the first, fees have increased to make up for declines in government appropriations for higher education. According to the second, bloated administrations are wasting the money on frivolous extras unrelated to the core instructional mission.

Though the two views aren’t mutually exclusive and both are supported by evidence, there remains an ideological divide between them. People who believe educating citizens is the government’s job, no matter the cost (generally those on the political left), tend to believe the first, while people who would rather shrink government (generally those on the right) are more inclined to the waste hypothesis. As a result, explaining college-cost increases becomes a kind of proxy fight in which neither side accepts the other’s good faith and both are usually proved right.

In an op-ed for The New York Times, law professor Paul F. Campos widened the gap. While its title, “The real reason college tuition costs so much,” oversells the case a bit, its main point is sound: Government funding for higher education has gone up a lot. Even if funding per student is down a little bit as more kids pursue degrees, calling it a massive defunding is disingenuous. However, because Campos didn’t focus much on the subsidy per student, it opened him to attack from his opponents. And attack they did, in Slate, Crooked Timber, Inside Higher Ed and elsewhere. Still, Campos is right that the defunding explanation is weak, even in light of increased enrollment.

In 20 of the past 31 years, both per student funding and tuition have increased at public two- and four-year institutions. Tuition increased in every year except 2000, even in years when there were sizable increases in state outlays. The three periods when state support fell all followed recessions, when state legislators were dealing with reduced tax revenue and a glut of new students who were frustrated out of job market and into the classroom. This results in a clear correlation between decreased funding per student and ever-escalating tuition in the early 1990s, early 2000s and since 2008 — but taken together, they account for only a third of those 31 years. That fails to explain the decades-long pattern of consistent tuition hikes. More important, the data give us no reason to believe that if government support had only increased, colleges wouldn’t have raised tuition anyway.

One problem with the college-cost debate is that most commentators look at only two sources of revenue: state appropriations and tuition. But as any administrator will tell you, these are the least interesting parts of a school’s budget. From a college president’s perspective, there’s only so much schools can do to influence the legislature, and the potential for tuition hikes is constrained by their competitors, if nothing else. Other sources, however, such as grants, gifts, discretionary appropriations and investment income, aren’t subject to the same limitations. Administrators who want to set themselves apart from their peers (and in this market, who can afford not to?) focus their energy where they can make the biggest and most noticeable difference."



"When it comes to chasing the big bucks, tuition and state appropriations aren’t created equal. Whereas state appropriations have a pile of strings attached, fees are universities’ to do with what they will. They’re free to use it to finance capital projects like the Cooper Union building or investments in labor automation or eye-catching amenities or grant-friendly research facilities or debt service or hedge fund fees or administrators’ salaries. Given a choice between a dollar from the state and a dollar from students, any smart college president would rather have the latter. Fee income allows, for example, the University of California system to go to Wall Street and get bonds for giant construction projects, pledging tuition hikes to cover the debt.

Declines in per student appropriations at the very least give administrators good cover to increase tuition, even if the two variables aren’t quite causally tied. And high salaries for administrators appear to be the consequence of changes to higher education’s incentive structures as much as a cause: The competition for ever more funds launches competition for ever larger fundraisers. At the end of the day, college tuition is going up for the simplest of reasons: Demand is inelastic, and it’s exceeding the supply. Despite the price increases, enrollment has kept rising. As long as the Treasury is willing to write larger and larger student loan checks and as long as high school grads see no other option besides college to advance their career prospects, tuition will keep going up. If we’re not willing to change our higher education system from the foundation, arguing over the proximate causes of the cost crisis won’t do anyone any good."

[via “the university as a machine that turns student loans into real estate”
http://nathanjurgenson.com/post/115941651935/college-tuition-is-going-up-for-the-simplest-of ]
universities  colleges  tuition  2015  highered  highereducation  economics  markets  malcolmharris  cooperunion  loans  studentloans  policy  government  paulcampos  funding 
april 2015 by robertogreco
I Have to Take a Second Job to Support my Teaching Habit: Thanks #ialegis | ThinkThankThunk
"Here’s my plan: I’m going to take another job as a web developer and database consultant and donate this salary back to my school district. The Cedar Rapids Community School District can then issue me a part-time contract. I will work my usual 60 hours/week at Iowa BIG and do development work after my kids are in bed and on the weekends.

Because that’s what teachers do.

I’d love to have just one job, but in 2015, I suppose I’m supposed to be innovative and feed my family on altruism."



"We’ll have to save the property tax nightmare for another post! Suffice it to say, I’m really excited for my 80/hour work weeks, because they’ll allow my school district be able to afford schools like Iowa BIG.

TL;DR: I’m taking a second job, donating income to CRCSD, so that I can work for free full-time at Iowa BIG."
eduction  funding  iowa  2015  shawncornally  schools  publicschools  policy  taxes  propertytaxes  us  cv  teaching  howweteach 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Edutopia | Jacobin
[Too much to quote (still tried and exceeded Pinboard's visible space) so go read the whole thing.]

"Education is not a design problem with a technical solution. It’s a social and political project neoliberals want to innovate away."



"Tim Brown, IDEO’s CEO and a regular at Davos and TED talks, has described design thinking as a way to inject “local, collaborative, participatory” planning into the development of products, organizational processes, and now schools.

Design Thinking for Educators is full of strikingly drawn graphic organizers and questions like, “How might we create a twenty-first century learning experience at school?” with single paragraph answers. “Responsibility” is used three times in the text, always in reference to teachers’ need to brainstorm fixes for problems together and develop “an evolved perspective.” (The word “funding” is not used at all — nor is the word “demand.”)

We’re told faculty at one school embarked on a “design journey” and came to an approach they call “Investigative Learning,” which addresses students “not as receivers of information, but as shapers of knowledge,” without further detail on how exactly this was accomplished.

Of course, the idea of engaging students as experienced co-teachers in their own education isn’t novel, nor is it an innovation that sprang forth from a single group of teachers using graphic organizers to brainstorm and chart solutions.

Marxist educator Paulo Freire developed his critique of the “banking model” of education — in which students’ minds are regarded as passive receptacles for teachers to toss facts into like coins — while teaching poor Brazilian adults how to read in the 1960s and ’70s. His book Pedagogy of the Oppressed helped reignite the progressive education movement during that era, and his collaborative approach to learning remains influential in American schools of education today.

Peter McLaren, who taught elementary and middle school in a public housing complex for five years before becoming a professor of education, has since further developed Freire’s ideas into an extensive body of revolutionary critical pedagogy, which I was assigned in my first class as a master’s student in education. The Radical Math project, launched a decade ago by a Brooklyn high school teacher whose school was located within a thousand feet of a toxic waste facility, draws heavily on Freire’s perspective in its curriculum for integrating social and economic justice into mathematics.

Yet, here we are, a “nation at risk,” with lower test scores than our international peers and children still arriving at school every day without breakfast.

Like all modern managerial philosophies that stake their name on innovation, “design thinking” has been framed by creative-class acolytes as a new way to solve old, persistent challenges — but its ideas are not actually new.

According to Tim Brown, design thinkers start with human need and move on to learning by making, “instead of thinking about what to build, building in order to think.” Their prototypes, he says, “speed up the process of innovation, because it is only when we put our ideas out into the world that we really start to understand their strengths and weakness. And the faster we do that, the faster our ideas evolve.”

What design thinking ultimately offers is not evolution, but the look and feel of progress — great graphics, aesthetically interesting configurations of furniture and space — paired with the familiar, gratifying illusion of efficiency. If structural and institutional problems can be solved through nothing more than brainstorming, then it’s possible for macro-level inputs (textbooks, teacher salaries) to remain the same, while outputs (test scores, customer service) improve. From the perspective of capitalism, this is the only alchemy that matters.

Design Thinking for Educators urges teachers to be optimistic without saying why, and to simply believe the future will be better. The toolkit instructs teachers to have an “abundance mentality,” as if problem-solving is a habit of mind. “Why not start with ‘What if?’ instead of ‘What’s wrong?’” they ask.

There are many reasons to start with “What’s wrong?” That question is, after all, the basis of critical thought. Belief in a better future feels wonderful if you can swing it, but it is passive, irrelevant, and inert without analysis about how to get there. The only people who benefit from the “build now, think later” strategy are those who are empowered by the social relations of the present.

The same people benefit when analysis is abandoned in favor of technical solutions — when the long history of education for liberation, from Freire to the SNCC Freedom Schools to Black Panther schools to today’s Radical Math and Algebra projects (none of them perfect, all of them instructive) is ignored."



"IDEO puts forth the fact that Innova students perform higher than the [Peruvian] national average on math and communication tests as proof that they’ve delivered on their mantra for the project: “affordability, scalability, excellence.”

But if test scores are higher than those of public schools, it is not because of the soul-searching of teacher/designers. It’s because tuition is about a quarter of the national median income. After all, a consistent pattern in the educational research of the past half-century is that the socioeconomic status of a child’s parents is one of the strongest predictors of his or her academic success."



"Design thinking, embraced by key figures in business and especially in the tech industry, insists that educators adopt a perpetually optimistic attitude because that is what it takes to believe everything will turn out okay if we just work together to streamline our efforts. That is what it takes to believe that the best idea is the one that survives group discussion and is adopted. The rabid optimism of the techno-utopian vernacular, with its metaphors that no longer register as metaphors, obscures the market imperatives behind the industry’s vision for the future.

This is intentional. Conflating the future with unambiguous, universal progress puts us all on equal footing. Participating as a citizen in this framework consists of donating your dollar, tweeting your support, wearing your wristband, vowing not to be complacent.

Critiquing the solution only impedes the eventual discovery of the solution. And why make demands for power if you yourself are empowered? Empowerment, as Duncan uses it, is a euphemism. Anger is empowering, frustration is empowering, critique is empowering. Competence is not empowering.

The fact is, education is not a design problem with a technical solution. It is nothing like building a spaceship. It is a social and political project that the neoliberal imagination insists on innovating out of existence. The most significant challenges faced today in education are not natural obstacles to be overcome by increasing productivity — they are man-made struggles over how resources are allocated."



"The United States is one of just three OECD countries, along with Israel and Turkey, where schools that serve rich families have better resources and more funding than schools that serve poor families. The other thirty-four countries included in the index either provide equal funding for all students or spend a disproportionate amount of money on students from low-income families.

In a country where the top 20 percent of the population earns eight times as much as the bottom 20 percent, this inevitably leads to two distinct and parallel systems of education, one for the rich and one for the poor. It’s not that “money doesn’t matter” for reforming the education system, or that technology can be a substitute, but that children from working-class and poor families score lower on standardized test scores than their wealthy peers — and America has many more poor families than rich."



"One example of the importance of this kind of flexible and evolving practice — especially for children from low-income families — comes from Lisa Delpit, educator and author of Other People’s Children. In talks, Delpit uses a situation she witnessed in a preschool in which a teacher handed out a tray of candy and instructed children to each take a piece and pass on the tray. Some of the children took multiple pieces, and there was not enough to go around.

A teacher evaluating the children without interpreting the context, like a machine, would conclude that the children did not successfully complete the task and need more practice in sharing. In fact, after asking why the children took extra pieces, the human teacher found that they were simply engaging in a different kind of creative economy, saving up a couple of pieces to take home to siblings later.

I suspect the innovation Gates is investing in is not a technological one, but a managerial one. The only truly novel thing Sal Khan has done is produce a cheap and popular way to distribute basic lectures and exercises to a large number of people who like them."



"The firing and disciplining of teachers is also an ideological choice: teachers threaten the ruling class. Though they are atomized as workers into separate classrooms and competing districts, teachers are, as Beverly Silver puts it, strategically located in the social division of labor. If they don’t go to work, no one can — or at least, no one with children to look after. As caretakers, teachers are by definition important and trusted community figures, public care workers who can shut down private production.

In the United States, where the vast majority of families continue to rate their own child’s teacher highly, even while believing the political mantra that the nation’s education system is rapidly deteriorating — unique job protections like tenure serve to further strengthen teachers’ capacity to resist … [more]
meganerickson  2015  whigpunk  education  designthinking  timbrown  ideo  policy  canon  paulofreire  oppression  capitalism  inequality  management  petermclaren  salkhan  khanacademy  billgates  gatesfoundation  arneduncan  politics  economics  edwardthorndike  history  bfskinner  psychology  control  power  technosolutionism  progress  technology  edtech  funding  money  priorities  optimism  empowerment  distraction  markets  lisadelpit  otherpeople'schildren  hourofcode  waldorfschools  siliconvalley  schooling  us  democracy  criticalthinking  resistance  criticalpedagogy  pedagogy  howweteach  howwelearn  efficiency  rote  totelearning  habitsofmind  pedagogyoftheopressed  anationatrisk  rotelearning  salmankhan 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Museum admission should be free: The state of art in 2014 - LA Times
"Recently I visited six prominent art museums in two states (Texas and Ohio) and saw a wide variety of rewarding special exhibitions and exceptional permanent collections. Aside from individual works of art, which included some of the most important paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, illustrated books and decorative objects made in the entire history of world civilization, I was struck by something else: Admission to five of the six art museums was free.

That is as it should be.

Yes, every art museum needs multiple sources of revenue. It does cost money to run the place.

However, because they are tax exempt, art museums already count the public as a major, indirect source of revenue. Required admission fees add a second hit — a kind of "double jeopardy" — and it is one that falls harder on those who can least afford it.

The simple fact that I was struck by not having to pay for the privilege of entering tax-exempt, not-for-profit art institutions on my recent journeys suggests how unusual the experience is. That's because most of my museum time is spent in Los Angeles. Until this year, only one of the city's six most important art museums hasn't had a tariff for the public to see its art — even though the public at least nominally supports or owns it.

In February L.A. got its second free museum. UCLA's Hammer Museum joined the J. Paul Getty Museum (and the Getty Villa) in having no entry cost. The Hammer raised funds to bridge the immediate funding gap, and it has been working toward expanding memberships for added revenue. But here's the true measure of success: In the 10 months since dropping admission fees, the museum reports a hefty attendance jump of 25%.

Museums like to say that they are eager to engage new audiences, and no doubt they are. Growing attendance by a quarter without tinkering with the program is a pretty good working definition of new audience engagement.

Admission policies often have an unacknowledged influence on museum programs too, and it isn't always healthy. Admission fees turn visitors into customers, and relying on customers turns an educational enterprise — which is what a museum is — into a public entertainment. Quantity of response trumps quality of response, and in the short run the surest way to juice quantity is to popularize the program.

For example: It probably isn't an accident that each of the last three directors at the Museum of Contemporary Art (general admission $12) has chosen to host an exhibition revolving around Andy Warhol. Contemporary art is not popular with the public, but Warhol is a household name — a celebrity. What Monet or Picasso is for Modern art, Warhol is to contemporary art.

The most famous artist of the last half-century is presumably a popular draw. Here's the catch: None of MOCA's three Warhol shows added much of any significance to our already established understanding of a major artist's work. And each exhibition was less interesting than the one before it. The slide was palpable.

Museums might say they're interested in engaging new audiences, but sometimes it seems they're actually eager to engage more paying customers. The Indianapolis Museum of Art, mostly free since 1941, just announced it would zoom from zero to $18 a head.

Ironically, when it comes to admissions we're not even talking about a huge revenue generator. Nationally, the portion of an art museum's annual operating budget that is covered by visitors pushing cash across the counter at the admissions desk hovers in the vicinity of 5%. That's beyond modest, relatively speaking.

Free admission is already the norm at several smaller, more specialized institutions around the city, including the California African American Museum, the Annenberg Space for Photography, the UCLA Fowler Museum and the Santa Monica Museum of Art. Save for the Getty, however, the most imposing art museums in town swing far in the other direction.

In addition to MOCA, there's the Huntington (general admission $20 to $23), Los Angeles County Museum of Art ($15 to $25) and Norton Simon Museum ($12). You could certainly get free entry at any of them if you were a member, but I doubt many people sign up at all four: Together, the lowest individual rate for that would be $340.

One comparative test of the admission practice will come next fall, when the Broad Collection opens downtown on Grand Avenue. Happily, the Broad administration announced this year that, like the Getty and the Hammer, its collection of blue-chip contemporary art will be open free to the public.

It has been hoped that the splashy new attraction will also benefit MOCA, the Broad's edgier neighbor across the street. Interest in one might generate interest in the other. Soon we'll know whether MOCA's admission fee is a barrier — and if so, how much."
museums  2014  admissions  funding  cost  money  revenue  nonprofits  free  getty  hammermuseum  moca  ucla  christopherknight  art  losangeles  accessibility  access  nonprofit 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Why has human progress ground to a halt? – Michael Hanlon – Aeon
"Some of our greatest cultural and technological achievements took place between 1945 and 1971. Why has progress stalled?"



"Yet there once was an age when speculation matched reality. It spluttered to a halt more than 40 years ago. Most of what has happened since has been merely incremental improvements upon what came before. That true age of innovation – I’ll call it the Golden Quarter – ran from approximately 1945 to 1971. Just about everything that defines the modern world either came about, or had its seeds sown, during this time. The Pill. Electronics. Computers and the birth of the internet. Nuclear power. Television. Antibiotics. Space travel. Civil rights.

There is more. Feminism. Teenagers. The Green Revolution in agriculture. Decolonisation. Popular music. Mass aviation. The birth of the gay rights movement. Cheap, reliable and safe automobiles. High-speed trains. We put a man on the Moon, sent a probe to Mars, beat smallpox and discovered the double-spiral key of life. The Golden Quarter was a unique period of less than a single human generation, a time when innovation appeared to be running on a mix of dragster fuel and dilithium crystals.

Today, progress is defined almost entirely by consumer-driven, often banal improvements in information technology. The US economist Tyler Cowen, in his essay The Great Stagnation (2011), argues that, in the US at least, a technological plateau has been reached. Sure, our phones are great, but that’s not the same as being able to fly across the Atlantic in eight hours or eliminating smallpox. As the US technologist Peter Thiel once put it: ‘We wanted flying cars, we got 140 characters.’

Economists describe this extraordinary period in terms of increases in wealth. After the Second World War came a quarter-century boom; GDP-per-head in the US and Europe rocketed. New industrial powerhouses arose from the ashes of Japan. Germany experienced its Wirtschaftswunder. Even the Communist world got richer. This growth has been attributed to massive postwar government stimulus plus a happy nexus of low fuel prices, population growth and high Cold War military spending.

But alongside this was that extraordinary burst of human ingenuity and societal change. This is commented upon less often, perhaps because it is so obvious, or maybe it is seen as a simple consequence of the economics. We saw the biggest advances in science and technology: if you were a biologist, physicist or materials scientist, there was no better time to be working. But we also saw a shift in social attitudes every bit as profound. In even the most enlightened societies before 1945, attitudes to race, sexuality and women’s rights were what we would now consider antediluvian. By 1971, those old prejudices were on the back foot. Simply put, the world had changed."



"Lack of money, then, is not the reason that innovation has stalled. What we do with our money might be, however. Capitalism was once the great engine of progress. It was capitalism in the 18th and 19th centuries that built roads and railways, steam engines and telegraphs (another golden era). Capital drove the industrial revolution.

Now, wealth is concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite. A report by Credit Suisse this October found that the richest 1 per cent of humans own half the world’s assets. That has consequences. Firstly, there is a lot more for the hyper-rich to spend their money on today than there was in the golden age of philanthropy in the 19th century. The superyachts, fast cars, private jets and other gewgaws of Planet Rich simply did not exist when people such as Andrew Carnegie walked the earth and, though they are no doubt nice to have, these fripperies don’t much advance the frontiers of knowledge. Furthermore, as the French economist Thomas Piketty pointed out in Capital (2014), money now begets money more than at any time in recent history. When wealth accumulates so spectacularly by doing nothing, there is less impetus to invest in genuine innovation."



"But there is more to it than inequality and the failure of capital.

During the Golden Quarter, we saw a boom in public spending on research and innovation. The taxpayers of Europe, the US and elsewhere replaced the great 19th‑century venture capitalists. And so we find that nearly all the advances of this period came either from tax-funded universities or from popular movements. The first electronic computers came not from the labs of IBM but from the universities of Manchester and Pennsylvania. (Even the 19th-century analytical engine of Charles Babbage was directly funded by the British government.) The early internet came out of the University of California, not Bell or Xerox. Later on, the world wide web arose not from Apple or Microsoft but from CERN, a wholly public institution. In short, the great advances in medicine, materials, aviation and spaceflight were nearly all pump-primed by public investment. But since the 1970s, an assumption has been made that the private sector is the best place to innovate."

[See also this response from Alan Jacobs: http://ayjay.tumblr.com/post/105225967233/the-future-of-ambition

"I’m not sure this essay by Michael Hanlon on the lack of technical and scientific progress over the past 40 years adds much to other recent speculations on the same theme: Tyler Cowen’s book The Great Stagnation, talks by Neal Stephenson on our lack of visionary imagination, and so on.

But it’s an indication at least of a growing awareness that, despite the determined efforts of the advertising world to suggest that everything is getting better all the time, our society is stuck in something of a technological rut, especially with regard to travel and, more important, medical care. Flying is a more frustrating experience than it has ever been and is only getting worse; only Google and Elon Musk are even trying to innovate in automobiling; and, as Hanlon points out, a person getting cancer today will receive treatment not fundamentally different than he or she would have received in 1970, and doesn’t stand a much greater chance of beating the disease.

So why aren’t we doing better? Hanlon offers a few fairly vague suggestions, as does Cowen, but this is an inquiry in its early stages. Let me just offer my two cents — precisely two.

Cent number one: Litigiousness. Every technological development in every field, but especially in health care, is hamstrung by the need to perform due diligence, and then beyond-due diligence, and then absurdly-over-the-top diligence, before putting a product on the market lest the developing company be sued by someone unhappy with their results. How many times have you read about some exciting new cancer treatment — and then never hear about it again, as it disappears into the endless Purgatory of tiny clinical trials that dying people beg (usually unsuccessfully) to be allowed to participate in?

Cent number two: Self-soothing by Device. I suspect that few will think that addition to distractive devices could even possibly be related to a cultural lack of ambition, but I genuinely think it’s significant. Truly difficult scientific and technological challenges are almost always surmounted by obsessive people — people who are grabbed by a question that won’t let them go. Such an experience is not comfortable, not pleasant; but it is essential to the perseverance without which no Big Question is ever answered. To judge by the autobiographical accounts of scientific and technological geniuses, there is a real sense in which those Questions force themselves on the people who stand a chance of answering them. But if it is always trivially easy to set the question aside — thanks to a device that you carry with you everywhere you go — can the Question make itself sufficiently present to you that answering is becomes something essential to your well-being? I doubt it." ]
science  technology  progress  michaelhanlon  tylercowen  attention  distraction  litigiousness  law  legal  funding  economics  capitalism  research  society  channge  inequality  innovation  riskaversion  risktaking  risk  medicine  healthcare 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Joi Ito's 9 Principles of the Media Lab on Vimeo
"In a brief address delivered at the MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference, Media Lab director Joi Ito proposed the "9 Principles" that will guide the Media Lab's work under his leadership… some in pointed contrast to those of the Lab's founder, Nicholas Negroponte.

Ito's principles are:

1. Disobedience over compliance
2. Pull over push
3. Compasses over maps
4. Emergence over authority
5. Learning over education
6. Resilience over strength
7. Systems over objects
8. Risk over safety
9. Practice over theory"
joiito  mitmedialab  disobedience  compliance  authority  emergence  learning  education  resilience  systemsthinking  systems  2014  practice  process  risk  risktaking  safety  leadership  administration  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  knightfoundation  money  academia  internet  culture  business  mbas  innovation  permission  startups  power  funding  journalism  hardware  highered  highereducation  agile  citizenjournalism  nicholasnegroponte  citizenscience  medialab 
december 2014 by robertogreco
The Plashing Vole: Grimm's Tale
"Stefan was going to be fired. Not because his work was no good: it was, as the publications list shows. No, he was going to be fired because he didn't attract the 'sexy', headline funding. He quietly raised money to pay for his ongoing research as and when he needed it. His failure was the inability to grasp that his university – which isn't so different from lots of others – care far less about the discoveries made than the headlines achieved from lottery-style grants. 'X wins £50m grant' is the dream THES or New Scientist headline, not '£50,000 for Grimm'.
Your current level of funding does not constitute the appropriate level for a professor at Imperial College. Unless you submit and are awarded a Platform grant as PI in the next 12 months we will seek to initiate disciplinary action against you. This email constitutes a warning that your performance is being monitored and that action may be brought if you fail to meet the conditions herein

Grimm was told he had to bring in £200,000 p.a. – not contractually, but let's leave that aside. His letter explains that he did that through a series of small grants, but that wasn't good enough: it had to be the stuff of headlines, or 'impact' as it's officially known in the Research Assessment Framework to which we all have to submit.

This isn't about science - it's about bragging rights, or institutional willy-waving. Grimm was informed – in public – that he was to be fired, and left waiting for the axe to fall while the axe-wielder marauded around the campus boasting about it like an even more pathetic Alan Sugar.
I fell into the trap of confusing the reputation of science here with the present reality. This is not a university anymore but a business with very few up in the hierarchy, like our formidable duo, profiteering and the rest of us are milked for money, be it professors for their grant income or students who pay 100.- pounds just to extend their write-up status.

If anyone believes that I feel what my excellent coworkers and I have accomplished here over the years is inferior to other work, is wrong. With our apoptosis genes and the concept of Anticancer Genes we have developed something that is probably much more exciting than most other projects, including those that are heavily supported by grants.

This is not, I shouldn't have to say, how academia works. Einstein famously published one peer-reviewed paper. Science rarely has a Eureka moment: it's rather a series of careful, thoughtful developments of work done by one's forebears and peers. A management which demands a Eureka a day is one which doesn't just not 'get' academia, it's a management which contradicts the academic method and it's one which has forgotten that it's meant to serve the needs of science, the arts, students and researchers, not the insatiable maw of attention seeking 'Leaders' (that's the word they use now) and the PR office. It's also a management that kills."

[See also: http://musicfordeckchairs.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/wider-lessons/
http://www.dcscience.net/2014/12/01/publish-and-perish-at-imperial-college-london-the-death-of-stefan-grimm/ ]
stefangrimm  academia  education  funding  highereducation  highered  money  finance  business  corporatization  2014  science  publishorperish  bullying  capitalism  pressure  management  administration  hierarchy 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Junot Diaz - Art, Race and Capitalism - YouTube
"Despite what we think, we're more isolated and atomized than ever before. […] The fact is that most poor people are more segregated and isolated than they've ever been. […] There's something really bewildering about the fact that we feel so rhizomatically interconnected to people, but we've never been more isolated. Classes no longer come into contact with each other in any way that's meaningful. I look at my mom and people are like “oh, she's that old generation.” My mom had more interclass contact than the average person has today. Because these great barriers — what we would call the networked society in which we live — hadn't been put into place yet. Think about how much public space my mother inhabited where she was going to encounter people from different cultures and different classes every day. There's almost no public space left at all. And any public space that we have is so patrolled and under so much surveillance and has been schematized and culturalized in certain ways that we're not really coming into contact with anyone who isn't like us. […] You basically encounter people in your network. So that if you are of a certain class, that's who you're encountering in the village. If you come from a certain educational background or from a certain privilege, that's who you're encountering in Williamsburg, these quote-unquote diverse spaces."

[via: http://botpoet.tumblr.com/post/103750710570/you-gotta-remember-and-im-sure-you-do-the

quoting these lines: “You gotta remember, and I’m sure you do, the forces that are arrayed against anyone trying to alter this sort of hammerlock on the human imagination. There are trillions of dollars out there demotivating people from imagining that a better tomorrow is possible. Utopian impulses and utopian horizons have been completely disfigured and everybody now is fluent in dystopia, you know. My young people’s vocabulary… their fluency is in dystopic futures. When young people think about the future, they don’t think about a better tomorrow, they think about horrors and end of the worlds and things or worse. Well, do you really think the lack of utopic imagination doesn’t play into demotivating people from imagining a transformation in the society?”]
junotdíaz  capitalism  race  class  segregation  dystopia  utopia  hope  faith  humans  2013  humanism  writing  literature  immigration  life  living  classism  activism  ows  occupywallstreet  punk  hiphop  compassion  identity  failure  guilt  imperfection  politics  self  work  labor  courage  howtobehuman  forgiveness  future  oppression  privilege  society  change  changemaking  futures  schools  education  business  funding  policy  resistance  subversion  radicalpedagogy  burnout  teaching  howweteach  systemschange  survival  self-care  masculinity  therapy  cultureofcare  neolithic  optimism  inventingthefuture  humanconstructs  civilization  evolution  networkedsociety  transcontextualism  paradigmshifts  transcontextualization 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Wandering The City Heights Data Desert | KPBS
"For a foundation that's made such a public commitment to turn City Heights around, you'd expect its president to come to an interview armed with statistics that trumpet the group's accomplishments in the community. That didn't happen with Robert Price of Price Philanthropies.

"We haven't focused so much on statistics," he said. "We're more about doing. We feel that if we're doing enough good things here, a lot of it will stick and help people."

Price Philanthropies has transformed the physical and nonprofit landscapes of City Heights, developing more than 50 acres with affordable housing, a police station and library. It's spent about $100 million on resident leadership programs during the past decade."

[See also: http://www.kpbs.org/news/2014/nov/18/san-diegos-richest-poor-neighborhood-two-decades-l/
https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:d05290a9d991 ]

[Cross-posted to:
http://voiceofsandiego.org/2014/11/20/wandering-the-city-heights-data-desert/ and
http://www.speakcityheights.org/2014/11/wandering-the-city-heights-data-desert/ ]

[See too the comments here and on the same cross-posted at VOSD. Ignore the immigrant hater “California Defender” and consider the following:

Ann Martin: "The lack of a measurable impact of all the dollars invested demonstrates that concentrating socially and economically disadvantaged people in one area does not provide a benefit to them. This "urban apartheid" contributes to the problem. If the City mandated that affordable housing units will be built as a percentage of every new development (actually built, not pay to get out of it), people in the situation that the folks in City Heights are in can then live everywhere throughout the City. They would have access to the same high performing schools, live in areas with lower crime rates, more parks and other amenities, be closer to better jobs, and be able to escape the cycle of poverty and despair that permeates the disadvantaged areas of the city."

Matt Wattkins: "Strikes me that any organization seeking to do good things in a beleaguered community has to straddle a line: how to make things better for residents while still keeping it affordable to live here. (I am a City Heights home owner/resident.) City Heights is within walking distance of North Park and Kensington and Normal Heights. Those neighborhoods are among the most desirable neighborhoods south of the 8. (I'd argue there are no more desirable neighborhoods anywhere in San Diego county; Normal Heights is easily the most walkable neighborhood in the city.) Those neighborhoods have also gentrified relatively recently, so it doesn't take much imagination to see that process encroaching east of the 805 and south of Meade. White collar families like my own are already buying into City Heights because property values are relatively reasonable (my house located a mile west of its current location would cost 2-3 times what I paid), and it has walkable amenities and fairly quick access to Adams Ave. and 30th St., i.e. a 10 minute bike ride. I mean, if a Trader Joe's had gone into the Albertsons spot instead of El Super, I think affordable housing in our community would have been doomed within a decade. (And it's not terribly affordable now; rent for a stand-alone house with 2 or more bedrooms runs $1500+/month.)

Anyway, neither the article nor the study mention quality of life improvements to the neighborhood; the Urban Village complex is always in use. Our library is open longer hours than most libraries in the city; our Starbucks is bustling; the playground is teeming with kids; the rec center and swimming pool offer great classes; every evening (it seems) there are soccer or baseball games on the playing fields, and local youth swarm the walkway doing tricks on skateboards and BMX bikes. We have a brand new YMCA going in on El Cajon; a couple of walk-in health clinics, pretty good transit access, some really great city parks (Azalea Garden, Hollywood) and a lot of potential in our canyon spaces, with teams of folks currently doing monthly maintenance in Olivia, Swan, and Manzanita Canyons. Most of these things are directly or indirectly a result of philanthropic dollars in our community. It's hard to quantify their impact, but similarly hard to argue that they don't improve the quality of residents' lives."

Chris Brewster: "Interesting to note that on Price Charities’ tax forms (apparently a different but related organization) the highest paid executive is Sherry Bahrambeygui. According to these forms her reportable compensation from related organizations was approximately: $1.8 million in 2010; $3.79 million in 2011 (plus $60k in other compensation); and $7.9 million in 2012 (plus $56k in other compensation). Rather astounding actually, but perhaps there is a back story?"

Dan Beeman: "adly the wealthy are manipulating the "public" system. Here we see two large conflict of interests, by two different media companies that are not asking the hard questions. This will continue to happen until we get the rich out of the media business, and trying to control community/public by their wealth. Remember they are not dumping all this money in without getting tax credit and/or write offs, it is not about being altruistic, but generally about getting their way by paying out some tax credit donations while were caught up with the long time bills. Here it was first the tenants of the housing, and businesses along 44th St/Fairmount area. We the City constituents and taxpayers are still paying off the Redevelopment loans, loan financing and insurance, plus other costs. Also the private landholders lost lots of land that is now off the tax rolls because they are either non-profits and/or government owned.



You see the report didn't say anything about the cost of living increases in the area/community. It also didn't mention the costs of the new schools, redevelopment loans, or other government funding put into the area. It didn't tell about what businesses failed or moved: ie tortilla store, 2 auto dealerships, the old Albertsons, etc. The new national franchise stores pay higher rent, increasing the market rate commercial rent in the area, as well as adding lots of other new commercial spaces that do the same! These higher rental rates, and astronomical new property values kill small businesses while also hurting families. The national franchises bring a few new management positions, but mostly pay low wage/limited to no benefit jobs, that many times get HUGE government tax credits! So when the BIG corporations don't pay their fair share of the taxes who do you think pays for it? YOU!! the "weak" taxpayer! They didn't make one mention of the higher cost in gasoline/fuel and/or the huge rate of inflation for vehicles. But they don't want to mention these things. They want you trapped in public transportation that also pays low wages to their workers while giving the private corporation and Billionaire CEO/owner that runs it huge profits.

This is just a few of the truths that should be known in projects like this. Be aware next ten years they will be looking to steal property from Barrio (already happening), Sherman Heights and SE San Diego via Civic San Diego and more eminent domain. And once again you will flip for the bills while the rich gain lots of property, huge tax credits, and write offs. Just like they have gentrified North & South Park, they will continue to steal the property, hope, and money from the poor. All while patting you on the head and kissing your cheek. Good luck City Heights, you will continue to be in my prayers."]
cityheights  sandiego  2014  data  statistics  pricephilanthropies  californiaendowment  crime  employment  income  meganburks  unemployment  healthinsurance  inequality  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  corporations  eminentdomain  taxes  costofliving  funding  government  redevelopment  incentives  charitableindustrialcomplex  capitalism  power  control 
november 2014 by robertogreco
The Devil’s Bargain — Medium
"The question Graeber wants to put to us is this: To what extent are our imaginations shaped — constrained, limited — by our having had to live with the technological choices made by the military-industrial complex — by industries and universities working in close collaboration with the government, in a spirit of subservience to its needs?

Or, to put it another way: How were we taught not even to dream of flying cars and jetpacks? — or, or for that matter, an end to world hunger, something that C. P. Snow, in his famous lecture on “the two cultures” of the sciences and humanities, saw as clearly within our grasp more than half-a-century ago? To see “sophisticated simulations” of the things we used to hope we’d really achieve as good enough?"



"As I noted earlier, this seems to cover a very different subject than his meditation on flying cars and the absence thereof — but it’s really about the same thing, which is: the impact of economic structures on imagination. For Graeber it could scarcely be accidental that a world devoted to utility-maximizing, acquisitive market-based behavior would create a theory that animals, indeed the very genes of creatures, invariably behave in a utility-miximizing, acquisitive way in the Great Market of Life."



"For those whose ideas have been shaped so thoroughly by the logic of capitalism, people like Prince Kropotkin who see mutual aid as a factor in evolution, or who would go still further and see play as simply intrinsic to being alive — Graeber doesn’t cite J. Huizinga’s Homo Ludens here, but he should — are just nuts. They’re not seeing the world as it obviously really is.

But, Graeber suggests, maybe what’s obvious from within the logic of late capitalism isn’t so obvious from another point of view; and maybe what’s nuts according to the logic of late capitalism is, again from another point of view, not necessarily nuts. Maybe there is more in heaven and earth, Professor Dawkins, than is dreamt of in your evolutionary biology.

In a famous passage from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek — the much-anthologized chapter called “Seeing” — Annie Dillard cites the naturalist Stewart Edward White on how to learn to see deer: “As soon as you can forget the naturally obvious and construct an artificial obvious, then you too will see deer.” That is, you have to learn to pick out certain now-and-for-you-insignificant elements in your visual field and reassign them to the realm of the significant. And this is true, not just for the visual but also for the mental field. But it is also and equally true that our constructions of the artificial obvious are not invariably reliable: sometimes they are wrong, and if we then forget that they are our constructions, and think of them as the natural obvious, as the way things just are … we’re screwed.

This is Graeber’s point. And you don’t have to agree with him about the playfulness of worms to see its importance. Our social and economic structures prompt us, every day and in a hundred different ways, to see certain elements of our mental field as significant while ever-so-gently discouraging us from noticing others at all. And when it comes to the constructions of our mental worlds, as opposed to our visual fields, we might be missing something more lastingly important than a guy in a gorilla suit.

All of these reflections started with my reading of a 1945 article about the entanglements of the arts with universities, at a time when universities were in danger of becoming what they have since largely become: “social and technical service stations.” Let’s try now to get back to those concerns."



"My point is: I don’t like seeing journalism being drawn so consistently into the same self-justifying, self-celebrating circles that the American university itself was drawn into during and following World War II. As R. P. Blackmur rightly feared, the intimacy between universities and government did not end when the war ended; it only intensified, and the fact that those universities became our chief patrons of the arts, especially literary writing, at the very moment that they crawled permanently into bed with government and industry, cannot be without repercussions for artists.

The best guide to the rise of creative programs in particular is Mark McGurl’s The Program Era, and it’s fascinating how McGurl repeatedly walks right up to the edge of a clearly articulated critique of this system without ever crossing it. In the penultimate sentence of his book he writes, “Is there not more excellent fiction being produced now than anyone has time to read?” Then he starts a new paragraph before giving us the book’s last sentence: “What kind of traitor to the mission of mass higher education would you have to be to think otherwise?” Oh clever man!

Yes, there is a great deal of skillfully written post-World-War-II fiction available to us, indeed more than we could ever read. But how much of it embodies the kind of imaginative otherness that, as David Graeber reminds us, our social/cultural/economic contexts militate against? How much of it, shaped as it is in institutions that owe their continued existence to their affiliation with the military-industrial complex, envisions ways of life radically other than the ones we now experience? How much of it offers more than increasingly sophisticated simulations of worlds we already know, can predict, feel comfortable in? How much, in shirt, is conducive to genuine hope?

I guess what I’m asking for is pretty simple: for writers of all kinds, journalists as well as fiction writers, and artists and academics, to strive to extricate themselves from an “artificial obvious” that has been constructed for us by the dominant institutions of our culture. Simple; also probably impossible. But it’s worth trying. Few things are more worth trying.

And I am also asking universities to realize and to reconsider their implication in those dominant institutions. I don’t demand that schools sever their ties with those institutions, since that would be financially suicidal, and economic times for higher education are hard enough as it is. But there need to be more pockets of resistance: more institutions with self-consciously distinctive missions, and within institutions more departments or even just informal discussion groups who seek to imagine the so-far unimaginable.

Finally, I am asking all this of myself. I’m fifty-five years old. I’ve probably got twenty or so years to think and write at the highest level I’m capable of, and in those years I want to surprise myself. I don’t want merely to recycle and redeploy the ideas I have inherited. I know that this is easier for me, a white American man with a secure job, than it is for many others. But then, that’s all the more reason for me to do it.

Fifty years ago, Jacques Derrida gave a lecture that would become very famous, and created a stir even as he presented it. When the talk ended, the first questioner was Jean Hyppolite, and he asked Derrida what his talk was “tending toward.” Derrida replied, “I was wondering myself if I know where I am going. So I would answer you by saying, first, that I am trying, precisely, to put myself at a point so that I do not know any longer where I am going.”"
2014  alanjacobs  education  culture  highereducation  highered  davidgraeber  whauden  rpblackmur  louisalthusser  adamkirsch  militaryindustrialcomplex  power  funding  academia  creativity  play  economics  imagination  richarddawkins  canon  corporatization  corporatism  mutualaid  peterkropotkin  homoludens  johanhuizinga  seeing  stewartendward  anniedillard  californiasundaymagazine  technology  siliconvalley  capitalism  latecapitalism  journalism  writing  jacquesderrida  jeanhyppolite  markmcgurl  context  resistance  utopia  pocketsofresistance  courage  possibility  transcontextualism  paradigmshifts  althusser  transcontextualization 
october 2014 by robertogreco
How to Destroy a Public-School System | The Nation
"In fact, the basic structure of school financing in Philadelphia is rigged to benefit these privately managed companies. Public-school money follows students when they move to charter schools, but the public schools’ costs do not fall by the same amount. For example, if 100 students leave a district-run school at a cost of $8,596 per head (the district’s per-pupil expenditure minus certain administrative costs), that school’s cost for paying teachers, staff and building expenses doesn’t actually decline by that amount. It has been estimated that partly because of these costs, each student who enrolls in a charter school costs the district as much as $7,000."



"For privatization-minded reformers, the creative destruction unleashed by Corbett’s budget cuts presented an opportunity to implement a new round of privately managed restructuring. In May 2013, just before the School Reform Commission approved what Philadelphians called the “doomsday budget,” Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp—an icon of the self-described reform movement—tweeted: “In Philadelphia today, so much more to be done, but I can’t get over the progress in this city’s schools in the last decade!”

Wealthy donors and local and national foundations poured funding into a new reform-movement infrastructure to back the growth of nonprofit charters, which had continued their rapid expansion even as the for-profit experiment collapsed. The Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP), founded in 2010, quickly grew into the city’s most powerful pro-charter and anti-union organization, thanks to a $15 million grant from the local William Penn Foundation—the same entity that had funded the “Blueprint for Transformation” plan.

“Change is the only option,” declared Mark Gleason, the PSP’s chief executive, in testimony before state legislators in 2013. “We may not fully know which changes will make the most difference, which will transform outcomes for poor and minority students. But we have some good clues—we even have some proof points right here in Philadelphia—and we know the status quo is most definitely not working for disadvantaged students. The debate we should be having is about which changes are worth trying—not about saving a failed system.”

The new reform groups built ties with a pre-existing conservative network in the state, including pro-school- voucher groups like the Students First PAC, a wealthy political-action committee funded by the libertarian managers of a suburban Philadelphia investment firm.

StudentsFirst, a separate group led at the time by former Washington, DC, schools superintendent Michelle Rhee, also founded a state chapter. PennCAN, the state affiliate of the national group 50CAN, was launched in the PSP’s office. The Gates Foundation, a major backer of reform projects nationwide, funded the creation of a quasi-governmental body staffed by the PSP, the Great Schools Compact, dedicated to promoting its vision for change. It is, Gleason said earlier this year, a matter of “dumping the losers” to “create a higher bar for what we expect of our schools.” But the process of judging winners and losers amid wrenching austerity cuts has proved highly controversial. The Renaissance schools run by Mastery have demonstrated strong test-score gains. Even so, the district-run Promise Academies showed the same encouraging results—until their budgets were gutted."



"It’s what scholars have bluntly called an apartheid system: wealthy districts spend more on wealthy students, and poor districts struggle to spend less on the poor students who need the most. According to state data from 2012–13, Philadelphia spent $13,077 per pupil, while Abington spent $15,148—on students in much less need of intensive services and support. Wealthy Lower Merion spent $22,962 per pupil."
philadelphia  inequality  2014  schools  education  educationalapartheid  apartheid  funding  pennsylvania  via:audreywatters  charterschools 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Ello | quinn
"Ello needs to make money, and that means Ello eventually needs to charge someone. So who can it charge? The only way to make the massive returns VCs like is to charge companies or governments. These are the only thing in our society rich enough to consistently feed the VC mouths. (this is why I strongly recommend against taking VC money -- it's much like adopting 15 children at once, it limits your options.) The only thing a social network can sell to companies are its users. It could work, to have Ello sponsored by X corporation for a given day or week or whatever, but in this business environment part of X corporation's demand for its money is going to be user data. So there you're back to tracking your users like everyone else. Ello could charge databrokers and governments for their user data too, but that also drives them towards being Facebook, Twitter, etc.

That leave Ello to charge their users. This is a fine business model and the one that has supported more things for most of human history. I like this model, I even pay for online services now, though not many -- not many are worth it, and they usually track me anyway. Asking users to pay allows Ello to do something no other online company is doing right now -- optimize Ello for users. This is a great advantage for Ello, because it would mean they could actually listen to users and give them an experience that would, given enough time, be so much better than the massive social networks that people would love joining Ello.

But of course this is a problem too... most users can't pay. Some people like to complain, say that we deserve to be surveiled because no one is willing to pay for anything. This is a ridiculous statement, people all over the world are paying for things every day of their lives. But until we do something about the distribution of the world's wealth, the vast majority of people, even those with internet access, will find that paying a high enough amount for it to be worthwhile for Ello to collect it will cause a real decline in their quality of life.

obligatory graph:

hmm, I can't get obligatory graph to load. I less than three you, betas. ;) Anyway.

The only people that can pay Ello right now are in that top wealth quintile, and then probably the top 2/3rds of it at best. But social networks are like languages -- they are only worthwhile when they are broadly adopted. This makes an incredibly compelling case for user tracking and adverts, since success as a broad network makes the most sense by giving network access away and then selling the people to companies. This is a hard model to escape, to be honest, and it always has been. Companies and governments are essentially colonizing the internet, extracting, monetizing, and controlling the humans therein just like they did during the colonial period, only with less physical violences. Facebook is essentially John Company.

There are only two ways I can see that Ello can escape getting crushed by the contemporary versions of John Company (which did a huge amount of crushing in its day). One is to beat them at their own game and become the next John Company/Facebook/etc, which means becoming better at colonial extraction on users -- most likely in the growth arena -- actual former colony nations. If they don't have the stomach for this kind of evil, and and I deeply hope they don't, the other way is to make far less money. To be, compared to the big VC funded players, a small business with hopeful growth over the course of decades, not quarters.

This is going to mean working out something no one has been able to yet -- differential pricing on the net. The best system of payment they could have, with a magic wand and a fairy godmother etc interceding would be to extract something like $.25 a day from users in the top billion, maybe $.05 a day from the next billion, and possibly nothing or money losing from users in the last 3 billion. The problem is that people hate differential pricing, see it as unfair, when they can see it. They can't see income inequality all the time in their houses and neighborhoods and work places, so that doesn't bother them. They can't see massive surveillance and manipulation, so that doesn't bother them. But dear god, when they see a price list with differential pricing, people go purple with rage. So that's a problem.

Nowadays there's a lot you can do with geolocating IPs, and showing people variable content based on where they are. This could mean that Ello could price based on that, and for now, I believe that's their best option. But no VC will ever accept that, and chances are if Ello has or ever will take VC, they are already dead and just don't know it yet. Their chances of beating Facebook are next to none, especially as they would have to betray everything they've said they were about, and there is no other model that could feed the VC mouth.

Introducing variable pricing, pricing on features, and multiple payment systems over time could let Ello developers make a comfortable living. But at no time in the near future would it make them .com millionaires. To make Ello compelling and free of surveillance and extraction means making a service many can use and doesn't cost too much. Eventually, wide enough adoption to be meaningful to the world means opening it up and making it a protocol other people can build businesses on that don't provide much or any revenue for Ello. It means striving to enter that most dreaded of economic states -- becoming a commodity.

Making social networking a common commodity could remake the world, like the world wide web, or vaccination did. But like the world wide web and vaccination, they aren't ever going to let Paul Budnitz become Cornelius Vanderbilt or Mark Zuckerberg. He'd have to settle for the hope that a lifetime of hard work and enough money to live could let him be Tim Berners-lee or Jonas Salk.

So, Ello, what do you want?"

[See also: http://text-patterns.thenewatlantis.com/2014/09/hello-ello.html ]
ello  quinnnorton  2014  jonassalk  markzuckerberg  corneliusvanderbilt  vc  venturecapital  business  monetization  funding  advertising  privacy  socialmedia  variablepricing  pricing 
september 2014 by robertogreco
We Don’t Need New Models, We Need a New Mindset | Art Museum Teaching
"The old models we’re using aren’t matching up with the deeply complex challenges we’re faced with right now.

Income/Revenue
Old model: Ticket sales + government + foundation + corporate + wealthy patrons + small donors + endowment income = Balanced budget
New challenge: To generate new sources of sustained revenue and capital

Audience development
Old model: Sell subscriptions and market shows
New challenge: To engage new and more diverse groups of people in meaningful arts experiences

Governance
Old model: Give/get boards focused on fiduciary oversight and maintaining stability
New challenge: To cultivate boards that are partners in change

Evaluation
Old model: More ticket sales, more revenue, bigger budget, nice building = Success!
New challenge: To evaluate the success of our organizations based on the value they create in people’s lives

Leadership development
Old model: Attend leadership conferences and seminars, build your network, wait for your boss to finally leave/retire/die. (Alternatively, change jobs every year.)
New challenge: To develop a generation of new leaders equipped with the tools they’ll need to tackle the wickedly complex challenges the future has in store

Artistic development
Old model: MFA programs, residencies, commissions, occasionally a grant, get a day job
New challenge: To support artists in making a living and a life

Strategic planning
Old model: Decide where you want to be in 5 years. Outline the steps to get there in a long document no one will read.
New challenge: To plan for the future in a way that allows us to stay close to our core values and make incremental improvement while also making room for experimentation, failure, and rapidly changing conditions.

Funding allocation
Old model: The money goes to whoever the funder says it to goes to. Usually bigger organizations run by white people in major cities.
Our challenge today: To distribute funds in a way that is equitable, geographically diverse, and creates the most value

Note: I decided I was too ignorant in the areas of creative placemaking, advocacy and arts education to weigh in. I’ll leave that to my colleagues.

Here’s my main argument

Over 60 years in the field, we’ve developed standard practices, or models, in all these different areas. They worked for a while. Now they don’t. This has given us a false notion that we need new models in each area. This is wrong.

Models, best practices, recipes, and blueprints work only when your challenge has a knowable, replicable solution. Sure, there are some challenges that fit this mold. I’d argue that having a great website, designing an effective ad, doing a successful crowd funding campaign, and producing a complicated show are all challenges where best practices, models, and experts are really valuable. You might not know the solution, but someone does, and you can find it out.

But what happens when there actually isn’t a knowable solution to your challenge? When there is no expert, no model to call upon? When the only way forward is through experimentation and failure?

I’d argue that every one of the big challenges I name above falls into the realm of complexity, where the search for replicable models is fruitless. There isn’t going to be a new model for generating revenue that the field can galvanize around that will work for every or even most arts organizations. Nor is there going to be a long lasting model for community engagement that can be replicated by organizations across the country. For the deeply complex challenges we face today, there simply isn’t a knowable solution or model that can reliably help us tackle them. These kinds of challenges require a new way of working.

We don’t need new models, we need a new theory of practice

Instead of new models, I’d argue that we need a new theory of practice, one that champions a different set of priorities in how we do our work.

Our old models imply a vision of success that’s rooted in growth, stability, and excellence. They drive us towards efficiency and competition by perpetuating an atmosphere of scarcity. They are not as creative as we are.

What if a new vision of success in our field could prioritize resilience, flexibility, and intimacy? What if we could be enablers, not producers? What if we could harness the abundance of creative potential around us?

This new vision of success doesn’t demand consensus around a new set of standards, best practices, or “examples for imitation,” it demands a new way of thinking and acting that empowers us to shift and change our routines all the time, as needed.

A proposed theory of practice for the future

Here is my call to the field: a proposed set of practices that align with the world as it is today, not as it was before:

• Let’s get clear about the challenges we’re facing and if they’re complex, treat them as such
• Let’s ask hard questions, listen, do research, and stay vulnerable to what we learn.
• Let’s question our assumptions and let go of what’s no longer working.
• Let’s embrace ambiguity and conflict as a crucial part of change
• Let’s bring together people with different experiences and lean into difference
• Let’s experiment our way forward and fail often
• Let’s recognize the system in which we’re operating.
• Let’s rigorously reflect and continuously learn

In conclusion

When I set out to write this post, I wanted to question the premise that a conversation about “broken models” could even be useful in a time when expertise, excellence and replicability are the values of the past. I wanted to propose that we move past the very notion of models – let’s jettison the word itself from our vocabulary.

In the end, I guess you could call what I’ve proposed a kind of “new model.” But I’d rather think of it as a new mindset."
change  museums  museumeducation  2014  complexity  organizations  models  paradigmshifts  theory  karinamangu-ward  practice  bestpractices  experience  difference  funding  strategicplanning  corevalues  values  experimentation  failure  art  arteducation  leadership  evaluation  purpose  governance  audience  income  revenue 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Gates Money Attempts to Shift the Education Conversation to Successes
In 2011, NBC news anchor Brian Williams stated during an Education Nation broadcast,
Gates Foundation, one of the sponsors of this event, and the largest single funder of education anywhere in the world. It’s their facts that we’re going to be referring to often to help along our conversation.

So money buys you the very facts that guide the public discourse!

It was often repeated and became widely accepted as a result of their campaign that “public education is broken.” This was the narrative that has allowed for wholesale experimentation in the deconstruction of public education. Now, the story is shifting, and the new narrative is “Reform is Working!”

Where do we go for facts? We go to journalists. We go to academics who are doing research. We go to “experts.”

When journalists and academics are challenged about the insidious effect this one-sided funding plays in the public arena, rarely is the problem acknowledged. The most common defense to this practice is “we have not changed what we believe or write because of the funding.” And this may, in large part, be true. But what happens when a whole sector of journalism becomes part of telling whatever story the sponsor wishes told?

And what happens when, out of a thousand articulate and passionate participants in a discussion about education, the fifty who are most closely aligned with the agenda of the Gates and Walton foundations find themselves showered with grant opportunities, enabling them to mount rapid response teams, conduct “research,” pose as unbiased “consumer reports” style reviewers of educational products, issue ratings of schools of education, and so forth."
edreform  journalism  bias  billgates  gatesfoundation  2014  power  influence  policy  corruption  education  funding  schools  via:Taryn 
september 2014 by robertogreco
The NGO-ization of resistance | Massalijn
"A hazard facing mass movements is the NGO-ization of resistance. It will be easy to twist what I’m about to say into an indictment of all NGOs. That would be a falsehood. In the murky waters of fake NGOs set up or to siphon off grant money or as tax dodges (in states like Bihar, they are given as dowry), of course, there are NGOs doing valuable work. But it’s important to consider the NGO phenomenon in a broader political context.

In India, for instance, the funded NGO boom began in the late 1980s and 1990s. It coincided with the opening of India’s markets to neoliberalism. At the time, the Indian state, in keeping with the requirements of structural adjustment, was withdrawing funding from rural development, agriculture, energy, transport and public health. As the state abdicated its traditional role, NGOs moved in to work in these very areas. The difference, of course, is that the funds available to them are a minuscule fraction of the actual cut in public spending.

Most large-funded NGOs are financed and patronized by aid and development agencies, which are, in turn, funded by Western governments, the World Bank, the UN and some multinational corporations. Though they may not be the very same agencies, they are certainly part of the same loose, political formation that oversees the neoliberal project and demands the slash in government spending in the first place.

Why should these agencies fund NGOs? Could it be just old-fashioned missionary zeal? Guilt? It’s a little more than that. NGOs give the impression that they are filling the vacuum created by a retreating state. And they are, but in a materially inconsequential way. Their real contribution is that they defuse political anger and dole out as aid or benevolence what people ought to have by right. They alter the public psyche. They turn people into dependent victims and blunt the edges of political resistance. NGOs form a sort of buffer between the sarkar and public. Between Empire and its subjects. They have become the arbitrators, the interpreters, the facilitators.

In the long run, NGOs are accountable to their funders, not to the people they work among. They’re what botanists would call an indicator species. It’s almost as though the greater the devastation caused by neoliberalism, the greater the outbreak of NGOs. Nothing illustrates this more poignantly than the phenomenon of the U.S. preparing to invade a country and simultaneously readying NGOs to go in and clean up the devastation. In order make sure their funding is not jeopardized and that the governments of the countries they work in will allow them to function, NGOs have to present their work in a shallow framework, more or less shorn of a political or historical context. At any rate, an inconvenient historical or political context.

Apolitical (and therefore, actually, extremely political) distress reports from poor countries and war zones eventually make the (dark) people of those (dark) countries seem like pathological victims. Another malnourished Indian, another starving Ethiopian, another Afghan refugee camp, another maimed Sudanese…in need of the white man’s help. They unwittingly reinforce racist stereotypes and reaffirm the achievements, the comforts and the compassion (the tough love) of Western civilization. They’re the secular missionaries of the modern world.

Eventually–on a smaller scale, but more insidiously–the capital available to NGOs plays the same role in alternative politics as the speculative capital that flows in and out of the economies of poor countries. It begins to dictate the agenda. It turns confrontation into negotiation. It depoliticizes resistance. It interferes with local peoples’ movements that have traditionally been self-reliant. NGOs have funds that can employ local people who might otherwise be activists in resistance movements, but now can feel they are doing some immediate, creative good (and earning a living while they’re at it).

Real political resistance offers no such short cuts. The NGO-ization of politics threatens to turn resistance into a well-mannered, reasonable, salaried, 9-to-5 job. With a few perks thrown in. Real resistance has real consequences. And no salary."
arundhatiroy  via:dymaxion  2014  charitableindustrialcomplex  governance  ngos  resistance  politics  policy  consequences  speculation  capital  economics  power  control  confrontation  negotiation  salvationpolitics  racism  stereotypes  missionaries  funding  neoliberalism  depoliticization  appeasement  charity  philanthropy  markets  bloodmoney  development  colonization  colonialism  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  capitalism 
september 2014 by robertogreco
When Scientists Give Up : Shots - Health News : NPR
"But it was not a surefire idea. Like a lot of science, it might not have worked at all. Glomski never found out. His repeated grant applications to the National Institutes of Health never made the cut. Funding is so competitive that reviewers shy away from ideas that might not pan out.

"You actually have to be much more conservative these days than you used to," Glomski says, "and being that conservative I think ultimately hurts the scientific enterprise." Society, he says, is "losing out on the cutting-edge research that really is what pushes science forward."

Historically, payoffs in science come from out of the blue — oddball ideas or unexpected byways. Glomski says that's what research was like for him as he was getting his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. His lab leader there got funding to probe the frontiers. But Glomski sees that farsighted approach disappearing today.

"That ultimately squashed my passion for what I was doing," he says. So two years ago, at the age of 41, he quit.

Instead of helping society improve its defenses against deadly anthrax, he's starting a liquor distillery, Vitae Spirits. He's actually excited about that. It's a big challenge, and it allows him to pursue an idea with passion, rather than with resignation.

Meanwhile, Randen Patterson is not passionate about his post-science career as a grocery store proprietor. He recently bought the Corner Store in the tiny town of Guinda, Calif.

Patterson, 43, once worked for Dr. Solomon Snyder at Johns Hopkins University in one of the top neuroscience laboratories in the world. His research is published in some of the most prestigious journals.

And Patterson got there against the odds. He was raised in a trailer park in Pennsylvania by a single parent, he says, and stumbled into science quite by accident. Mentors realized his potential and encouraged him to make a career of it.

He landed a tenure-track assistant professorship at Penn State University, and then moved on to a similar job at University of California, Davis (a 45-minute drive from his new "hometown" of Guinda).

But Patterson struggled his entire career to get grants to fund his research, which uses computer simulations to probe the complex chemistry that goes on inside living cells. And he chose an arcane corner of this field to focus his intellectual energy.

"When I was a very young scientist, I told myself I would only work on the hardest questions because those were the ones that were worth working on," he says. "And it has been to my advantage and my detriment."

Over the years, he has written a blizzard of grant proposals, but he couldn't convince his peers that his edgy ideas were worth taking a risk on. So, as the last of his funding dried up, he quit his academic job.

"I shouldn't be a grocer right now," he says with a note of anger in his voice. "I should be training students. I should be doing deeper research. And I can't. I don't have an outlet for it."

When the writing was on the wall a few years ago, Patterson says he bought his own souped-up computer so he could continue dabbling in research on the side. But those ideas aren't adding to the world's body of knowledge about biology.

"The country has invested, in me alone, $5 million or $6 million, easily," Patterson says, thinking back on the funding he received for his education and his research. And he's just one of many feeling the brunt of the funding crunch.

There are no national statistics about how many people are giving up on academic science, but an NPR analysis of NIH data found that 3,400 scientists lost their sustaining grants between 2012 and 2013. Some will eventually get new funding, others will retire; but others, like Glomski and Patterson, will just give up.

"We're taking all this money as a country we've invested ... and we're saying we don't care about it," Patterson says.

He watches with some trepidation as his daughter, a fresh college graduate, hopes to launch her own career in science.

The funding squeeze could persist for his daughter's generation as well. So Patterson is hoping she will settle on a field other than biomedical research — one where money isn't quite so tight."

[via: https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/509993455913680896 ]
academia  research  funding  2014  conservatism  risk  risktaking  certainty  uncertainty  competition  us  highered  highereducation 
september 2014 by robertogreco
The Shuttleworth Foundation-Fellowship
"The Shuttleworth Foundation Fellowship Program funding consists of two components for each Fellow – the fellowship grant and the co-investment project funding.

The fellowship grant covers the cost of the Fellow’s time for a year and is guaranteed to the fellow for that year. The grant amount varies and is determined by each Fellow’s salary equivalent outside of the fellowship.

The co-investment project funding is the most unique part of the Fellowship Program, as Fellows are rewarded for investing in their own ideas. An amount of $245,000 is set aside per Fellow per year as potential project funding. This funding is unlocked through a light weight project pitch process and the Foundation tops up the Fellow’s own investment by adding at least 10 times as much funding from their project funding pool.

Imagine the cost of a Fellow’s time for the year is agreed at $1000. As the fellowship year progresses, the Fellow realises that it would be beneficial to spend $100 in order to advance their idea. The Fellow then takes $900 home for the cost of her time and reinvests $100 back into the implementation of her idea, while the Foundation contributes at least another $1000, giving her a project budget of $1100.

The investment coming partly from the Fellow themselves has a 2-fold effect;

1. Fellows are rewarded for the time and money they would typically invest in their own ideas as a free agent anyway by focusing their time and amplifying their funding.

2. Fellows pay closer attention to the relationship between expenses and outcomes."
funding  open  shuttleworthfoundation  openstudioproject  lcproject  fellowships 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Throwing cold water on the phenomenon — The Message — Medium
"Lou Gehrig’s Disease is horrible; on this everyone agrees. And anything that might hasten the development of treatments or even a cure is inarguably worth supporting. But.

That damned ice bucket challenge. Celebrities, athletes, business executives, that annoying self-promotional person in your Facebook network —they’ve all embraced the charity campaign, becoming particularly inescapable in the last month. And it’s worked, with the ALS Association reporting a more-than-tenfold increase in donations since the campaign took off, yielding over $30 million in proceeds. [Update: Felix Salmon makes a credible case for donations reaching $100 million.]

It’s extraordinarily rare to see many people publicly criticizing a charity campaign, given the risks of being seen as heartless or obnoxious. That’s especially true given the record-breaking success of the ice bucket challenge. Yet many reasonable, caring people have voiced some skepticism or concern about the particulars of this charity effort. Something about the way the ice bucket challenge has taken off rubbed many of us the wrong way, even as we’ve been pleased by its success.

In the interest of understanding how even an undeniably meritorious effort could grate on the sensibilities of good people, I solicited specific reasons that the ice bucket challenge was annoying. Dozens of people replied, offering complaints that fit neatly into a few different (presumably not ice-filled) buckets. They are presented here, sorted from least legitimate to most legitimate.

It’s getting out of giving

At least in its most common incarnations, the premise of the ice bucket challenge was that the participants were dumping ice on their heads to avoid donating to the cause. Now, the majority of extremely wealthy people who have done the challenge have chosen both to dump ice on their heads and to donate to the cause. But the setup being anti-charity stuck in many people’s minds as a fairly offensive premise. This objection seems a bit more dubious, given that nobody is actually using the challenge as an excuse not to give to the cause, but it certainly helped color the conversation for those who were already skeptical.

[examples]

Charity Ought Not Be Public
That thine alms may be in secret: and
thy Father which seeth in secret
himself shall reward thee openly.

That exhortation to give in private was courtesy of Aaron Williamson, epitomizing this class of objections.

[examples]

Annoyance at the Participants

The rich are, of course, constant and often worthy targets of our scorn. And when they do anything to advertise themselves as being paragons of virtue, that’s a quick road to opprobrium. Even worse is when we combine that with egotistical celebrities nakedly expressing self-regard, thanking themselves for their own generosity. Rising naturally from the earlier objections to any public charity are even more strident objections to hyper-public charity.

[examples]

Objecting to the Manipulation

When a friend or colleague publicly asks one to participate in a charity effort, it’s of course a deeply coercive action. There’s no suitable response other than yes, unless one is willing to look insensitive or cruel in public.

[examples]

The Insensitivity of Mirth

Because ALS is a brutal, exhausting disease that ravages both those who are afflicted as well as their families and loved ones, the lighthearted tone of many videos from the challenge seemed tone-deaf. This becomes doubly true when so many on social media this week have been focused on profoundly troubling events around the world, from Missouri to Syria.

[examples]

No real focus on ALS

One of the most pervasive threads of criticism is that the participants seemed largely disconnected from harsh reality of ALS, saying almost nothing about the disease, the Association dedicated to helping those with the disease, or even where people watching the video could choose to donate themselves.

[examples]

Fundamental Funding Problems Are More Important

The most compelling, inarguable justification for objecting to the ice bucket challenge is that it shouldn’t be necessary in the first place. As many have pointed out, many elected officials who were willing to perform the stunt in ostensible solidarity with people who have ALS were also willing to cut funding to fight the disease.

[examples]

Surprisingly, this wasn’t one of the most popularly-articulated reasons for objecting to this viral campaign. But it is clearly the one which bears the most mention, and it’s well worth reckoning with the serious issue of how our society will fund basic research on enormously devastating diseases.

How to address ALS

This final focus on the funding and research about the disease is the point most often overlooked in extremely viral online campaigns — because it leads to the sort of complexity that isn’t very much fun to share on Facebook.

But many charities that have been fortunate enough to experience a surge of online donations have also struggled with the after-effects. Like the lottery winners who, unaccustomed to managing wealth, find themselves broke a few years later, very few small non-profits have the skill to manage an onrush of funding that is both unexpected and unrepeatable. In the best case, they might be able to create an endowment that will yield a modest but significant annual return in the future. Those aren’t the kind of results that will get celebrities posting on YouTube, meaningful though they may be.

And for those of us not directly impacted by ALS, participating in these sorts of campaigns, rather than voting for broader medical research or supporting more substantive funding, can lead to an even more serious issue. Online campaigns are very effective in encouraging moral licensing, that phenomenon where we feel we’ve “scratched our itch” in regard to charity, and then give ourselves permission to be less charitable overall.

The most fundamental issue raised by the success of the ice bucket challenge is that ALS is an incredibly difficult disease to live with, and one that has seen few significant advances in its treatment. There is no cure. These realities are not going to change without an ongoing, extended, significant engagement by professionals who are dedicated to making progress through research.

We should never give in to cynicism, and we shouldn’t be afraid to participate in campaigns that are for a good cause. But it’s just as important we listen to the skeptics and the critics over the long run. Because ALS will be with us for a long time, but the gimmick in these videos is never going to work again."
als  charity  philanthropy  charitableindustrialcomplex  2014  icebucketchallenge  stunts  anildash  viral  lougehrig'sdisease  giving  virtue  funding  fundraising  criticism  manipulation  morallicensing  skepticism  nonprofit  charities  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  nonprofits  capitalism  power  control 
august 2014 by robertogreco
The cold, hard truth about the ice bucket challenge - Quartz
"The key problem is funding cannibalism. That $3 million in donations doesn’t appear out of a vacuum. Because people on average are limited in how much they’re willing to donate to good causes, if someone donates $100 to the ALS Association, he or she will likely donate less to other charities.

This isn’t just speculation. Research from my own non-profit, which raises money for the most effective global poverty charities, has found that, for every $1 we raise, 50¢ would have been donated anyway. Given our fundraising model, which asks for commitments much larger than the amount people typically donate, we have reason to think that this is a lower proportion than is typical for fundraising drives. So, because of the $3 million that the ALS Association has received, I’d bet that much more than $1.5 million has been lost by other charities.

A similar phenomenon has been studied in the lab by psychologists. It’s called moral licensing: the idea that doing one good action leads one to compensate by doing fewer good actions in the future. In a recent experiment, participants either selected a product from a selection of mostly “green” items (like an energy-efficient light bulb) or from a selection of mostly conventional items (like a regular light bulb). They were then told to perform a supposedly unrelated task. However, in this second task, the results were self-reported, so the participants had a financial incentive to lie; and they were invited to pay themselves out of an envelope, so they had an opportunity to steal as well.

What happened? People who had previously purchased a green product were significantly more likely to both lie and steal than those who had purchased the conventional product. Their demonstration of ethical behavior subconsciously gave them license to act unethically when the chance arose.

Amazingly, even just saying that you’d do something good can cause the moral self-licensing effect. In another study, half the participants were asked to imagine helping a foreign student who had asked for assistance in understanding a lecture. They subsequently gave significantly less to charity when given the chance to do so than the other half of the participants, who had not been asked to imagine helping another student.

The explanation behind moral licensing is that people are often more concerned about looking good or feeling good rather than doing good. If you “do your bit” by buying an energy-efficient lightbulb, then your status as a good human being is less likely to be called into question if you subsequently steal.

In terms of the conditions for the moral licensing effect to occur, the ice bucket challenge is perfect. The challenge gives you a way to very publicly demonstrate your altruism via a painful task, despite actually accomplishing very little (on average, not including those who don’t donate at all, a $40 gift, or 0.07% of the average American household’s income): it’s geared up to make you feel as good about your actions as possible, rather than to ensure that your actions do as much good as possible."



"Cannibalism of funding among charities is a major problem. However, there is a solution. The moral licensing phenomenon doesn’t always happen: there is a countervailing psychological force, called commitment effects. If in donating to charity you don’t conceive of it as “doing your bit” but instead as taking one small step towards making altruism a part of your identity, then one good deed really will beget another. This means that we should tie new altruistic commitments to serious, long-lasting behavior change. Rather than making a small donation to a charity you’ve barely heard of, you could make a commitment to find out which charities are most cost-effective, and to set up an ongoing commitment to those charities that you conclude do the most good with your donations. Or you could publicly pledge to give a proportion of your income.

These would be meaningful behavior changes: they would be structural changes to how you live your life; and you could express them as the first step towards making altruism part of your identity. No doubt that, if we ran such campaigns, the number of people who would do these actions would be smaller, but in the long term the total impact would be far larger."
economics  psychology  charitableindustrialcomplex  charity  philanthropy  morallicensing  commitmenteffects  funding  nonprofit  2014  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  nonprofits  capitalism  power  control 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Hip-Hop and Education: Rappers Speak Out on Inequality - The Root
"Take Kanye West’s declaration in “Power”: “The system’s broken. The school is closed. The prison’s open.” Just last year, West’s hometown of Chicago closed nearly 50 urban, public, neighborhood schools in a neoliberal effort toward consolidation and efficiency. All the while, the national rate of imprisonment is rising, and the private prison industry is experiencing record growth, incarcerating unthinkable numbers of young black men. A Loyola University study shows that the majority of inmates in Cook County Jail are low-income African-American men and boys.

Meanwhile, fellow Chicagoan Lupe Fiasco says in “Words I Never Said”: “Your child’s future was the first to go with budget cuts. If you think that hurts, then wait, here comes the uppercut. The school was garbage in the first place that’s on the up and up.” Lupe’s rhyme struck a chord with Chicago parents and students who in 2012 saw only 21 percent of eighth graders reach reading proficiency.

They’re just two of the many rap artists making socially aware educational commentary on topics that range from school lunches to testing and overcrowding."
kanyewest  lupefiasco  education  inequality  schools  funding  2014  austerity  publicschools  us  schooling 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Rev Dan Catt: Heros
"Each one is trying (I believe) to normalise a way of doing something that's currently outside of the mainstream, until hopefully it becomes the new normal. The things they are doing are things that I believe should and need to exist. I'll also get back to that in a moment.

So where's my interest?

Well, we homeschool (UK) here, Modesty (12), Zachary (8) and Isobel (6) for various reasons, but one of them is this: In the last 10 years the internet and the world because of it has changed so much but the school system hasn't really kept up."



"We're practicing Autonomous (or "child led learning") learning, which in theory is letting your children loose to learn whatever they feel like learning while you support them. Our reality is that it's a bit more like one of those toy pull back wind-up car. You pull them back filling them with energy, point them roughly in the direction you think they aught to be heading and release.

In this case Modesty was playing World of Warcraft as was just at the right age to watch The Guild, which led onto watching Felicia's own videos, I can still remember the cry of delight and "Felicia plays Skyrim too, her favorite bow is the same as mine!", which indirectly led to her cooking Skyrim Sweet Rolls after watching Rosanna Pansino make some on Nerdy Nummies. Really getting into board games, watching Amy Dallen talk about comics, Nika Harper talk about writing and video games and then later making cool weaponry from games.

In turn that leads to thoughts such as "Hey, I could be a blacksmith or weaponsmith, or a leather armorer. Time to hit up the library and YouTube". Which is pretty much not what happens at school. Also the (I think) fairly obvious decision to present the content not as "Women in games/comics/magic/technology", but just normalised as cool people talking about cool stuff is just lovely.

Which brings me back to the behind the camera stuff. Richard with his podcasts, plays and theater performances. Sinking a whole bunch of money into trying to make things work outside of the normal TV/Radio/Theater commisioning process, working towards another way of doing things, because that other way of doing things should be just as valid and possible as the "normal".

Leila, here and here making a magazine, podcasts, conferences and more because they are things that aught to exist. They are things that aught to be able to exist, to be funded, paid for, consumed as though they weren't alternatives to the mainstream but just a different part of the mainstream.

Felicia making full-on half hour (US TV "half-hour") TV programs but on YouTube, as thought that's just how it should be. And I've seen the promise of "TV on the internet" for very long time, and each time I watch someone attempt it I'm like "go on, this time, please let this be the one that finally survives and makes it work"

Because...

Because... I'm betting on "Home Schooling" or rather outside of the mainstream education system as a valid route for our children, and when they "leave" I need things like Richard's independent radio/podcast programs to have worked, Felicia's new company that she's spent so much time on getting set up to succeed, Leila to not burn through all her savings and make her way of publishing a magazine and so on, a perfectly acceptable and doable thing to do.

So that when our children are ready for the "world of work" that world is an interesting place and there are people in it I can point to as an example of how things can be done.

In short, I need heros."
revdancatt  2014  heros  feliciaday  leilajohnston  richardherring  cv  homeschool  unschooling  change  future  heroes  hopes  dreams  learning  howwelearn  parenting  television  youtube  creativity  games  gaming  publishing  education  schools  schooling  schooliness  funding  kickstarter  internet  online  markets  alternative  mainstream  pioneers  passion 
july 2014 by robertogreco
The Miseducation of America - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"While I was watching Ivory Tower, a documentary about the state of college in America that appears in select theaters this month (the movie also airs on CNN this fall), it occurred to me that of the many problems with higher education these days, not the least concerns the way we talk about it. "Efficiency," "art-history majors," "kids who graduate with $100,000 in debt," "the college bubble," the whole rhetoric of crisis and collapse: The public discourse is dominated by sound bites, one-liners, hearsay, horror stories, and a very great deal of misinformation.

Higher ed is not unique in this respect, of course, but it is particularly bad. College, as the movie points out, was always treated as a black box: 18-year-olds were inserted at one end, 22-year-olds came out the other, and as long as the system appeared to be working, no one bothered to inquire what happened in between. Americans, as a result, have very little understanding of what college is about—how it works, what it’s for, what larger social benefits it offers—and those employed in higher education have had very little practice in explaining it to them. The debate has been left to the politicians, the pundits, and increasingly, the hustlers and ideologues. Few who talk about college in public understand it, and few who understand it talk about it.

Ivory Tower, for the most part, is an honorable exception."



"Ivory Tower shows us why it’s so important that we get this right: that we think with facts, with respect to college costs and what they get you, not emotions. When we cherry pick the scariest stories and numbers, we do two things: We open the door to hucksters selling easy answers, and we forget what college is really for. Apocalypticism leads to messianism. Close behind the anxious parents whom we see on college tours at Wesleyan and NYU—variously blithe or glum adolescents in tow—come, like vultures to a kill, a pair of now-familiar figures: Peter Thiel and Sebastian Thrun."



"The truth is, there are powerful forces at work in our society that are actively hostile to the college ideal. That distrust critical thinking and deny the proposition that democracy necessitates an educated citizenry. That have no use for larger social purposes. That decline to recognize the worth of that which can’t be bought or sold. Above all, that reject the view that higher education is a basic human right.

The film recounts the history and recent fate of that idea: its origin among the philanthropists of the industrial age, figures like Peter Cooper, founder of his eponymous Union; its progressive unfolding through the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, the GI Bill of 1944, the postwar expansion of the University of California, and the Higher Education Act of 1965, which created the federal student-loan and grant programs; and its deliberate destruction under Ronald Reagan and his ideological heirs.

Free, high-quality higher education (just like free, high-quality school, which we continue to at least pretend to endorse): that is what we used to believe in; that’s what many other countries still believe in; that is what we must believe in once again. The filmmakers undoubtedly knew what they were doing when they chose to show us the moment, during that seminar at Deep Springs, when the students are debating Hegel’s proposition that, as their professor puts it, "you need to have a common identity as citizens, because it creates the bonds of affection." Or in Delbanco’s words, "What kind of society do we want to be?" Cooper Union’s commencement speaker, that tumultuous spring of 2013, turns out to have been none other than Michael Bloomberg. "The debate you’re having really isn’t about whether education is free," we see him tell the students. "It’s really about who can and who is willing to pay for it."

On this the billionaire and I agree. In terms of the "can" (and it’s hard to believe the word could even pass his lips), the answer is clear. Not just the plutocrats, not just the upper class, but the upper middle class, as well. Everybody knows by now that the share of national income that accrues to the famous one percent has risen to about 23 percent, higher than at almost any time since 1928. But the share that accrues to the top 10 percent as a whole, which stayed around 33 percent from the 1950s through the 1970s, has risen to its highest level ever (or at least, since record-keeping started), more than 50 percent. In a $17-trillion economy, the difference represents a premium of nearly $3-trillion a year, about five times the federal deficit and more than enough for this and many other public purposes.

The problem of costs, to be sure, is not a one-way street. Higher education must indeed increase efficiency, but how? Institutions have been willing to spend on everything in recent years except the thing that matters most: instruction. Dorms, deans, sports, but not professors. Piglike presidential salaries, paid for by hiring adjuncts. Now, with MOOCs and other forms of online instruction, the talk is more of the same. My friends, they are coming for you. The professoriate no longer has the luxury of thinking that all this is someone else’s problem. If you want to save your skins, let alone ensure the future of the enterprise, you need to wake up and organize against the people who are organizing against you. The fact is that by focusing exclusively on monetary issues, the current conversation prevents us not only from remembering the higher objectives of an undergraduate education, but also from recognizing just how bad a job our institutions have been doing at fulfilling them. Colleges and universities have a lot to answer for; if they want to regain the support of the larger society, they need to prove that they are worthy of it.

Ivory Tower ends, in the manner of such films today, by referring us to a website. Under the rubric "Take Action," the site encourages us to sign a petition that calls on Congress to pass legislation, of the kind proposed by Elizabeth Warren (and just blocked by Senate Republicans), allowing individuals to refinance their student loans. That would certainly be a good thing, but we need to set our sights a great deal higher. If service workers can demand a $15 minimum wage, more than double the federal level, then those who care about higher education can insist on the elimination of tuition and fees at state institutions and their replacement by public funding furnished by taxes on the upper 10 percent. As with the minimum wage, the campaign can be conducted state by state, and it can and should involve a large coalition of interested groups: students, parents, and instructors, to start with. Total enrollment at American colleges and universities now stands at 20 million, on top of another million-plus on the faculty. That’s a formidable voting bloc, should it learn to exercise its power. Since the Occupy movement in 2011, it’s clear that the fight to reverse the tide of growing inequality has been joined. It’s time we joined it."
2014  williamderesiewicz  highered  highereducation  education  policy  politics  finance  money  studentloands  ivorytower  reform  faculty  solidarity  ows  occupywallstreet  inequality  purpose  canon  funding  publicfunding  mooc  moocs  unions  labor  deepspringscollege  colleges  universities  liberalarts  society  learning  criticalthinking  uncollege  dalestephens  peterthiel  sebastianthrun  peterschiff  efficiency  cooperunion  communitycolleges  debt  studentdebt  employment 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Dear Gov. Corbett – How Many Kids Must Die? | Practical Theory
"You aren’t allowed to be surprised by this.

And while the nursing services have gotten worse in the current budget crisis, this is a long-standing problem for Philadelphia District schools for a long time. Our city schools have been under-resourced for years, which makes the current crisis all the more painful.

The arterial road you see in that map is City Line Avenue. It is, quite literally, the city line of Philadelphia. Above Philadelphia is Lower Merion School District. One of its two high schools is Harriton HS. Harriton HS has 1188 kids and four full-time nurses. Science Leadership Academy has 490 kids, and we have a nurse two days a week. This year, the average per pupil expenditure in Philadelphia hovers just under $10,000 per child while Lower Merion is able to spend over $25,000 per child. The way we fund schools in this state is criminal, and it has to change.

You aren’t allowed to be surprised by this.

The way we fund schools in Pennsylvania quite possibly cost Laporshia Massey her life, and yet Governor Corbett is holding up $45 million dollars of state money until he gets the work rule concessions he wants from the teachers’ union. $45 million dollars translates into 400 more professional employees (teachers, counselors and nurses) to work with our kids. When schools have no counselors, when schools don’t have full-time nurses, that is the equivalent of blackmail.

And it has cost at least one young woman – Laporshia Massey - her life. I wonder if Governor Corbett even knows that she died.

You aren’t allowed to be surprised by this. But you better be outraged by it."
2013  philadelphia  schools  policy  pennsylvania  inequality  funding  chrislehmann  realestate 
may 2014 by robertogreco
6, 4: Block quotes
"So! In some of NASA’s actions you can detect a flavor of institutional hypervigilance against controversy. For example, most of what I’m in contact with is EO (Earth Observation, under what to my great pleasure was once called MTPE, Mission to Planet Earth), and for them climate change is a big, big deal. But they have to bend over backwards not to say anything that could be interpreted as even a little partisan, which is a tough move when simple, contextualized facts are very partisan. Likewise, two different people have politely reminded me that their communications are subject to FOIA, giving me the impression that they feel they have to avoid volunteering opinions outside narrow technical topics, even when they’re squeaky clean of any bias that could possibly affect the quality and independence of their work.

The impression that one sometimes gets is of a sticky note on the monitor frame reading “Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want to hear read out in Congress by someone who intends to defund your program”.

It’s a shame. You add friction to people’s work when you make them second-guess themselves and not express even well-supported, carefully framed, intellectually honest, professionally relevant opinions.

I wish the squint-inducing sunlight were felt in agencies whose failures cause secret murders, foolish wars, and the creation of surveillance states more than in an agency whose most salient failures so far – seventeen suited astronaut deaths – were caused by institutional lock-up more than by anything else. It should scare us how much Columbia was a repeat of Challenger: in both cases, a good understanding of the problem and solution was diffused within NASA, but it never converged on the point where it was needed. Too little jidoka. It’s not that transparency causes Crew Module Catastrophic Events, but there’s a chain from “we need to make sure the taxpayers are getting their money’s worth” through “let’s make sure we have solid procedures for everything” to “no, don’t just say ‘STOP! I see a problem that could kill the crew.’ to your boss; write up a nice report in rock-solid formal language” that has to be broken somewhere.

Astronaut deaths are the most salient failure, but to my mind the much bigger one is the failure to go further, which is the fault of the Executive and Legislative branches. One illustration of the problem is the Landsat program. As a series of satellites, you might assume it would be NASA’s responsibility to manage the space side of things. Nope. Obama reached over with scissors and glue to move Landsat to its own authority within the Geological Survey, because we was rightly counseled that Congress (and the presidency) cannot be trusted to fund NASA consistently enough to let it run Landsat. The consequence is very good: USGS’s Landsat operation is one of my stock examples when folks ask about doing open data right. But it bodes bogus of our handling of our primary space program when we have to take satellites away from it because we can’t trust ourselves to let it run them.

And so I see the hypervigilance as another face of the imposed institutional conservatism that has made NASA an anxious genius of an agency, never sure whether it will have the funding to do anything ambitious even after it’s been promised, tired of being scolded for not finishing what it doesn’t have the mandate to start, trying to get through a few short-sighted decades while doing justice to its domain. It’s amazing it’s as sure-handed as it is.

This, then, I think, is why we don’t see even more radical innovation from NASA: because Congress hates funding costly failures, even ones that are small and necessary parts of hugely worthwhile successes. And that’s why I doubt we’re anywhere close to the fail-hard/win-big r strategy program that Maly envisions. NSF grants are one good back door. Universal healthcare and a better social net in general is another: read Bill Gates’s “half” story and go ask a single mother who can’t afford daycare how she thinks the US economy is doing at letting her best ideas compete. I bet we’ll get there, but what happens between now and then still counts. America is waiting.

One of many causes for hope is that, even as its funding for outreach is cut, it’s NASA’s figured out how to put on a show on the web."
charlieloyd  2014  nasa  bureaucracy  universalhealthcare  healthcare  research  government  failure  science  hypervigilance  observation  imagery  congress  funding  landsat  usgs  remotesensing  earth  satellites  satelliteimagery 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Museum as Hub: Interview with Beta-Local by Ruba Katrib :: New Museum
[See also: http://www.conboca.org/2012/05/29/entrevista-a-michelle-marxuach-y-beatriz-santiago-de-beta-local/
and http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/14/greathomesanddestinations/14gh-puertorico.html ]

"Beta-Local is a nonprofit center for contemporary art initiated in 2009 and located in the heart of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. I met the three cofounders, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Michy Marxuach, and Tony Cruz in 2010 in their storefront space, which was filled with long tables and chairs, surrounded by bookshelves packed to the brim, sofas, and a small kitchen. While Beta-Local doesn’t exhibit art, it is an essential site that fosters interdisciplinary production and dialogue within Puerto Rico. While I was there, international visitors (myself included) were using the space to have studio visits with local artists; meanwhile, the São Paulo-based artist Carla Zaccagnini led a course. In a time when the university system in Puerto Rico is especially volatile, Beta-Local has become a safe haven for artists and others interested in education and exchange. I was invited to interview Beta-Local for Museum as Hub, who feature the space in their Art Spaces Directory.

Ruba Katrib: Can you talk a little bit about why you started and what you consider to be the central focus of your program?

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz: Beta-Local grew out of our interest in rethinking aesthetic thought and artistic practice from our local context. We began the project in 2009, during the economic crisis. We viewed the lack of local institutional support structures, such as contemporary galleries, museums, and art schools—along with the crisis in traditional modes of production and art economies—as an opportunity to develop alternative support structures for art and vernacular pedagogies. We insist on artistic practice and aesthetic thought as an essential social and political practice part of life.

Beta-Local is organized around three main programs: La Práctica, a nine-month production-based program, The Harbor, a residency program, and La Ivan Illich, an open school through which anyone can propose a class that they want to take or teach. These three programs generate many independent projects from performances to seminars, concerts to collective meals.

Our most important role is to support artists in making work. This making/thinking happens in the midst of projects, classes, lectures, and research. The multiple directions that the conversation can take can be disorienting, but we think this is a good thing.

We wanted to create a space that supported art-making—very broadly defined—and we wanted to do this while responding to and rethinking our physical context, the places where we live, our relationship to the people we collaborate with, their abilities and interests, as well as their imaginative visions of what was possible. We wanted to think about and create links across disciplines, and find connections between artistic practice and other ways of thinking and doing.

When we began the project, it was important for us to emphasize the lack of functionality in institutions, not a lack of exhibition space. We really looked to bring home the point that if there was no functionality in institutions, if the museums provided neither the resources, the relationship to a public, nor the critical context, than your living room—a street corner or a factory was just as good or perhaps an even better space for exhibition/presentation. We also wanted to de-emphasize the exhibition as the only point of contact between public and artist by opening up the process of production to the public, and allowing it to be challenged and enriched in the process.

We do actually orchestrate exhibitions/presentations when that is the logical end result of a project. We have brought in Alia Farid, a young curator living in Barcelona and Kuwait, to work with artist Rosalin Suero on the exhibition “Almacén/Habitación,” which took place in an industrial park. We also collaborated with the local Association of Architects to present Ashley Hunt’s lecture/performance Notes on the Emptying of a City and we presented Jeanine Oleson’s performance La Gran Limpia in contested public spaces and published a related text—these are just some examples. Generally, we don’t present work in our space; this forces us to create collaborations and open up other spaces for art. In general, these spaces have the resources, the space, and the electricity bills, they just don’t have the programming.

RK: With these different components comprising your structure, how do you balance the courses and workshops that are initiated by Beta-Local (that have your interests in mind) with the more “user-generated” elements of the program? Do these aspects of the program correlate or do you see them as separate initiatives entirely?

BSM: It is very hard to disentangle the two as there is a certain flow and synchronicity between them. Beta-Local has some clear interests—they are evident in the structure of Beta-Local, in the physical space, in our personal work as artists and cultural producers—but as the community of participants grows, those interests also grow, overlap, and meander. We follow our interests, but we leave all sorts of doors open for others to do the same. We are moved by the commitment of others to their own work and vision.

For example, we have received a lot of proposals related to bike culture, from mapping routes to bike mechanics. There is also a community of architects who are interested in experimental practices and architecture as research who participate regularly in programming, proposing, and leading classes; we have had classes and lectures proposed by economists, neuroscientists, ninety–year-old cooks, and teenagers. During 2011–12, we had a movement researcher participating in La Práctica. She initiated a project that involved the participation of many dancers, improvisers, and other movement researchers. This project opened the door to a local history of movement practices and all of a sudden we were in the middle of the dance community—not a place we could have anticipated at all. Similar instances have happened, all branching out in many directions—the space attracts like-minded people from other disciplines.

On the other hand, we also have found ways to pursue a sustained investigation into ideas of interest to Beta-Local. This year, we have begun a new series of intensive seminars anchored in our specific geography, local knowledge, and emerging art practices. This January, we are holding our first two-week session on the subject of land, place, and its visual representation. The ways in which our landscape is read and reinscribed through images is a subject that has come up a lot in the work of artists that we admire. The seminar puts together geographers, artists, and others who have been working on these ideas, including Chemi Rosado, Javier Arbona, and many others. We hope it will be the first of many. We have also pursued research and collaboration into experimental pedagogy, and have sustained long-term collaborations with artists and researchers whose work we are interested in exploring more in-depth.

In the most practical sense, we can do this because we are wiling to literally and figuratively lend them the keys. During our first and second year, we had so many proposals for courses (interesting ones!) and programming that we had to decide early on how to handle this. We would have collapsed if one of the three of us had to be there for everything. Andrea Bauzá, an architect who participated in La Práctica during our first year, organized an eight-week course on architecture, public space, and activism. We gave her the key to the space and from that point on we have done it many other times. On the one hand, it solves a practical problem, on the other, it really gives programming autonomy to the public school project. Also, all La Práctica participants have the ability to program the space and pursue their interests through programming. As we bring more people in, we have more and more reliable collaborators who can run programs, create projects, and teach classes.

RK: How do you believe Beta-Local’s program is perceived locally? There is a dynamic community of artists, curators, and collectors in Puerto Rico, what role do you think your program plays in the local art scene?

BSM: We have been very lucky to have the support and collaboration of the local community of artists and curators—as well as architects, designers, and non-art neighbors. They create programs and are our main audience and participants. Without their support and participation this simply would not work. This, in part, has to do with the fact that the public or La Práctica participants propose at least half of our programming. Establishing a steady connection with collectors is a bit trickier. We are not a traditional presenting institution. Some unconventional collectors avidly support our programs and regularly participate in events. We have also collaborated with Espacio 1414, a private collection, in creating a public program, which was very successful. But more conservative collectors may still be working on figuring out what we do and how this supports a healthy art community. Our place in the local ecosystem is as an engine through which new art and other relationships are forged, tested, and experimented with.

RK: Beta-Local is very integrated into the regional fabric; much of your program is a direct response to the immediate needs of the community in San Juan. But you also have international aspects to your program, how do you connect and communicate your activities to a broader contemporary art context?

BSM: We invite artists to Beta-Local whose work has interesting ties to or challenges local practices, Ana María Millán/Helena Producciones, Amílcar Packer, Carla Zaccagnini, Pablo Guardiola, Adriana Lara, Alia Farid, Center for Land Use Interpretation, Felipe Mujica, and … [more]
via:javierarbona  2014  beta-local  sanjuan  puertorico  beatrizsantiagomuñoz  art  openstudioproject  lcproject  glvo  tonycruz  michymarxuach  studios  studioclassroom  freeschools  education  community  ivanillich  residencies  rubakatrib  funding  fundraising  galleries  local  pedagogy  vernacularpedagogies  openschools  open  place  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  multidisciplinary 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Bill Gates on poverty
"Should the state be playing a greater role in helping people at the lowest end of the income scale? Poverty today looks very different than poverty in the past. The real thing you want to look at is consumption and use that as a metric and say, “Have you been worried about having enough to eat? Do you have enough warmth, shelter? Do you think of yourself as having a place to go?” The poor are better off than they were before, even though they’re still in the bottom group in terms of income.

The way we help the poor out today [is also a problem]. You have Section 8 housing, food stamps, fuel programs, very complex medical programs. It’s all high-overhead, capricious, not well-designed. Its ability to distinguish between somebody who has family that could take care of them versus someone who’s really out on their own is not very good, either. It’s a totally gameable system – not everybody games it, but lots of people do. Why aren’t the technocrats taking the poverty programs, looking at them as a whole, and then redesigning them? Well, they are afraid that if they do, their funding is going to be cut back, so they defend the thing that is absolutely horrific. Just look at low-cost housing and the various forms, the wait lists, things like that."
billgates  poverty  housing  government  2014  bureaucracy  funding  inefficiency  income  inequality 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Beacon — Fund great writers
"Fund one writer for $5 a month. Get access to every story on BEACON."
crowdfunding  funding  journalism  beacon 
february 2014 by robertogreco
School Head’s Brilliant, Sarcastic Insights on Voucher Policies and Independent Schools | Private Schooling & the Public Interest
"I’ve been struck lately by what appears to be a general unawareness regarding public education policy issues among private independent school faculty and leaders (not all, but certainly many). I wrote recently about John Chubb of NAIS and his convening of public education policy scholars (& “thinkers?”) to provide insights for private independent school leaders.

Notably, the vast majority of like-minded scholars convened by Chubb are ardent supports of publicly financed vouchers and are more than willing to project their research inferences on vouchers used largely for urban catholic schools, onto all private schools – as willing as they are to rely on Catholic school tuition rates from the late 1990s to characterize private school per pupil costs for eternity."



"There exists a common bait and switch involved in voucher rhetoric, where the idea of the voucher, or tuition tax credit is presented as providing the option for the kid from the tough urban neighborhood to attend a “better” option,… like Exeter or Choate, or even Calhoun for example. Then the voucher is actually allocated at a level ranging from about $3,500 to a maximum around $8,000. Further, the voucher is provided in a marketplace that includes few or no elite private independent schools, or at least few or not private independent schools willing to take any substantial number of kids for the specified voucher rate.

But for all the technocratic geeky explanations on this point I’ve provided over the years – many of which have fallen on deaf ears – this recent Huffpo piece by the Head of School of the Calhoun School in NYC nails many of the same points and in much more entertaining fashion. Here are a few excerpts from Steven Nelson’s look ahead at 2014 in Education Reform:

February….
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that several hundred voucher-bearing children from the Katrina-devastated Lower Ninth District express confusion when applying to a prestigious private school and discovering that the voucher covers only 20 percent of the tuition. They also learn that the kindergarten class has only 25 places, 24 of which will be filled by siblings of current students or children of alumnae parents. Five-year-old Ruby Jindal is accepted into the elite school’s class of 2026, filling the one available slot.

March…
Having been rebuffed at every other independent school, several hundred voucher students from New Orleans Lower Ninth District enroll at “Billy Bob’s Bible Barn,” a new K-5 school promising each student a new tablet with all 10 Commandments pre-loaded. New York’s prestigious Collegiate School announces that all 185 seniors are headed to Yale in the fall.

And there’s much more on a range of education reform topics addressed in Nelson’s post. It’s a good read.

My point in sharing Nelson’s comments is to reveal that reasonably informed persons who have spent some (really, any) time pondering the role of elite private independent schools in the broader debate over education policy understand what these schools try to provide to their affluent consumers and why these schools are largely immune to the pressures of “education reform.”But immunity need not mean obliviousness.

They don’t need to play in that sandbox. And thus many don’t and likely never will. But I would hope that more of those involved would become aware of what’s going on in that sandbox, and be more willing to explain where they stand when it comes to choices for their own schools and the children they serve.

If private schools are so fond (as am I) of their Harkness tables to encourage active discussions among classes of 12 to 14 students, why isn’t that good for kids in Newark, Chicago or Philadelphia? Can low income “urban” kids not handle this as well as the affluent? Are they not as worthy? That seems a stretch.

If, as I’ve noticed, many private independent schools continue to shift toward physics first (which, as a former science teacher, I really appreciate) high school science curriculum, including migrating away from AP courses and adopting a rich array of upper level electives (small, lab courses), isn’t this good for kids in Newark, Chicago or Philly too? Or are common core standards, computerized assessments, classes of 30+ and high school exit exams simply better for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds?

Can only affluent kids play squash, compete in fencing, wrestling and ice hockey or play string instruments?

Private school leaders know that a few thousand bucks worth of voucher isn’t going to coerce them to take on large numbers of low income kids. It’s just not financially feasible. They know that there will be schools providing much lower quality of service which may try to fill this niche, and they know that providing any decent education on 20 to 30% of their own operating costs would be pretty darn difficult, especially for needy children, and especially for more than a few.

I suspect that even though NAIS schools spend on average nearly double public districts in their metro area, they still feel financially pinched – that even they can’t do all they want to do.

These are well understood realities among those involved in elite private independent schools. Realities regarding which the general public has been misled for years and in my view, by those leading the public education policy debate.

In my view, it is incumbent on private school leaders to provide the very sort of clarity that Steve Nelson has provided in his Huffpo piece.

Well done Steve."

[References: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-nelson/a-look-ahead_b_4527969.html ]
nais  privateschools  elitism  publicschools  policy  education  schools  couchers  2014  stevenelson  brucebaker  funding  money  harkness  harknessmethod  harknesstables 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Public to Private: Could "Conversion" Become a Trend in Vermont Schools? | Seven Days
"An estimated $34.6 million in public funds went to independent academic institutions last year. When North Bennington opted to close its school, it became one of 91 towns in Vermont that let families decide where to send their children to school — and financed their choices with taxpayer dollars. Roughly 11 percent of Vermont’s K-12 students attend independent schools; that number, provided by VISA, includes children whose parents elect to pay tuition as well as those whose tuition bills are covered by towns that don’t operate schools.

Most funded students attending independent schools are in middle or high school; few towns “tuition out” elementary school kids. Around 2,500 students attend Vermont’s four town academies, which are private institutions that act like the de facto public schools in their communities. Some date back more than 100 years, and none turn away students who hail from the towns they serve. State officials are quick to say that their concerns about the North Bennington scenario don’t extend to these academic institutions."
education  schools  privatization  vermont  privateschools  publicschools  2014  independentschools  funding 
january 2014 by robertogreco
The Awesome Foundation
"We are an ever-growing, worldwide network of people devoted to forwarding the interest of awesomeness in the universe. Created in the long hot summer days of 2009 in Boston, the Foundation distributes a series of monthly $1,000 grants to projects and their creators. The money is pooled together from the coffers of ten or so self-organizing “micro-trustees” and given upfront in cash, check, or gold doubloons. The chapters are autonomous and organized by the trustees around geographic areas or topics of interest.

The Foundation provides these grants with no strings attached and claims no ownership over the projects it supports. It is, in the words of one of our trustees, a micro-genius grant for flashes of micro-brilliance.

Since its humble beginnings, many Awesome Foundation chapters have sprung up globally to conserve, sustain, and support the worldwide ecosystem of awesomeness. Projects have included efforts in a wide range of areas including technology, arts, social good, and beyond.

We’re still waiting for something with dinosaurs (hint, hint)."
art  funding  grants  awesomefoundation  crowdfunding  glvo  arts 
december 2013 by robertogreco
tim wright: digital writer: Some Thoughts About Innovation and Failure
"The trick, apparently, is to *learn* from failure. Only then is failure worth risking. That way the 'innovation' has a point even if it doesn't deliver immediate value. I'd argue, however, that we don't always have to learn from failure, and that sometimes making the same mistakes over and over again might even be part of the innovation (or rather the *invention*) process.

I've worked on lots of failed projects. I'm quite proud of it (in a way). I worked on a project recently, in fact, that was pretty much a failure. (Such a failure that it recently came *second* in an innovation contest - LOL.)"



"So for my money, this leaves 'innovation' as the poor second-cousin of genuine 'invention'. I'd also like to claim that invention can and does often happen in a bubble, and doesn't have to relate to anything that came before. *And* I'd also want to suggest that failure doesn't necessarily need to have a learning point or any value.

We can just noodle about and experiment and repeat and fail again and again and again without any obvious point. Many great artists have done this. It is allowed - and may even be a more natural way to get to truly great new things than enforcing a programme of 'innovation'.

Two cheers, then, for Tom Uglow for being brave enough to face the consequences of our failure and admit that the benefits and value of the #dream40 experiment are to a large extent 'unknown'. As he writes:
"Artistic projects like this do not fit one-size-fits all metrics; and I’m not sure what those metrics are anyway – though I do know that targets breed strategies to hit targets, so you’ll forgive us for ignoring them. Hitting targets reward organizations not audiences, or artists, or culture. This was a disruptive experiment and a hugely successful one if judged simply on what we learnt and where we now move forward from. We hope you understand why we did this and that you enjoyed and continue to enjoy it."
"

[via: http://proboscis.org.uk/5383/thoughts-on-failure/ ]
tomuglow  timwright  rewards  kickstarter  failure  innovation  strategies  targets  funding  fundraising  art  metrics  audiences  organizations  culture  learning  2013 
november 2013 by robertogreco
thoughts on failure | Proboscis
"As I’m sure others who’ve launched kickstarter projects have experienced, I received a number of messages offering me advice and professional services to enhance the campaign. Essentially all the advice boiled down to a simple nugget, that the only way to succeed was to already have a significant “fanbase” who could be “activated” or motivated to pledge support and then amplify it by sharing the fact they’d supported the project to their friends and social circles. If I’ve learnt anything then its probably that Proboscis doesn’t have a fanbase as such to activate.

The irony, too, was not lost on me of trying to raise funding for a project about free play and improvisation without rules, winners or rewards on a crowdfunding platform entirely structured around rewards and goals – where there are only winners (those who reach or surpass their goal) and losers. Could there be more to this than just irony? Could it be that the conceptual nature of the PlayCubes (indeed of my whole practice) is just so diametrically opposite to the way in which kickstarter and the communities which form around it operate that it was always unlikely to succeed? Tim’s post also quotes Tom Uglow writing about a project they collaborated on, #dream40"

[See also (linked within): http://timwright.typepad.com/main/2013/10/some-thoughts-about-innovation-and-failure.html ]
kickstarter  crowdsourcing  art  2013  gileslane  rewards  goals  funding  fundraising  learning  innovation  metrics  audiences  organizations 
november 2013 by robertogreco
It's business that really rules us now | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian
"So I don't blame people for giving up on politics. I haven't given up yet, but I find it ever harder to explain why. When a state-corporate nexus of power has bypassed democracy and made a mockery of the voting process, when an unreformed political funding system ensures that parties can be bought and sold, when politicians of the three main parties stand and watch as public services are divvied up by a grubby cabal of privateers, what is left of this system that inspires us to participate?"
democracy  business  exclusion  lobbying  politics  georgemonbiot  power  funding  influence  2013 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Numbers | Savage Minds Backup
"1. The other day I was thinking about conferences.  Let’s say you’re in a panel with 10 people, and each person pays a total of $500 dollars to get there.  This includes conference fees, airfare, hotel, and so on.  So that’s a grand total of $5000 dollars so everyone can write a paper, fly across the country, walk into a room, present their paper for 12-15 minutes and maybe have a group conversation for another 20 minutes or so.  It’s a lot of money.  Granted, conferences are about a lot more than just going to present.  They are about going to other presentations, making connections, seeing friends, etc.  But I think there are times when it might make sense to take that collective $5000, round up 10 people who want to collaborate, find a cheap central place to meet—and then do something.  Like write a book.  Create and actually start implementing a project.  Whatever.  Again, conferences have their place.  But I think sometimes it’s also good to look at what we’re doing—and what we want to do—and know when it’s the moment to do something a little different.  Imagine what 10 people with a common goal could really do if given some serious time to really put their heads together.



6. Now let’s talk about funding your fieldwork. Everyone wants to get a grant. A lot of time goes into writing them. Now, think about the total amount of time you put into writing a grant. Let’s say you work on a grant for a year, and you average 5 hours per week (of really working on it). And, after that year, let’s say you get a grant for $10,000. That would be about $38.46 per hour of work (this does not account for the work time of your adviser or anyone who helps you edit etc). If you work on this grant for an average of 10 hours per week, that would be $19.23 per hour. If you average 20 hours per week, that translates to about $9.62 per hour. At what point does it make more sense to work slinging drinks in the local bar to fund your fieldwork?

7. How much money do undergraduate students spend on the average introductory textbook? Let’s say it’s about 100 bucks. And let’s say there are 300 undergrads in one particular department. That’s $30,000. Multiply that by 5 years. Now we’re at $150,000. Imagine what one department could do with 150 grand, a heap of political will, and all of the potential of open access publishing."
via:anne  professionaldevelopment  ideas  money  conferences  research  fieldwork  funding  grants  efficiency  academia  highered  highereducation  openstudioproject  snarkmarketseminar  self-funding  retreats  generativewebevents  2013 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Hive NYC Learning Network
[From the about page, which also includes a great directory of organizations.]

"Hive NYC Learning Network is a Mozilla project that was founded through The MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative to fuel collaborations between cultural organizations to create new learning pathways and innovative education practices together. Hive NYC is composed of fifty-six non-profit organizations—museums, libraries, after-school clubs and informal learning spaces—that create Connected Learning opportunities for youth. Network members have access to funding to support this work through The Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust.

Core Beliefs:
• School is not the sole provider in a community’s educational system
• Youth need to be both sophisticated consumers and active producers of digital media
• Learning should be driven by youth’s interests
• Digital media and technology are the glue and amplifier for connected learning experiences
• Out-of-school time spaces are fertile grounds for learning innovation
• Organizations must collaborate to thrive

Hive NYC operates as a city-based learning lab, where members network with each other, share best practices and pedagogies, learn about and play with new technologies, participate in events, and most importantly, collaborate to create learning opportunities for NYC youth. As part of the network, members have access to the following support and services:

• Strategic guidance in seeking funding through the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in the New York Community Trust
• Brokered connections between member organizations based on shared ideas and potential programs
• Participation in events in and beyond New York City that illustrate the work of network members and promote Connected Learning principles, digital literacy AND webmaking skills
• Access to involvement with the NYC Department of Education and others seeking to build experimental and/or sustainable partnerships with Hive NYC
• Opportunity to promote new, programs and events through Hive NYC communications channels (blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), as well as youth and volunteer recruitment
• A knowledge exchange for members to share models, ideas, content, tools and best-practices with each other
• Professional Development sessions that develop staff through network peer mentoring, modeling and sharing
• Monthly, in-person meet-ups and conference calls that allow for members to share program updates, best practices, and learn about new opportunities
• Additional seed funding for technology development, research, etc.

Each year, more than 6,000 tweens and teens across NYC directly engage with Hive NYC. These youth take part in projects funded by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust, private and community events, and programs resulting from network partnerships. Another 330,000 youth are indirectly impacted by these efforts, and through the broad dissemination of innovations and programs developed within the network."

[See also: http://hiveresearchlab.org/ ]
nyc  hivenyclearning  mozilla  informallearning  self-directed  self-directedlearning  unschooling  deschooling  learning  youth  openstudioproject  lcproject  macarthurfoundation  homago  museums  ncmideas  afterschool  clubs  learningspaces  funding  professionaldevelopment  bestpractices  digitalliteracy  networkedlearning  networks  collaboration  digitalmedia  newmedia  technology  interestdriven  amnh  bankstreetcollege  beamcenter  brooklynmuseum  brooklynpubliclibrary  carnegiehall  centerforurbanpedagogy  citylore  children'smuseumofthearts  coderjojo  dreamyard  exposurecamp  eyebeam  facinghistoryandourselves  glovbalkids  grilswritenow  maketheroad  thelamp  nycsalt  parsons  reelworks  wagnercollege  worldup  wnyc  wnycradiorookies  urbanword  toked  thepoint  rubinmuseum  momi  nypl  moma  iridescentlearning  habitatmap  cooper-hewitt  commonsensemedia  brooklyn  bronx  manhattan  groundswell  mouse  downtowncommunitytelevision  globalactionproject  globalkids  instituteofplay  joanganzcooneycenter  people'sproductionhouse  radiorookies  stoked  queens  statenisland 
july 2013 by robertogreco
The Artist Who Talks With the Fishes - NYTimes.com
"Jeremijenko suddenly jumped off the pier’s southernmost lip, landing on a weathered wooden walkway below. She withdrew the three coils of rope and used the box cutter to cut a roughly 20-foot length from each coil. She tied one end of each rope to a different pylon and cast the other end into the river. The ropes were made from both natural and artificial fibers. “It’s early in the mussel spawning season, so their spat is floating around everywhere; this is a little experiment to see which sorts of materials they’re drawn to,” Jeremijenko said. “My primary interest is in the mussels’ spectacular adaptability. That puts me in a different class from traditional conservationism. I’m interested in how organisms adapt to the Anthropocene” — the era of human activity on earth — “as opposed to the Sierra Club ‘conserve and preserve’ way of thinking.”"



"The daughter of a physician father and schoolteacher mother, Jeremijenko grew up in the coastal Australian city Brisbane, with nine siblings. An overachieving, Tenenbaum-ish brood, her brothers and sisters have worked as politicians, academics, coal miners, pilots, professional footballers and movie stuntmen. Natalie has collaborated on projects with several of them, and she integrates her creative activity with her personal life in other, more radical, ways — in a sly affront to “you can’t have it all,” she has delivered lectures while breast-feeding. “Experimenting with your own life is the most fundamental medium we have,” she told me.

Jeremijenko’s experimental streak extended to the naming of her kids. Her oldest daughter is Mister Jamba-Djang Vladimir Ulysses Hope (Jamba for short); her daughter with Conley is E (what “E” stands for is up to E, but so far she has decided to stick with the initial); and their son is Yo Xing Heyno Augustus Eisner Alexander Weiser Knuckles. “I had wanted to give our boy an ethnically ambiguous name to challenge assumptions about race and assimilation,” Conley wrote in a 2010 essay. “For all the Asian-American Howards out there, shouldn’t there be a light-haired, blue-eyed white kid named Yo Xing?”

For a spell, Jeremijenko got around, even indoors, on Rollerblades, which reflected her fascination with “alternate forms of urban mobility.” In her ideal metropolis, more people would commute by zip-line; in 2011, she and Haque installed a temporary system in downtown Toronto, which riders navigated with a large pair of wings, and she is now hoping to take it to the Bronx."



"She has the imagination of a think tank, the agenda of a nonprofit and the infrastructure of neither. In order to implement her ideas, she relies heavily on municipal programs, community organizations and the support of academic and art-world institutions. (At N.Y.U. she runs something called the Environmental Health Clinic, where anyone can make an appointment to discuss ways to remedy health hazards like airborne pollutants and storm-water runoff. She has had hundreds of meetings; one project turned cotton candy, a summer treat, into a more nutritious snack, using isomalt, a sugar substitute, edible flowers and high-protein bee pollen.)

But Jeremijenko has also begun experimenting with ideas for the free market, and one in particular seems ripe for some eco-minded venture capitalist to champion. She wants to encourage the production of water-buffalo-milk ice cream, which, in addition to being marvelously creamy, she says, would encourage the creation of much-needed wetlands, on which water buffalo graze. About a year ago, she says, she gave an informal presentation to representatives of Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s, where she flaunted her fluency in “the topography and runoff issues affecting Vermont farmers” and showed mock labels she designed for the delicacy. Next, she plans to approach the company’s marketing department, hoping to leverage “the image of Ben & Jerry’s as a progressive, socially conscious brand,” she said."
nataliejeremijenko  2013  art  science  anthropocene  socialpracticeart  environment  environmentalism  sierraclub  progressivism  funding  health  conservation  conservationism  ethnicity  names  naming  life  living  glvo  howwelive  creativity 
june 2013 by robertogreco
In Conversation | Perry Chen and Theaster Gates on Community-Driven Creativity - NYTimes.com
"The Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen understands how communities can fuel creativity. The artist Theaster Gates knows how creativity can invigorate a community. What happens when they put their heads together?"



"Perry Chen: But everything comes from somewhere. I didn’t even know this till later on, but we found out that Mozart and Beethoven and Whitman and a lot of 19th-century authors used pre-Internet models like Kickstarter — you know, not just going to rich patrons or the Medici or the Church to get the big check, but people going to dozens or even hundreds of people to fund a creative work, a book where their names might be inscribed in the first edition or a concerto. And the Internet, as it can do, can scale things up and make this same model accessible to millions and billions of people."



"Gates: Your point about purposeful infrastructure is right, but I’m not the community do-gooder. I rehabbed my building, and the building across the street was jacked up, so I cleaned it up, because I didn’t want to look at it. I was really just being a good neighbor. I wasn’t trying to be like Mr. Community Builder Man."



"Gates: People try to create the box that defines the work that we do. I know a bunch of capitalists who put a spin on their hunger for a particular kind of capitalist end: they call it “social do-gooding.” But in fact, I want to kind of resist that and say, “Look, if there’s anything that ends up looking like an activist notion, it’s secondary to just doing the thing that I wanted to do.” The reality in the neighborhood that I live in is: if I don’t constantly reconcile what I have against what other people don’t, either I need to leave and be around other people who have what I have, or I’m constantly engaged in this kind of dynamic flow of opportunity and sharing. And that just feels like smart living. Like if my mom made too much food, she’d send a plate down the street. She doesn’t know how to cook greens for two people. She knew how to cook a pot."



"Gates: But happiness is funny. There are days that are really heavy and complicated and dark. And I think that if I were to look at the trajectory of life, what has been consistent is that there are highs and lows. I mean at the moment I found out that I was accepted into Documenta, my mom died. In a way I felt like, in late 2010, my mom’s death was the thing that somehow actually activated these other future opportunities. But there was tremendous sadness. So, there was a way in which these valences live next to each other all the time."
perrychen  teastergates  2013  creativity  art  socialpracticeart  purpose  neighbors  community  urbanplanning  janejacobs  urban  urbanism  neighborhoods  platforms  funding  crowdfunding  kickstarter  infrastructure  socialgood 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Approval Economy: In Practice | GeorgieBC's Blog
"I have talked a lot in this blog about money and society and the need for new solutions. My opinion from years of volunteering is that money ruins every volunteer effort. As soon as a need receives funding, it becomes a noun and a product instead of an action. As soon as a project is allowed to fundraise, there is a need to manufacture scarcity, to withhold work until payment is received and to continue the need for the project. And as soon as a project receives money, the motives of the person receiving money are suspect.

I do not want to go to a ‘crowd funding website’ and ask a centralized go-between to stand between me and anyone who chooses to support me. I do not want to waste my time creating glossy videos and applications to explain to strangers what you already know, my work. I do not want to ally myself with corporate media or NGO’s, I am trying to make both obsolete. I do not want to develop a persona, tell you all about my personal life, appear on panels and talks to become a character and a brand; I am an action not a noun and I value my right to privacy.

I do not want to be the designated official person for any action I initiate, I want to be free to let others take my place whenever I find people willing. I want to continue to promote others instead of seeking to enhance my own reputation for a livelihood. I want to give freely my ideas and work to anyone who can use them instead of hoarding them to myself for profit.

I do not want to ask you to support every action I take. I will not delay my work waiting for approval or funding. Most of what I work on are things that nobody knows of or supports, that is why I give them my priority. I do not want to jump on popular, widely supported causes to gain support. I want to continue to speak even when everyone disagrees with me as they very frequently do. I want to speak for Gaza when the world says it is anti-semitic to do so, I want to speak for the DRC when the west doesn’t know or care where that is, I want to speak for the Rohingya when no one believes me. I want to criticize democracy, consensus, peer to peer economies, libertarianism and Marxism when everyone I know supports them. I want to advocate for people who have no supporters or funding behind them and tell people about things they may not want to know about.

I do not want to sell you a book, a talk, art, advocacy, a button or a T-shirt, anything I do is available to you as always, for free. But I want it recognized that what I do is not ‘unemployment’, that I am a contributing and valuable member of society entitled to the benefits of society. I want to have the human dignity of societal approval and recognition. I want to be able to support myself and others in society without any of us becoming a product."
heathermarsh  economics  work  motivation  advocacy  consulting  crowdfunding  withholding  2013  labor  privacy  cv  freedom  livelihood  reputation  ideas  sharing  artleisure  artlabor  character  selfbranding  branding  democracy  consensus  hierarchy  horizontality  hierarchies  employment  unemployment  society  recognition  dignity  p2p  libertarianism  marxism  funding  via:caseygollan  leisurearts 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Wall Street ♥ charter schools | Muckety - See the news
"Call them cynical, but the widespread involvement of financial firms in the charter school movement raises suspicion among many public school advocates.

The map below illustrates just a few entanglements of big league investors in national school-choice organizations."



"One of the perks of investment in charter schools came with passage in 2000 of the New Markets Tax Credit, a federal tax break for investors in community development projects.

Big banks have seen the allure. The map below shows banks and other organizations that have put money into community development organizations funding charter schools since 2009."
charterschools  vouchers  schools  education  finance  money  banks  banking  funding 
may 2013 by robertogreco
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