By Jaylyn Burns
I’ve been thinking a lot about the violence that is happening in my neighborhood and my city, Oakland, as a whole. It seems that I hear about more people dying every day and the perpetrators are becoming more bold with their violence. There seem to be no boundaries-- people are getting shot in their own homes.
A few weeks ago, my own father was almost killed in front of our house when he was caught in the middle of a gunfight on his way to the store. The fact that he wasn’t the target, but was almost gunned down anyway, made me realize that I don’t know when it will be my turn. Clearly, I don’t even have to be a part of the drama to get killed. I decided to talk to my dad about this experience and see what he had to say about gun violence. Below is an interview with my father.
Adobe Flash Player is not installed. Please download and install it to listen to audio.
The following aired on KCBS.
By: Saleeha Bey
When most people turn on their computer they go straight for Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube. They see pictures, words, and buttons... but I see the source code behind the screen.
I first started learning the language of computers through a program called the Technovation Challenge. Two other girls and I worked to code and design a mobile app that lets you upload your wardrobe to help you coordinate your outfits. Like Cher’s closet from Clueless- but better.
Working after-school with two computer science majors from Cal, we learned a lot about programming but we also learned about perseverance. Some days our idea didn’t seem worth the time it was taking to code.
But after just 3 weeks, the lines of jumbled letters and punctuations turned into coherent sentences I understood. And then the process of deciphering code became fun.
For when you are able to play the perfect game or plan the perfect outfit on your phone that you created, you realize that all it takes to code is an idea, your mind, and determination, "It’s not magic it’s logic.”Read more...
Adobe Flash Player is not installed. Please download and install it to listen to audio.
Today on the Youth Radio Podcast, Youth Radio reporters share notes from a story in progress about early onset puberty and how it’s affecting puberty education in schools.
This piece was produced by Acces Sacramento.
By Che Vang
Hiram Johnson Student, age 18
“No complaining, no whining, and no excuses,” is a motto Hiram w. Johnson High School’s JROTC instructor, Sergeant Rost, always tells his students to follow. Many high school students think that school is hard enough for them, but that is not the case when they are employed and have to go to school at the same time. According to a school wide survey, roughly 30% of high school students are employed and are still determined to go to school and graduate on time. Most of these students also plan to go on and further education.
High school students who are employed should be acknowledged for the extra work they do, whether it’s just being at work or just at school. Many can tell that the students who find a job while attending high school are the most likely to succeed in life.
Consider this; if you’re working and are completing your school assignments on time, you are already prepared for the real world and the next phase in your life, college. Just knowing that you have a job to go to and after coming back from work, you have to do your homework, you are already holding your priorities to a high standard.Read more...
As many stories as there are about juvenile detention centers, it's rare to actually hear from the young people who currently live in them. "Sending Messages," a podcast produced by Spy Hop, is changing that. Since 2012, Spy Hop has worked with youth in secure-care facilities in Salt Lake City, Utah to create half-an-hour-long shows on themes ranging from loyalty to childhood. Each episode is a variety of interviews, stories, and poetry. We've posted one of their episodes titled, "When I Get Out," below.
Each of us at Sending Messages plan, hope, and dream of one day. The day we get out. Getting a chance to experience freedom once more, to see our families, and hear those doors slam behind us. But it isn’t that simple. Once paroled, each of us face new challenges, new obstacles and expectations. How often is the dream we wish to obtain also the most frightening way to fail? In this episode, we try to tackle what that means. What are the hopes, dreams, and fears when we get out?
To find out more, listen below or check out the Sending Messages website.
Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) made headlines this week by prohibiting schools from suspending students for “willful defiance.”
If you aren't following every twist and turn of the debate in Calif. over school discipline, you might be thinking, what's the big deal? After all, we're talking about one tiny line-item in the CA education code.
Let’s break it down.
If a teacher or administrator wants to suspend a student from school, they need to cite a reason for the suspension, such as “Attempting to steal school property,” or “Possession of a firearm.” (For a full list, see here.)
Somewhere in the middle of the list is this: “Disruption of school activities or willfully defying the authority of school personnel.”
Here's the problem: that's vague. Defying authority could be anything from simply talking back to a teacher, walking out of class, or refusing to sit in your assigned seat.
Over the years, the number of suspensions that cite this reason has increased dramatically with the rise of zero-tolerance discipline policies at schools.
In 2011 - 2012, Calif. schools doled out 700,000 suspensions -- and 48% of them were for willful defiance.Read more...
By Nishat Kurwa, Turnstyle News
Jacob Blackstock first conceived of the burgeoning social comics site Bitstrips as a way to let the rest of the internet participate in his childhood passion. Blackstock says as a kid, the comics he most enjoyed creating “were the ones I would make for my friends, starring those friends.” Last December, he converted that idea into an app (that has since gone viral) that lets Facebook users create a cartoon avatar of themselves and their Facebook friends, and place those characters into customized comic strips.
The first version of Bistrips, launched at the South by Southwest festival in 2008, was a digital comics toolkit site. Users could render a comic, a character, or a scene using Bistrips’ extensive art library and basic drag and drop tools. But narratively, it was essentially a blank slate. Anyone who’s ever stared down the screen, struggling to articulate a framing concept, can understand how this absence of a storyline could be a paralyzing prospect. Thus, creating a cartoon avatar might be as much engagement with the Bitstrips’ site as an amateur like me might attempt.
The possibilities for user engagement opened up dramatically with the release of the company’s Facebook app, which “instantly stratospherically eclipsed the boost we got from SXSW” by more than 6,000 percent, Blackstock says. Just a few months later, the app has about 8.4 million active users.Read more...
By Joi Morgan
I recently saw a screening of the documentary film, “The Revolutionary Optimists.“ The movie was made by local filmmaker Nicole Newnham. The film was about a group of children that called themselves “the Dakabuko” (Daredevils), who grew up in the slums of Kolkata, India. Throughout the film the kids step out of their comfort zone to change their community. They fight against poverty and the traditional norms of their culture.
The film’s overall message is to not let your fate control you by making the change that you want to see in your community. The film told stories of 11-year-old Salim and 12-year-old Sikha, who grew up without a school system to keep them busy. These children decided to create more productive activities for children, such as sport games for boys and girls. Salim also helped inform people about a free polio vaccine give-away to all his community members.Read more...
My parents always tell me that when it comes to school, I have it a lot easier than they did. When they entered college in the 80s, the encyclopedia was still the go-to source for academic information, and your only tools in the classroom were a notebook, pen, and an open mind. This, to me, is unimaginable. Today's educational technology makes it a lot easier to learn, and a lot easier to cut corners.
For many students, cheating in school has become the norm. As students come up with more sophisticated and high-tech ways to cheat, teachers become better at spotting the scams-- often using their own digital tools. Let the cat and mouse game begin!
Though it is no surprise that technological advancement has made cheating easier, it has actually made catching cheaters easier as well. Many schools now require students to submit their work through the anti-plagarism site Turnitin.com, which sifts through thousands of essays, literary works, and webpages to ensure that students create original work.
Some universities are experimenting with a new program called CourseSmart. It allows professors to track students' reading progress on their E-Readers, to check if someone is skipping pages, not highlighting passages, or just not reading at all. This software, along with other tools, like panoramic cameras and face-scanners at highly secure testing centers, are just a few of the high-tech measures universities have adopted to prevent cheating.Read more...
In California, solitary confinement as a juvenile could mean being put away for a couple of hours, a couple of days, or even weeks. That’s because, according to an editorial published by the Los Angeles Editorial Board this weekend, there is no standard definition of how confinement is practiced in detention centers.
Solitary confinement, sometimes called “temporary isolation” is a widely used technique to protect violent or disruptive inmates from each other and from staff. But without a uniform best practice for the state, the article argues, the isolation can end up being anything but temporary. “Some officials say isolation is part of their treatment programs, but it can look an awful lot like retaliation, punishment or professional incompetence. The same is true in state youth facilities, where so-called temporary detention and even treatment programs can in effect be 23-hour-a-day lockdowns.”
And beyond the inconsistencies in the practice, the editorial also claims that by itself, solitary confinement is unhealthy for teens. “And if the juvenile is already mentally disturbed,” the author writes, “solitary confinement can further degrade his or her mental state. It can make treatment more difficult and, some studies suggest, suicide more likely.”Read more...