San Bernardino will pay $390k to settle suit against cop who arrested 7th graders "to prove a point"

In 2013, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Deputy Luis Ortiz took the decision to arrest a group of seventh grade girls -- 12 and 13 year olds -- because they wouldn't speak when he demanded to know who among them had been the aggressors and who had been the victims in a series of bullying incidents; Ortiz's rationale for these arrests was that the girls were "unresponsive and disrespectful" and that by arresting them, he could "prove a point," that he wasn't "playing around" and this would "make [them] mature a lot faster," by teaching them that the law was indifferent to "who [was] at fault, who did what" because "it [was] the same, same ticket, same pair of handcuffs." Read the rest

Phishers steal San Diego school data going back to 2008 -- UPDATED

After a successful phishing attack that captured over 50 accounts, hackers stole 500,000 records from the San Diego Unified School District, for staff, current students, and past students going all the way back to 2008; including SSNs, home addresses and phone numbers, disciplinary files, health information, emergency contact details, health benefits and payroll info, pay information, financial data for direct deposits. Read the rest

Independent study guide to logic for philosophers and mathematicians

Retired Cambridge professor Peter Smith has distilled his experience in teaching philosophers and mathematicians about formal logic into a free, frequently updated (last updated: 2017) study guide to logic, constructed to be easily accessible, with quick-start guides for different kinds of learners, written on the assumption of very little education in either maths or philosophy. Read the rest

Elementary students assigned elf murder case

When eight- and nine-year-old students at Hyde England's Flowery Field Elementary School walked into class last week, they were confronted with a crime scene. Behind the police tape was chalk outline of an elfin figure and a desk smeared with blood. Their assignment? Solve the mystery of the murdered elf. Apparently it was a writing exercise. And surprise! Some parents were pissed.

"My daughter came home and she was absolutely traumatized," one parent said. "I'm not the only parent who felt like that. A lot of the kids in Year 4 were unsettled by it."

Apparently, that did not discourage head teacher Ian Fell who encouraged the students to continue their detective work.

"I have been a teacher for 30 years and this is, in my judgement, an appropriate, engaging and exciting thing that children aged eight and nine have done," Fell said. "They have been so up for it."

(UPI and Manchester Evening News)

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Rhode Island lawsuit argues that the Constitution guarantees a right to sufficient education to be an informed citizen

In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution does not guarantee Americans "equal" education (which would require similar per-student funding in both rich and poor neighborhoods), merely "adequate" education. Read the rest

The Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy writing workshop is open to applications for the 2019 session

The Clarion Workshop, hosted at the University of California San Diego at La Jolla, is an annual, six-week, intensive writing workshop for aspiring science fiction and fantasy writers (I'm a graduate of Clarion, a frequent instructor, and a member of the board of the Clarion Foundation, a nonprofit that administers the election); the 2019 workshop runs June 23 - Aug 3, with instructors Carmen Maria Machado, Maurice Broaddus, Karen Lord, Andy Duncan, Ann VanderMeer, and Jeff VanderMeer. Apply here. Scholarships available. (Image: Locus) Read the rest

MIT Media Lab announces this year's Disobedience Prize winners: #MeToo and #MeTooSTEM

For the second year now, the MIT Media Lab has awarded a "Disobedience Prize" of $250,000, no strings attached, awarded to people whose disobedient work has benefitted society; this year's prize is share among three leaders of the #MeToo and #MeTooSTEM movements: BethAnn McLaughlin, Sherry Marts, and Tarana Burke. Read the rest

US tax shortfalls have our public schools begging for donations

Between Trump's massive tax-breaks for the super-rich and rules like California's disastrous Prop 13, our cities perennially cash-starved and have led to the erosion of the same public services that make cities attractive to businesses (for example, the subway, public education, roads, grid and other public services that made NYC so attractive to tax-dodging Amazon for its second headquarters). Read the rest

How to use science fiction to teach tech ethics

Science fiction writer/lawyer Casey Fiesler is a maven in the field of tech ethics education (she maintains the amazing spreadsheet of tech-ethics syllabi); she uses science fiction stories as a jumping-off point for her own classroom discussions of ethics in technology. Read the rest

Illumipaper: paper that can selectively illuminate to provide interactivity

Illumipaper is a well-developed prototype from Interactive Media Lab Dresden; the researchers behind it used a variety of techniques to create regular-seeming paper with all the traditional characteristics (it can be crumpled, folded, written on with pen and ink, etc); but a wireless controller allows it to be selectively illuminated to provide interactivity (e.g. to provide tips on homework problems). Read the rest

The market failed rural kids: poor rural broadband has created a "homework gap"

America's commitment to market-based broadband -- fueled by telcom millions pumped into campaigns against public broadband provision -- has left rural Americans without access to the broadband they need to fully participate in twenty-first century life, with students among the hardest-hit victims of broadband deprivation. Read the rest

Cybersecurity class challenged to hack a Raspberry-Pi-enabled "smart pumpkin"

Frequent Boing Boing contributor Sean O'Brien and his colleagues Laurin Weissinger and Scott J Shapiro built a Raspberry Pi-enabled smart pumpkin and then challenged their Yale cybersecurity students to hack it. Read the rest

Wanna get into Harvard? Just ask your parents to donate a building.

A batch of internal Harvard admission-related emails have come into the public domain as part of a lawsuit alleging that Harvard discriminates against Asian applicants, and they reveal that the admissions process is tilted in favor of members of families who are major donors to Harvard. Read the rest

Texas high-school students can't graduate without watching a video on not triggering snowflake cops

The "Civilian Interaction Training Program" is a project of the Texas Commission On Law Enforcement, aimed at teaching children how not to terrify heavily armed, easily-spooked Texas law enforcement officers, who, when triggered, are at risk of murdering children during traffic stops. Reviewing these training materials is mandatory for anyone hoping to receive a diploma from a Texas high school. The bill's author, Texas state senator Royce West, says the curriculum's purpose is to end "distrust for law enforcement." Read the rest

Riot grrrl Kathleen Hanna's new t-shirt line pays for girls to attend school in Togo

OG riot grrrl Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre has launched a new t-shirt line with all the money going to Peace Sisters, a non-profit that helps pay school tuition for underprivileged young girls in the West African nation of Togo. The shirts feature the likes of Kim Gordon, Jill Soloway, Chuck D (all seen below), Patton Oswalt, W. Kamau Bell, and Carrie Brownstein. The money from each $40 t-shirt sends a girl to school for a year. Buy 'em at Tees 4 Togo.

From Rolling Stone:

Hanna devised the concept after meeting Peace Sisters founder Tina Kampor. A former teacher in Togo, Kampor immigrated to Pasadena 15 years ago, where she would become a full-time registered nurse. Still, she could not forget her students back home: “[Tina] grew up there and she just saw all these girls who weren’t able to go to school,” explains Hanna. “A lot of them are orphans, or very poor. Past the fifth grade in Togo, you have to pay for [education]. She saw all these girls dropping out in the sixth grade. So when she came to California she started sending money home, then opened it up for other people to help. She’s put 130 girls through school herself and supported members of her family at the same time. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and [said], ‘I want to be a part of this!'”

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One in ten of New York's public school students is homeless

114,659 of New York's public school students is homeless, bouncing from shelters to relatives' beds: homelessness is a predictor of poor academic performance for all the obvious reasons, including very long commutes to school (some students' families have ended up at shelters that are two boroughs away from their schools). Read the rest

Notre Dame and 73 other institutions secretly conspired with the Trump administration to deny birth control

When Obamacare came into effect, Notre Dame and other religious institutions forced the administration into a baroque arrangement whereby the US government would insure birth control prescriptions for women otherwise covered by the institution, so that the institution could hew to a religious doctrine that abhors the idea of women controlling their own fertility. Read the rest

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