Watch a bunch of 5th graders sing a Minor Threat song

Every year, the 5th graders at Wirtz Elementary School in Paramount, California get to have a big jam session concert with real musicians. It's the brainchild of teacher Eric Caruso, who recognized that a lot of the students came from underserved communities, and could really use the inspiration of an interactive arts program, complete with an awards ceremony and guest artists.

In 2018, the students performed some Big Boi songs. In 2019, they grooved on Sly and the Family Stone. And in 2010, they rocked out to the seminal DC hardcore punk band, Minor Threat.

We're not the first, I hope we're not the last 'Cause I know we're all heading for that adult crash The time is so little, the time belongs to us Why is everybody in such a fucking rush?

Make do with what you have, take what you can get Pay no mind to us, we're just a minor threat

We're just! A minor threat! We're just! A minor threat!

The kids are all right. Read the rest

Competitive Winter Picnicking in Brooklyn

New York City is terribly cold in the winter, which doesn't exactly make it great weather for a picnic. But that's not stopping Shadow Traffic, a Brooklyn-based group of amusement makers that's putting on their second Competitive Winter Picnicking event.

They write:

Get your foodies, your burners, your hippies and ravers, your demonic worshippers, your builders and crafters, your grillers and bakers, your winter mamas and cuddly papas, your comicconners and renfair freaks and Picnic On!

This year's picnic starts at noon on March 1 at Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park. RSVP now.

Oh yeah, there are prizes to be won, for: Richest Picnic Meal, Tastiest Picnic Drink, Funnest Picnic Game, and/or Tightest Thematic Team ("Judges are bribeable").

photos by Walter Wlodarczyk/Shadow Traffic, used with permission Read the rest

Top tech grads are increasingly unwilling to work for Big Tech, viewing it as a new, unethical Wall Street

About five years ago, I was trying to get a bunch of Big Tech companies to take the right side of an urgent online civil rights fight, and I called an old friend who was very senior at one of the biggest tech companies in the world; they told me that it wasn't going to work, in part because the kinds of people who were coming to tech were there because they wanted to get as rich as possible, no matter what they had to do. My friend contrasted this with earlier eras -- even the dotcom bubble -- when the financial motive was blended with a genuine excitement for the transformative potential of tech to make a fairer, more equitable world. Now, my friend said, the kind of kid who would have gotten an MBA was instead getting an electrical engineering or computer science degree -- not out of any innate love for the subject, but because that was a path to untold riches. Read the rest

Blizzard suspends college gamers from competitive play after they display "Free Hong Kong" poster

Blizzard has suspended Casey Chambers, Corwin Dark, and TJammer -- American University Hearthstone team players -- for six months after the trio displayed a "Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz" sign in a streamed competition. Read the rest

Detroit charter school salutatorians use their graduation speeches to condemn their school for putting profits before kids

Zainab Altalaqani and Tuhfa Kasem both graduated from Detroit's Universal Academy this year, and to honor their academic achievements, school administrators named them co-salutatorians, which meant that they would get to address the graduating class, faculty and parents at their graduation ceremony: but instead of using their podium-time to reminisce about their good times in high school or to wonder about their futures, they condemned the school as a for-profit entity that put profits ahead of students' education, firing qualified teachers who complained to the school board about the use of unqualified "paraprofessionals" in classrooms. Read the rest

World Citizen Comics: a new line of graphic novels for young activists

Firstsecond Books (previously, publisher of In Real Life, which I created with Jen Wang) has announced a new line of YA-oriented graphic novels called "World Citizen Comics," on contemporary activist themes like "how to fight corruption in elections, blast fake news with truth-telling, and even battle would-be dictators both near and far through a better understanding of constitutions and the rule of law." Read the rest

In America, the young find distinguishing fact from opinion easier than their elders

A recent Pew poll challenged subjects to distinguish between factual statements and statements of opinion in news articles; it found that there is a large gap in accuracy between 18- to 49-year-olds (32% of whom correctly labeled 100% of the facts, and 44% of whom correct labeled 100% of the opinions) and those aged 50 and up (20% correctly labeled all facts; 26% correctly labeled all opinions). Read the rest

Russia's growing anti-Putin vanguard is young and fearless

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the political opposition who showed up in Russia's streets was old and grey: people who had lived through the Soviet era and then watched as their state industries and national wealth were looted by oligarchs, and who wanted an equitable system with broadly shared prosperity. Read the rest

Parkland student activists drive American right berzerk, supercharge attack on public education

While people around the world were inspired by the resilience, fearlessness and savvy of the students who created a national gun-control movement in the wake of the Parkland shooting, American right-wing leaders looked at these kids and saw evidence of the urgency to destroy public education and replace it with religious private schools and charter schools. Read the rest

Florida students succeed where so many have failed, force state legislature to pass gun control rules despite ferocious NRA lobbying

On March 7, the Florida legislature passed a gun control bill in a bipartisan 67-50 vote, banning bump-stocks and imposing a 3-day waiting period on long-gun purchases and raising the minimum age for their purchase to 21; the legislation is a mixed bag as it also includes millions to arm and train school employees. Read the rest

As students take the lead in the gun control fight, check the ACLU's resources for students and their First Amendment rights

The ACLU's Josh Bell just wrapped up a livestreamed training session for students on their free speech rights and then released the video and slides; these are a great complement to the ACLU's existing know your rights guide for public school students. Read the rest

Why the voting age should be lowered to 16

Every American 16-year-old enrolled in high-school has to learn civics, with extensive instruction on the more confusing aspects of the American electoral system, such as the Electoral College; they are also required to study current affairs -- so why not let them vote? Read the rest