How people in Flint were stripped of a basic human need: safe drinking water | Michigan Radio

Protestors in Flint.

The tap water in Lee Ann Walters’ home in Flint was causing her family’s health problems. Tests show her water had extremely high lead levels. Her son Gavin was diagnosed with lead poisoning.

“How does this happen in the United States?” she asks. “I mean, you hear about it in third world countries, but how does this happen, specifically in a state that is surrounded by the Great Lakes?”

It’s a good question. How did this happen?

To understand, we have to go back to 2013.

For the rest of the story: How people in Flint were stripped of a basic human need: safe drinking water | Michigan Radio

Are School Districts Getting Smarter About Education Technology? – NEA Today

In the rush to purchase the latest in education technology, officials often forget to answer one question: What do we want students to achieve?

Ultimately, however, these and similar efforts represent merely a patchwork of innovative programs. Nationwide, lack of connectivity for lower-income students remains a serious issue—one that is too often ignored when districts rush to bring tablets into their classrooms. Inequities widen when technologies are increased too rapidly, says Patricia Burch. She questions whether enough districts, even in the aftermath of the highly-publicized LAUSD fiasco, are thinking through this and other issues. “I’m not seeing it. And there are always new products and services around the corner that they will be pressured to buy.”

Digital tools like iPads can help create powerful learning environments, so it’s frustrating that districts fail to communicate why they’ve made this major investment, says Tom Daccord.

“There are already enough educators who don’t believe these tools support good teaching, so we have to do a much better job at making sure the discussion is about learning. With education technology, we really don’t want to be stuck in the either/or paradigm.”

Top photo: Brad Flickinger/Creative Commons


More here: Are School Districts Getting Smarter About Education Technology? – NEA Today

From The Journalist’s Resource – College sports: How winning impacts institutional revenues

Photo courtesy of University of Alabama

On September 30, 2015, the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals overruled a lower court’s decision that colleges and universities could pay student athletes up to $5,000 in deferred compensation, which would be held in a trust until the athletes leave college.

This decision was a win for the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), which claims that the amateur nature of college sports should keep it exempt from antitrust laws, or laws put in place to ensure fair and free competition in an open marketplace.

The original class action lawsuit, O’Bannon v. NCAA, involved a lead plaintiff, former UCLA basketball player, Ed O’Bannon, who claimed that athletes should be allowed earnings from the marketing and commercialization of their images and likenesses after they leave college.

The 2014 ruling in that case was made by Judge Claudia Wilken, who maintained that the NCAA was in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Laws.

The decision to reverse that ruling by the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals in 2015 comes on the heels of another case involving college athletes and whether or not they are entitled to compensation.

In April 2015, Northwestern University’s football team voted to unionize claiming they were employees of Northwestern, and thus deserved the right to collectively bargain.

In August of 2015, the National Labor Relations Board made the decision that it did not have jurisdiction in the case, effectively blocking the unionization of the athletes.

Many saw this as a win for NCAA leaders, who have long argued that paying athletes will result in an unfair marketplace where richer schools are able to scoop up all the best high school athletes by paying a premium.

Despite the ongoing debate about whether college athletes should be paid, little research has been done to examine the connection between college athletics programs and the money they make for their academic institutions.

Many of these programs bring in millions of dollars annually as highlighted in an August 2015 study forthcoming in Management Science.

“How Much Is a Win Worth? An Application to Intercollegiate Athletics” looks at how each game win during the Division 1 men’s football and basketball seasons translates into dollars for a given sports program.

Doug J. Chung, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School, surveyed data from 117 schools between 2003 and 2013. Chung separated these Division 1 programs into more and less established athletic programs.

Power Five Conference teams made up the more established category, while lesser known programs were schools that have a shorter record of athletic success and do not participate in the prestigious conferences, such as the Big 10 and Big 12 conferences.

This study’s findings include:Some top schools make up to $200 million from their football and basketball programs annually.Wins equal cash for many collegiate football teams.

In fact, a single win during the football season could mean as much as a $3 million increase for some top schools. Less established football teams saw a monetary increase as a result of invitations to postseason bowls.In general, among the 117 schools surveyed, football programs were far more lucrative than basketball programs.

However, basketball programs also brought in significant revenues for schools ranging from $44 million to $123 million annually.College sports is a multibillion dollar industry with several schools reporting revenue around $100 million annually and some top schools bringing in $200 million annually.

Chung mentions in his study that one area for further research is to examine how the revenue for each team and school breaks down in terms of sales categories, such as tickets and team merchandise. Chung, who is an avid college sports fan himself, says he hopes his work will inform the debate on whether and how college athletes are compensated by the schools they represent.


Related Research: A 2007 study,

“The College Sports Reform Movement: Reframing the ‘Edutainment’ Industry,” looks at efforts to reform college sports, relative to

“(1) commercialization; (2) university involvement in the entertainment industry; (3) damage to the integrity of higher education; (4) exploitation of athletes; and (5) harm to nonathletes” using the proposals of The Drake Group and the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics.

Writer: Tina Pamintuan | November 30, 2015

Citation: Chung, Doug J.

“How Much Is a Win Worth? An Application to Intercollegiate Athletics.” Management Science (forthcoming).

Source: College sports: How winning impacts revenue – Journalist’s Resource Journalist’s Resource

New Flint Mayor Fulfills Campaign Promise, Declares ‘State of Emergency’ Over City’s Water Problems 

Flint’s mayor has declared a state of emergency due to problems with the city’s water system caused by using water from the Flint River, saying the city needs more federal help.Karen Weaver announced the declaration Monday night and said the move intends to help raise awareness of continuing problems.

She said damage to children caused by lead exposure is irreversible and that the city will need to spend more on special education and mental health services as a result.

“I am requesting that all things be done necessary to address this state of emergency declaration, effective immediately,” Weaver told City Council.

Exposure to lead can cause behavior problems and learning disabilities in young children.Genesee County earlier declared a public health emergency.

Officials have told Flint residents not to drink unfiltered tap water.Flint switched from Detroit’s water system last year to Flint River water in a cost-cutting move while under state emergency financial management.

The Flint River was supposed to be an interim source until the city could join a new system getting water from Lake Huron.But residents complained about the taste, smell and appearance of the water.

Officials maintained the water met safety standards, but children were found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood and it was determined that corrosive river water was drawing lead from aging pipes.Flint returned to Detroit’s system in October.

Weaver was elected in November, unseating the incumbent mayor who led the city during the public health emergency and blamed state and federal agencies for the city’s water problems.

Weaver had promised while campaigning to issue an emergency declaration.

Read the rest of the story here:

Flint Mayor Declares State of Emergency Over Water Problems – ABC News

Why media should think twice about public-opinion polls: Panel discussion – Journalist’s Resource Journalist’s Resource

A panel of experts criticized and offered candid insights on the media’s growing reliance on public-opinion polls during Harvard University’s recent Theodore H. White Seminar on Press and Politics.

The seminar followed a lecture by author and American history professor Jill Lepore, who had called for stronger regulation of the polling industry.

The four panelists were: Lepore, who’s also a staff writer for The New Yorker; Candy Crowley, a former anchor and political correspondent for CNN who is a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics; Peter Hart, the founder of Hart Research Associates and a pollster for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal; and Gary Younge, a columnist for The Guardian. The panel was moderated by Thomas Patterson, acting director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

Hart defended the industry, acknowledging that while change is needed – participation rates are too low, and the public has a poor understanding of public opinion measurement – the data collected by polls is still “exceptionally representative of where the country is at.” Hart argued that polling does not sway public opinion in elections; it measures sentiment rather than influencing it. He cited Vietnam, Watergate, and same-sex marriage as examples of times when public opinion was ahead of politicians, therefore impacting political outcomes. Hart stressed the importance of integrating other forms of data collection, such as focus groups, to understand the “why” behind the numbers.

Crowley also defended the practice of polling. Although she said that horse race numbers are “catnip for political reporters” and that reporters are not always trained to correctly report on polls, there wasn’t a better, readily available way of measuring the nation’s pulse, especially since polling has become a fixture of political reporting. She said that the problem was not the existence of polls, but rather the incorrect use of them.

Younge agreed that the problem is not polls, but rather a problem with journalism. Using polls alone without digging deeper creates a lazy kind of journalism, he said, one that loses nuance and “texture.” He also compared the U.S. election cycle to that of the U.K, which lasts for only five weeks. With a shorter cycle and less campaign spending, polling and market research is a smaller industry there than it is in the U.S.

Lepore responded that she was primarily disavowing horse race polls, and that polling during the Vietnam and Watergate eras was useful. However, in recent years, polling had “teetered off course.” She said the problem is complicated because the public can’t tell the difference between polls with good or bad methodology. Lepore suggested that other methods, such as deliberative polling, whereby people learn about and debate an issue, and are asked for their opinions before and after reflection, could be a more meaningful way of gathering public opinion.

In a question-and-answer session, the panelists also discussed the role of polling for politicians, generally agreeing that following public opinion polls should not replace true leadership. They also discussed the use of polling for admittance to presidential debates.


Writer: | November 17, 2015

See more at:

Source: Why media should think twice about public-opinion polls: Panel discussion – Journalist’s Resource Journalist’s Resource

Does the Internet help more Americans become politically active? 


From the Scholars Strategy Network, written by Jennifer Oser of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, Marc Hooghe of the University of Leuven in Belgium and Sofie Marien of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Edited for Journalist’s Resource.


In every election cycle, news stories tout the potential of online activism to engage people who have historically been less engaged in offline politics — particularly young people, women, and people with less education and income. Could this be true? If so, there would be new possibilities for enlarging American democracy — in an age when 1 in 3 eligible U.S. adults skips voting in presidential elections and two-thirds of potential voters fail to show up in midterm elections.

But what if online activism mainly offers ways for citizens who are regularly politically active offline to amplify their already loud voices? In that case, online political opportunities would largely reinforce existing political inequalities.

Using national data on Americans who engage in various types of online and offline political participation, our research examines the evidence about these competing “new mobilization” and “reinforcement” perspectives on the impact of online activism.

Who Participates Online?

We start by noting the percentage of the U.S. population engaged in various kinds of online and offline political activities, using data from a 2008 Pew Survey that asked a national sample of Americans whether they had performed each act at any point in the previous 12 months.

Probing further, we used a novel statistical technique called latent analysis to see whether some people are especially active online but not very politically active offline. Then we compared the characteristics of online activists to those of other kinds of participants.

Four Types of Political Participants

In our data, we find four distinctive types of participants.

  • Online specialists: About 8 percent of Americans constitute a relatively small group of citizens who are especially active online, involved in activities such as online petitioning and joining an online political group.
  • Offline specialists: 9 percent of the U.S. adult population primarily engage in offline political activities such as demonstrating and being an active member of an organization that tries to influence policy.
  • Contact specialists: Another 10 percent of Americans engage both online and offline in contacting activities, ranging from contacting a government official in person to emailing a national official about an issue of personal importance.
  • Disengaged people: 73 percent of the U.S. adult population is relatively unlikely to vote or engage in any other sort of political activity either online or offline.

No Simple Technological Corrective for Class Gaps

Can those who hope for broader and more equal participation in American democracy take new heart from recent trends, including the spread of online activism? There are some hopeful tendencies in our data. Although research since the 1960s indicates that older men tend to be the most politically active, in our 2008 data we found that women are just as politically active as men. We also find that young people have become highly active in online forms of political engagement.

But our findings contain discouraging news about persistent class gaps, because online political activity in 2008 largely reinforces longstanding inequalities in political participation. Compared to Americans with lower levels of income and educational attainment, Americans with higher incomes and educational attainment are much more likely to be politically active both online and offline. These findings are just a snapshot in time — but they suggest that the advent of new technological possibilities for online political activism has not, to date, become any kind of magic cure for participatory inequalities in U.S. political and civic life.

In the years ahead, online political activism is likely to evolve more swiftly than offline activism. But evolving forms of online engagement could simply increase the leverage of people who already have many participatory tools at their disposal. Anyone who hopes that the Internet will readily draw millions of previously unengaged Americans into the political process should realize that, even though online activists are increasingly likely to include young people and women, they may very well continue to be wealthier and better educated than most of the U.S. population.

Related research: Read more in Jennifer Oser, Marc Hooghe, and Sofie Marien, “Is Online Participation Distinct from Offline Participation? A Latent Class Analysis of Participation Types and Their Stratification,” Political Research Quarterly, 2013.


The authors are members of the Scholars Strategy Network, where this post originally appeared.

See more at:

Source: Does the Internet help more Americans become politically active? – Journalist’s Resource Journalist’s Resource

“Do Americans Spend A Lot Of Time Thinking About Guns? An Interesting Answer From Google” – says mikethegunguy

Do Americans Spend A Lot Of Time Thinking About Guns? An Interesting Answer From Google.

by mikethegunguy

My friend David Yamane runs a pro-gun blog called Gun Culture 2.0.  In fact, what he really does for a living is teach sociology in North Carolina, and this year gave a course on the sociology of guns which included a trip to a shooting range, along with lectures on just about every facet of the gun world, along with off-line arguments with me.

Make no mistake about it, Yamane’s a pro-gun guy.  But he’s also a smart guy, a diligent researcher and someone who’s not afraid of the facts.  Which makes him somewhat unique among pro-gun folks, most of whom are about as interested in evidence-based discussions as I’m interested in staying on my diet.

In any case, he’s just published some very interesting data on his website that was inspired by a bit of internet research conducted by his wife.  The research consisted of a state-by-state listing of all Google searches performedin 2015, which caught Mrs. Yamane’s attention because one of the most popular search terms listed for their state of North Carolina was “concealed weapons permit.”  And it turns out that this term was also one of the most popular search terms in Florida.  And then it turns out that if one takes the trouble to read through the popular search terms for all 50 states, the term doesn’t appear anywhere else.

Now wait a minute.  Didn’t we just…

Read more here: Do Americans Spend A Lot Of Time Thinking About Guns? An Interesting Answer From Google. | mikethegunguy

Diverse Housing + Diverse Schooling = Stable Communities & Property Values

BOULDER, CO (December 15, 2015) — Children’s zip codes are often closely linked to their educational opportunities due to the tight relationship between racially segregated and unequal housing and schools.

Yet according to a growing number of scholars, the United States may now have the ideal chance to address this housing-school nexus, as more blacks, Latinos and Asians move to the suburbs and more whites gentrify the cities their parents and grandparents fled decades ago.

In Diverse Housing, Diverse Schooling: How Policy Can Stabilize Racial Demographic Change in Cities and Suburbs, Professor Amy Stuart Wells of Columbia University Teachers College provides a review of social science evidence, highlighting the problem of reoccurring racial segregation and inequality absent strong, proactive integration policies.

Read more here: Sustaining Diverse Communities and Schools | National Education Policy Center

Chaos in Libya: It’s the oil, stupid

Chaos in Libya: It’s the oil, stupid

By Issandr El Amrani
December 13, 2015
One of the members of the military protecting a demonstration against candidates for a national unity government proposed by U.N. envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon, is pictured in Benghazi, Libya October 23, 2015. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTS5V4X

One of the members of the military protecting a demonstration against candidates for a national unity government proposed by UN envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon, is pictured in Benghazi, Libya, October 23, 2015. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

There seems no end to the bad news coming out of Libya.

UN-led negotiations to unite the divided country — it has two parliaments, two governments, two militia coalitions that have been competing for control of a rapidly failing state since summer 2014 — are stalling. Fighting continues apace in Benghazi, the city that was the first to rebel against the rule of Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011 and is now a byword for extremism. The Islamic State is growing by the day in the Gulf of Sirte in the center of the country, imposing its cruel dictates and making inroads elsewhere in the country. Criminal gangs – often the same militias that have had the run of the country since Gaddafi’s fall – are doing a brisk trade in people smuggling, sending off desperate migrants and refugees on rickety boats across the Mediterranean.

Oh, and by the way, Libya is also going broke.

That last tidbit should be surprising. Libya has Africa’s largest oil reserves and has long been an important supplier of light sweet crude, the kind made into gasoline and kerosene. It also had tons of money in both hoards of cash reserves and investments across the globe.

But the oil, which used to bring in 96 percent of the country’s income, is not flowing anymore.

For the rest of the story: Chaos in Libya: It’s the oil, stupid