Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias: the tendency to search for, interpret, or recall information that confirms one’s beliefs. Also known as Myside Bias.

I always forget what this term is. Thanks Jeff Buffington for reminding me 🙂

Blogger Bob Braun rips testing giant Pearson’s privacy invasion practices wide open

Creepy Parson spying on meWith amplification from Diane Ravitch (where you can also read the text of Bob’s original post if his website is still inaccessible), Washington Post, Daily Kos, a growing number of local news portals and now The War Report radio show, Bob Braun has busted wide open the practice of standardized testing giant Pearson Education to spy on and oppress students using Pearson Streamlines Social Media Listening and Monitoring With Tracx. It’s more than shocking.

Bob Braun’s Ledger reported the exclusive story that Pearson is monitoring students’ social media accounts during PARCC testing … and that both Pearson and the NJDOE called for the punishment of a student who had tweeted after taking the test, although school authorities knew – and had reported – that the student did not share any sensitive information. This Watchung Regional High School District Superintendent’s letter was leaked to Braun and started the snowball rolling. read more

In Chile music saves children from poverty & the sanity of two young women

Georgina misses her viola
Life was not easy for Melody and Georgina. In their small towns and Georgina’s crowded, one room house there was little room for laughter, serenity, dreams. But music changed that for these young women. Melody says, “Necesitaba una palabra para decir que extrañaba algo que nunca había tenido.” (“I needed a word to express that I missed something that I had never known.”)

Filmmaker Marialy Rivas tells their story of escape from the drudgery of poverty through a 15 minute documentary. Be advised — you might want some tissues before it’s over! read more

Disturbing inequity of the School-to-Prison-Pipeline (short video)

Unhappy facts about the school to prison pipeline, which Brave New Films describes as “..another way the United States incarcerates more people than any other country on earth.*”

  • Zero tolerance policy doesn’t apply to everyone equally.
  • Blacks and Latinos are 29% of public school students but “are 70% of in-school arrests or referrals to law enforcement.”
  • 32% of youth in special detention are special needs students.
  • * From NAACP Criminal Justice Fact Sheet: Combining the number of people in prison and jail with those under parole or probation supervision, 1 in every 31 adults, or 3.2% of the (USA) population is under some form of correctional control. read more

    Black History Month in Film @ Nyack Village Theatre

    Nyack Village Theatre celebrates Black History Month in Film. The theatre is located upstairs at 94 Main Street in the historic Woolworth Way, built in 1905 and today presenting film, music, theatre, dance and poetry in an intimate 49 seat space in the heart of Nyack.

    Black History Month in Film

    FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6th – 8:00pm
    “Hidden Colors” – The Untold History of People of Aboriginal, Moor and African Descent

    SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7th 7:30pm
    “Cabin in The Sky” – starring Ethel Waters, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Lena Horne, Louie Armstrong, Rex Ingram, Duke Ellington & The Hall Johnson Choir read more

    NJ’s Amistad Act calls for accurate history lessons in schools. Time to fund it.

    NJ Amistad Curriculum
    The Amistad Act became law in New Jersey half a generation ago, which I learned today is long enough ago for young equal education activists to have never heard of it. “What’s that?” a young friend asked on Facebook when I suggested that we pressure state government to fund the Amistad Commission’s mandate to bring historically accurate curricula and books that teach the true roles African Americans and other ethnic minorities have played in the evolution of society both at home and abroad, to all K-12 classrooms. This knowledge is not currently being taught to our children but in New Jersey it ought to be, because state law calls for it. read more

    Navigating Developmental Disabilities Systems Conference @ JCC Tenafly

    On Sunday, February 15 2015, the community is invited to the JCC on the Palisades to attend a conference on navigating the changing systems of Developmental Disabilities. This timely conference will address the critical needs that so many families of individuals with disabilities face – including housing, medicaid / entitlements, advocacy, employment and planning for adulthood.

    Navigating Dev Disabilities systems confSunday, Feb 15
    Registration 8:30, Program 9am-1pm
    Kaplan JCC on the Palisades
    411 E. Clinton Avenue
    Tenafly NJ 07670 read more

    Can the Jewish approach to education benefit public schools?

    education is a rightI don’t agree with the Orthodox Jewish practice of choking public schools of money in order to fund transportation to, and expenses for, their own community’s schools. But, I do understand why the Orthodox community does feel that the taxes they pay should be funding their children’s education as well as other students’. And I understand why the Orthodox want their children to have yeshiva educations.

    Yeshivas are better academically than public schools; they have dual language (Hebrew and English) curricula; midot (values) are taught; and a completely different approach to learning is part of the Torah (biblical) studies component, where students challenge the knowledge and positions of the study mates they partner up with and school days stretch from 7am until almost midnight. The learning culture at traditional yeshivas is fantastic and exceeds anything else I’ve encountered in a school environment. read more

    Can we have those laptops & iPads you schools/companies don’t want?

    Hoboken laptops being discardedSchools and companies buy laptops and iPads. Later, they upgrade or just don’t want them any more and they get thrown away. How can we get that technology into the hands of community members who can use them?

    Share a comment if you have an idea about how we can acquire equipment that is earmarked to be discarded and dismantled.

    Please understand, I have no equipment to give away 🙁

    J4J report shares important data about attacks on public ed – Death by 1000 Cuts

    School closings across the USA

    School closings across the USA
    The Journey 4 Justice Alliance has issued an important new report entitled Death By A Thousand Cuts which includes the number and location of school closings not previously gathered together by any major organization or media portal. It discusses the racist motivation of the misnamed “education reform” movement; the injustice that investor-based charters represent – institutions which are publicly funded but privately controlled; and is a must-read for any person interested in education equity. read more

    How equity differs from equality

    equity v. equality graphic

    equity v. equality graphicEquality and equity may once have been completely interchangeable terms but in law and as pertains to social justice matters, they are not the same any longer. Equity speaks to making allowances for handicaps created by historic, economic or racially based lack of access in order to level the playing field for everyone. Equality is the goal of equity considerations: by giving a leg up to the underserved, we hope to become a society where all are truly equal.

    Oxford Dictionary defines equity as “A branch of law that developed alongside common law in order to remedy some of its defects in fairness and justice, formerly administered in special courts.” read more

    Don’t argue with kids, especially about whales

    Jonah and the whale

    Jonah and the whaleStory circulating thru the internet on what happens when you argue with children about whales:

    A teacher was doing a lesson on whales and stated that though whales are very large, their throats are very small and it would be impossible to swallow a human. A little girl said “Jonah was swallowed by a whale.”

    The teacher told the little girl that it was impossible. There was no way a whale could have swallowed him. So the little girl said “Well, when I get to Heaven, I will ask Jonah about it.” read more

    How Koch Bros’ $25M gift to United Negro College Fund can hurt us

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste (girl)

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste (girl)A friend posted this on Facebook about the $25 Million gift given to the United Negro College Fund by the Koch Brothers:

    If this money comes from sincerity (their heart) it is a blessing, but if it comes with “strings attached” the Koch brothers will have not surprised us. They will show us as usual their true colors! Win-win situation either way!

    My thoughts are different:

    Not necessarily, Maria. The insidious multi-level strategies that typically accompany gifts by the rich and powerful are designed to have subtle, but long-lasting and far reaching effect. First we should ask, what is being asked for as a direct trade for the gift? We may never know everything that was bargained away behind closed doors but we do know that two Koch Brothers designees will sit on a scholarship decision committee of three that will decide which students get that blood money. Right out of the gate, it’s clear that the money was not given with an open hand. read more

    Leadership tool: CHEJ’s Community Organizer Guide

    CHEJ Organizer's Manual Screenshot
    Fight to Win Leadership Handbook

    by Center for Health, Environment & Justice

    This is CHEJ’s first basic community organization manual. Although it is written for first time organizers, established leaders may find they learn a new trick or two. Topics covered include how to start a group, keep a group going, research opponents, organize your community, carry out an effective action, raise funds, and win!

    Buffalo Soldier Luís Lopez Wei at 3 Centuries of Black Soldiers

    3 Centuries Black Soldiers Trenton Barracks 2014

    3 Centuries Black Soldiers Trenton Barracks 2014

    In the middle row, far left is our own Luís Ariel Lopez Wei. Luís is a historical re-enactor with the 6th United States Colored Troops and portrayed a Buffalo Soldier at the Three Centuries of African American Soldiers Black History Celebration this weekend (22-23 February 2014) at the Trenton Barracks in New Jersey’s state capital.