Supreme Court: Public money can be used for religious education — from educationdive.com by Linda Jacobson

  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Tuesday in favor of a Montana mother who wanted to use the state’s tax credit-funded scholarship to send her children to a Christian school, giving school choice advocates, …, a major victory.

From DSC:
I’ve always wondered why the funding couldn’t follow the K12 student — no matter where they go. We’ve been getting hit twice if and when we send one of our kids to a Christian-based school. We always pay our taxes, but then we have to turn around and also pay for Christian-based education. Perhaps this will give our youngest daughter a chance to attend a Christian-based high school in 2021. Otherwise, I’m not sure how we are going to afford it. 

 

4 in 10 U.S. teens say they haven’t done online learning since schools closed — from kqed.org by Anya Kamenetz

Excerpt:

With most schools closed nationwide because of the coronavirus pandemic, a national poll of young people ages 13 to 17 suggests distance learning has been far from a universal substitute.

 

From DSC:
If you are able to — whether as a business or as an individual — please consider finding ways to help level the playing field in our nation by providing computers and broadband connectivity. Our society doesn’t need yet another gap, especially when you have this type of thing going on.

Online-based learning — along with blended learning — is likely a solid component of our learning ecosystems from here on out — but it’s not a level playing field out there right now.

 

 

Wrongfully accused by an algorithm- from the New York Times

Wrongfully accused by an algorithm — from nytimes.com by Kashmir Hill

Excerpt:

On a Thursday afternoon in January, Robert Julian-Borchak Williams was in his office at an automotive supply company when he got a call from the Detroit Police Department telling him to come to the station to be arrested. He thought at first that it was a prank.

An hour later, when he pulled into his driveway in a quiet subdivision in Farmington Hills, Mich., a police car pulled up behind, blocking him in. Two officers got out and handcuffed Mr. Williams on his front lawn, in front of his wife and two young daughters, who were distraught. The police wouldn’t say why he was being arrested, only showing him a piece of paper with his photo and the words “felony warrant” and “larceny.”

His wife, Melissa, asked where he was being taken. “Google it,” she recalls an officer replying.

“Is this you?” asked the detective.

The second piece of paper was a close-up. The photo was blurry, but it was clearly not Mr. Williams. He picked up the image and held it next to his face.

“No, this is not me,” Mr. Williams said. “You think all black men look alike?”

 

Also relevant/see:

What a machine learning tool that turns Obama white can (and can’t) tell us about AI bias

 

COVID-19 Intensifies Need to Tackle Digital Accessibility — from campustechnology.com by By Glenda Sims
More learning content than ever before has migrated online, bringing accessibility concerns to the forefront. Here’s how higher ed institutions are making progress toward equitable access.

Excerpt:

Accessibility lawsuits in education are not new. However, with colleges and universities undertaking their own digital transformations (moving more content and services online), lawsuits targeted at equitable access to physical facilities (like bathrooms) have logically expanded to digital offerings for students relying on assistive technologies to access them. The current COVID-19 crisis is likely to exacerbate this, as more learning content than ever before has migrated online in these unprecedented times. Persons with disabilities will demand nothing less than completely equitable access, particularly when it comes to their safety. While many higher ed institutions still have much to do for their accessibility initiatives, there have been many promising developments…

 

 

IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft abandon law enforcement face recognition market — from which-50.com by Andrew Birmingham

Excerpt:

Three global tech giants — IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft — have all announced that they will no longer sell their face recognition technology to police in the USA, though each announcement comes with its own nuance.

The new policy comes in the midst of ongoing national demonstrations in the US about police brutality and more generally the subject of racial inequality in the country under the umbrella of the Black Lives Matter movement.

From DSC:
While I didn’t read the fine print (so I don’t know all of the “nuances” they are referring to) I see this as good news indeed! Well done whomever at those companies paused, and thought…

 

…just because we can…

just because we can does not mean we should


…doesn’t mean we should.

 

just because we can does not mean we should

Addendum on 6/18/20:

  • Why Microsoft and Amazon are calling on Congress to regulate facial recognition tech — from finance.yahoo.com by Daniel HowleyExcerpt:
    The technology, which can be used to identify suspects in things like surveillance footage, has faced widespread criticism after studies found it can be biased against women and people of color. And according to at least one expert, there needs to be some form of regulation put in place if these technologies are going to be used by law enforcement agencies.“If these technologies were to be deployed, I think you cannot do it in the absence of legislation,” explained Siddharth Garg, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, told Yahoo Finance.
 

‘Unauthorized Practice Of Law’ Rules Promote Racial Injustice — from law.com by Rohan Pavuluri with thanks to Daniel Rodriguez for his Tweet on this

Excerpts:

A less discussed, yet still pernicious, set of policies that must change are the rules lawyers use to regulate their own profession.

Known as unauthorized practice of law, or UPL, rules, every state in America has policies that grant lawyers a monopoly on providing legal advice, prohibiting professionals who are not lawyers from providing meaningful legal assistance. These policies promote racial inequity and guarantee that black Americans don’t have equal opportunities and equal rights under the law.

“It should come as no surprise that only 5% of lawyers are black.[3]”

To reform UPL doesn’t mean choosing between regulation and no regulation of the legal industry. It’s a choice between maintaining a status quo where black people are disproportionately excluded from both providing and receiving assistance and a system where we re-regulate the legal industry to make it more inclusive, increasing the supply of vetted, qualified helpers available.

Also see:

 

This startup is using AI to give workers a “productivity score” — from technologyreview.com by Will Douglas
Enaible is one of a number of new firms that are giving employers tools to help keep tabs on their employees—but critics fear this kind of surveillance undermines trust.

Excerpt:

In the last few months, millions of people around the world stopped going into offices and started doing their jobs from home. These workers may be out of sight of managers, but they are not out of mind. The upheaval has been accompanied by a reported spike in the use of surveillance software that lets employers track what their employees are doing and how long they spend doing it.

Companies have asked remote workers to install a whole range of such tools. Hubstaff is software that records users’ keyboard strokes, mouse movements, and the websites that they visit. Time Doctor goes further, taking videos of users’ screens. It can also take a picture via webcam every 10 minutes to check that employees are at their computer. And Isaak, a tool made by UK firm Status Today, monitors interactions between employees to identify who collaborates more, combining this data with information from personnel files to identify individuals who are “change-makers.”

Machine-learning algorithms also encode hidden bias in the data they are trained on. Such bias is even harder to expose when it’s buried inside an automated system. If these algorithms are used to assess an employee’s performance, it can be hard to appeal an unfair review or dismissal. 

 

 

From DSC:
I can’t help but reflect on how slippery the slope is when we start talking about using drones — especially as sponsored and used by governments, including our government here in the U.S. Consider the following from The Future Institute.

The Future Institute Today -- discussing the slippery slope of using drones

Excerpt:

Eyes in the sky
As nationwide racial justice protests continue, some journalists and protestors have noticed a new addition to the armed police officers and National Guard troops: a drone flying a hexagon-shaped route 20,000 feet above the streets in Minneapolis. The drone, flown by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is called a Predator, and is a piece of military technology used for identifying and targeting terrorists overseas. Lately, it’s become a more common sight domestically.

Last month, a number of New Yorkers witnessed a drone floating above them, barking orders to follow social distancing guidelines. The mysterious drone wasn’t official police equipment, but rather a privately owned device piloted by a man named Xavier Arthur in Queens, who was frustrated that people weren’t following stay-at-home orders. He claimed to represent the “Anti-Covid-19 Volunteer Drone Task Force. 

It’s not an isolated incident. During the outbreak, drones have been used extensively to monitor residents and encourage them to stay indoors, to inspect traffic stops and hospitals, and to spray cities with disinfectants. In Paris and Mumbai, they’re patrolling social distancing violators. In China, a video clip went viral, showing a drone breaking up a mahjong game—residents had defied local orders that they stay indoors. Drones with infrared cameras also allegedly flew overhead and checked for people with fevers.

Advanced drones can pinpoint certain behaviors in crowds from high altitudes, recognize and automatically follow targets, and communicate with each other or to command centers on the ground with remarkable precision and low latency. The pandemic and protests are playing to the strengths of an emerging real-time aerial surveillance ecosystem.

3 Things You Should Know

  1. The Flying Internet of Things is taking off.
  2. New drones can self-destruct.
  3. Shareable drones may drive growth in the industry.
 

Homework gap a growing focus for nonprofits, lawmakers as closures persist — from educationdive.com by Shawna De La Rosa

Excerpt:

Dive Brief:

  • After declaring success in the goal of connecting most schools to fast, reliable internet, nonprofit EducationSuperHighway is turning its attention to the “homework gap,” according to The Hechinger Report. More than 9 million students still lack internet access at home.
  • Evan Marwell, CEO and founder of EducationSuperHighway, said school closures triggered a change in attitude about the importance of home internet service for students. Now, some lawmakers indicate they are willing to spend billions of dollars to bridge that gap.
  • The organization launched digitalbridgeK12.org to provide detailed information on the problem, as well as recommendations for policymakers and school leaders, and advice and best practices on topics like how to collect data on connectivity at the district level or purchase in bulk.
 

ABA President Judy Perry Martinez on the ABA and the Profession in a Pandemic [Ambrogi]

ABA President Judy Perry Martinez on the ABA and the Profession in a Pandemic — from lawsitesblog.com by Robert Ambrogi

Excerpt:

We talked about how she and the ABA have responded to the pandemic, including with her appointment of the Task Force on Legal Needs Arising Out of the 2020 Pandemic and, just last week, the Coordinating Group on Practice Forward. We also discussed her thoughts on the pandemic’s impacts on the profession, the justice system, and access to justice.

 

From DSC:
NOTE: The K-12 education system that I’m talking about in this posting is the pre-COVID-19 education system.



What Cory Henwood describes here…

The paradigm of one -- as described by Cory Henwood

is what I describe as the quickly moving K-12 education train that stops for no one!

K-12 education in America is a like a quickly moving train that stops for no one.

(image source)


This becomes especially troublesome for those on either side of the 80% bell curve.
I know about this, as one of our daughters has been living through this phenomenon for years. We are seriously considering homeschooling for her as we want her learning experiences to be more positive ones for her. We want to provide more choice, more control for what she wants to learn about — and the pace at which she can go through those experiences. We want there to be more joy in her learning experiences. This will hopefully help her build more positive perspectives about learning in general.

This is not a mute issue…nor is this a topic that’s focused on just students with special needs. In fact, this topic is relevant to every single student in America — as everyone is now required to be lifelong learners these days. Grades need to diminish in importance. The enjoyment of learning needs to rise.

Note: There were some times in public and charter schools that provided courses and topics of great interest to her, and provided some great joy to her. Plus, there were some incredibly-dedicated teachers and staff that created a team around our daughter. I’m very grateful for them and for their efforts. But positive learning experiences were becoming too few and too far between. The train left the station *for everyone* at such-and-such a time, and stopped *for everyone* at such and such a time. The education system required that she and her classmates move at a certain (high) speed — regardless of their mastery of the content. Teachers know what I’m talking about here…big time.

We need to get to what Cory discusses about when he discusses competency-based education.

We need to get to what Cory discusses about competency-based education.

Plus, we need to get to a place where there is:

 
 

LawNext Episode 71: Legal Futurist Richard Susskind on Coronavirus, Courts and the Legal Profession — from .lawsitesblog.com by Robert Ambrogi

Excerpt:

Ever since the publication of his seminal 1996 book, The Future of LawRichard Susskind has remained the world’s most-recognized and most-respected speaker and author on the future of legal services. But even he could not have foreseen the sudden relevance of his latest book, Online Courts and the Future of Justice.

On this episode of LawNext, Susskind joins host Bob Ambrogi for a conversation about the legal profession and the judicial system in a time of global pandemic. Will the pandemic fast-forward law’s leap into the future? Will there be fundamental change in legal services delivery? Will courts move online more quickly than even he had thought? Susskind shares his thoughts on these questions and more.

Also see:

remotecourts dot org worldwide

 

Desperate times call for innovation — from abovethelaw.com by Cori Robinson
New York expands standby guardian statute and permits video witnessing of estate planning documents.

Excerpt:

First online notarization, then the legalization of surrogacy, now an expansion of the standby guardian law and authorization of video witnessing of estate planning documents. Governor Andrew Cuomo of COVID-19-stricken New York is a gift not only to trusts and estates attorneys, but to all citizens.

 

From DSC:
As the ripples move outward from this time of the Coronavirus, we need to be very careful with #EmergingTechnologies. For example, where might the use of (police dept) drones equipped with #AI #FacialRecognition flying overhead take us? What if you’re of the “wrong religion” in a country? Hmm…

 

Social Distancing Enforcement Drones Arrive in the U.S. — from nymag.com by Adam Raymond

Excerpts:

In late January, a viral video from China showed people who’d wandered outside in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak getting scolded by a disembodied voice from a drone flying overhead. Last month, similar campaigns began in France, where locals flouting travel restrictions were gently reminded to “respectez les distances de sécurité s’il vous plaît.”

Now, self-righteous flying robots have made their way to the U.S., with at least two American police departments deploying drones to tell people to disperse, go home, and stay there.

“These drones will be around the City with an automated message from the Mayor telling you to STOP gathering, disperse and go home,” the police department wrote on Facebook. “Summonses HAVE AND WILL CONTINUE to be issued to those found in violation. Fines are up to $1000. You have been advised.”

 

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