Wednesday Reading List: Chronicling the History of Lynching and Tempering Technology Enthusiasm

Monique Judge of The Root looks at a new website that chronicles the history of lynching and racial terror in America:

Google and the Equal Justice Initiative launched a new website Tuesday that explores the history and legacy of racial terror in the United States, specifically during the period between the Civil War and World War II, when over 4,000 Black Americans were lynched in this country. Lynching in America is an interactive website created with support from Google and based on a full report completed by the Equal Justice Initiative.

The Equal Justice Initiative is the same organization that is building a national museum in Alabama, in order to memorialize the victims of lynching. It's hard to have an honest discussion about the present when we're still lying about the past

Ulrich Boser of The Atlantic looked at a youth program in Chicago that is aimed at both improving academic success, and lowering incidences of violence, among teenage boys:

Written by researchers at the University of Chicago, the study looks at the success of the counseling program known as Becoming a Man, or BAM, which is run by the nonprofit Youth Guidance. Started in 2001, the BAM program operates in Chicago and has posted tremendous results. One 2015 study found that students in the program were 45 percent less likely than their peers in South Side Chicago to be arrested for violent crimes. What’s more, the researchers believe that BAM students are as much as 19 percent more likely to graduate from high school.  

Boser talks to the program's founder and tries to isolate the parts of the program that are most critical to success. The founder, Anthony Di Vittorio, argues that the quality of the relationships between the adult counselors and the young men in the program are paramount. That's why I'm not surprised by things like this:

An Arizona-born charter school known for its call-center-like appearance has run into trouble as it attempted to expand to other states. Carpe Diem schools, which rely on computer-based lessons and some in-person instruction, began in 2006 and opened five additional schools in Texas, Ohio and Indiana about five years ago. This week, one of the schools in Indiana is closing. The management agency charged with implementing the expansion has been disbanded, leaving the four remaining spin-off schools to rethink their strategy.

That's Nichole Dobo of The Hechinger Report. Click through to look at the picture of the school. It literally looks like a customer service center. Why did people think this was a good idea?

I'm not a luddite when it comes to technology. In this case, however, the deployment of technology was used to virtually eliminate, and diminish the quality of, adult-child relationships. That is the opposite of what is required for our most vulnerable children.

In related news, Education Week just released a series of charts and graphs that illustrate the quality and usage of technology in American classrooms:

Public schools have more classroom technology and faster internet connections than ever before, and teachers and students alike report using the digital tools at their disposal more frequently than in years past. But a new analysis of the National Assessment of Educational Progress survey data by the Education Week Research Center highlights two troubling trends: Despite the promise of building "21st century skills," such as creativity and problem-solving, students report using computers in school most often for activities that involve rote practice. And even as their classrooms have been inundated with new devices and software, the percent of teachers who say they’ve received training on how to effectively use such technology has remained flat, with a persistent divide between high- and low-poverty schools.

There are many more charts, like the one I included, so be sure to check out the report. The trends are troubling, because the takeaway seems to be that  - as technology has proliferated - educator usage patterns are becoming less, and not more, sophisticated. Not good.

Have a great day!