YPP Network Description

The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) formed out of recognition that youth are critical to the future of democracy and that the digital age is introducing technological changes that are impacting how youth develop into informed, engaged, and effective actors.

  • The Method in our Madness: Data Collection and Analysis for Our Study of Higher Education, Part I

    by Howard Gardner

    by Wendy Fischman and Howard Gardner
    When hearing about our ambitious national study of higher education (click here for more information), colleagues often ask us how we went about carrying out the study and how we will analyze the various kinds of data and draw conclusions. At first blush, the decision to carry out approximately 2000 semi-structured hour-long interviews across ten deliberately disparate campuses, to record and transcribe them, and then to analyze the resulting “data” seems overwhelming—and not just to others! Moreover, when asked for the “hypotheses” being tested, we always reply that we did not have specific hypotheses—at most, we knew what general issues we wanted to probe (e.g. academic, campus life, and general perspectives on the means and goals of higher education). Additionally, we wanted to discover approaches and programs that seemed promising and to probe them sufficiently so that we could write about them convincingly and—with luck—evocatively.
    An Earlier Model
    We did not undertake this study entirely free of expectations. Our colleague Richard Light, now a senior adviser to the project, spent decades studying higher education in the United States; he provided much valuable background information, ideas about promising avenues to investigate, and some intriguing questions to include in our interview. Both of us (Wendy and Howard) had devoted over a decade to an empirical study of “good work” across the professions. In that research, planned and carried out with psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and William Damon and their colleagues, we had interviewed well over 1200 workers drawn from nine distinct professions. The methods of interviewing—and the lack of guiding hypotheses—were quite similar. Because we were frequently asked about our methodological approach, we prepared a free-standing paper on the “empirical basis” of good work. In addition, reports on our findings yielded ten books and close to 100 articles; moreover this project led to several other lines of research—see TheGoodProject.org. Our prior work on “good work” served as a reasonable model as we undertook an equally ambitious study of higher education.
    In this and the succeeding two blogs, we seek to convey the “method” to our undertaking.
    Part I. The Nuts and Bolts of our Research
    Interview Questionnaire
    As in the earlier study, we developed an interview questionnaire, which essentially takes an hour to administer (we could have easily spent 3 hours if we or the participants had the time!). Most of the interview consists of open-ended questions, except for two rank order questions in which we ask participants to prioritize specific items. (These “forced choice” questions were created because of clear patterns of preferred responses that emerged in pilot work.) The interview questionnaire covers wide-ranging topics in four main sections focused on: 1) goals for the student college experience; 2) academic curriculum; 3) campus life; and 4) broad questions about the value of higher education.
    Once we had an interview questionnaire firmly established, we adhered quite closely to it for the remainder of the study (and we trained researchers to be consistent interviewers). And when we tweaked the protocol slightly as the study evolved, we did so in a way that did not invalidate the data gleaned from the earlier questionnaires—for example, adding new questions at the end of the interview. The interview questionnaire is quite similar across constituencies (which are outlined below). For ease of communication, in this trio of blogs, we focus almost entirely on methods and responses with the student population.
    Selection of Sites and Participants
    Before beginning the study in earnest, we carried out pilot work at two campuses (which eventually became “full sites”). We selected these two initial campuses because they were geographically close to us and because they differed from each other—specifically, a public state university in a rural area, and a private university in the Boston area. At these campuses, we had the luxury of interviewing nearly every participant in person. Eventually, as we selected campuses farther away from our home base, we interviewed some participants in person and others, including students, via Skype (or another platform).
    From the beginning, we set out to recruit 2000 participants across seven major constituencies—incoming students, graduating students, faculty, administrators, parents, young alums, and trustees. We aimed for half of the interviews to be with students (approximately 1000) and the rest to be with the other constituencies (approximately 1000). (We interviewed an eighth constituency—job recruiters—as convenient.)
    After the initial pilot sites had been selected, we chose the other eight campuses, one at a time. We sought to include campuses that represented different categories (e.g. private/public, large/small, urban/rural, residential/commuter), and those with distinctive cultures (e.g. a special focus on religion, athletics, community service, etc.). At the same time, each of the campuses offers a liberal arts form of education (at the larger universities, we interviewed individuals associated with the schools that offer the traditional liberal arts and sciences curricula). We often refer to the campus selection process as a “chess game” in which once one campus had been chosen, we carefully considered what we would still need and want before our next “move.” Obviously no ten campuses can capture the great variety of the several thousand institutions of higher learning in the United States; but we believe that our ten campuses represent an impressive range.
    From the initial pilot schools, we learned a great deal about various strategies for recruiting participants for the study. With respect to all schools, we carefully and strategically selected faculty and administrators in order to ensure that we spoke with individuals who were knowledgeable about the school (e.g. those who have been in positions for more than a few years) and those who represented various academic and administrative departments throughout the school. We scoured the schools’ websites and Google for background information on each of these individuals. For most of the other constituency groups (students, parents, young alums), we used more of an opportunistic approach for recruiting, including fliers, emails, tabling, and advertisements on social media. Overall, we recruited a “convenience sample,” while checking to make sure that we recruited students who reflected the general demography of each school (e.g. gender, students involved with student government, religious organizations, athletics, Greek life, etc.). When we were undersubscribed with a given constituency, we made extra efforts, usually successful, to recruit subjects from that constituency. In general, as a group, trustees were difficult to recruit and difficult to schedule and re-schedule, but with the help of each school president and secretary of the board, we secured robust groups across the campuses. The ease or difficulty of recruiting subjects on a given campus turns out to be quite revealing (perhaps a topic for a different blog!).
    In a nutshell, our coding scheme is divided into two major sections. The first section requires a researcher (or “coder”) to read an entire interview transcript and respond to a variety of questions about “holistic” concepts we have developed—concepts that can’t be inferred unless one has reviewed the entire interview. For example, with respect to each student participant, we ask coders to consider the primary “driver” the individual has for college (e.g. what exactly seems to motivate that student in college) and the value of “liberal arts and sciences” to each participant.
    The second section requires coders to think about a participant’s response to specific questions throughout the interview and to categorize the participant’s responses. For example, we ask coders to categorize a participant’s response when asked to recommend a book for a graduating student (e.g. title, genre, how the participant knew about this book, and why he/she recommended it).
    To ensure “reliability” across coders (i.e. to make sure that independent coders interpret the data in the same way), we review each transcript twice (by two different coders). The first coder reads the transcript and responds to the holistic section of the coding scheme; the second coder “shadows” the coding of the first coder (e.g. makes sure he/she agrees with the coding by reading the entire transcript independently and then reviewing the coding of the first coder). The second coder notes any “disagreements” about the coding and discusses such disagreements with the first coder, hoping to reach a decision that satisfies both coders. If the disagreement is still unresolved after a discussion between coders, these coders ask a third coder to participate in the discussion and resolve the decision. In addition, after reviewing the holistic section of the coding scheme, the second coder also responds to the second half of the coding scheme, mainly categorizing a participant’s specific responses to particular interview questions. Because this coding requires straightforward categorization, the coding of this section is not systematically reviewed by another coder. However, if at a later point (i.e. in analyzing the categorizations for patterns and themes), researchers come across a categorization that does not make sense, researchers can correct the mistake. We use Cohen’s Kappa to calculate reliability, consistently achieving over .80 reliability (a value above 0.80 is typically considered “excellent”).
    We invest a lot of resources into our coding because it is the crux of our study. For an hour-long interview, we estimate that it takes about 3 hours to code and shadow (1.5 hours to code and 1.5 hours to shadow). To create an environment in which researchers could focus without distractions, we mandated “coding blitzes”: according to the norms of a blitz, researchers can work anywhere they wanted for days at a time, but have the responsibility of reaching certain coding goals. During these coding blitzes, we come together as a team once per week to assess progress, check in with each other, and talk about challenges—to make sure we agree with how to code a particular concept or a dilemma about a particular participant. We record these meetings in case a researcher can’t attend. To say that we take the coding seriously is an understatement—in fact, we often have to stop ourselves from “over processing” some of the tiny details and remember that we also need to focus on the big picture of what we are finding and what it might mean.
    These topics are covered in the next two blogs.
    © 2018 Wendy Fischman and Howard Gardner

  • On Securing Support for Research: Should One Hit The Pause Button?

    by Howard Gardner

    Those of us who conduct research in psychology, education, and related fields are dependent on external support to cover our expenses. For half a century, my colleagues and I at Harvard Project Zero have been fortunate to receive funding from various sources. In most cases, the funding process has been smooth and unproblematic; but in at least three cases, we have decided not to accept further funding.
    Here I describe our overall history with fund raising; share three discombobulating experiences; and suggest some general guidelines.
    First, the good news. From 1970-1980, almost all of our funding came from the federal government—The National Institutes of Health, The National Science Foundation, and a now defunct educational funder, The National Institute of Education. Then Ronald Reagan became president and made known his conviction that “social science is socialism.” Confronted with that dismissive attitude, we showed little hesitation in shifting our requests to large national foundations—The Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, The MacArthur Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, and The Spencer Foundation (which focuses on educational research)—just to name a few. These foundations followed widely accepted peer review methods with respect to requests for funding; they did not attempt to micro-manage or redirect the research; and we never worried that any of the funding would be considered suspect. Whatever the value and attitudes of the original philanthropist (e.g. Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller), the foundations by that time conduced business in a professional manner.
    The bad news about funding from private foundations is that most program officers (the individual who control the purse strings) get bored with funding the same old institutions and causes—no matter how worthy. (And of course, we thought all of our causes were supremely worthy!) Accordingly, these philanthropoids (as the dispensers of funds are sometimes called) want to move on to support new and more exciting (and perhaps more needy) projects; it proved difficult to obtain continuation funding indefinitely.
    Starting 25 years ago, we were saved by three factors:
    1) Funding from a long-time anonymous funder, whose “cover” was eventually blown by The New York Times—the Atlantic Philanthropies, bankrolled completely by Charles Feeney. (Despite the fact that we received several million dollars from AP, none of us ever met Mr. Feeney.)
    2) Smaller foundations, family foundations, and wealthy individuals. As these funders were less likely to follow standard peer review processes, a lot of this funding depended on good personal relations with the funders or with their designated program officers.
    3) Our own honoraria and gifts that we were able to direct toward our research.
    Also, somewhat to our surprise, and to our delight, we began once again to receive funding from some large national foundations. The previous project officers had resigned or retired and, in the absence of flawless institutional memory, our requests for funding were treated as “new” opportunities.
    I am very pleased to say that, in my memory, no funder ever pressed us to come up with certain results, rather than others. Also, before accepting money from the anonymous foundation, we confirmed its trustworthiness with knowledgeable leaders at Harvard.
    Yet, on three occasions alluded to above, we made the difficult decision not to receive any further funding from a source:
    1) A funder insisted that we be prepared to travel long distances, without little or no prior warning. And these demands proved exhausting.
    2) A funder was carrying out work of which we did not approve and yet wanted to have our imprimatur on that work.
    3) A funder was convicted of a crime. In this case, I thought about this dilemma as I would with respect to a friend who was convicted of a crime. I might maintain a personal relationship, but I would not pretend that the crime has not happened. And so, while I personally retained a relationship with the funder, I let the funder know that under no circumstances would or could I accept any further funding. And this decision was accepted without protest.
    I consider myself very fortunate not to have encountered more difficulties of this sort. At the same time, I have to add that at various times, I’ve made a decision not to pursue a funding opportunity; and I have advised colleagues and friends to refrain as well. It’s much easier not to become involved with a dubious source of funding than it is to establish ties that one subsequently has to break. The dubious source of funding can be from a corporation (e.g. a gun manufacturer, a cigarette company) whose products make me uncomfortable; or, for instance, from a source that has no apparent interest in the research per se but just wants to have a connection to the university.
    In the current funding climate, where government funding is insufficient and the once dominant foundations are being dwarfed by individuals who are as wealthy or wealthier than Henry Ford or John D. Rockefeller, the temptations are great to ignore these warning signs and simply accept funds. This is especially so if one’s own salary or the salaries of close associates are at stake. That’s why I hope that more disinterested (neutral, objective) parties—for example, the government or foundations or individuals who are genuinely interested in the research but disinterested in the specific results—will re-emerge. And I hope that these entities will follow peer-review procedures in considering proposals and will give the researchers latitude in how they proceed. In return, the researchers must strive to carry out work of high quality; inform the sponsors of significant changes in procedures; and, of course, make the findings available promptly and publicly, while also crediting the sources for their support.
    To phrase it in the spirit of this blog: Research is most likely to work well if all parties act in a professional manner.

  • Is The New ‘Best Popular Film’ Oscar A Sign Of Getting With The Times? Or The Opposite?

    by Sophia Tulp

    New changes coming to the Oscars. Photo: Disney/ABC Television Group via Flickr.
    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (a.k.a the organization behind the Oscars) announced today that they were making a few big changes to the almost century-old award show.
    Starting with the 2019 ceremony, the 91st Academy Awards will shorten the telecast to make sure it stays in a three-hour time limit (!!!) and add a now controversial new category for “outstanding achievement in popular film.”

    Change is coming to the #Oscars. Here's what you need to know:
    – A new category is being designed around achievement in popular film.– We've set an earlier airdate for 2020: mark your calendars for February 9.– We're planning a more globally accessible, three-hour telecast. pic.twitter.com/oKTwjV1Qv9
    — The Academy (@TheAcademy) August 8, 2018

    Film critics are saying this category can be likened to a “best blockbuster” award, honoring the box-office hits of the year like “Mamma Mia 2” or “Mission: Impossible.” Some think this category was created entirely with “Black Panther” in mind — and that might not be a good thing.

    Black Panther is such a great movie that they created a new Oscar category for it to win.
    — ralphthemoviemaker (@ralphsepe) August 8, 2018

    The Oscars have long been hailed as the most prestigious award show for excellence in film — but recently they’ve been steeped in controversy for a lack of representation of marginalized communities and stories as well as the makeup of their membership. Remember #OscarsSoWhite from 2015?
    The nods to “Get Out” last year can’t fix their problems. But it seems the Academy is trying to make some changes that could point it toward a more modern direction.
    Critics already have more than a few thoughts on the matter. Voices from USA TODAY, Vox and Time to name just a few, have already released think-pieces about how this could cheapen the award show and actually relegate some films made by people of color into lesser categories.  
    In fact, one particularly hot take by Vanity Fair dubbed the award “the Black Panther award,” saying it was more of a “separate but equal category for a blockbuster made by almost exclusively black talent.” The article argued that the Marvel movie will be pushed out of the more traditional Best Picture category despite its critical acclaim, success, and massive fan base. But, in an attempt to not lose those viewers (because ratings) it’ll be pushed to its own — much less prestigious — category.

    "BLACK PANTHER's unprecedented success is a remarkable achievement for black filmmaking."
    THE OSCARS: "Let's make up a new ghetto category so we don't have to give it Best Picture."#Oscars #BestPopularFilm #BlackPanther #Marvel
    — Nolan Zugernat (@NolanZugernat) August 8, 2018

    This could mean that a movie like “Get Out” could also have probably found itself in this category rather than Best Picture.
    Before this new development, the Academy added over 900 new members. The new inductees were 49 percent female and 38 percent people of color. With these new additions, the Academy membership is now 31 percent female, up from 28 percent, and 16 percent people of color, an increase from 13 percent.
    But these new changes could mark less of a progressive shift and more of a ratings grab than anything else, which could actually end up harming diversity in film in the long run.

  • You OK With Apple Music Making Playlists With Your Music For Your Friends?

    by Billy Cruz

    If you’ve logged onto Apple Music recently, you may have spotted a new playlist, titled Friends Mix.
    If you haven’t noticed it, don’t worry, not everyone has access to the new feature yet. This is apparently a beta version and the full release is expected to roll out in September, according to Billboard. 

    Ohhhh I got the new Friends Mix on #AppleMusic pic.twitter.com/OqTBC2Uhls
    — Ben (@iB3nji) August 8, 2018

    The new Friends Mix feature will allow users to connect and know more about their friends’ music tastes. Basically, Apple Music will create a playlist of 25 songs using music listened to by a users’ friends. While the songs will be chosen from friends’ listening history, the playlists are designed with the target user’s musical tastes in mind. 
    In other words: Apple will gather up your friends‘ favorite songs, but choose what they show you based on your tastes.
    This is the fourth custom playlist Apple Music has created. When IOS 10 dropped in 2016, Apple Music introduced My New Music Mix and My Favorites Mix, which are custom playlists with different songs for every user. Shortly after that, My Chill Mix came out, which was a custom playlist comprised of music the specific user would find… “chill.”
    Like these custom playlists, the new Friends Mix will be updated weekly.

    Apple Music’s new Friend Mix is solid. Music here is from artists I already recognize and most likely will enjoy too. pic.twitter.com/APzgs4prUy
    — Greg Barbosa (@gregbarbosa) August 8, 2018

    The Friends Mix brings Apple Music one step closer into the realm of social media platform rather than being just another music streaming service.
    But not everybody is quite on board just yet — because our friends don’t always have the best taste in music. As one Redditor (u/Hangloosebra) put it, “That’s pretty cool. [Too] bad my friends listen to upchurch all day long which is horrible.”
    And what about our own personal music taste? There’s something unsettling knowing that all my guilty pleasure music could be put on blast. The fact that Apple Music is currently going through every user’s listening history and sending it to their friends kind of creeps me out. At least, the mix is only shared with friends, so choose your friends wisely.

    I got my @AppleMusic Friend's mix today! I love that you can see which friend that each song came from. True story, a ton of songs I love were on the playlist, all from the same friend. Didn't recognize the pic. Went to profile to see who it was. IT WAS MY WIFE. ❤️ #SoupSnakes
    — kiggle (@kiggle) August 8, 2018

    Friends Mix appears to be the latest response by Apple Music to Spotify’s custom playlists. Those have been in existence for a while now on a much bigger scale than Apple Music. And this social Friends Mix can also help bring more users to Apple Music by offering more than just music. Going toe-to-toe with Spotify is what it’s all about for  Apple Music right now, with some reports saying that the world’s first trillion dollar company has finally surpassed Spotify’s user base in the United States. Not that everyone seems to know that.

    Which would be cool if any of my friends actually used it
    — Alexandre Leite (@alexandreL) August 7, 2018

  • In Vogue, Beyoncé Shows Us She Feels Free — And Wants Us All to Feel It Too

    by Kyler Sumter

    Beyonce performing during the Formation World Tour in 2016. Photo by Kristopher Harris from Charlotte, NC, via Wikimedia Commons
    In a groundbreaking new issue of Vogue, edited by Beyoncé, the icon not only graces the cover in a stunning photo shoot (more on that in a sec).

    It’s here! @Beyonce stars on the cover of our September issue. Read the full story, in her own words: https://t.co/T7E2FbGDPn pic.twitter.com/GcX0ziiJD7
    — Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) August 6, 2018

    She also talks openly about everything from body changes and complications during and after pregnancy to discovering shocking relationships in her ancestry.
    But a central focus of the discussion was on opening doors and truly making sure that every voice counts. Here are some of the most eye-opening quotes from her history-making cover story.
    On Opening Doors

    Beyoncé selected 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell to photograph her cover, making him the first black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover in the magazine’s 126-year history.
    “It’s important to me that I help open doors for younger artists. There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don’t matter.”
    If someone hadn’t given a chance to Josephine Baker or Nina Simone back in the day, Beyoncé says the door wouldn’t have been open for her either.
    “If people in powerful positions continue to hire and cast only people who look like them, sound like them, come from the same neighborhoods they grew up in, they will never have a greater understanding of experiences different from their own. They will hire the same models, curate the same art, cast the same actors over and over again, and we will all lose.”
    On Teaching and Guiding

    She goes on to talk about seeing the historical impacts of her accomplishments. When the On the Run II Tour with husband Jay-Z had a show in Berlin at Olympiastadion, the importance was not lost on her. The site once promoted hatred, Nazism, and racism. In 1963, it was the site of the Olympics where Jesse Owens, an African-American athlete who was the son of sharecroppers and the grandson of slaves, won four gold medals. He was praised as the one who “single-handedly crushed Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy.” And now, 55 years later, she and her husband, a black couple, performed to a sold-out crowd, all while the concert-goers were “smiling, holding hands, kissing, and full of love.”
    Before her headlining HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) band-themed Coachella performance, the one that shook the nation, she also realized the importance of what she could teach the younger generation about the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” after humming the song to her youngest daughter as a lullaby. (And this month, the singer announced the eight recipients of a $25,000 scholarship, Homecoming Scholars Award from her HBCU Scholarship Program.)
    “I know that most of the young people on the stage and in the audience did not know the history of the black national anthem before Coachella, but they understood the feeling it gave them. It was a celebration of all the people who sacrificed more than we could ever imagine, who moved the world forward so that it could welcome a woman of color to headline such a festival.”
    On Representation

    Beyoncé told Vogue’s Clover Hope in an interview for the cover story,
    “Everyone’s voice counts, and everyone has a chance to paint the world from their own perspective.”
    On the Next Generation

    The performer we’ve watched from teenage years to adulthood to motherhood says she is in a “place of gratitude,” where she wants “to learn more, teach more, and live in full.” Especially now that a future generation includes her children as well.
    “As the mother of two girls, it’s important to me that they see themselves too—in books, films, and on runways. It’s important to me that they see themselves as CEOs, as bosses, and that they know they can write the script for their own lives—that they can speak their minds and they have no ceiling,” she said. “I want the same things for my son. I want him to know that he can be strong and brave but that he can also be sensitive and kind. I want my son to have a high emotional IQ where he is free to be caring, truthful, and honest. It’s everything a woman wants in a man, and yet we don’t teach it to our boys.”
    On Feeling (And Being) Free

    Beyoncé wants them to feel, in a word, free. Free to achieve and free to be and show who they are.
    Free is what she strives to be with all that she does as she “doesn’t like too much structure”. And her Vogue cover exemplifies that. She talks about her experience after having a C-section to deliver her twins Rumi and Sir, and how her body is different and fuller. She is accepting her natural body and wants others to do the same.
    “I think it’s important for women and men to see and appreciate the beauty in their natural bodies. That’s why I stripped away the wigs and hair extensions and used little makeup for this shoot.”

  • Hard-Working Dreamer Jahnae Patterson, 17, Among 4 Killed in Chicago Shootings

    by Kyler Sumter

    Saturday, August 4, was a restless night for 40 Chicago families. In less than seven hours, 40 people were shot on the city’s West and South sides in gang related shootings, 15 of whom were teenagers, according to the Chicago Tribune.
    At a block party, a 14-year-old boy and an 11-year-old boy were both shot in their legs and are now reportedly stable. But 17-year-old Jahnae Patterson was shot and killed during the same attack, in which every person wounded was 21 or younger.
    “My baby just left the house. Twenty minutes later, I get a call saying my baby got shot,” Patterson’s mother, Tanika Humphries, told the Tribune at a Sunday evening vigil held at the family’s home.
    Patterson and a friend at the block party were walking to use a bathroom when two young men started a shootout. Patterson was shot in the face and pronounced dead at the scene. According to ABC7, as of Monday morning, no one is in custody yet, and Area Central detectives are still investigating.
    Patterson was a senior at Manley Career Academy High School, the first girl born in her family, and the fifth of nine children. She dreamed of becoming a lawyer.
    Her mother describes her as a hardworking student who always did what she was supposed to. “My baby did not deserve this,” Humphries said. “My baby wasn’t the type to hang out. She was in school. She worked. She did everything she was supposed to do as a teenager. And then coward (expletive) took it all away from us.”
    Born with health problems, Patterson was growing up to be a strong young woman, her family says.
    Dozens of her relatives attended the vigil and hung up pictures and posters of Patterson on a fence outside her family’s home.
    “I’m trying to be strong, but I can’t,” Humphries said.
    Many, including one of Patterson’s friends who was with her in her final moments, posted their condolences on social media.

    Alice kisses a picture of her 17-year-old niece, Jahnae Patterson, during a vigil for Patterson who was shot in the face and killed early Sunday morning. In a 7-hour period 40 people were shot and four were killed in #Chicago, including Jahnae. https://t.co/miTdWtWEEV pic.twitter.com/4RjDE9PAEo
    — armando l sanchez (@mandophotos) August 6, 2018

    Relatives of HS senior Jahnae Patterson say goodbye after a rash of overnight shootings left about more than 30 wounded and at least 4 dead. pic.twitter.com/aZ5bUmCmqx
    — Will Lee (@MidnoirCowboy) August 6, 2018

    17-year-d Jahnae Patterson among the 5 killed and 34 shot this last this weekend. Her family is gathered for a vigil now. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/lPd1QgKP4E
    — Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) August 6, 2018

    Nearly 60 people were shot — 11 fatally — between Friday night and Monday morning in Chicago, which led to chaos outside of Stroger Hospital as many families waited to find out about their relatives who had been shot, according to NBC 5.

  • Youth Radio Raw: Youth Nation Episode 3

    by Youth Radio Raw

    Welcome to the third episode of Youth Nation on Youth Radio Raw.
    Make sure you tune in every week on Fridays from 6:15 to 7:35 pm!
    On this show, you’ll hear the recent news, personal experiences and a diverse selection of music.
    For photos of the show, go to Youth Radio’s Flickr page.
    Check out live coverage of the show by following @YouthRadioRaw on Twitter and @yr_raw on Instagram.

  • Youth Radio Raw: Youth Nation Episode 2

    by Youth Radio Raw

    Welcome to the second episode of Youth Nation on Youth Radio Raw.
    Make sure you tune in every week on Fridays from 6:15 to 7:35 pm!
    On this show, you’ll hear the recent news, personal experiences and a diverse selection of music.
    For photos of the show, go to Youth Radio’s Flickr page.
    Check out live coverage of the show by following @YouthRadioRaw on Twitter and @yr_raw on Instagram.

  • Slap It or Trash It: The Internet – “Hive Mind”

    by Pablo De La Hoya

    In this episode of Slap It or Trash It Clay Xavier breaks down and reviews The Internet’s highly anticipated new album “Hive Mind”.

  • Should We Require All Students to Take Philosophy?

    by Howard Gardner

    In July 2018, I published an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education titled “Why We Should Require All Students to Take 2 Philosophy Courses,” in which I contended that all college students should be required to take two courses in philosophy—one during their freshman year, the second during their last year of college. This requirement would yield two dividends:
    1) Familiarity with vital issues about which outstanding thinkers have grappled over the centuries; and
    2) Practice at the kinds of discussions and arguments that are associated with the field and practice of philosophy.
    This essay provoked a fair amount of discussion and controversy, both on the Chronicle‘s website and in private communications from colleagues and friends. In what follows, I address some of the points that were raised.
    Requirements: Pros and Cons
    First, is it really a good idea to impose requirements? Perhaps that very action yields resistance.
    All institutions have requirements—ranging from compulsory writing courses to fees for student activities. At issue is whether these requirements make sense, are central to the mission of the school, and can be adequately defended.  The requirements should be clear at the outset. If students have a principled objection to taking a course in philosophy, then they should not attend a school with that requirement.
    A related point: too many college students immediately recreate their peer group from high school, or, worse, feel alienated or suffer from anxiety and depression. One way to counter these trends is to create activities and requirements that involve and affect all students. Of course, the more that these activities and requirements infuse the rest of the college experience—rather than being obligatory “one offs”—the more likely that students will feel that they are akin to their classmates and, thus, that they belong to a community of young scholars.
    Why Philosophy?
    Why should philosophy be singled out as required, and not statistics or citizenship or global issues?
    I defend the prioritization of philosophy in two ways. First, of all the scholarly topics, philosophy is the one most central to the agenda of higher education. It poses the most basic questions, specifies how these questions have been addressed, and provides the rationale for the range of disciplines, from mathematics to political science to current events. See the writings of Plato and Aristotle, or, for that matter, those of Confucius or of the contributors to the Talmud.
    Second, philosophical thinking requires, and takes advantages of, cognitive capacities that generally emerge during later adolescence. I have in mind the capacities to master systems of thoughts; compare systems of thought; and  combine, contrast, or critique various disciplinary ways of thinking. 
    In contrast, the core and organizing concepts of most other disciplines—ranging from biology to history to psychology—can be understood at earlier points in cognitive development.
    Curricular Equivalents
    What about common core, or general education requirements?
    As several correspondents pointed out, major institutions of higher education, like Columbia College or The University of Chicago, have required courses or sequences of courses that cover “great books,” often those from the Western canon. I should have pointed that out in my original essay, and I am happy to endorse a rigorous set of readings and discussions of important basic texts. What’s important is that the faculty embrace these readings and discuss them in terms of their basic arguments, how they are stated, in which ways they may be flawed, and how the conversation about these topics has evolved over time and across cultures. In other words, the readings (and other media presentations, as appropriate) should trigger the kinds of talk and argument that we associate with serious philosophical discussions.
    The risk, which I have seen at Harvard College, is that over time these “gen ed” or “core courses” regress into standard entry courses into the respective disciplines—at which point, the philosophical edge wanes or is lost.
    A Gatekeeper to Knowledge
    Does philosophy still occupy the role of “gatekeeper” to knowledge that it has traditionally occupied?
    Like many other fields, philosophy goes through its own peregrinations—and it can veer from logical analysis of strings of symbols, on the one hand, to post-modern musings on the other. I have no desire to legislate the materials on which graduate students work or the basis on which tenure is granted or denied. But I would rather have my gateway philosophy courses taught by scholars in other disciplines who have knowledge of texts and of how to introduce students to them, than to have minted philosophers who treat incoming students as if they were peer reviewers for an esoteric journal.
    Jobs and “Practical Knowledge”
    In our large national study of higher education, for which data collection has just been completed, we often run into the line of argument that philosophy is impractical and does not relate to the “real world.” And I certainly understand the reasons for it, especially at a time when job security is uncertain and when many young people worry that they will not do as well as their parents—an especially acute symptom in the United States.
    Certainly this concern should be acknowledged, not tossed aside. And perhaps it’s reasonable for colleges to take on some of this responsibility for life after college. But it’s neither what colleges have been designed to do, nor what they are good at—unless, we revolutionize training, selection of faculty, and course offerings.
    And so I have two responses:
    1) Practical: Pose the question, “And what happens if the job for which you have been prepared disappears?” Very few students—or parents—have even considered this possibility.
    2) Philosophical (pun intended): Higher education is arguably the last time in your life where you have the luxury of pondering the big questions of life. What are we here for? What is the good life? What would you be willing to die for? What do you hope for the generations after you die? One can pose those questions alone, or just discuss with friends, or one can touch on them when tossing a Frisbee across the yard, but it’s much better to join into a guided conversation that has taken place over the centuries—and philosophy is the best way that humans have devised for such an entry. And, as a bonus, if you learn to think and converse well about such critical issues, you will be able to use that intellectual capital in any job to which you aspire, and perhaps advance more readily to a higher position.