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.

  • Bay Word of the Day: Scraper

    by Money Maka

    The post Bay Word of the Day: Scraper appeared first on YR Media.

  • On Quality Higher Education: An Essay in Three Installments, Part 1

    by Howard Gardner

    by Howard Gardner and Wendy Fischman
    Background: The Mellon Papers
    Thanks to the generosity of several funders, including The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, over the last seven years we have had the privilege of studying non-vocational higher education in the United States. We originally called our study “Liberal Arts and Sciences in the 21st Century,” but, as a result of our 2000 interviews, we came to realize that the phrase “liberal arts and sciences” has little meaning for most constituents—and is often misunderstood. Still the phrase has considerable resonance within the higher education community. Indeed, as part of a recently undertaken much larger study of the sector, The Mellon Foundation commissioned several papers on the liberal arts, and these papers have now been posted here.
    The papers, well worth reading, cover a range of topics: definitions of liberal arts (varied, needless to say); the history of liberal arts education in the United States (dating back to the seventeenth century); and the relationship between an education described as liberal arts and a survey of possible and desirable outcomes: vocational, financial, cognitive, social, civic, and artistic, both in the short run and over the course of a lifetime.
    Perhaps not surprisingly—and appropriately, given that the wide-ranging Mellon study itself will unfold over the next several years—the papers raise provocative questions in lieu of providing reasonably definitive answers.
    What do we know? Attending and completing college certainly raises one’s income over the course of a lifetime; the study of humanities is less lucrative (particularly in the short run) than the study of engineering, science, or the “hard” social sciences. Once one goes beyond financial payoff, however, patterns are difficult to discern. It’s hard to demonstrate—particularly to a skeptic—that a liberal arts education makes you smarter, a better thinker and communicator, a kinder, happier, more civic-minded person, or a more likely voter.
    To reach firm conclusions, one must compare graduates of a liberal arts college to those who have graduated from a vocational or professionally oriented school, as well as those who went right to work after high school or who had some kind of a “gap” experience—ranging from a year to a decade or more. Such comparisons have a self-selection problem (with different kinds of students presumably choosing the respective route). Additionally, we don’t know whether desirable outcomes occur because of which individuals choose to go to college and which ones make it through to graduation, or because the “higher scorers” go to one kind of college rather than to another. Nor can we state with confidence whether positive outcomes occur in institutions that describe themselves as liberal arts, that require courses in the liberal arts, that mandate some sort of distribution requirement, and/or that showcase some other feature or combination of features. And of course it would be important to find out whether any documented outcomes persist—or perhaps emerge more powerfully—over a much longer period of time.
    It’s a laudable goal of the much larger Mellon study to tease out which of these dispositions are causally related to completing a liberal arts education and which can be tied to certain programs at certain institutions or certain kinds of institutions. We hope that it will succeed! But even in this era of easily gathered and easily analyzed “big data,” it’s not a foregone conclusion that we’ll know in five years about the effects—or, less happily, the non-effects—of an education anchored in the liberal arts and sciences.
    In the ensuing blogs, we present our own vision of a quality education in the liberal arts and address some of the challenges to this vision.
    © 2019 Wendy Fischman and Howard Gardner

  • Why I Want to Talk About My Period — And a New Emoji Could Help

    by Youth Radio Interns

    When I first got my period, I thought it was super cool. So did my friends. We had this attitude: “We were women now, and we wanted to flaunt it.” But a shame around our periods started to emerge, mostly through our conversations with teen boys.

    The stigma around getting your period isn’t new. But there are signs opinions could be changing. Apple just announced that in the next iOS update, a period emoji will be released. It’s literally a droplet of blood.

    And a movie about the fight against period stigma in a town in India, called “Period. End of Sentence.” won this year’s Best Documentary Short award at the Oscars.

    There’s still a lot to overcome.

    In the 1980s, a survey from tampon company Tampax showed that the majority of people found it unacceptable to talk about periods, even at home. More recently, a study from THINX, an underwear company, showed that 12 percent of women have been shamed by their families, and 10 percent by a classmate, when it comes to their periods, so it’s no surprise that 71 percent hide their pads or tampons when going to the restroom. From these studies, it appears the stigma starts at home and follows us through school.

    In my experience, as the boys around me and my friends graduated from middle to high school but didn’t seem to mature, we definitely felt stigma around menstruation. Guys made comments like, “Oh, man, it’s that time of the month,” when we were angry or, “Ew, did I ask?” if we talked about it within earshot.

    These comments have been a norm since I was in elementary school, when we had our first ever sex education class. Our teachers split us up into two groups, boys and girls, and gave us separate lessons. Girls were introduced to periods, while the boys learned about erections. 

    My experience of isolated, gender-specific lessons on puberty is quite common, and studies have shown that a lack of comprehensive sex education for boys can harm women. The shaming that my female friends and I experienced fell into a weird cycle. Guys get grossed out when they know a girl is on her period, so she tends not to talk about it, and as a result, guys hear about it less and less in their daily lives. Our bodies became increasingly foreign to them. I even find myself hiding it from some of my closest guy friends, because it seems almost wrong to talk about in front of them. But now I’m pushing myself to talk about it more, even when I’m uncomfortable, because it’s natural.

    My girlfriends and I are now pushing back against period stigma that we encounter. What happens when some random dude butts in on our conversations about our bodies? We’ll just yell at him to leave us alone. We’ve grown sick of this immaturity and the speculation about our private lives.

    We are also actively normalizing conversations about periods amongst each other. We’re very open. We talk about cramps, cravings, the struggle of having to wear sweats for a week straight. We exchange pads and tampons when someone unexpectedly gets hit with their time of the month.

    Though it may seem pretty minor, the introduction of this new emoji could destigmatize periods even further. It makes conversation between people online easier. Now imagine pulling up an image of a droplet of blood — a virtual symbol of menstruation — every time you open up your phone. Regardless of your gender or sexual orientation, you can click on that bloody emoji and send it in an instant. 

    The post Why I Want to Talk About My Period — And a New Emoji Could Help appeared first on YR Media.

  • Students Demand Action on Gun Violence

    by Chaz H

    On the first anniversary of the March for Our Lives protest, students rallied at Capitol Hill and delivered letters to politicians to demand gun reform.
    The post Students Demand Action on Gun Violence appeared first on YR Media.

  • Why I’m Not Afraid to Talk About My Chronic Pain

    by Youth Radio Interns

    I suffer from chronic pain. But my pain was invisible. So I was often greeted by disbelief.

    Two years ago, I sprained my ankle. It didn’t completely heal. For months the pain got worse, until I was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome, a type of chronic nerve pain.

    I spent the next eight months on crutches to give my foot room to heal.

    During my rush-hour commute on BART, people were unwilling to give up their seats to a teenager, even one on crutches. They’d look down at my foot, then back up at me, questioning why someone my age would need the disability seating.

    My pain therapist told me, “I see kids like you all the time.” She said that complex regional pain syndrome patients are most often teenage girls, like me.

    While I’ve never met any, just imagining them makes me feel less alone.

    Because even though the pain was bad, the isolation was even worse. I often asked why I was singled out to be living this nightmare. By speaking up about it now, I want to help ease the self-doubt and isolation that other chronic pain sufferers may feel.
    The post Why I’m Not Afraid to Talk About My Chronic Pain appeared first on YR Media.

  • Campus Closures Leave Students Reeling

    by Shawn Wen

    Dread. Tears. The sense of having wasted precious time.

    These are just some responses from students at 22 campuses owned by a company called Dream Center Education Holdings, when they learned earlier this month that their colleges would suddenly close.

    Tens of thousands students across the U.S. could be affected by the closure of most Argosy University and Art Institute campuses.

    Dream Center, a Christian non-profit organization, acquired Argosy and the Art Institutes in 2017. Just one week prior to the closings, the U.S. Department of Education cut off federal loans to Argosy, after learning that the institution used $13 million of aid meant for students to cover payroll and other expenses, according to the Washington Post.

    Students say they received an email about a possible shut down on March 6, just two days before schools officially closed their doors. Now, they say they’re scrambling to transfer credits to other schools, claim refunds on their student loans, or awaiting promised diplomas in the mail.

    Here’s what five Argosy and Art Institute students told YR Media’s Amber Ly about the effect of the closures and their future plans.

    Trey Young, 28, former Art Institute of Seattle and San Francisco student

    Photo courtesy of Trey Young

    “I felt like Chicken Little, just like, ‘The sky is falling, the sky is falling.’ I was saying, ‘Everyone listen, we’re not going to have a school soon.’ But then, I never expected for it to be shut down before the end of the quarter. I thought at least we would get to finish our quarter out. Now, I’m going to finish my degree at the Seattle Film Institute.

    “I’m also a veteran. I have family that can take care of me, but other veterans, they’re just gonna be another statistic of homeless veterans because of this situation.”

    Evan Kelley, 21, former Art Institute of San Francisco and Hollywood student

    Photo courtesy of Evan Kelley

    “Initially when the San Francisco campus shut down and I was told the Hollywood campus would remain open, I felt that maybe things could work out. [So I transferred to the Hollywood campus.] When I got that email [that the Hollywood campus was closing], there was just this like sense of dread. I felt like I had went mad for two seconds because I started to laugh. Like, ‘Come on, dude, I had just got here.’

    “I kind of felt like the school had pulled the rug out from under me. I can’t change the fact that the school is closing. I have to roll with the punches and try to stay optimistic, because if I feel myself getting too down in the dumps, it kind of hinders my taking action. And I always wanna be proactive.”

    Alexandra Beuchat, 33, former Argosy University, Denver and online student

    Photo courtesy of Alexandra Beuchat

    “So, I’ve graduated. I have a transcript that shows the date of completion, but I’m still anxiously waiting every single day. I check the mail like a little kid on Christmas for the diploma. So if we don’t get these degrees, it would be devastating.

    “When I heard the school closed, I cried all night because I had no idea what was going to happen. Some of us students have talked. And had Dream Center not continued to have promised that we would be fine, some of us probably would’ve switched schools and wouldn’t have to go through this.”

    Jennifer Smith, 47, former Argosy online student

    Photo courtesy of Jennifer Smith

    “There’s a group of us that were in the program together. And we’re looking at different programs to see where we can transfer our credits. And it’s just a handful of schools that’s even offering this type of program.

    “I only had a certain amount of student loans available to finish my degree. Everything else would have to be private pay out of pocket. So, now, we’re just left out there to figure this out on our own.”

    Rachel Maier, 32, former Argosy University, Tampa student

    Photo courtesy of Rachel Maier

    “We’re just going to wait and see if a diploma shows up. I don’t have a whole lot of options. I had a 3-month-old when I went back to school, and I’ve taken four months time away from her while doing the program. I don’t think I’m eligible for the loan forgiveness because I’ve read the stipulations for that and it says if you’ve completed the program, then you’re not eligible even if you don’t get your diploma. So we’ll probably just end up calling it a wash if I don’t get my diploma at this point.”
    The post Campus Closures Leave Students Reeling appeared first on YR Media.

  • Remix Your Life Artist Profile: Sunday

    by Noah

    The post Remix Your Life Artist Profile: Sunday appeared first on YR Media.

  • Opinion: 5 Things the U.S. Can Learn from New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern

    by Emiliano

    Less than a week after terrorist attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a ban on all military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles. She also introduced a gun buyback program to encourage people to surrender those types of weapons.

    The new gun policies announced Thursday come after 50 people were killed and another 50 wounded by a white supremacist gunman.

    PM Jacinda Ardern says NZ will ban all military-style weapons and, assault rifles, high capacity magazines and parts that can turn a weapon into a military-style weapon.https://t.co/PN5Vvn2uJN— RNZ (@radionz) March 21, 2019

    The last mass shooting in New Zealand in 1990 also led to changes in the country’s gun laws.  

    Gun reform advocates on social media are praising the Prime Minister and pointing to New Zealand as a model for how a country should respond after a mass shooting.

    America, take notes. This is what you do after lots of people die as a result of accessibility to guns. https://t.co/QMto0lzQBl— rubes (@ruby4everever) March 15, 2019

    Gun rights supporters online see things very differently. 

    New Zealand will ban assault rifles after a shooter killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch. However, as Australia’s gun ban proves, stricter gun laws only disarm law-abiding gun owners. Will New Zealand learn from its neighbor?Watch: https://t.co/TDV0TGVPkj pic.twitter.com/xvKumOEKCJ— PragerU (@prageru) March 21, 2019

    New Zealand’s response contrasts to that of the United States, where 73 mass shootings have reportedly taken place since the beginning of 2019 (and it’s only March). Here are five things America can learn from New Zealand.  

    1. Justice, Not Notoriety

    Ardern has vowed not to speak the name of the perpetrator of the Christchurch terrorist attack. “Speak the names of those who were lost, rather than the name of the man who took them,” she implored in a statement. It’s amazing to see the Prime Minister choose victims over the attacker. America should take note.

    2. Stricter Gun Laws – Immediately

    Even before the law changed, gun owners in New Zealand — where firearm regulations had been relatively lax — started to turn in their weapons. The new regulations came quick — just days after the massacre. Ardern clearly understands the impact of gun control laws and the desperate need for change.

    Until today I was one of the New Zealanders who owned a semi-automatic rifle. On the farm they are a useful tool in some circumstances, but my convenience doesn’t outweigh the risk of misuse.We don’t need these in our country. We have make sure it’s #NeverAgain pic.twitter.com/crLCQrOuLc— John Hart (@farmgeek) March 18, 2019

    3. Money for Funeral Assistance

    The New Zealand government has pledged to cover up to $10,000 in funeral costs for the victims, the first of whom were buried Wednesday. In the U.S., by contrast, victims of tragedies are often are forced to launch GoFundMe campaigns to solicit donations for funerals and the other ongoing costs of losing a family member.  

    4. Increased Social Media Regulation

    The attack in Christchurch was broadcast on Facebook Live and viewed over 4,000 times before it was taken down. Facebook also reports that it took down about 1.5 million videos of the attacks worldwide. The role of social media in the massacre has sparked major debates on how sites should deal with graphic content and hate speech. 

    We just shared more on our response to the horrific attack in New Zealand and how we’re working with local authorities and other tech companies to counter hate and terrorism https://t.co/mCU5FdCXhb— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) March 19, 2019

    5. Explicit Support for New Zealand’s Muslim Community

    Instead of supporting the Muslim community, America too often shows the opposite, with Islamophobia going un-checked in the media and through policies including the so-called “Muslim ban.” New Zealand, by contrast, is offering a powerful display of solidarity. Ardern announced that on Friday, March 22 the Muslim call to prayer and a moment of silence will air on radio and television nationwide. 

    The post Opinion: 5 Things the U.S. Can Learn from New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern appeared first on YR Media.

  • Making Beats in an Arcade with Found Sounds Episode 5 – Plank

    by Chaz H

    Who doesn’t love the arcade? It’s the spot to find all your favorite old-school video games in one place. Oluwafemi and Clay Xavier explore Plank, an arcade in Oakland, collecting sounds and playing some games along the way! Oh yeah did we mention there’s bowling too?

    Check out every episode of “Found Sounds.”

    Check out the full track list.

    Learn more about Plank
    The post Making Beats in an Arcade with Found Sounds Episode 5 – Plank appeared first on YR Media.

  • How To: Make a Beat Outside Your Comfort Zone

    by Money Maka

    For many producers, being able to create great music across multiple genres is a dream. There are rewards to challenging yourself as a creative and making beats outside of your comfort zone. It allows you to explore a wider variety of musical sounds, and therefore reach a wider audience.  Having this kind of versatility under your belt can also give you a competitive edge in the music industry because you’ll be able to produce hits for anybody — R&B, Pop, Hip Hop, Trap, etc. The techniques I’ve outlined below will not only help you find some more slappin’ sounds to expand your repertoire, but will also help you figure out your OWN sound (if you don’t already have one).

    1. Don’t think, just do.

    Some of the best beats are made when you’re not overthinking, but instead just acting on what you hear immediately at that moment. Just do it! (shout out Nike)

    2. Don’t listen to music right before you make a beat.

    Many producers will listen to music made by the artist they’re working with to get a feel of what style they’re trying to cater to. But if you learn to listen to your own creative instincts before referencing other sounds, you can ensure that your beat will be fully authentic because you’re not trying to replicate a sound — you’re going off your own style and sound.

    3. Figure out the basis of your beat.

    What’s the BPM (Beats Per Minute/Tempo)?

    What’s the pace (Double time, Half time)?

    Oldschool? Newschool? Both?

    4. Don’t overthink!

    Like I said previously, the best beats are made when you’re not overthinking things like sounds or instruments. Essentially, just be open minded and try something new. You never know —- it might blap, or you might even find your sound.

    5. Build on sounds

    Figure out what type of sounds you’re envisioning like synths, bells, plucks, etc., and build on those.  Scroll through sounds until you find a named sound that catches your eye or sounds cool. If it sounds weird, keep picking sounds that sound dope until you find one you like.

    Once you find your first sound, play the first couple melodies that come to mind.

    Keep doing this for all your sounds.

    6. Drum pattern: TRY NEW THINGS!

    Try something you’re not used to. For example — multiple snares, claps, clap rolls, layer drums, or pitch your drums to give it a different effect.

    Try using effects you haven’t used before to see if it further sauces up your midi’s.

    7. Put your own sauce on it.

    Whatever you have identified as what makes a beat uniquely your style — throw it in there. For ex: if your thing is triangles, throw a triangle in there.
    The post How To: Make a Beat Outside Your Comfort Zone appeared first on YR Media.