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Daily Archives: December 14, 2022

A Fifth of American Adults Struggle to Read. Why Are We Failing to Teach Them?

Pro Publica: The nation’s approach to adult education has so far neglected to connect the millions of people struggling to read with the programs set up to help them. In a nation whose education system is among the most unequal in the industrialized world,.. where race and geography play an outsize role in determining one’s path to success, many Americans are being failed twice: first, by public schools that lack qualified teachers, resources for students with disabilities and adequate reading instruction; and next, by the backup system intended to catch those failed by the first. Nearly 60 years ago, the federal government established funding to provide free education for adults who could not read to help them improve their literacy and obtain employment. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson recognized how low literacy intertwined with poverty and all the ills that came with it. The adult education system they built was supposed to give people everywhere a second chance at success. But, ProPublica found, access to this instruction is limited, increasingly insufficient and — much like the nation’s school systems — highly dependent on geography and the political will of elected officials. The federal government provided roughly $675 million to states for adult education last year, an amount that’s been relatively unchanged for more than two decades when adjusted for inflation. It’s not enough, and states that oversee these programs are required to commit their own share of funding. A review of adult education spending found glaring disparities among states, with some investing more than four times as much as others for each eligible student. “The magnitude of the need for adult education services has long eclipsed Congressional appropriations,” a U.S. Department of Education spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Funding levels have not kept pace with the rising cost of service delivery, nor are funding levels commensurate with the millions of people who could benefit from adult education services.” ProPublica reporters interviewed dozens of students and adult education workers in states that historically have contributed some of the least funding. We found that in some states, programs keep adults on waitlists, unable to meet demand. Some students succeed in these programs, but many drop out within weeks or months, before they are able to make progress. Students often find themselves in overstuffed classes led by uncertified part-time or volunteer teachers…”

The Politics of Loneliness

The Bulwark – Social, economic, and technological trends contribute to widespread feelings of isolation—and there’s a role for policy in making things better. by Chris Murphy: “Today’s Americans should be the least lonely in our nation’s history: More of us than ever before live in densely populated parts of the country, and technology offers us more… Continue Reading

The 2022 tech breakthroughs that could advance medicine

Mashable: “Technology and medicine have shared history for so long that the two have practically become inseparable. It’s difficult to imagine where modern medicine and, in fact, humanity, would be today without photography, microscopes, pacemakers, prosthetic devices, you name it. Thinking of how far we’ve come, from the ability to detect and diagnose disease, to… Continue Reading

Riana Pfefferkorn on End-to-End Encryption for iPhone Backups to iCloud

LawFare Podcast: “Last week, Apple made an announcement about some new security features it would be offering to users. One of those features involves users’ ability to opt in to encryption for iPhone backups to iCloud. While this new feature will enhance data privacy and security for those users who choose to opt in, it… Continue Reading

Introducing the Google Search Status Dashboard

Google Search Central: “As we head into 2023, we want to introduce another tool for the public to understand the most current status of systems which impact Search—crawling, indexing, and serving. While system disruptions are extremely rare, we want to be transparent when they do happen. In the past, we’ve worked with our Site Reliability… Continue Reading

Conservative Activist Poured Millions Into Groups Seeking to Influence Supreme Court on Elections and Discrimination

ProPublica – “Newly obtained records show how Leonard Leo, an architect of the right-wing takeover of the courts, has been funding groups pushing to change elections and anti-discrimination laws. Flush with money after receiving the largest-known political advocacy donation in U.S. history, conservative activist Leonard Leo and his associates are spending millions of dollars to… Continue Reading

3 Takeaways About Abortion Litigation Since Dobbs

Brennan Center: “In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade and held that there is no federal constitutional right to an abortion. This shifted the battle for reproductive rights primarily to the states. Dozens of lawsuits have since been filed under state constitutions and statutes challenging abortion bans, many… Continue Reading

Rebound in Confidence: American Democracy and the 2022 Midterm Elections

Bright Line Watch November 2022 surveys – “The November 2022 midterm elections narrowly returned the United States to divided government. From the perspective of American democracy, the most noteworthy result was the under performance of election denier candidates allied with former President Trump and their acceptance of the results (with only one prominent exception –… Continue Reading