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Proposals By California Lawmakers Look to Strengthen Kindergarten Offerings

Published April 20, 2022 at 9:46 AM PDT
Second Grade instructor Marisela Sahagun speaks to students in her classroom at St. Joseph Catholic School in La Puente, California on November 16, 2020.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
Second Grade instructor Marisela Sahagun speaks to students in her classroom at St. Joseph Catholic School in La Puente, California on November 16, 2020.

Proposals By California Lawmakers Look to Strengthen Kindergarten Offerings

Kindergarten Bills 4.20.22

California doesn’t require children to attend kindergarten, and it also doesn’t require districts to provide full-day programs. Estimates have found about 6% of California children never enroll in kindergarten, while about one-quarter of the state’s public schools only provide half-day kindergarten.

But two separate proposals in the state legislature this session could change that. One bill (SB 70) would make kindergarten mandatory, while the other (AB 1973) would require districts to offer full-day kindergarten. However, these proposed changes are not exactly new — both ideas have advanced as far as the governor’s desk in recent years – only to get vetoed. But perhaps the pandemic has changed the game this time, with enrollment in California public schools falling sharply, especially for kindergarteners. And as research has increasingly shown the importance of early education in long-term success, advocates argue that a stronger emphasis on kindergarten could help improve ongoing issues of educational inequity.

Today on AirTalk, Deborah Stipek, Stanford education professor, Samantha Thompson, the associate director of early learning policy for The Education Trust-West, and Gennie Gorback, board president of the California Kindergarten Association will discuss the possible implications of these proposals focused on the state’s youngest learners.

With guest host Kyle Stokes. 

‘Algospeak’ And The Pitfalls Of Content Moderation Via Algorithm On Social Media

Algospeak 4.20.22

Content moderation on social media is a tricky business, and has been since the dawn of social media itself. Platforms are under increasing scrutiny for how they decide what content they allow or don’t allow on their platforms, and what content gets boosted or downvoted by the algorithms they use. Inevitably, this has led users to create ways to get around the algorithms so their content can make it in front of more eyeballs, and while the Internet is no stranger to bad actors who might try to do so with ill intent, there are also hundreds of thousands of users across the world who are trying to post content for their followers or on a certain subject matter that is only being filtered out because of terminology or language that runs afoul of the algorithm’s programming.

In a recent Washington Post piece, reporter Taylor Lorenz explores one method users have developed for avoiding algorithms – “algospeak.” Essentially, it’s developing vernacular that users have pioneered on platforms like TikTok as a way of preventing their posts from being removed or voted down by content moderation algorithms. For example, someone might use the term “becoming unalive” instead of saying “dead” in a post meant to seriously discuss suicide, because the term “dead” or “suicide” might get flagged for moderation simply for containing those words. This is just one example of many, but it shows how the algorithm might filter out a post that would otherwise be completely within the platform’s terms of service. And as Lorenz points out in her article, this kind of moderation often impacts BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and other creators from marginalized communities more directly, as they are often the creators who have to come up with these new terms so their content isn’t flagged by the algorithm.

Today on AirTalk, we’ll talk with Kendra Calhoun, a postdoctoral researcher in linguistic anthropology at UCLA and Ángel Díaz, a lecturer in law at UCLA, about what “algospeak” is, how social media platforms’ algorithms moderate content, whose voices get amplified or suppressed because of it, how it has changed the way creators make and market their content, and the challenges for content platforms like TikTok of walking the line between preventing harassment, abuse, and misinformation without also filtering out content that might simply fall victim to the limitations of the algorithm.

With guest host Kyle Stokes

Could Enrollment-Centric Funding Make K-12 Education More Equitable?

School Funding 4.20.22

California has historically based school funding on students’ daily attendance, one of only six states that do so. Critics say the model is outdated, and California State Senator Anthony Portantino has introduced a bill this year to fund schools based on enrollment instead. Supporters say SB 830 would get a greater share of funding to low-income schools with higher rates of chronic absences.

But some critics of the legislation say if the state makes the switch, it needs to do more to address its declining public school enrollment. They also argue the distribution of the funding may not be as necessary as the need to directly increase funds for underfunded districts.

Today on AirTalk, guest host Kyle Stokes breaks down the conversation surrounding Senate Bill 830 with its author, state senator Anthony J. Portantino, and director of P-16 education policy at The Education Trust—West Natalie Wheatfall-Lum.

With guest host Kyle Stokes.

From Stamps To Snow Globes, People Love Their Collections – We Want To Hear About Yours

Collecting 4.20.22

People start collections for many reasons. Maybe it’s a fascination with old stamps, or a nostalgia for special edition books. Or maybe a collection starts off with a gift from someone that grows into a passionate hunt for more of the same. Whatever the reason, it’s safe to say that people have a knack for collecting. In a recent piece for The New York Times, Oscar-winning filmmaker and Roots member Questlove described collecting as an act of devotion, and creation. At the heart of his collection are vinyl records, of which he owns more than 200,000, not to mention the 500 other items that he considers “top-tier specimens.” At some point in the collecting process, the objects go from being possessions of the collector to a collection that can take on a world of its own. They can teach us about our societal values, lend clues to historical trends, and even give us insight into our own nature. What we collect and why we collect can be deeply personal. For some, it can even be self-defining.

Today on AirTalk, we’re joined by Cristina Favretto, head of social collections at the University of Miami Libraries to talk about what we collect and why. We also hear from listeners about their own collections.

With guest host Kyle Stokes.

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