Emory Reviews ‘Sanctuary Campus’ Petition; Assesses Options

Zak Hudak and Julia Munslow:

Emory administrators are “developing a strategy on how to protect undocumented students” in response to a petition signed by more than 1,500 members and 17 organizations of the Emory community requesting that the University become a “sanctuary campus,” Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Ajay Nair said.

The petition — sent to Nair, University President Claire E. Sterk and Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Stuart Zola — came 12 days after Republican Donald J. Trump won the presidential election and amid uncertainty surrounding the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Student Government Association (SGA) endorsed the petition Monday by a vote of 26-2, with one abstention.

Israeli government’s call for mandatory biometric ID system met with backlash

Israeli interior minister Aryeh Deri has called for all Israeli citizens to obtain a mandatory biometric identity card, with their personal information stored on a national digital database, according to a report by The Times of Israel.

As detailed in a memorandum, in the next two weeks citizens will be permitted to comment on the new ID system.

Following this period, the bill will go to a ministerial committee, and if approved, it will be put to a vote in the Knesset.
“The biometric database is crucial to prevent identity theft of Israeli citizens, and it is protected and secured at the highest level,” Deri said.

The biometric card will store the cardholder’s data — their personal information, fingerprints, photo and facial profile — on an embedded chip, with all information also stored in a secured database.

One App, Two Systems: How WeChat uses one censorship policy in China and another internationally

Lotus Ruan, Jeffrey Knockel, Jason Q. Ng, and Masashi Crete-Nishihata

Keyword filtering on WeChat is only enabled for users with accounts registered to mainland China phone numbers, and persists even if these users later link the account to an International number.

Keyword censorship is no longer transparent. In the past, users received notification when their message was blocked; now censorship of chat messages happens without any user notice.

More keywords are blocked on group chat, where messages can reach a larger audience, than one-to-one chat.

Keyword censorship is dynamic. Some keywords that triggered censorship in our original tests were later found to be permissible in later tests. Some newfound censored keywords appear to have been added in response to current news events.

The Crime of Speech: How Arab Governments Use the Law to Silence Expression Online

Eva Galperin:

Since the revolts that took the region by storm in 2010 and 2011, the Arab world continues to face a diverse set of sociopolitical challenges. Each of the countries studied in this report–Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia–has responded to the uprisings differently. Government reactions range from the expansion of rights, to social upheaval, to civil war. Additionally, the rise of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) poses a threat to all four countries.

In reaction to fundamentalist groups often relying on the Internet for propaganda and recruiting, several governments in the Arab world have passed shortsighted cybercrime and counterterrorism laws­–ostensibly to combat these groups on the digital front.1 It is unclear what kind of motivation lies behind these laws; however, as it stands, national security appears to give lawmakers a convenient excuse to crack down on rights.

Research has found that each country’s law enforcement uses a wide range of mechanisms to stifle dissent. These laws do little to prevent activity by terrorist groups such as ISIS. Instead, they frequently explicitly criminalize speech that the government finds threatening to its legitimacy, and are often used to supplement other totalitarian practices to target and stifle unwanted or politically critical speech.

The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens

Ferris Jabr

In a viral YouTube video from October 2011 a one-year-old girl sweeps her fingers across an iPad’s touchscreen, shuffling groups of icons. In the following scenes she appears to pinch, swipe and prod the pages of paper magazines as though they too were screens. When nothing happens, she pushes against her leg, confirming that her finger works just fine—or so a title card would have us believe.

The girl’s father, Jean-Louis Constanza, presents “A Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work” as naturalistic observation—a Jane Goodall among the chimps moment—that reveals a generational transition. “Technology codes our minds,” he writes in the video’s description. “Magazines are now useless and impossible to understand, for digital natives”—that is, for people who have been interacting with digital technologies from a very early age.

A competitive Madison School Board Race?

Doug Erickson:

Madison School Board members Ed Hughes and Michael Flores said Thursday they’ll run for re-election — Hughes for a fourth term, Flores for a second.

Candidate filing for the seats began Thursday and ends Jan. 3. Terms are for three years.

Hughes (Seat 7) and Flores (Seat 6) are the only members of the seven-person board whose terms expire in 2017. Members are elected districtwide but must run for specific seats.

Hughes has run unopposed each of his prior three campaigns but appears to have picked up a challenger this time. Juvenile attorney Nicki Vander Meulen announced on Facebook that she plans to seek Seat 7. She could not be reached for comment.

The nonpartisan general election is April 4. If a primary is needed, it will be Feb. 21.

Hughes, 64, is a lawyer and former board president. He was very visible this fall advocating for a referendum — approved overwhelmingly by voters Nov. 8 — that will provide the district with more operating money. He has been a frequent and pointed critic of the state’s funding of public education and of many Republican-led education efforts, such as the expansion of the state’s private-school voucher program.

Homeschooling as a right, and a needed practical alternative


Education in Victoria is succeeding in some areas, but failing in many others – we have new school buildings, but they are overflowing and the school rolls climbing so quickly that teachers and principals have no bandwidth left for improving educational outcomes. Schools are adapting to technology, but failing to handle the wide range of ability and rates of learning our kids have. The system is not flexible enough to handle the needs of low achievers and high achievers in specific areas.

Every couple of months there is a new study showing how badly Australia is doing compared to other countries in areas such as Math. We know there are approaches that have worked elsewhere but we seem unwilling or unable to change and adopt them.

Homeschooling is an important right for Victorians – in many cases it is the only way to solve problems with bullying, with low achieving students and with high achieving students. Homeschooling is a rising demographic which serves as an important barometer of how well our schools are serving students and parents.

Virginia schools ban ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ ‘Huckleberry Finn’ for racial slurs

Brianna Chambers

The decision to remove “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain and “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee came after a parent filed a complaint, WAVY reported. The parent cited excessive racial slurs as the reason for wanting the books banned, Superintendent Warren Holland told the news station.

The parent, whose son is biracial, said that her concerns are “not even just a black and white thing.”

Commentary On K – 12 School Governance

Annysa johnson

Jensen and Underwood squared off as part of a discussion on the lessons learned from a quarter century of school vouchers in Wisconsin, moderated by Alan Borsuk, a longtime education journalist and fellow at the law school.

Wisconsin’s is the largest voucher program in the country with 261 schools and more than 33,700 students taking part. As part of the program, students receive state-funded vouchers of $7,232 or $7,969, depending on the grade, to attend private schools, most of them religious.

“Nearly a quarter of all children in the city of Milwaukee receiving a publicly funded education are doing so through

Voucher schools spend substantially less per student than traditional K-12 schools.

Madison’s traditional public schools spend about $18,000 per student, well Wisconsin voucher schools spend less than that.

Civics: FBI and NSA Poised to Gain New Surveillance Powers Under Trump

Chris Strohm

The FBI, National Security Agency and CIA are likely to gain expanded surveillance powers under President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress, a prospect that has privacy advocates and some lawmakers trying to mobilize opposition.

Trump’s first two choices to head law enforcement and intelligence agencies — Republican Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Republican Representative Mike Pompeo for director of the Central Intelligence Agency — are leading advocates for domestic government spying at levels not seen since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Princeton University Math Club

Course Guide

The guide is split up into nine sections. One section is on introductory courses, while the other eight correspond to major branches of math. Each section starts with an overview, which discusses the subject covered by the section as well as how the subject is taught at Princeton. Following the overview is a listing of relevant courses in the subject. Most courses will have a detailed description of the course content that goes beyond the descriptions provided by the registrar or the math department. In addition to this, most overviews and course descriptions will also provide useful commentary and advice. You will find that many topics in math spill over into other departments, most notably COS, ORF, and PHI. We have provided descriptions of the relevant courses in these other departments as well.

Undergrad Math Tips

Jessica Purcell

This guide was written with the calculus student in mind, though the tips are applicable to many undergraduate math classes. In the type of course this guide addresses, you will be successful if and only if you can do well on the exams. So essentially, this guide gives tips for doing well on your math exams.

The first thing to realize in this course is that you can’t cram for your math exams. To be successful, you basically have to start at the beginning of the quarter and put in a lot of mathematical effort each week. In fact, if you follow the tips suggested, you may even find yourself working harder than you’ve ever worked before in a class. However, you’ll feel your work paid off after your first successful exam.

With ‘pathways’ initiative, Madison looks to fundamentally change its high school experience

Doug Erickson:

A major educational restructuring is underway in the Madison School District with the potential to fundamentally change the high school experience for all district students.

Beginning next fall, the district will start phasing in “personalized pathways,” described as a way for students to explore college and career options and to learn more about their passions.

The concept will start relatively small the first year, with 120 to 150 freshmen at each of the district’s four main high schools voluntarily opting into a health services pathway.

Eventually, the approach could become the new reality for all high school students. District administrators say their “current vision” is for the initiative to become compulsory by school year 2022-23, when it would be fully built out. There would be four to six pathways by then.

Before that happens, though, there is expected to be a crucial trigger point — probably midway through the second year — where administrators and School Board members will take what’s been learned and decide whether to keep moving toward full implementation.