Wednesday, May 8, 2019

ACC adds second bachelor's degree program

A growing number of students in Austin are graduating high school with not only a high school diploma but an associate's degree as well.  These are students who have completed an Early College program while they were in high school.  Here is news from ACC that they are accepting students with associate's degrees for a new bachelor's degree program in Computer Information Technology -- a high demand field in Austin. 

From the Community Impact Newspaper:

"In the fall 2018 semester, Austin Community College launched its first bachelor’s degree program, seeking to address the nursing shortage in Central Texas by allowing local registered nurses to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Next year, the community college district will begin its second bachelor’s degree program with a similar goal——helping members of the local workforce advance their careers——albeit in a different sector of the local economy.
The Bachelor of Applied Science program in Computer Information Technology will have three specializations when the program begins at ACC in the spring semester of 2020: software development, cybersecurity and data science. ACC’s board of trustees approved the program unanimously May 6.
Mike Midgley, the vice president of instruction at ACC, said the community college identified the information technology sector as an important area to expand its academic offerings.
“We think (IT professional development) is the most important thing to do next after health sciences, given our regional economy,” Midgley said."

Monday, May 6, 2019

For a Climate of Peace

A new show of art at the Austin Central Public Library by Calder Kamin is a brilliant exhibition of pieces depicting animals at risk of extinction.  The pieces are constructed of pieces of trash -- plastics and other non-biodegradable materials that are part of the problem in our earth's fight for survival.  Kamin dedicates the show to the youth who are now on the forefront of the movement for immediate action on climate change.  Kids who came to the Kamin exhibit were invited to make posters to add to the display, and this is one.  Indeed, a major part of our efforts to stop harming the environment must be to stop war and militarization.  The US military is still the largest institutional polluter in the world.  What is supposed to be "defense" is really offense.  What is supposed to protect people is really hurting people.  We do need a climate of peace in order to preserve our planet. 


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Career Fair SOY tabling at newly renamed Northeast High School

Yesterday, Hart, Tami and I really appreciated participating in an all-day career fair at Reagan HS -- soon to be called Northeast HS because of the Confederate associations with the Reagan name. About 100 students came by to do some or all of the t-shirt challenge.

In response to the reflection question about which of the Supervillains they would fight and how, about half chose Racism. I am happy for the school's name change away from the Confederate Postmaster because it is clear that racism is a very present concern for students. As one student wrote, "We can fight racism by overcoming white privilege."  About 17% of students chose to fight the Sexism Supervillain because, as one student wrote, "We should all be treated equally, and the way we will fight is by using our voices." The Supervillains of War, Greed and Ecocide each were named by about 11% of students. Wrote one, "Ecocide. I mean we can try together as a society by reducing how much pollution we produce like ride a bike/walk if its somewhere close." Another wrote, "I'd go for Ecocide because without the earth, we couldn't solve any of those. We could do regular old recycling, or could waste less."  Wrote another, "Ecocide, because at the moment I feel that the ecosystem is really in trouble."

Choosing to fight against War, one student wrote, "because of all the innocent people dying for no reason or getting captured."  Another student wrote that war could be prevented by coming up "with a really good compromise for both sides."  And as another student concluded, "I would choose to fight War, because I would like to see Peace and how it would feel."

Penny Poll results from about 90 students showed a priority for Education at 29% of the vote ("for my kids," said one student), 28% for the Environment, 24% for Health Care, 10% for NASA and 9% for the Military.

Speaking of the military, there were 3 tables of military branches at the career fair: Army, Marines and Army National Guard. Northeast also has an Air Force JROTC and a number of students were wearing their insignia and helping out with the career fair. I was dismayed to see that the recruiters had sign-up sheets set out at their tables for students to write down their contact information. I showed the 3 recruiters the AISD policy that prohibits recruiters from soliciting student contact information. They responded that they weren't "soliciting" --they were just putting the sign-up sheet out there. I believe they know the intent of the policy is to not get phone numbers from students, but they are trying to circumvent the policy.

We were glad to be part of the career fair to offer some balance to the recruiters and to give students an opportunity to talk about what is important to them.  As the EMT who was set up at the table next to us said, his mission and ours were the same: to try and prevent pain and suffering.  

Army recruitment table with sign-up sheet collecting student contact information -- in violation of AISD policy regarding recruitment in schools

Marines recruitment table with sign-up sheet collecting student contact information, in violation of AISD policy regarding recruitment in schools

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Crockett Cougars fight the Super-villains

some of our literature, including a helpful flier about 8 of the local Americorps programs

Yesterday, Hart, Tami and I had a good lunch-hour visit to Crockett HS.  Students were eager to do the t-shirt challenge, and they had ideas for how to fight the Super-villains of Greed, Racism, War, Sexism and Ecocide.  Penny Poll results showed the biggest priority for Health Care, with 36.5% of the vote, followed by 26.5% for Education, 16.5% for the Environment, 12% for the Military and 8.5% for NASA.

Here are some of their responses to the Super-villains question.  Thanks, Cougars!
War because it needs to stop.  People need to agree with me -- violence is never the answer

Ecocide, I believe expansion is killing our environment

I will fight racism by showing that everyone is equal and spreading awareness

We saw this poster on a bulletin board and thought it was excellent

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

First time to table at Texas State University

Big thanks to Greg Moses for inviting us to be part of a tabling day at Texas State University in San Marcos today! Hart and I were so glad to be joined by GI resister, Stephen Funk (and his adorable dog, Crisco) and by Mia Estrada from the Philosophy Department at TX State. And thanks to Alan Pogue for coming and taking photos! We value all the engagement with students who stopped at the table to talk about the issues addressed by the reflection question, the Peace Wheel and the Penny Poll.

Penny Poll results showed a strong priority for Education, garnering a full 30% of the penny vote, followed by 23% for the Environment, 21% for Health Care, 11% for Humanitarian Aid, 10% for the Military and 5% for NASA. Several students put all their pennies into the Education jar, and a student made the apt observation that if we didn't have catastrophes caused by climate change, we wouldn't need so much humanitarian aid. 

Thanks, Bobcats, for welcoming us to your campus today!

Mia models our t-shirt!

Stephen's sign with our guest dog, Crisco

A few of the responses to our reflection question