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Brooklyn New York High School Class Can’t Take Serial Killer Book Off The Premises

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High school students from Brooklyn’s Midwood high school are taking a true crime class where teens read up on real  murderers and mass shooters. Assistant Principal of English Suzane Thomas issued an edict to the school’s librarians last month that bars them from allowing students to take copies of the books home.

“I am requesting that the following list of books be placed on ‘restricted access’ to students,” Thomas said in the May 30 memo. “They have been borrowed by students in the True Crime class.

“In no way am I suggesting that these books be censored, as they are NYSTL [Text Law] approved by the DOE,’’ she wrote. “However, please do not allow students to take them home — they should be read in the library where they are supervised by a teacher or a librarian.’’

City education officials said the edict was given simply so every student could have access to the books.

“The books were available for all students to read and were kept in the library so that they could be accessible to everyone,” said Department of Education spokesman Doug Cohen.‎‎ “Any other interpretation of the guidance that was shared is simply inaccurate.’’

However, It seems that some Midwood HS staffer begged to differ

The in-school-only restriction “doesn’t make sense,” said retired Midwood librarian Arlene Weber Morales, who was at the school when the crime course was created and admitted she had “mixed feelings” about offering such violent content to teens.

“The librarians order extra copies of books so students can take them home,’’ said Morales, who retired in 2015. “Don’t parents want to know what the kids are reading? I would order more copies of the books.’’

A current Midwood staffer said Thomas “clearly states that this is not book banning. But it is.

“We are waiting to see if the administration cancels this course, because most of the books used in the class are on the[banned] list,’’ the source added, noting it would be a shame if True Crime were killed because it is “a very popular class.’’

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Brooklyn/Staten Island) questioned why the class was even in existence.

“Sadly, this is a city in which criminals are sometimes placed on pedestals, and entrepreneurs are vilified,” she said. “How about teaching about civic and business leaders who beat the odds so they too can strive for success?

“I see why the school doesn’t want students to take the books home,’’ she added. “Parents will flip out.”

Thomas declined to comment.

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Qatar Adds New Courses To It’s Master’s Degree In Library & Information Studies

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University College London Qatar (UCL Qatar) has announced the introduction of new courses within its postgraduate master’s degree of Library and Information Studies.
For the first time in Qatar, specialized courses in archives, records and data management will be taught. These will support the transition of Qatar to a knowledge-based economy and the development of the country’s growing need for library and information specialists.
The updates will help meet the growing need from across government and the private sectors to handle an ever-increasing amount of records, and to support the emerging research sector and e-government initiatives.
Trained data professionals in the sector will be able to manage and handle records from government agencies and private corporations, as well as the emerging research sector in the country.
The announcement comes just weeks after the official opening of the Qatar National Library that will now support Qatar’s innovative and research-based libraries sector to become a
regional leader.

Applications for UCL Qatar’s master’s degree programmes in Library and Information Studies and Museum and Gallery Practice are currently open at UCL Qatar. The degree programmes are available as full-time one year courses or part-time two years courses.

U.S. Public Schools Lost Approximately 20% Of Their Librarians Since 2000

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According to a new analysis of federal data, The United States can’t afford librarians. Between 1999-2000 and 2015-16, U.S. public schools lost 19% of full-time equivalent school librarians, according to a School Library Journal article by researcher Keith Curry Lance that examined National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data.

The shortage in public school librarian employment  has not recovered since 2008. Districts serving minorities have been hit the hardest. Among all the districts that have retained all their librarians since 2005, 75% are white, Education Week reports. On the other end of the scale, student populations in the 20 districts that lost the most librarians in the same time comprised 78% students of color.

In essence, while U.S. employment rates are back up in the wake of the Great Recession, the public school librarian sector has not rebounded, and the nation’s collective failure to rebuild its public information infrastructure and minorities have been hit the hardest.

 

Some states suffered a more dramatic loss than the average. The number of librarians employed across Florida’s 67 school districts has dropped by 27% since just 2005, according to a 2017 Herald Tribune article, leaving several districts without any librarians at all. In replacement, the Herald Tribune argues, paraprofessionals run libraries as media aides — a position that requires just a high school diploma and a certification, and which starts at $14.60 an hour. Librarians with masters’ degrees, however, are often the first to go when budgets need to be cut.

Education Week’s articles also argues that librarian’s roles are being replaced by other, less qualified job titles: As public school librarians dwindled by 20%, schools saw an 11% rise in counselors, 19% boost in instructional aides, and a full 28% more school administrators.

 

Several recent studies have indicated that students suffer academically as a result: One nationwide study published in 2011 found signs that states’ 4th grade reading scores dropped in correlation with their loss of librarians. A 2012 Colorado-specific study from the same researchers then followed up, finding a similar correlation in the opposite direction: “Schools that either maintained or gained an endorsed librarian between 2005 and 2011 tended to have more students scoring advanced in reading in 2011 and to have increased their performance more than schools that either lost their librarians or never had one,” that study holds.

 

Algorithm Tool Created to /wean Out Predators In Chat Rooms

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An algorithm tool developed by Purdue Polytechnic Institute faculty will help law enforcement filter out and focus on predators most likely to set up face-to-face meetings with under age victims.

The Chat Analysis Triage Tool (CATT) was presented last week by principal investigator Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar, assistant professor of computer and information technology, at the International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts Conference in Anaheim, California.

CATT allows the officers to work through the volume of solicitations and use algorithms to examine the word usage and conversation patterns by a suspect. Seigfried-Spellar said data was taken from online conversations provided voluntarily by law enforcement around the country.

The project started as a result of a partnership with Ventura County Sheriff’s Department in California.

Seigfried-Spellar said the research discovered tactics like self-disclosure is used early in a predator’s talks with a potential victim.

Seigfried-Spellar worked in developing CATT with two co-principal investigators, associate professor Julia Taylor Rayz, who specializes in machine learning and natural language processing, and computer and information technology department head Marcus Rogers, who has an extensive background in digital forensics tool development.

CATT algorithms examine only the conversation factors and do not take the gender of either suspect or victim into consideration, at this time.

The project began with initial research done by Seigfried-Spellar and former Purdue professor Ming Ming Chiu. The exploratory study examined more than 4,300 messages in 107 online chat sessions involving arrested sex offenders, identifying different trends in word usage and self-disclosure by fantasy and contact sex offenders using statistical discourse analysis.

The trends determined through this research formed the basis for CATT. The research, “Detecting Contact vs. Fantasy Online Sexual Offenders in Chats with Minors: Statistical Discourse Analysis of Self-Disclosure and Emotion Words,” has been accepted and will be published in the journal “Child Abuse and Neglect.”

Initial plans are to turn the tool over to several law enforcement departments for a test run. Seigfried-Spellar said CATT could be handling data from active cases as early as the end of the year.

GMAIL Has A New Look

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Click On Gear icon top right to enable the new Gmail.

Google has not made this new Gmail default for everyone yet, so if you’re not seeing it, keep checking back. The rollout is supposed to be global for all 1.4 billion Gmail users.

The Future Of Jobs & Skills

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Education and training systems, having remained mostly static and underinvested in for decades, are largely inadequate for these new labor markets. Additionally, a prevailing gender bias is introducing further inefficiency and inequality. The Economic forum says we must rethink the way talent is developed and deployed in the world. This will require breaking down old silos between education systems and labor markets, more agile approaches to regulation, new forms of public-private collaboration, and new norms and values.

The World Economic Forum’s System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Education, Gender and Work seeks to ensure that talent is developed and deployed for maximum benefit to the economy and society. How, by mobilizing leaders from business, government, civil society and others through new insights, common agendas, and collaborative action. The objective: build an ecosystem of leaders by bringing together a community of business, policy-makers, civil society and other leaders; 

 

Nursery Groups In London Reveal Gender Gap in Pay

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Nursery groups with more than 250 employees have reported on their gender pay gaps, with women ahead in some companies, but men still paid more in others despite the female-dominated nature of the early years sector.

New gender pay reporting legislation has required large companies to reveal the extent of pay differences between men and women for the first time. Nationwide, three-quarters of companies have been shown to pay men more than women, with the average pay gap 18.4 per cent in favour of men, but the early years picture is different.

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