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Dec 2016
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UPSTANDERS — ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities

This is a great example of people who truly care about and care for their communities.

Upstanders is an original collection of short stories, films and podcasts sharing the experiences of Upstanders – ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities. Produced by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, the Upstanders series helps inspire us to be better citizens.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR EVERY STUDENT

A WARRIOR’S WORKOUT

THE HUNGER HACK

THE MOSQUE ACROSS THE STREET

BREAKING THE PRISON PIPELINE

EMPLOYING THE FULL SPECTRUM

THE KIDS WHO KILLED AN INCINERATOR

THE EMPATHETIC POLICE ACADEMY

HOMES FOR EVERYONE

BUILDING HOMES. BUILDING LIVES.

Artificial Intelligence is Reshaping Life On Earth: 101 Examples

I recently read this article on gettingsmart.com and thought it would be great to share the list.

This month I’ve been tracking news headlines to get a sense for how widespread AI applications have become. With a couple news alerts and searches I spotted 101 current applications–no SciFi here, these are tools people are using today. And these aren’t just clever algorithms–they are getting better and smarter the more data they interact with.

Life & Media

  1. Mapping apps and satellite view (Google Earth)
  2. Speech recognition (TechCrunch)
  3. Dating apps (Vancouver Sun)
  4. Language translation (Silicon Valley Business Journal)
  5. Image recognition (Fei-Fei Li on TED)
  6. AI composition and music recommendations (Newsweek)
  7. Make reservations at a restaurant. (Techcrunch)
  8. Filters content and make recommendations (Hubspot podcast)
  9. Write articles (Recode)
  10. Optimize website-building (TechCrunch)
  11. Manages prayer requests (Deseret News)
  12. Track and store the movements of automobiles, trains, planes and mobile phones (IBM)
  13. Track real-time sentiments of billions of people through social media (IBM)
  14. Beat the best humans in chess and Go (CCTV)
  15. Coaching social emotional relationships (Phys)

Safety & security

  1. Security-driven AI systems can easily detect and identify bad behaviors from good behaviors. (Economic Times)
  2. Quickly find security vulnerabilities (Defense One)
  3. Criminal justice system is increasingly using algorithms to predict a defendant’s future criminality (Propublica)
  4. Anomaly detection using machine vision (IBM)
  5. Predictive models for crime (IBM)
  6. Autonomous aerial and undersea warfighting (Nextgov)
  7. Guide cruise missiles (Express)

Industry & Agriculture

  1. Optimize crop yield (Amr Awadallah in Forbes)
  2. LettuceBot reduces chemical use by 90% (Wired)
  3. Driverless tractors (Business Wire)
  4. Manufacturers predict which machines will breakdown (Amr Awadallah in Forbes)
  5. Smart robots for repetitive jobs from apple picking and  sneaker maker, (Techcrunch)
  6. Robots develop and share new skills (MIT)

Transportation

  1. Driverless cars (Nature) coming to Pittsburgh this fall (Wired)
  2. Driverless trucks (TechCrunch)
  3. Managing drone traffic (Yahoo)
  4. Making bus routes smarter (Shanghai Daily)
  5. Improve the efficiency of public transportation systems (IBM)
  6. Oil exploration efficiency (Oil Price)

Environment

  1. Prediction and management of pollutants and carbon footprints. (IBM)
  2. Make data centers, power plants, and energy grids more efficient (Money)

Medicine & Health

  1. Digitized health records and all medical knowledge to improve diagnosis (IBM)
  2. Performing cohort analysis, identifying micro-segments of similar patients, evaluating standard-of-care practices and available treatment options, ranking by relevance, risk and preference, and ultimately recommending the most effective treatments for their patients (IBM)
  3. Power precision medicine (NIH)
  4. Reduction of medical errors (H&HN)
  5. Study the genetics of Autism (SAC)
  6. Analyze genomic sequences to develop therapies (Amr Awadallah in Forbes)
  7. Read x-rays better than a radiologist (nanalyze)
  8. Genomic editing–which may be the most important (and scariest) item on the list (Time)
  9. Use social media to diagnosis depression and mental illness (Tech Times)

Organizational Management

  1. Speeding and improving Identity verification and background checking (PE Hub)
  2. Monitor employee satisfaction and predict staff turnover (HuffPost)
  3. Sorting through stacks of résumés from job seekers. (Propublica)
  4. Replace handcrafted rule-based systems (TechRepublic)
  5. Smart virtual assistants (Slate)
  6. Enterprise tech companies provide deep learning as a service–AI on demand (TweakTown)
  7. Humans and robots will increasingly collaborate on problem solving (Quartz)
  8. Automated floor cleaning (Slate)

Art & Architecture

54. Organic algorithms in architecture (Greg Lynn on TED)

  1. Virtual reality art (Wired)
  2. Synthesized music (Newsweek)

Social services & Infrastructure

  1. Timely and relevant answers to citizens (IBM)
  2. Predict the needs of individuals and population groups, and develop plans for efficient deployment of resources. (IBM)
  3. Prediction of demand, supply, and use of infrastructure (IBM)
  4. Mobile phone network services (RCRwireless)
  5. Analysis of lead contamination in Flint water (Talking Machines)
  6. improve building and city design (Property Report)
  7. Poverty map of Africa to improve services delivery (Yahoo)

Finance and Banking

  1. Fraud detection (Business Insider)
  2. Scan news, spot trends and adjust portfolios (Hubspot podcast)
  3. Determine credit scores and qualify applicants (Propublica)
  4. Find the best insurance coverage at the right cost (IBM)
  5. Deliver personalized service with reduce error rates (Finextra)
  6. Handle 30k banking customer services transaction/month (American Banker)
  7. Answer 100M financial questions involving complex data (Fast Company)
  8. Auto-adjudication of insurance claims (Fast Company)
  9. Tax preparation (CFO)

Marketing & Customer Service

  1. Power chatbot customer service (CB Insights)
  2. Product recommendations (Digital Marketing Blog)
  3. Manage White House comments (Techcrunch)
  4. Chatbot lawyer contests parking tickets (Guardian)
  5. Robot inventory checker (NY Times)
  6. Recognise customer behavior and provide predictive customer service (Brand Equity)
  7. Predict eBay sales (HeatST)
  8. Improve sales funnel conversion (Digital Marketing Blog)

Entertainment

  1. Fantasy football picks (Fake Teams)
  2. Writing screenplays (Entertainment)

Education

  1. Recommend next best learning experience (Forbes)
  2. Personalized learning programs (IBM)
  3. Intelligent tutoring (Forbes)
  4. Provides six trait writing feedback (Hubspot podcast)
  5. Digitized the world’s literature enabling search/analysis (IBM)
  6. Embedded adaptive assessments promotes competency-based learning (Google’s Jonathan Rochelle in Business Insider)
  7. Improve career education (Google’s Jonathan Rochelle in Business Insider)
  8. AI is boosting HigherEd persistence with text nudges (Rose Luckin in Times HigherEd)
  9. Process intelligence tools identify and visualize opportunities (MIT)
  10. Matching teachers and schools (Getting Smart)
  11. Bus scheduling (Getting Smart)

Smart Home

  1. Smart home control systems (Fortune)

Check out these smart home startups. A lot of these use AI behind the scene to get smarter over time.

The Changing Employment Landscape

This has been a weird recovery–sluggish and slow to produce jobs and higher wages. In addition to a bunch of unusual international circumstances, the global economy has been incorporating exponential technology, particularly all the artificial intelligence applications above. While the bots are eating away at some predictable job categories, all this technology has yielded frustratingly slow productivity growth.

The economy remains a head scratcher, but web research yields pretty consistent advice for young people and job seekers in this new age of automation:

  1. Do what AI doesn’t do well: give a hug, solve a mystery, tell a story. (NPR)
  2. Analytical and interpersonal skills will likely become more important. (Brookings)
  3. Focus on adding value in novel situations. (Anthony Goldbloom on TED)
  4. Focus on computational thinking not just coding. (Edsurge)

99. Critical thinking, systems analysis, and inductive reasoning are increasingly important in “mixes and depths” that are currently rare. (Quartz)

100. Social interaction and co-working increasingly important (Business Insider)

  1. Equip graduates to work effectively alongside AI (Rose Luckin in Times HigherEd)

What’s the new hot field? When you pull junior aside at the pool party (like The Graduate), instead of “plastics” you should be recommending “machine learning.”

The first half of the information age was programming computers to do what we want. In the second half of the information age computers are programming themselves. Machine learning is the practical subset of artificial intelligence–the new hub of efforts to add intelligence to every facet of life. And it’s hot.

“It’s huge. It’s really one of the biggest shifts that we have seen in the last few decades. And it’s creating demand, off the charts demand, and this is across all industries,” said Amr Awadallah of Cloudera.

Amr added, “The future need for people with high technical skills when it comes to data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning is going to be off the charts.”

More broadly Google’s Jonathan Rochelle knows it takes a smart application of cutting-edge products to help kids learn. He encourages teachers to help kids use the latest products effectively. Those are the skills that will give them the greatest leg up as citizens, Rochelle says. “Imagine if we could teach kids all the tools that are at their disposal,” he says, “and let them take the next step to stand on the shoulders of giants.”

Read the Full Transcript of Jesse Williams’ Powerful Speech on Race at the BET Awards

Honoree Jesse Williams accepts the Humanitarian Award onstage during the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

Kevin Winter/BET—Getty Images for BETHonoree Jesse Williams accepts the Humanitarian Award onstage during the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

“Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real”

Grey’s Anatomy actor JesseWilliams was awarded BET’s Humanitarian Award on Sunday night. The outspoken human rights activist—who executive produced the recent documentary,Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement— delivered a powerful and political speech about the cause he’s worked so hard on.

Referencing recent victims of police brutality, Williams discussed the violence against black people and the struggles they’ve faced throughout history: “There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There is no tax they haven’t leveed against us,” he said.

The speech received a standing ovation by the audience, who went on to praise Williams on Twitter. A transcript of it has been published in multiple places, including The Washington Post and Bustle. Below, Genius‘s account of the speech:

Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you Nate Parker, Harry and Debbie Allen for participating in that .

Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life.

Now, this award – this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country – the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.

It’s kind of basic mathematics – the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.

Now… I got more y’all – yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear anymore about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that toEric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt.

Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money – that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There is no tax they haven’t leveed against us – and we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so… free.

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.

And let’s get a couple things straight, just a little sidenote – the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander.That’s not our job, alright – stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil – black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though… the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.

Thank you.

THE WOMAN CARD

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How feminism and antifeminism created Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
By Jill Lepore
The G.O.P. was built by women, who brought the moral crusade to party politics.
The G.O.P. was built by women, who brought the moral crusade to party politics.
ILLUSTRATION BY CHRISTOPH NIEMANN
“It means freedom for women to vote against the party this donkey represents” read the sign on a donkey named Woodrow who, wearing a bow, was paraded through Denver by the National Woman’s Party during its campaign against the Democratic incumbent, President Wilson, in 1916. This year, the hundredth anniversary of the Woman’s Party arrived, unnoticed, on June 5th. Two days later, Hillary Clinton became the first woman to claim the Presidential nomination of a major party: the Democratic Party.

If elected, Clinton will become the first female President in the nation’s history. She will also join John Quincy Adams, James Monroe, Martin Van Buren, and James Buchanan as the only Presidents to have served both in the Senate and as Secretary of State. If she loses the election to Donald Trump, he will be the first man elected President who has never served the public either in government or in the military. Trump wants to make America great again; Clinton wants to make history. That history is less about the last glass ceiling than about a party realignment as important as the Nixon-era Southern Strategy, if less well known. Call it the Female Strategy.

For the past century, the edges of the parties have been defined by a debate about the political role and constitutional rights of women. This debate is usually reduced to cant, as if the battle between the parties were a battle between the sexes. Republicans and Democrats are “just like men and women,” Trent Lott liked to say: Democrats might be from Venus, but the G.O.P. is “the party of Mars.” Democrats have talked about a Republican “war on women”; Trump says, of Clinton, “The only card she has is the woman card.” She polls better among women; he polls better among men. The immediacy and starkness of the contrast between the candidates obscures the historical realignment hinted at in their own biographies: she used to be a Republican and he used to be a Democrat. This election isn’t a battle between the sexes. But it is a battle between the parties, each hoping to win the votes of women without losing the votes of men. It’s also marked by the sweeping changes to American politics caused by women’s entry into public life. Long before women could vote, they carried into the parties a political style they had perfected first as abolitionists and then as prohibitionists: the moral crusade. No election has been the same since.

For a very long time, the parties had no idea what to do with women. At the nation’s founding, women made an argument for female citizenship based on their role as mothers: in a republic, the civic duty of women is to raise sons who will be virtuous citizens. Federalists doffed their top hats, and no more. In the eighteen-twenties and thirties, Jacksonian democracy involved a lot of brawls: women were not allowed. When the social reformer Fanny Wright spoke at a political meeting in 1836, she was called a “female man.” Instead, women entered public affairs by way of an evangelical religious revival that emphasized their moral superiority, becoming temperance reformers and abolitionists: they wrote petitions. “The right of petitioning is the only political right that women have,” Angelina Grimké pointed out in 1837.

The Whig Party was the first to make use of women in public, if ridiculously: in 1840, Tennessee women marched wearing sashes that read “Whig Husbands or None.” Because neither the Whig nor the Democratic Party was able to address the question of slavery, a crop of new parties sprang up. Fuelled by antislavery arguments, and adopting the style of moral suasion favored by female reformers, these parties tended to be welcoming to women, and even to arguments for women’s rights.

The Republican Party was born in 1854, in Ripon, Wisconsin, when fifty-four citizens founded a party to oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which threatened to create two new slave states. Three of those citizens were women. Women wrote Republican campaign literature, and made speeches on behalf of the Party. Its first Presidential nominee, in 1856, was John Frémont, but more than one Republican observed that his wife, Jessie Benton Frémont, “would have been the better candidate.” One of the Party’s most popular and best-paid speakers was Anna Dickinson, who became the first woman to speak in the Hall of the House of Representatives.

The women’s-rights movement was founded in 1848. “It started right here in New York, a place called Seneca Falls,” Clinton said in her victory speech on June 7th, after effectively clinching the Democratic nomination. Advocates of women’s rights were closely aligned with the Republican Party, and typically fought to end slavery and to earn for both black men and all women political equality with white men. In 1859, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote to Susan B. Anthony, “When I pass the gate of the celestials and good Peter asks me where I wish to sit, I will say, ‘Anywhere so that I am neither a negro nor a woman. Confer on me, great angel, the glory of White manhood, so that henceforth I may feel unlimited freedom.’ ”

After Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Stanton and Anthony gathered four hundred thousand signatures on petitions demanding the Thirteenth Amendment. They then began fighting for the Fourteenth Amendment, which they expected to guarantee the rights and privileges of citizenship for all Americans. Instead, they were told that “this is the Negro’s hour,” and that the amendment would include the word “male,” so as to specifically exclude women. “Do you believe the African race is composed entirely of males?” Stanton asked Wendell Phillips. And then she warned, “If that word ‘male’ be inserted, it will take us a century at least to get it out.”

The insertion of the word “male” into the Fourteenth Amendment had consequences that have lasted well into this year’s Presidential election. At the time, not everyone bought the argument that it was necessary to disenfranchise women in order to secure ratification. “Can any one tell us why the great advocates of Human Equality . . . forget that when they were a weak party and needed all the womanly strength of the nation to help them on, they always united the words ‘without regard to sex, race, or color’?” one frustrated female supporter of the Republican Party asked. She could have found an answer in an observation made by Charles Sumner: “We know how the Negro will vote, but are not so sure of the women.”

This election, many female voters, especially younger ones, resent being told that they should support Hillary Clinton just because she’s a woman. It turns out that women don’t form a political constituency any more than men do; like men, women tend to vote with their families and their communities. But, in 1865, how women would vote was impossible to know. Would black women vote the way black men voted? Would white women vote like black women? The parties, led by white men, decided they’d just as soon not find out.

Women tried to gain the right to vote by simply seizing it, a plan that was known as the New Departure. Beginning in 1868, black and white women went to the polls all over the country and got arrested. Sojourner Truth tried to vote in Battle Creek, Michigan. Five black women were arrested for voting in South Carolina in 1870, months before Victoria Woodhull became the first woman to run for President. She announced that women already had the right to vote, under the privileges-and-immunities clause of the Constitution, and, in 1871, she made this argument before the House Judiciary Committee. Anthony was arrested for voting in 1872—not for Woodhull but for the straight Republican ticket—and, in the end, the Supreme Court ruled against Woodhull’s interpretation of the Constitution. Thus ended the New Departure.

Prevented from entering the electorate, women who wanted to influence public affairs were left to plead with men. For decades, these women had very little choice: whatever fight they fought, they had only the weapons of the nineteenth-century religious revival: the sermon, the appeal, the conversion, the crusade. The full measure of the influence of the female campaign on the American political style has yet to be taken. But that influence was felt first, and longest, in the Republican Party.

At the Republican nominating convention in 1872, the Party split into two, but neither faction added a suffrage plank to its platform. “We recognize the equality of all men before the law,” the Liberal Republicans declared, specifically discounting women. Stanton called the position taken by the regular Republicans—“the honest demand of any class of citizens for additional rights should be treated with respectful consideration”—not a plank but a splinter. Still, a splinter was more than suffragists ever got from the Democratic Party. In 1880, Anthony wrote a speech to deliver at the Democratic National Convention. It began, “To secure to twenty millions of women the rights of citizenship is to base your party on the eternal principles of justice.” Instead, her statement was read by a male clerk, while Anthony looked on, furious, after which, as the Times reported, “No action whatever was taken in regard to it, and Miss Anthony vexed the Convention no more.”

Close elections seemed to be good for the cause because, in a tight race, both parties courted suffragists’ support, but women soon discovered that this was fruitless: if they allied with Republicans, Democrats campaigned against Republicans by campaigning against suffrage. This led to a certain fondness for third parties—the Equal Rights Party, the Prohibition Party, the Home Protection Party. J. Ellen Foster, an Iowa lawyer who had helped establish the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, spoke at a Republican rally and cautioned that a third party rewards women’s support with nothing more than flattery: “It gives to women seats in conventions and places their names on meaningless committees and tickets impossible of success.” In 1892, Foster founded the Women’s National Republican Association, telling the delegates at the Party’s Convention that year, “We are here to help you. And we have come to stay.”

In the second decade of the twentieth century, anticipating the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, the parties scrambled to secure the loyalty of voters who would double the size of the electorate, no less concerned than Sumner had been about how women would vote. “With a suddenness and force that have left observers gasping women have injected themselves into the national campaign this year in a manner never before dreamed of in American politics,” the New York Herald reported in 1912. When Theodore Roosevelt founded the Progressive Party, it adopted a suffrage plank, and he aggressively courted women. He considered appointing Jane Addams to his cabinet. At the Progressive Party’s Convention, Addams gave the second nominating speech. Then she grabbed a “Votes for Woman” flag and marched it across the platform and up and down the auditorium. Roosevelt had tried to win the Republican nomination by bribing black delegates, who were then shut out of the Progressive Party’s Convention. When Addams got back to Chicago, she found a telegram from a black newspaper editor: “Woman suffrage will be stained with Negro Blood unless women refuse all alliance with Roosevelt.”

Alice Paul, a feminist with a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania who’d been arrested for fighting for suffrage in England, decided that American women ought to form their own party. “The name Woman’s Party is open to a quite natural misunderstanding,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman admitted, introducing the National Woman’s Party in 1916. It wasn’t a party, per se; it was a group of women whose strategy was to protest the existing parties, on the theory that no party could be trusted to advance the interests of women.

Terrified by the very idea of a party of women, the D.N.C. formed a “Women’s Division” in 1917, the R.N.C. in 1918. The G.O.P. pursued a policy of “complete amalgamation,” its chairman pledging “to check any tendency toward the formation of a separate women’s party.” White women worked for both parties; black women worked only for the G.O.P., to fight the Democratic Party, which had become the party of Southern whites. “The race is doomed unless Negro Women take an active part in local, state and national politics,” the National League of Republican Colored Women said.

After 1920, Carrie Chapman Catt, the longtime head of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, turned it into the League of Women Voters, providing voter education and other aids to good government. Meanwhile, she told women to join the parties: “The only way to get things in this country is to find them on the inside of the political party.” Inside those parties, women fought for equal representation. The Women’s Division of the D.N.C. implemented a rule mandating an equal number of male and female delegates, in 1920. In 1923, the Republican National Committee introduced rule changes—billed as “seats for women”—that added bonus delegates for states that had voted Republican in the previous election. But the Democrats’ fifty-fifty rule was observed only in the breach, and, as both Catherine E. Rymph and Melanie Gustafson have pointed out in their rich histories of women in the Republican Party, the real purpose of adding the new G.O.P. seats was to reduce the influence of black Southern delegates.

The League of Women Voters was nonpartisan, but the National Woman’s Party remained antipartisan. It focussed on securing passage of an Equal Rights Amendment, drafted by Paul, who had lately earned a law degree, and first introduced into Congress in 1923. Yet, for all the work of the Woman’s Party, the G.O.P. was the party of women or, rather, of white women, for most of the twentieth century. In the late nineteen-twenties and thirties, black men and women left the Republican Party, along with smaller numbers of white women, eventually forming a New Deal coalition of liberals, minorities, labor unionists, and, from the South, poor whites. F.D.R. appointed Molly Williams Dewson the director of the D.N.C.’s Women’s Division, which grew to eighty thousand members.
In 1937, determined to counter the efforts of the lady known as “More Women” Dewson, the R.N.C. appointed Marion Martin its assistant chairman; during her tenure, she founded a national federation of women’s clubs whose membership grew to four hundred thousand. Martin, thirty-seven and unmarried, had a degree in economics and had served a combined four terms in the Maine legislature. She led a moral crusade against the New Deal. In 1940, she also got the R.N.C. to pass its own fifty-fifty rule and to endorse the Equal Rights Amendment, formally, in its platform. This went only so far. In 1946, Martin argued that party women needed more power. “We need it not because we are feminists but because there are a great many non-partisan women’s organizations that do wield an influence in this country,” she said. Five days later, she was forced to resign.

Hillary Rodham was born in Chicago in 1947. In 1960, when Richard Nixon ran against J.F.K., she checked voter lists for the G.O.P. By then, the majority of Republican Party workers were female. During the Cold War, the G.O.P. boasted about “the women who work on the home front, ringing the doorbells, filling out registration cards, and generally doing the housework of government.” As the historian Paula Baker has pointed out, party work is just like other forms of labor; women work harder, are paid less, are rarely promoted, and tend to enter a field when men begin to view it as demeaning. The elephant was the right symbol for the Party, one senator said, because it has “a vacuum cleaner in front and a rug beater behind.”

Betty Farrington, one of Martin’s successors, turned the women’s federation into a powerhouse of zealous crusaders. After Truman defeated Dewey, in 1948, Farrington wanted the G.O.P. to find its strongman:

How thankful we would have been if a leader had appeared to show us the path to the promised land of our hope. The world needs such a man today. He is certain to come sooner or later. But we cannot sit idly by in the hope of his coming. Besides his advent depends partly on us. The mere fact that a leader is needed does not guarantee his appearance. People must be ready for him, and we, as Republican women, in our clubs, prepare for him.

That man, many Republican voters today appear to believe, is Donald J. Trump, born in New York in 1946.

Political parties marry interests to constituencies. They are not defined by whether they attract women, particularly. Nor are they defined by their positions on equal rights for women and men. But no plausible history of American politics can ignore, first, the influence of a political style perfected, over a century, by citizens who, denied the franchise, were forced to plead, and, second, the effects of the doubling of the size of the electorate.

The Republican Party that is expected to nominate Trump was built by housewives and transformed by their political style, which men then made their own. The moral crusade can be found among nineteenth-century Democrats—William Jennings Bryan, say—but in the twentieth century it became the hallmark of the conservative wing of the Republican Party; it is the style, for instance, of Ted Cruz. This began in 1950, when the Republican Women’s Club of Ohio County, West Virginia, invited as its principal speaker for Lincoln Day Senator Joseph McCarthy. It was during this speech that McCarthy said he had a list of subversives working at the State Department. “The great difference between our Western Christian world and the atheistic Communist world is not political—it is moral,” McCarthy said. His rhetoric was that of the nineteenth-century women’s crusade. The great crusader Barry Goldwater said in 1955, “If it were not for the National Federation of Republican Women, there would not be a Republican Party.” That year, Republican women established Kitchen Cabinets, appointing a female equivalent to every member of Eisenhower’s cabinet; their job was to share “political recipes on G.O.P. accomplishments with the housewives of the nation,” by sending monthly bulletins on “What’s Cooking in Washington.” One member of the Kitchen Cabinet was Phyllis Schlafly.

In 1963, Schlafly nominated Goldwater to speak at a celebration marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the National Federation of Republican Women. In a straw poll taken after Goldwater delivered his speech, 262 out of 293 Federation delegates chose him. Meanwhile, Margaret Chase Smith was drafted into the race, a liberal alternative. As the historian Ellen Fitzpatrick recounts in a terrific new book, “The Highest Glass Ceiling,” Smith was the first woman elected on her own to the Senate and the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress. Asked why she agreed to run against Goldwater, she once said, “There was nowhere to go but the Presidency.” She was the first and boldest member of the Senate to oppose McCarthy, in a speech she made from the floor, known as the Declaration of Conscience: “I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny—Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.” At the Convention in 1964, she refused to endorse Goldwater, and denied him her delegates.

Young Trump had little interest in politics. He liked the movies. In 1964, he graduated from military school, where he’d been known as a ladies’ man, and thought about going to the University of Southern California, to study film. Hillary Rodham was a “Goldwater Girl.” But Smith was her hero. She decided to run for president of her high-school class, against a field of boys, and lost, “which did not surprise me,” she wrote in her memoir, “but still hurt, especially because one of my opponents told me I was ‘really stupid if I thought a girl could be elected president.’ ”

It’s right about here that the G.O.P. began to lose Hillary Rodham. In 1965, as a freshman at Wellesley, she was president of the Young Republicans; she brought with her to college Goldwater’s “The Conscience of a Conservative.” But Goldwater’s defeat led to a struggle for the future of the Party, and that struggle turned on Schlafly. In 1966, Elly Peterson, a Michigan state party chairman and supporter of George Romney, tried to keep Schlafly from becoming the president of the National Federation. “The nut fringe is beautifully organized,” Peterson complained. At a three-thousand-woman Federation convention in 1967, Schlafly was narrowly defeated. Three months later, she launched her monthly newsletter. Rejecting the nascent women’s-liberation movement, she nevertheless blamed sexism for the G.O.P.’s failure to fully embrace its most strenuous conservatives:

The Republican Party is carried on the shoulders of the women who do the work in the precincts, ringing doorbells, distributing literature, and doing all the tiresome, repetitious campaign tasks. Many men in the Party frankly want to keep the women doing the menial work, while the selection of candidates and the policy decisions are taken care of by the men in the smoke-filled rooms.

In the summer of 1968, Trump graduated from Wharton, where, he later said, he spent most of his time reading the listings of foreclosures on federally financed housing projects. That September, in Atlantic City, feminists staged a protest at the Miss America pageant, the sort of pageant that Trump would one day buy, run, and cherish. They carried signs reading “Welcome to the Cattle Auction.”

Rodham, a twenty-year-old Capitol Hill intern, attended the Republican National Convention in Miami as a supporter of the antiwar candidate, Nelson Rockefeller. For the first time since 1940, the G.O.P. dropped from its platform its endorsement of equal rights. Rodham went home to see her family, and, hiding the fact from her parents, drove downtown to watch the riots outside the Democratic National Convention. One month too young to vote, she’d supported the antiwar Democrat, Eugene McCarthy, before the Convention, but later said she would probably have voted for the Party’s nominee, Hubert Humphrey.

In 1969, Rodham, senior class president at Wellesley, became the first student invited to deliver a commencement address, a speech that was featured in Life. In 1970, a leader of her generation, a student at Yale Law School, and wearing a black armband mourning the students killed at Kent State, she spoke about her opposition to the Vietnam War at a convention of the League of Women Voters, on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary. She had become a feminist, and a Democrat.

What followed is more familiar. Between 1964 and 1980, Schlafly’s arm of the Party steadily gained control of the G.O.P., which began courting evangelical Christians, including white male Southern Democrats alienated by their party’s civil-rights agenda. In the wake of Roe v. Wade, and especially after the end of the Cold War, the Republican Party’s new crusaders turned their attention from Communism to abortion. The Democratic Party became the party of women, partly by default. For a long time, it could have gone another way.

In 1971, Hillary Rodham met Bill Clinton, Donald Trump took over the family business, and Gloria Steinem, Tanya Melich, Bella Abzug, and Shirley Chisholm helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus, which, like the National Woman’s Party, sought to force both parties to better represent women and to gain passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. At the 1972 G.O.P. Convention, in Miami, Republican feminists demanded that the Party restore its E.R.A. plan to the platform. They won, but at a cost. After the Convention, Schlafly founded stop era.

The Democratic Party, meanwhile, was forging a new coalition. “A new hat, or rather a bonnet, was tossed into the Democratic Presidential race today,” Walter Cronkite said on CBS News, when Chisholm, the first black woman to be elected to Congress, announced her bid. She went all the way to the Convention. Chisholm said, “You can go to that Convention and you can yell, ‘Woman power! Here I come!’ You can yell, ‘Black power! Here I come!’ The only thing those hard-nosed boys are going to understand at that Convention: ‘How many delegates you got?’ ” She got a hundred and fifty-two.

By 1973, Trump was making donations to the Democratic Party. “The simple fact is that contributing money to politicians is very standard and accepted for a New York City developer,” he explains in “The Art of the Deal.” He also appeared, for the first time, in a story in the Times, with the headline “major landlord accused of antiblack bias in city.” The Department of Justice had charged Trump and his father with violating the 1968 Fair Housing Act. “We never have discriminated,” Trump told the Times, “and we never would.”

In 1974, Rodham moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked for the special counsel preparing for the possible impeachment of Richard Nixon. The next year, she married Bill Clinton, though she didn’t take his name. The G.O.P., weakened by Watergate, and thinking to stanch the flow of departing women, elected as party chair Mary Louise Smith, an ardent feminist. In 1975, some thirty G.O.P. feminists formed the Republican Women’s Task Force to support the E.R.A., reproductive rights, affirmative action, federally funded child care, and the extension of the Equal Pay Act.

The shift came in 1976. Rodham went to the Democratic Convention, at Madison Square Garden. Schlafly went to the Republican Convention, in Kansas City*, where, as the political scientist Jo Freeman has argued, feminists won the battle but lost the war. For the nomination, Ford, a supporter of the E.R.A., defeated Reagan, an opponent, but the platform committee defeated the E.R.A. by a single vote.

In 1980, Republican feminists knew they’d lost when Reagan won the nomination; even so moderate a Republican as George Romney called supporters of the E.R.A. “moral perverts,” and the platform committee urged a constitutional ban on abortion. Tanya Melich, a Republican feminist, began talking about a “Republican War against Women,” a charge Democrats happily made their own. Mary Crisp, a longtime R.N.C. co-chair, was forced out, and declared of the party of Lincoln and of Anthony, “We are reversing our position and are about to bury the rights of over a hundred million American women under a heap of platitudes.”

Buried they remain. Until 1980, during any Presidential election for which reliable data exist and in which there had been a gender gap, the gap had run one way: more women than men voted for the Republican candidate. That changed when Reagan became the G.O.P. nominee; more women than men supported Carter, by eight percentage points. Since then, the gender gap has never favored a G.O.P. Presidential candidate. The Democratic Party began billing itself as the party of women. By 1987, Trump had become a Republican.

In the Reagan era, Republican strategists believed that, in trading women for men, they’d got the better end of the deal. As the Republican consultant Susan Bryant pointed out, Democrats “do so badly among men that the fact that we don’t do quite as well among women becomes irrelevant.” And that’s more or less where it lies.

With the end of the E.R.A., whose chance at ratification expired in 1982, both parties abandoned a political settlement necessary to the stability of the republic. The entrance of women into politics on terms that are, fundamentally and constitutionally, unequal to men’s has produced a politics of interminable division, infused with misplaced and dreadful moralism. Republicans can’t win women; when they win, they win without them, by winning with men. Democrats need to win both the black vote and the female vote. Trump and Clinton aren’t likely to break that pattern. Trump, with his tent-revival meetings, is crusading not only against Clinton and against Obama but against immigrants, against Muslims, and, in the end, against every group of voters that has fled the Republican Party, as he rides with his Four Horsemen: Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.

“This is a movement of the American people,” Trump wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “And the American people never lose.” It took a very long time, and required the work of the Republican Party, to change the meaning of “the American people” to include everyone. It hasn’t taken very long at all for Trump to change it back. The next move is Clinton’s, and her party’s. ♦

*
Jill Lepore is a staff writer and a professor of history at Harvard. “The Secret History of Wonder Woman” is her latest book. MORE
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BY JILL LEPORE

 

10 BRITISH MILLENIALS EXPLAIN WHY THEY VOTED LEAVE OR REMAIN

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On June 24, 2016, British citizens woke up to a brand new world. In a stunning upset, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, becoming the first major country to voluntarily exit the EU. The final tally–roughly 52% voted to leave, 48% to remain–reflected a country starkly divided by political beliefs.

On social media, many young people bemoaned that their future had been determined by a older generation, given that a poll released on the same day indicated that 75% of people between the ages of 18-24 voted to remain.

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Ben Riley-Smith ✔ @benrileysmith
HOW AGES VOTED
(YouGov poll)
18-24: 75% Remain
25-49: 56% Remain
50-64: 44% Remain
65+: 39% Remain#EUref
3:24 PM – 23 Jun 2016
38,451 38,451 Retweets 18,717 18,717 likes
Here, 10 British citizens under the age of 40 explain the reasons behind their vote.

Alex Hawley, 27, Trainee Solicitor. I voted Remain.
Alex Hawley
The EU provides an extra tier of protection against our own government. Human rights protection has not fallen away with Brexit, but protection for us as consumers, employees, and members of various underrepresented or vulnerable groups is at risk.

Guy Laurence Dunkley, 26, Salesman. I voted Remain.
Guy Laurence Dunkley
I am fully aware of the European Union’s faults. For starters its institutions are plagued with inefficiency and accountability problems and that isn’t even beginning to mention its mismanagement of the refugee crisis. Apart from the purely selfish reasons such as my pay being in pounds and my soon-to-be-born half-Dutch niece, I feel our membership was important for symbolic reasons. Britain has always faced outwards to the world and building stable relationships with our European neighbors has been our biggest diplomatic success over the last 50 years. I feel we have turned our back on our natural allies and displayed a frankly nasty, ignorant and fearful side to our national character. I fear the vote will result will result in the breakup of the UK and over 300 years of shared experience, learning and overall achievement.

Anthony Boutall, 28, Director of Executive Search Company. I voted Leave.
Anthony Boutall
I am so glad that Britain has voted against the scaremongering and defeatism of the Remain campaign, instead choosing to re-claim democratic self control and re-energize our global vocation. Inside the EU’s customs union, we have missed out on global free trade deals, waiting at the back of a queue of 27 other countries who rarely agree unanimously on the minutia of detail in those trade agreements. Outside the EU, we can make the most of our global links, language, and world-renowned services industry. Inside the EU, we have been forced to accept lawmaking from an unelected body in another country. Only now, outside the EU, will the buck stop in Downing Street and with democratically elected leaders. This is a common bond between English speaking cultures, and one that we should be ecstatic to reignite.

Matt Graham, 37, Screenwriter. I voted Remain.
Matt Graham
I believe in the European Union: a group of millions of people who come from different cultures and yet still manage to co-operate with one another. Personally, I also feel European, of British extraction, part of a greater whole: the family of European nations. I don’t believe that Nationalism is the answer for the UK, which is a country made up after all of four different nations itself – nations that have succeeded in co-operating with each other over the centuries. I believe in the need for co-operation in an increasingly multicultural world, where nation states are less important. I believe in the need to stamp out intolerance and racism, and most seriously of all, I believe in the need for us to co-operate in a world in which global warming and resource scarcity are the single key issues that face all mankind. The more I travel in the world, the more I learn one single lesson: that people are the same, and that its only by co-operation that we succeed in overcoming the dangers facing us. That’s why I voted Remain – and even after yesterday, I Remain hopeful.

Brogan Kear, 26, Office Assistant. I voted Leave.
Borgan Kear
The EU and Europe are vastly different things. I adore Europe, which is precisely why I am so frustrated by what its Government is doing to it. The EU is a many-layered Governmental system, not a warm and fuzzy feeling of co-operation and love among European neighbors.We are not fighting against the concept of harmony between European nations and people- quite the opposite. We are fighting against a Parliament in which the representatives we *do* elect have no power to propose or repeal legislation. We are pushing for individual countries to be able to control their own economies. This is a positive vision of democracy and self-determination for all countries, not some spiteful act of self-isolation. It is not a protest against unity and co-operation, but a protest against the notion that “one size fits all” in terms of policy being applied to vastly different countries with vastly different economies and political climates. I believe in every country’s right to govern itself. I believe that when we sell more to the EU than they sell to us.I believe that an immigration system favoring people with European passports while making it difficult for talented people from the Commonwealth and elsewhere is unfair. I believe in our ability to take any legislative ideas from the EU which are beneficial to society and apply them voluntarily, and I believe we should have the right to say “no” to laws or regulations which are restrictive or damaging to businesses and industries in this country. I believe in the successes of Norway and Switzerland, who have rejected the EU and flourished. I believe that the claims that we are leaping into the “unknown” are easily disproved by the fact that the majority of the world’s countries have never been in the European Union and are managing just fine. I believe in Britain, and I believe in Europe.

Neil King, 36, Criminal Barrister. I voted Leave.
Neil King
I did so because, the referendum having been called, if we voted to stay the EU would have seen that as a rubber stamp for further federalism and would have ignored the traditional British threat of “our people want out, so give us what we want or else” that we’ve been deploying for years. I also think the 20th century customs union is not a model for the 21st century. Being in the EU inhibited our ability to trade with Africa, China, India and the US. I am also concerned by unbridled Eastern European migration. It has completely transformed the nature of market towns in the East of England, as reflected by their strong out vote.

Calum Fleming, 25, Writer/Actor. I voted Remain.
Calum Fleming
I voted to remain in the EU because I believe that in a smaller world you have to think bigger than your borders. When I am in Glasgow, I am reminded I am from Edinburgh. When I am in England, I am resolutely Scottish. When I am in Europe, I am sure to tell people I’m British. When I am in America, I think of myself as a European. I feel that really we are all human beings, we all deserve equality and we all deserve a good chance. Sure, the UK may have a strong economic standing that attracts immigration, but this equation that immigration equals less for the current population seems to ignite in many some old imperialistic and nationalist views. In contrast, I voted to leave the UK when the Scottish referendum happened and it was for exactly this reason. I felt that rural England is drowning out the progressive views that Scotland has. Really it’s like we’re being held back by readers who don’t know the difference between an EU migrant, a non EU migrant and a refugee. One has free travel, one has to combat a tier system, and one has to flee from wars that we started. To every Leave voter I have spoken to, they are the same- immigrants. The main reason I voted to remain is because I see a brighter future where countries all work together for the benefit of the human race, and not just for themselves.

Kate Bramson, 24, Political Consultant. I voted Leave.
Kate Bramson
For me, I believe that as a country we should be looking worldwide, seizing the opportunities which the world has to offer. Since the referendum was put to the public, I have questioned what our future prospects will be both in the EU and outside. The deal which Cameron had struck did not go far enough on reform and that for me was the biggest barrier to our future.

Will Abberley, 31, University Lecturer. I voted Remain.
Will Abberley
This is one of the worst days of my life. For three years I’ve been worrying about this referendum ever since Cameron promised one and today, finally, my fears have been realized. But judging by the attitudes of many (particularly older) Brexit-voters, no one seemed to realise the national suicide this was going to be. It was like a combination of mischievous nose-thumbing at the establishment and ridiculous imperial nostalgia. Like when a semi-senile grandparent tells you no one used to lock their doors when they were young and the sun shone brightly every day, and you’re just like, uh-huh, OK, grandad, whatever – except now that has actually become the official government strategy for the future. There is no plan, nothing. Boris is a complete hypocrite chancer who rode the coat-tails of this Brexit mania in the hope becoming PM. I am really, seriously worried about the future. Like, 1930s worried.

Meredith Lloyd, 28, Political Researcher. I voted Leave.
Meredith Lloyd
The reason I voted (and have campaigned for several years) for Britain to leave the European Union, is the love I have for my country, and my belief we have a role to play in the world and not just Europe. After over 40 years of membership, it is time to unshackle ourselves from a political project that has become protectionist, introspective, and unfit for purpose. The EU’s vision for the future, of further and further political, social and financial integration, was increasingly at odds with British values. Outside of the E.U., British people will be free to govern themselves again, our business will be freer to trade more globally, not merely with the near continent, and Britain will be able to strengthen and forge new trade and diplomatic relations with neighbors across the world, whist maintaining the close and important ties with our friends in Europe. This is not a question of pulling up the drawbridge or isolationism, it is about broadening our horizons. The British people have rejected the nay-sayers who say we are too small to make it alone. This is a victory for courage, democracy, and freedom, and above all is a new opportunity. We have said “No and Goodbye” to the European Union, but we still say “Yes” to the countries of Europe, and now also say “Hello” to the wider world.

John Oliver on Brexit Vote: ‘There Are No F—— Do Overs’

A warning for Americans thinking of voting for Trump.

A week after dedicating the bulk of an episode of HBO’sLast Week Tonight to laying out the potential pitfalls of a U.K. decision to leave the European Union, British comedian John Oliver returned on Sunday night with a condemnation of the Brexit referendum results.

Discussing the seismic aftereffects of the U.K.’s vote to leave the EU, the British-born Oliver kicked off Sunday’s show by joking that after the events of the past week the name, the United Kingdom “is beginning to sound a bit sarcastic.” He went on: “Because the U.K. this week voted to leave the European Union, a decision that has shaken the world. And not in a, ‘Muhammad Ali beating Sonny Liston’ kind of way. More in a, ‘Those IKEA meatballs you love contain horse kind of way.’ And, the fallout in Britain has been swift and significant.”

In addition to the global financial fallout in the wake of the U.K.’s historic decision, Oliver noted the announcement that British Prime Minister David Cameron will resign as a result of the vote, due to the fact that Cameron had supported the “Remain” camp in the vote. And he talked about the upheaval that will ensue from the Brexit vote.

“It seems like whoever the next U.K. prime minister is going to be, whether it’s Boris Johnson or a racist tea kettle, they are going to be in for a rough few years,” he said.

Even though he said he’d normally take pleasure in Cameron leaving his post, he couldn’t now because he knew how horrible the Brexit fallout will be for the U.K. “David Cameron announced he would be stepping down in the wake of the vote, which should make me happy, but in this situation, it doesn’t,” he said. “It’s like catching an ice cream cone out of the air because a child was hit by a car. I mean, I’ll eat it, I’ll eat it — but it’s tainted somehow.”

Warning to America

Oliver also discussed Donald Trump’s reaction to the Brexit results after the presumptive GOP nominee compared the “Leave” supporters in the U.K. to his own supporters in the U.S. Oliver’s response? “You might think, ‘Well that is not going to happen to us in America. We’re not going to listen to some ridiculously haired buffoon, peddling lies and nativism in the hopes of riding a protest vote into power.’ Well let Britain tell you, it can happen, and when it does, there are no f—ing do-overs,” the comedian said.

 

‘Inspiration porn’

The show then turned its attention to the 2016 Olympic Games, which kick off in Rio de Janeiro later this summer and which Oliver jokingly described as “your biannual reminder that NBC exists.” After quickly skewering the often treacly video segments featuring athletes’ backstories that typically run during networks’ Olympics coverage—Oliver called them “inspiration porn”—the comedian turned his attention to recent concerns over doping and drug-testing at this year’s games.

Oliver quoted a report estimating that 29% of athletes at the 2011 world championships admitted anonymously to doping within the previous year. He also noted that the incentive for athletes to cheat is immense, considering how much money is on the line for them as well as for the networks broadcasting the event and the organizations hosting. “There is a massive financial ecosystem dependent on spectacular athletic achievement in scandal-free games,” he said.

For instance, NBC has already sold more than $1 billion worth of advertising around this year’s Olympics and the network, in turn, is paying billions of dollars to the International Olympic Committee for the rights to televise the next several Olympic games. And, that’s not to mention the wide range of sponsor companies that strike deals with Olympic medal-winners to endorse their products. (“No professional swimmer wants a sandwich in the pool,” Oliver said with mock incredulity in reference to U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps’ commercials for sandwich chain Subway.)

In trying to explain how, despite strict testing, some athletes still get away with doping. Oliver displayed a graphic showing the convoluted process of how athletes are tested by various anti-doping agencies that receive oversight and funding from governments as well as the IOC itself. Oliver called the system “a sprawling mess” while pointing out how easy it is for corruption to spread throughout the system.

 

“This is all actually making FIFA look good . . . and, they’re basically just a mafia with slightly better branding,” Oliver said of soccer’s international governing body. It was an apt and scathing comparison from Oliver, considering the scale of scandals and corruption that have embroiled FIFA over the years.

To finish the show, Oliver introduced a video parodying the types of inspirational segments he’d mocked earlier in the show, except Last Week Tonight‘s version showed a fake athlete who trains for the Olympics by downing massive amounts of pills while practicing his preposterous excuses for how illegal substances could wind up in his bloodstream.

This story has been updated to include the video from John Oliver’s show.

100 Examples of Putting Science in Its Rightful Place

President Obama’s leadership has had a profound impact in building U.S. capacity in science, technology, and innovation.
President Obama meets with John Holdren, Office of Science and Technology Policy, in the Oval Office prior to Stem Cell Executive Order "Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells" and Presidential Memorandum on Scientific Integrity, March 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama meets with John Holdren, Office of Science and Technology Policy, in the Oval Office prior to Stem Cell Executive Order “Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells” and Presidential Memorandum on Scientific Integrity, March 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama blows a bubble while talking with nine-year-old Jacob Leggette about his experiments with additive and subtractive manufacturing with a 3D printer, his project that was part of the White House Science Fair in the Blue Room of the White House, April 13, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama blows a bubble while talking with nine-year-old Jacob Leggette about his experiments with additive and subtractive manufacturing with a 3D printer, his project that was part of the White House Science Fair in the Blue Room of the White House, April 13, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

On January 20, 2009, President Obama issued a simple and powerful pledge: to restore science to its rightful place. Coming into office, the President was committed to reinvigorating the American scientific enterprise through a strong commitment to basic and applied research, innovation, and education; to restoring integrity to science policy; and most importantly, to making decisions on the basis of evidence, rather than ideology.

Today, the Administration is releasing a list of 100 examples of the profound impact that the President’s leadership has had in building U.S. capacity in science, technology, and innovation and bringing that capacity to bear on national goals. The release of this list also marks the milestone of Dr. John P. Holdren becoming, on June 18, 2016, the longest-serving President’s Science Advisor since Vannevar Bush pioneered a similar role while serving Presidents Roosevelt and Truman during and after World War II.

Be sure to check out the full list, but here is just a sampling:

  • Increased science, technology, and innovation talent in the Administration. The President created three new high-level science, technology, and innovation positions in the White House—a U.S. Chief Technology Officer, a U.S. Chief Information Officer, and a Chief Data Scientist. Through the U.S. Digital Service, GSA’s 18F, and the Presidential Innovation Fellows program—each created by this Administration—more than 450 engineers, designers, data scientists, and product managers have signed on for a tour of duty to serve in over 25 agencies alongside dedicated civil servants to improve how government delivers modern digital services to the American people. He also reinvigorated the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).
  • Restored scientific integrity, opened up data, and enhanced collaboration with citizens. On the first day of his Administration, the President issued a Presidential Memorandum calling on all the agencies in the Federal Government to work together to create “an unprecedented level of openness” in government and to “establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration,” and soon thereafter issued a Presidential Memorandum on scientific integrity to ensure the public is able to “trust the science and scientific process informing public-policy decisions.” To date, more than 180,000 Federal datasets and collections have been made available to the public on Data.gov, and more than 4 million full-text scientific journal articles and growing volumes of scientific research data are now free and accessible to the public via agency-designated repositories. Since 2010, more than 80 Federal agencies have engaged 250,000 Americans through more than 700 challenges on Challenge.gov to address tough problems.
  • Enacted a historic increase in research and development, and maintained it as a priority despite tight fiscal constraints. With $18.3 billion in research and development funding, the Recovery Act of February 2009 was part of the largest annual increase in research and development funding in America’s history, and every President’s budget proposed by President Obama since then has consistently prioritized research funding.
  • Prioritized and encouraged broad participation in STEM education. The President’s Educate to Innovate campaign, launched in November 2009, has resulted in more than $1 billion in private investment to improve K-12 STEM education. The Nation is on track to meet the President’s January 2011 State of the Union goal to put 100,000 additional excellent STEM teachers in America’s classrooms by 2021. The President has helped showcase to students—including through events such as the White House Science Fair—that science, math, engineering, and computer programming are deeply compelling subjects that can help solve problems locally and globally.
  • Launched a national network for manufacturing innovation. The Administration has launched a national network of nine Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, supported by over $600 million in Federal investment and matched by more than $1.2 billion in non-Federal investment, and is on a course to launch 15 institutes by January 2017.
  • Expanded entrepreneurship across the nation. From 2014 to now, the Small Business Administration has funded over 100 startup accelerator programs in every corner of the country, serving well over 3,000 startups that have collectively raised over $850 million in capital. As part of the first-ever White House Demo Day in August 2015, 40 leading venture-capital firms, with more than $100 billion under management, committed to advance opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities, and more than a dozen major technology companies committed to new actions to ensure diverse recruitment and hiring.
  • Driven innovation in health care. In January 2015, President Obama launched the Precision Medicine Initiative, providing more than $200 million to accelerate a new era of medicine that delivers the right treatment at the right time to the right person, taking into account individuals’ health histories, genes, microbiomes, environments, and lifestyles. In January 2016, the President tasked Vice President Biden with heading a new national effort to end cancer—by encouraging public and private efforts to double the rate of progress in cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care in order to make a decade’s worth of advances in 5 years. In addition, President Obama launched the BRAIN Initiative in April 2013 to develop neuro-technologies that could expand our understanding of how the brain works and uncover new ways to treat, prevent, and cure brain disorders. This effort has already catalyzed $1.5 billion in public and private funds. Further, the President signed an executive order in September 2014 directing key Federal departments and agencies to take action to combat the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  • As part of a historic push to take action on climate change, contributed to the rapidly declining cost of renewable-energy technologies and issued new greenhouse gas and fuel-economy standards. The United States now generates more than three times as much electricity from wind and 30 times as much from solar as it did in 2008; and the cost for wind electricity in good-to-excellent sites has fallen roughly 40 percent, and the cost for solar electricity has fallen by 50-60 percent. The Administration also released greenhouse gas and fuel-economy standards for light duty and heavy duty vehicles. The fuel-economy standards for passenger vehicles are the toughest in U.S. history and, once fully implemented, will save drivers as much as $8,000 in fuel costs over the life of their new vehicle while avoiding 6 billion tons of greenhouse gas pollution and reducing American dependence on foreign oil by 2 million barrels per day in 2025.
  • Expanded national, local, and mobile broadband access. Under the Recovery Act, the Administration added or improved more than 114,000 miles of broadband infrastructure, making high-speed connections available to more than 25,000 community institutions. Through aggressive spectrum policy and private investment, more than 98 percent of Americans have access to fast 4G/LTE mobile broadband.
  • Fostered a burgeoning private space sector and increased capabilities for our journey to Mars. Working with NASA, American companies have developed new spacecraft that are delivering cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) and will start ferrying astronauts there by the end of 2017. The Administration’s investments in space technology development, including through the Space Technology Mission Directorate created by NASA in 2013, are developing less-expensive capabilities for NASA’s exploration missions and for the President’s goal of a human mission to Mars in the 2030s. Due to the Administration’s leadership, ISS’s lifetime has been extended twice, and the Station is now due to continue operating until at least 2024.

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Is It Really Possible That Professional Development Doesn’t Work?

TNTP’s new report, “The Mirage,” is essential reading for anyone interested in educator effectiveness. It’s smartly researched and delivers an uppercut of a conclusion: Today’s professional development doesn’t work.

There’s just one small problem. I’m not sure I believe it.

To trust its findings would mean admitting that we’ve wasted hundreds of billions of dollars. It would mean we’ve misled millions of educators and families about improving the profession. It would mean a load-bearing wall of the Race-to-the-Top and ESEA-waiver talent architecture is made of sand. All of this would be hard to swallow, but I suppose it’s possible.

But to accept and act on these findings would mean putting our full faith in today’s approach to evaluating educator effectiveness. It would mean believing generations of schools, school systems, PD providers, institutions of higher education, and parents were wrong when it comes to assessing and improving teacher performance. For me, this is a bridge too far.

The study encompassed four large school operators and surveyed thousands of educators. It used multiple measures to assess teacher effectiveness and tried to find variables that influenced whether a teacher improved (things like “growth mindset,” school culture, and access to different types of PD).

Some of the findings are staggering. The districts spent about $18,000 per teacher, per year on development. This amounts to nineteen full school days of PD annually. Despite all of this, “most teachers do not appear to improve substantially from year to year.” The average veteran teacher (ten years of experience or beyond) “has a growth rate barely above zero.”

Moreover, the researchers found no commonalities that distinguished teachers who did improve from those who didn’t. “We looked at dozens of variables…every development strategy, no matter how intensive, seems to be the equivalent of a coin flip.”

The measures of effectiveness seem to be wholly untethered to teachers’ self-assessments. Despite wide variations in assessed performance, more than 80 percent of teachers gave themselves a four or five on a five-point scale. More than 60 percent of teachers found to be low-performing rated themselves as a four or five. Among teachers whose classroom practice was found to have declined, the vast majority still said their instruction had improved.

If TNTP is right, we should be beside ourselves. We’re spending billions, most teachers aren’t seeing their performance rise, and we have no idea why improving teachers are getting better. If TNTP is right, teachers aren’t getting better like they think they are.

If TNTP is right, a major federal push seems terribly unfair. The teacher evaluation reforms encouraged by RTTT and ESEA waivers were sold with promises that they weren’t meant to punish teachers, but instead as a means to help them improve. Now we have state laws with tough consequences for teachers who persistently underperform, but we’re saying, “Oops, we actually don’t know how to help you get better.”

If TNTP is right, this would be like dystopian YA lit meets education policy—bleak as the day is long.

Maybe I’m whistling past the graveyard or just obstinately refusing to accept evidence. But it seems implausible to me that our systems of developing educators have had virtually no utility. So I want to offer an alternative hypothesis. My point is not to defend PD. It’s to question how we’re assessing educators.

To be clear, I think that for way too long, our systems for evaluating teachers were primitive, poorly implemented, too detached from student performance, and warped by policies that disincentivized critical ratings. I believe that the last several years of reforms have moved us in the right direction; I’m a supporter of new observation rubrics, student surveys, SLOs, VAMs/SGPs, and other innovative ways of triangulating teacher performance. But I also believe that we still have miles to go.

I’m of the mind that we’re still not fully or fairly articulating—at least in the policy world—what it means to be a great and improving teacher. So my inclination is to rely (probably more heavily than my reform-oriented friends) on the accumulated wisdom reflected in current practice. That means I’m skeptical when any organization, even one that I respect as much as TNTP, argues that longstanding practice is misguided.

My immediate reaction after reading “The Mirage” was to advocate for a total realignment of PD. But now I’m not so sure, because I don’t think we’re clear about the target at which it should be aimed—what it means to be that great, improving educator. My view is that we still have lots of work to do here.

For example, many of us increasingly believe that teaching “grit” is invaluable, but the leading researcher wants to pump the brakes on how it’s measured and tied to teachers. This very good piece by Peter Greene argues that since public schools emanate from communities, each community should have a say in what effective teaching in its schools looks like. Robert Pondiscio and Kate Stringer recently made a compelling case about the civic role of schools, which is seldom discussed in the context of educator evaluations. Some schools seem to be fostering social capital inside and outside their walls, but we’re still not sure how. The “Moneyball for Education” project argues there are good measures we’re not using and probably even better measures we haven’t thought of yet.

In short, I’m wondering if important elements of great teaching and continuous improvement are found in today’s PD but are not captured by our evaluation systems.

Maybe the real mirage is today’s too-confident definition of “highly effective teacher.”

– Andy Smarick