To celebrate Cesar Chavez Day, we're sharing the story of the School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza, a grantee of our Performing Arts Program. The plaza sits squarely in San Jose's Mayfair, a historically Latino neighborhood where Cesar Chavez grew up and where he led the first of the boycotts for farmworker rights that he organized in the 1960s.
When the plaza was built in 1999, its backers saw it mainly as a performance venue: a "Latino Lincoln Center." A decade later, the city of San Jose decided to make a change, and established the School of Arts and Culture at MHP in 2011 to provide new leadership for the plaza:
The new vision for the plaza focused on arts education—and in particular the traditional arts of Mexico and the Latino diaspora—as a means to help young people grow as individuals, to build important skills like creative problem-solving and collaboration, all while fostering cultural knowledge. “In this community, but I would say throughout most of American culture, we consume the arts—it’s entertainment,” said Lilia Agüero, the school’s director of education. “But here, you can learn to be a maker, and that instills, I think, a sense that you can do things.”
Today, the plaza's classrooms buzz with the sounds of people engaged in creating art—guitar lessons, baile folklórico, ceramics, and painting. Children learn what they are capable of while connecting with their heritage. And the community has a place where its children can be safe, and where it can celebrate art and culture—a refuge in the heart of the neighborhood.
Earlier this month, Fay Twerskey, director of our Effective Philanthropy Group, joined Jacob Harold of Guidestar and Cynthia Figueroa of Congreso de Latinos Unidos for a conversation about the Performance Imperative, an effort to develop a common definition of "high performance" for the nonprofit sector and describe the seven pillars that can help organizations achieve their greatest impact. A recording of the webinar is now available.
Wednesday morning, Hewlett Foundation Program Officer Marc Chun kicked off a day of Deeper Learning selfie—or #DLfie—sharing with the tweet above, and asked others to share what they were doing right now to contribute to deeper learning. Tweets came in from classroooms,
All of which goes to show the tremendous range of places that deeper learning is happening, and the many ways its helping prepare students for college, career, and life. We've pulled together a Storify of some of the best #DLfies, and hope you'll add yours to the mix.
At an event at MIT’s Stata Center, the home of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), with more than 200 students, academics, and industry representatives in attendance, MIT faculty and administrators unveiled three new cybersecurity initiatives, to be housed at CSAIL and the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Funded with a $15 million grant from the Hewlett Foundation, the MIT Cybersecurity Policy Initiative will pool the expertise of researchers at CSAIL, MIT Sloan, the MIT departments of political science and economics, and the Science, Technology, and Society program to better characterize the security dynamics of large networked systems, with the aim of guiding policymakers.
Cybersecurity@CSAIL will provide funding and coordination for the lab’s ongoing research into hardware- and software-based approaches to computer security, while MIT Sloan’s Interdisciplinary Consortium for Improving Critical Infrastructure in Cybersecurity, or (IC)3, will focus on the human element — how organizations can ensure that their employees or volunteers are not creating security vulnerabilities, whether intentionally or not.
Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer spoke recently at the Commonwealth Club of California about the origins of our current political polarization and what the Foundation's Madison Initiative is doing to address it. Audio of his talk is now available.
At Research to Action, a short followup from Ruth Levine, director of our Global Development and Population Program, on the presentation she made at the recent Think Tank Exchange conference in Istanbul:
There are many ways to think about ethical practices in think tanks, but whether the thoughts turn into actions depends on whether the organization has the leadership, appropriate staffing and systems, and financial resources to adhere to the highest standards of transparency and accountability to a range of stakeholders.
My short presentation at the Think Tank Exchange 2015 covered some of the ways in which funding affects the ability of an organization to adhere to ethical practices. It was not intended to offer a comprehensive view of either ethics or funding, but rather to start a conversation about the relationship between the two – and perhaps stimulate thinking within think tanks about changes they might want to make in their relationships with funders.
Many school administrators, teachers and parents want the education provided to children to be high quality, rigorous and connected to the world outside the classroom. Teachers are trying to provide these elements in various ways, but a group of schools calling itself the “Deeper Learning Network” has codified some of what its members believe are essential qualities of deep learning (check out how students lead parent teacher conferences in this model). Some of the goals include learning designated content, critical thinking, communication skills, collaborating effectively and connecting learning to real-world experiences.
Bob Lenz of Envision Schools (a grantee of our Education Program), in an op ed in the San Jose Mercury News, on the "false choice" between skills and college readiness for high school students:
Learning to code is cool, but I fear we will be in an either-or situation: learn code or learn academics. Schools like the ones in the High Tech High Network prove that students can apply and demonstrate their understanding of academic topics through project-based learning. Young people in these schools are creating applications and interactive websites that utilize significant academic content, require coding skills and have real-world applicability.
These kids will have more options: 4-year college or a technical career will be their decision, not one made for them because they were channeled into a single-focus program.
Interesting piece at TechCrunch by Ben FitzGerald of the Center for a New American Security (a grantee of our Cyber Initiative), on the importance of collaboration across sectors and disciplines for real cybersecurity:
Government outreach efforts often talk about collaboration and working together but usually in a vague, aspirational, kumbaya kind of way. However, for cybersecurity the need for collaboration is pragmatic and pressing.
The ubiquity and power of information technology means that the biggest security risks exist at the intersection of disciplines and communities. Collaboration is the only way to mitigate these risks.
An intersectional perspective allows us to better understand why certain cyber attacks occur and are so damaging.
Writing in the Christian Science Monitor, Cyber Initiative Program Officer Eli Sugarman makes the case that hackers—the white hat wearing kind—are critical to U.S. cybersecurity:
During his State of the Union address last month, President Obamasingled out hackers as one of America’s principal cyber enemies and called for stiffer criminal penalties against them. Fans of this tough rhetoric should beware: a war on hackers could actually chill legitimate security efforts.
From the National Security Agency to Google, US government agencies and businesses are turning to hackers to develop, test, and secure their critical systems and products. Hackers succeed by thinking outside of the box. They break the rules and oftentimes cheat. While many types of hacks – remotely disabling a car’s engine or cracking heavily encrypted data using only a microphone – sound criminal, they aren't. Rather, they are routinely conducted by leading academic or independent security researchers.
In fact, hacking plays a critical role in securing everything from ATM machines to smartphones. Defenders develop better security measures only after a new attack is invented. Both government and industry recruit skilled white hat (good) hackers to test their systems and defend against black hat (malicious) hackers.