Reports from Rockland

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

New York’s students may be passing required state tests, but that doesn’t mean some aren’t falling short in college. Education Commissioner David Steiner talks about these findings and other education issues. Plus: the Your Anecdotal Census series continues with a look at Rockland County’s demographics, which include a large Jewish community and hundreds of Haitians displaced by January’s earthquake.

    Race and Reporting

    As reverberations of the Sherrod case continue, David Frum and Joel Dreyfuss discuss what it says about race relations and the media today. Frum is former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and editor of  Dreyfuss is managing editor of The Root.

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    Testing 1 2 3

    David Steiner, New York State education commissioner and president of the University of the State of New York, discusses findings that say New York's standardized tests have become easier, and even students who pass the tests are falling short in college.

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    Volunteer Match: Kids and Families

    All this month we're highlighting volunteer opportunities in our listening area. Greg Baldwin, president of VolunteerMatch, discusses how you can help. This week we look at opportunities for kids and for families.

    → Explore the VolunteerMatch Database: Google Earth Map | Listings

    → We'll list the opportunities mentioned on-air on the BL Show blog, and ask you to report back on your work.

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    Your Anecdotal Census: Rockland County

    Tim Henderson, data analyst for The Journal News, discusses the changing demographics of Rockland County over the last ten years.  Then Renold Julien, executive director of the Konbit Neg Lakay, a Haitian-American community center based in Spring Valley, talks about the Haitian community there.  Marla Cohen, editor of the Rockland Jewish Reporter, joins with changes she has noticed in the secular Jewish community of Rockland County over the past decade.  Later C. Scott Vanderhoef, Rockland County executive, talks about the policy implications of demographic changes in Rockland County.

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    Open Phones: Your Summer Book and Music Picks

    What are your summer reading and listening recommendations for Brian's vacation?  A favorite bestseller or hit, or do you have a tip on an undiscovered new find? In particular, focus on recent releases. Call in, leave your recommendation here, or post to twitter using the hashtag #blvacationpicks!

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    vinyl record player

    Listener Suggestions: Brian's Vacation Playlist

    On Thursday, July 22, listeners called in to give Brian suggestions for music to listen to and books to read on his summer vacation. Here are some of the suggested songs played on the show. (Expand)

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    Volunteer Month: Tips for Kids

    Tips for Your Child's Volunteering (or Family Volunteering)

    From our friends at VolunteerMatch

    • Look for a program with a track record of successful age-specific children's programs. Don't assume that the nonprofit down the street from your house can engage your children in a safe, fun, and meaningful experience - not every organization can.
    • Think carefully about your child's interests and skills. The best opportunities are those that he or she will really enjoy doing while also being great learning experiences.
    • Make sure your children understand that their activities are making a difference. Explain in an age-appropriate way that sharing one's time and energy is an act of giving that all of us can perform. A good way to reinforce this is to cite characters from stories or films that give unconditionally to help others.
    • Children get the most from volunteering when their parents take part, too. But if you ever need to leave your child alone at a nonprofit facility, insist that a supervisor with education or childcare credentials be onsite at all times.
    • Do a little screening. Get the contact information of other parents involved in the volunteer program and ask them about their experiences. Check Google for information about the program.
    • Be honest with volunteer coordinators about your child's skills and limitations. If your child is disabled, say so, and be alert to volunteer coordinators who seem uncertain how to involve your child. A good volunteer coordinator should be able to make it work.
    • Be upfront about your child's availability. Some volunteer opportunities are short-lived; some require longer commitments. For many nonprofits, it's better to recruit the right volunteer than one who needs to leave the program early.
    • Once you've made a commitment on your child's behalf, you must keep it. If emergencies come up, the right thing to do is provide notice in accordance with the policies of the organization so alternative arrangements can be made.
    • Check in with the volunteer coordinator after a volunteer opportunity. How did you child respond to the work? What actions if any should you take to make the next opportunity a positive one?

    Using Search Effectively for Child Volunteering

    • Include the word "child" in your keyword search.
    • Look for organizations with a track record of child-friendly volunteering.
    • Utilize the "Great for Kids" and "Great for Groups" categories in Advanced Search.
    • Take advantage of ratings and recommendations from other parents about specific programs.

    Listen to the conversation on air with Greg Baldwin about kids and volunteering.


    Map Your Moves: Data Visualization Challenge

    →This project is now closed, but you can see the submissions we received here!

    As part of our 10 Questions that Count census project, we asked you to Map Your Moves - where you've lived over the last ten years and why you moved. Now, it's time for you to make that information beautiful. 

    If you're a graphic designer, mapper, statistician or any other kind of data visualization guru, we're offering the raw data for free download to play with. (What is data viz? Some infoYou have until Sunday, August 22nd to work with the data and present it in whatever neat way you see fit. Be it a map, a chart, an image, it's up to you! Anything visual goes.

    Download the data (for import, .xls, .csv, .xml, or .txt) here!

    When you're done, email with your file attached or a link to where you've posted it online.

    The favorite entry (as determined by WNYC producers and the BL Show audience) will be posted on our site, appear on air, and possibly more.

    For more information and some basic guidelines check after the break. Thanks for participating, spread the word, and happy visualizing!

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