Get ready to feel inspired and uplifted with a fresh perspective on the stories that have provoked our thoughts in the past week. At Citizen State, we're constantly striving for a brighter tomorrow, and often the foundations of that tomorrow begin today. So kick off your week on a positive note by perusing the pages of Citizen State Weekly. If you have any tips or would like us to showcase your story, don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article discusses the possibility of paying students over the age of 16 to attend after-school enrichment programs, extended summer learning, and work-study programs to address the decline in education outcomes and learning loss caused by the pandemic. Recent NAEP scores show a decline that could amount to as many as 22 weeks of learning loss, and chronic absenteeism is on the rise. The author argues that using the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to create opportunities that allow for more focused and intentional learning time, aimed at addressing gaps exacerbated during the pandemic, would be a better use of funds with potential for a greater return on investment. The article suggests that employing students in age-appropriate job positions at their schools and in their cities could also help address workforce shortages, reduce disengagement, and keep administrators clued into students' whereabouts. The author believes that paying kids to go to school or work at school is a seismic departure from fulfilling attendance requirements, but it represents an investment in students' future and the economy, both today and tomorrow.
After the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in Uber pausing and spinning off New Orleans’ popular bike-share program, Blue Bikes, to micromobility company Lime, which the city terminated the contract with, program manager, Geoff Coats, devised a plan to bring the service back, run by the community it served. Blue Bikes launched in 2017 with 700 bicycles, but the first of two ownership changes in 2018 saw the program bounce from Jump to Uber to Lime. Blue Krewe, the new nonprofit model, costs less to use than before, and people who use Medicaid or SNAP benefits pay $4. The program covers the same area as before, but Blue Krewe has a review process to ensure bikes are distributed equally, including an emphasis on connecting people in less advantaged areas to their jobs downtown and in the French Quarter. Coats is especially proud that Blue Krewe has hired 20 full-time mechanics, technicians, and other employees who earn a living wage with health and retirement benefits.
Supportive housing is a crucial solution to the homelessness crisis, and successful projects are supported by high-quality architecture and professional care from a team of counsellors, case managers, and other professionals. Architecture plays a key role in supporting the care of the individuals, for example providing a secure environment with plenty of natural light, creating communal spaces which are homely and nurturing, and investing in conscientious maintenance of the building. Supportive housing projects need to respond to the unique and complex needs of the individuals, and design professionals need to ensure that projects are able to meet those needs within budget constraints.
The search for alien life continues despite no definitive signs of it yet, with the discovery of more than 5,000 exoplanets in the past 30 years, including many Earth-sized worlds. The efforts to find extraterrestrial life include searching for signals from space indicating the presence of an intelligent civilization through endeavors such as SETI and Breakthrough Listen. Yet, so far, all searches have returned null results. The quest should continue to the limits of our scientific capabilities, recognizing that the search for life on other planets is a challenging and complex challenge.
Researchers at Neural Engineering and Translation Labs (NEATLabs) at the University of San Diego are using AI to personalize depression treatment and predict depressive episodes before it happens. They use EEG to measure electrical activity in the brain and cognitive games to check on emotional brain function, and participants use a smartphone app to report their feelings and activities, which is then analyzed by the AI to suggest lifestyle changes to lessen the impact of the depressive episode. In the future, the same AI will be used to predict when a depressive episode may occur and how long it may last. The NEATLabs app is not meant to replace mental health providers or their care, but to assist in treatment.