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March 18, 2014

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona Technology and Innovation: CompuGirls

  |   Video
  • CompuGirls is a program for adolescent girls that combines learning advanced computational skills along with key areas of social justice. The program was founded by Kimberly A. Scott, Women and Gender Studies associate professor in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. Scott was named a STEM Access Champion of Change at the White House in February, and will discuss her program.
  • Kimberly A. Scott - Founder, CompuGirls
Category: Technology   |   Keywords: technology, innovation, arizona, compuGirls, social, justice, girls, skills,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Tonight's focus on Arizona technology and innovation looks at a Compu-girls, a program for adolescent girls that combines computational skills with key areas of social justice. The program was founded by Kimberly Scott, women and gender studies associate professor at ASU's school of social transformation. Scott was recently honored at the White House for being a stem access champion of change.

Ted Simons: Congratulations on that honor. Very nice.

Kimberly Scott: Thank you. It was a lot of fun.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about Compu-girls. Give me a definition.

Kimberly Scott: It is a technology program second airily, really focused on getting girls ages to redefine themselves and use technology in the process.

Ted Simons: I notice that it was -- the quote here was culturally relevant tech program for girls. What does that mean culturally relevant?

Kimberly Scott: Since then we have really thought about that and we talked about it being culturally responsive. We are trying to provide girls with the skills so that they can find themselves. So many of the girls come from under privileged backgrounds, girls from group homes. Girls who are TRUANTS, girls that are teen moms. So what we do is have lessons and activities so that the girls can question their identities and ultimately transform them and then in the process, further their communities.

Ted Simons: Is it a question of raising the bar or just making a different bar to hurdle?

Kimberly Scott: I think it is making a different bar. Not necessarily to hurdle, but a different bar in order to bring not only yourself but your peers into a different type of playing field.

Ted Simons: Encourages computational thinking. What does that mean?

I think it is a fancy way of critical thinking. Computational thinking refers to getting students to think more like a computer, but I think it is more like how to approach a problem in a way that makes sense. One of the young ladies said after her experience in Compu-girls, she may not be able to know everything how a hardware, software works, but she has the thinking skills to figure it out. And I think that is a great example.

Ted Simons: Is it the situation where some girls come in and you just know that they need to be convinced that he can do it? They probably can do it, but they need to be convinced that they can do it.

Kimberly Scott: In our experience, most of the girls know that they can do it. In fact, that's why they're there, but they haven't had access to the resources or the opportunities to do it.

Ted Simons: Yeah, so that is an important thing. As well as, again, I'm using some words from your stuff, techno social analytical skill. What does that mean?

Kimberly Scott: Yes. We are trying to get girls to be techno-social change agents. Not only seeing your identity as a leader in your community, an individual who can change the way the community functions and improve it, but use the technology to engage in that process.

Ted Simons: Talk about the technology. What is used?

Kimberly Scott: So, we use -- video documentaries. We use scratch, which is a software produced by MIT teaching the girls how to create games or simulations and we play around with virtual world, in which the girls create culminating projects.

Ted Simons: Talk about this -- open SIM technology. That is like Sim City technology.

Kimberly Scott: Yes, we have used Sim City.

Ted Simons: Do they enjoy this? Do you have to keep pushing or do you have to slow them down because they're so excited about it?

Kimberly Scott: They're typically very excited. When I first started the program in, I wanted to be enjoyable and I limited the time. It was the girls who said they needed more time. They would ask the mentor teachers to come in on Saturday and Sunday's.

Ted Simons: Good luck with that.

Kimberly Scott: Yes.

Ted Simons: The peer mentoring approach, what is that?

Kimberly Scott: What we do is as the girls progress through the courses, we teach them how to not only be accountable to themselves but to the group as a whole. And so part of that is having the girls identify their strengths and share it with the group and teach other group members how to identify their strengths.

Ted Simons: Again, is this the kind of thing that works in conjunction with regular schooling? Is it regular -- how does that dynamic play out?

Kimberly Scott: Here in the state of Arizona, and we are the mother site because we do have a site in Colorado. A couple of sites in Colorado. Here in Arizona, we typically offer our programming during school breaks. So, it's fall break. In fact, we have a group of going right now during spring break, and Colorado, however, they have integrated the program sometimes within the school in the eighth period.

Ted Simons: When you talk about under privileged girls, resource districts, what are looking at? What kind of girl, if there is such a thing, the typical girl involved in the program?

Kimberly Scott: And that's a really good question. There really isn't a typical girl per se. What we found is many of the girls have not necessarily come from two-family households. As I indicated earlier, some of them have come from group homes. They're in transition. Some of the girls don't attend school regularly because they feel that the school doesn't trust them. And then we do have some girls who are the stars. What we do is not accept a girl based on her GPA or her academic achievement but based on her willingness to engage in the program.

Ted Simons: With that in mind, how do you assess how they're doing? How do you -- are there tests? Are there guidelines out there? How do you assess?

Kimberly Scott: Oh, no, not tests. We do not do tests and I think that is part of the appeal. We do have mentor teachers who are following a curriculum that I co-created and there are specific benchmarks throughout the curriculum. Peer mentors, many of whom are individuals that have graduated from the program and come back and volunteer their time and they give a lot of one on one or one to five interactions with the girls saying how they're doing. We also demonstrate to the girls some of the more successful projects from the past, and they can gauge their progress based on their assessments.

Ted Simons: Do some of the more successful girls from the past come back and help out?

Kimberly Scott: Absolutely. Some of them come back and help out. Some of them also help to publicize the program. Recruitment periods, many of the girls both in Colorado and here will go out on the campaign trail, so to speak, and in addition, many of the girls have had the opportunity to present with me at national and international conferences.

Ted Simons: For those who come, maybe a fractured family in a way, but those who do have relatives or family, what kind of reaction are you getting from them when they see the girls doing this?

Kimberly Scott: Wonderful. The parents and care givers have been exceptionally supportive. At the end of each of the courses, and we presently have three courses, the girls organize a showcase. And we call -- a closing ceremony and we invite community leaders. In fact, you are invited if you would like to attend, and their parents and grandparents and grass top and grass roots leaders and we get some wonderful support.

Ted Simons: I know you mentioned was when this started.

Kimberly Scott: Correct.

Ted Simons: And this is your baby here.

Kimberly Scott: Yes.

Ted Simons: Was there one thing that got you off on this? I mean, obviously it is a great idea. It is a good inception, but was there one person, one thing that where you said I have to do this?

Kimberly Scott: There is many things, but I guess the biggest moment for me was when I was teaching in the the grade classroom back east in what was considered a high needs district. I was consistently and regularly depressed by how so many adults did not believe in the children. And in their disbelief, they prevented them, I felt, from many times having access to rigorous curricula, high expectations and ultimately to them fulfilling their achievement.

Ted Simons: Now you changed that, do you see the world having changed a little along those lines?

Kimberly Scott: I think the world has changed. I think that resonates with the point that occurred at the White House. There were of us doing very similar work in terms of trying to engage a broader community with access to stem.

Ted Simons: Congratulations again on the honor by the White House.

Kimberly Scott: Thank you.

Ted Simons: Continued success with compu-girls. You're doing great work. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Kimberly Scott: Thank you.

Minority Legislative Leadership

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  • Senate Minority Leader Anna Tovar and House Minority Leader Chad Campbell appear on Arizona Horizon monthly during the legislative session to give us their perspective on the latest from the State Capitol.
  • Anna Tovar - Journalist, Senate Minority Leader
  • Chad Campbell - House Minority Leader
Category: Politics   |   Keywords: politics, senate, government, house, legislative, session,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. The state Senate has released a budget proposal and ideas for a new child welfare agency continue to take shape. Here now to discuss these and other issues are Senate minority leader Anna Tovar, and house minority leader Chad Campbell. Good to see you both again. Thank you for joining us.

Anna Tovar and Chad Campbell: Thank you.

Ted Simons: Budget proposal out of the Senate here, thoughts.

Anna Tovar: Well, it is a very slim and trim budget that the Senate republicans have put out. Again, we -- I just finished a three-hour appropriation committee that addressed the budget itself. You know, we had less than hours to review this budget, and I'm sure that the public had less of an opportunity as well. In appropriations in the three hour meeting, we had zero public participation. It is very concerning how fast this budget is moving. And, again, no transparency process, no public participation. It lacks quite a bit of things in the budget.

Ted Simons: From over in the other chamber, what you have seen in the Senate proposal, what you are expecting from your own group of fellows there, thoughts.

Chad Campbell: Yeah, this budget just doesn't pass the test. I mean, it is not a good budget for the state at all. It is not close to the governor's budget. It probably is not going to be close to what we're proposing from the house democratic side and probably not close to what I think the speaker wants to see in his budget. But it is severely lacking funding in a couple of key areas. Education, one and then child welfare, CPS, child protective services, child support services, there is not enough money in there to get the job done. After all we learned from the CPS disaster, failings of the agency, the fact that the Senate president is pushing out a budget that doesn't address that is unacceptable.
Ted Simons: $31 million for the CPS successor, $5 million for the transition. I think that is mostly a place holder here. Governor wants $81 million. Is this the Senate president and Senate republicans saying this is a starting point, we can move from here.

Anna Tovar: No, I believe it is just an exercise in futility. This definitely throws a monkey wrench into the whole process. It doesn't fully fund and have a solid commitment of an investment in public education, and as Representative Campbell mentioned, the CPS, you know, placeholder. If we learned something from last year in the fiasco is that we have to address this issue properly. And coming out with a budget such as this really leaves us vulnerable to what happened last year with our uninvestigated cases.

Ted Simons: The Senate version I think is $9.2 billion in spending, $100 million more than last fiscal year, that is an increase, is it not?

Chad Campbell: Yes, it is. The math is an increase, definitely. But it is not enough. And we're coming out of recession. We have had five, six years of massive cuts to our infrastructure, massive cuts to education most notably. And for all of the touting that Governor Brewer does of the track record under education, education governor, she has cut funds for schools than any other governor in the history of state. We have to catch up. We have to reinvest. $100 million simply isn't going to do it. We have money again. We have needs. We need to use the money to fulfill the needs just like you would in your personal budget. If you hadn't been making money and all of the sudden you started to make money again and your kids needed things for school, clothing, food, you would make sure that you started to buy those things. You wouldn't sit on that money. You would spend it so your family was better off.

Ted Simons: There are some things in the Senate proposal that goes against the governor in a curious way. Highway user funds. Sounds as though the Senate is saying we can transition some of that money back to where it is supposed to go in the first place. Governor's proposal had nothing there.

Anna Tovar: That is an important issue. Think you have an agreement with all parties in the legislature -- we have an infrastructure that is crumbling. Outside of Maricopa county, we have streets, roads in cities and counties that are falling apart and that are a safety hazard for many of the constituents. The issue addresses the issue of tourism. We have to have the infrastructure in place. The issue, it has bipartisan support, you know, from people there at the capitol and from cities and towns. It is definitely a step in the right direction if we want to move Arizona forward.

Ted Simons: How many steps in the right direction does there need to be for democrats to say, you know, you're going to wind up with option A, option B, and maybe an option C.

Chad Campbell: Yes.

Ted Simons: But none of those options are going to be democratic proposals. At what point do you choose one or do you just say can't go there?

Chad Campbell: You know, I don't know. We have to see. What we would like to see, though, is for us to be at the table like we were last year under the Medicare debate -- job creation -- I think that is what the people of the state want. I think people are sick of partisan politics. Sick of one party dominating, be it the republicans here, democrats somewhere else. They want the parties to work together. When we work together what we get is usually a better result and that is something we can do here with the budget.

Ted Simons: Nothing in here for the common core -- that has to change. The governor is big on this. I know a lot of folks. Is that the kind of thing, like Medicaid last session, you could find yourself in a coalition making change?

Anna Tovar: I believe education is the key for us to move the state forward. This issue of the common core or lack of the funding in the current budget is a big issue. Currently the -- in the past week, in the Senate, we've essentially killed four anti-common core bills. That was joined together with democrats and republicans. Now we see a republican budget that says just the opposite. That says we're against common core. Again, does it have -- this budget has no money for the assessments. So, it really is detrimental to our schools. They have invested millions of dollars, thousands of hours in time in training our teachers and yet, you know, they're taking extreme position right now of not moving our educational system forward. The other issue as well in education is not properly funding in public education. We see bills in not only the house and Senate that give funding to private schools. We are handing over taxpayer money without any accountability and encouraging -- we have our superintendent, a public education -- he is a superintendent of public education, not private education. He is essentially giving money to private schools.

Ted Simons: Certainly making robo-calls to that effect. You have education. You also have CPS successor here. I will call it the successor because we don't know what it is going to be called. That could be a position in which democrats again could find themselves in a coalition. We're seeing like maybe draft work coming up here. What are we hearing?

Chad Campbell: In the initial stages. Don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. Agreement between some republicans and democrats, separate the agency, reform in how the cases are handled from the intake and -- and we need to get money. If you look at this budget that senator Biggs put out, again, there is not enough money for caseworkers. It doesn't come near close enough in terms of meeting funding priorities that the governor has outlined and I think most of us on the democratic side agree with when it comes to fixing CPS. One thing that we need to focus on and this is where I think the democrats and a group of republicans could join together, preventative services to help keep children out of the CPS in the first place. Child care subsidy, fund that program again, allow the single mothers going back to work and have the child in child care instead of leaving them home with -- we need to put child care subsidies back in the budget. It should be a priority. I think we can get that done this year.

Ted Simons: Audits, oversight could be part of the plan -- good ideas?

Anna Tovar: Absolutely good ideas. If we are going to learn from our mistakes, we must address the real issues. Draft legislations that are coming out. Again, the issue of preventative and intervention services needs to be tackled, and, again, the issue of neglect, what the focus is of the new agency is it going to be solely on child safety? Is it going to be again incorporating child prevention services and intervention services? Today, I mean, it is a perfect opportunity for us to set the reset button on CPS and we need to do it jointly and work together on this process.

Ted Simons: Before we go, new registration, voter registration numbers are out.

Chad Campbell: Yes.

Ted Simons: Independents are number one, which is a surprise. Republicans number two. Democrats are not only number three, they have lost -- you guys have lost ground even more. What is going on out there and how do you -- I mean, we understand -- how do you address it?

Chad Campbell: Yeah, I think there is two things going on. I think this is a trend we're seeing nationwide first of all. Independent affiliation is growing as people I think are getting fed up with partisan politics and I think a lot of that is coming from D.C. and filtering to the local level. Younger people are registering as independents more and more. And even though they're probably going to register as independent, they're probably going to vote more with democrats than they do with republican because they're probably more progressive on the social issues. I -- just because they're registering I does not mean they don't affiliate many ways with democrats as --

Anna Tovar: You have the issue with, Garner much attention and have people come out and register. As representative Campbell said, yes, more independents being registered. The issues presented at the state capitol, political bills being presented will engage not only the Latino community, but include the LGBT community, come out and voice their disagreement with what is happening at the capitol and, again, we have great candidates that are running for office that will engage voters and have them come out and turn out the vote here in Arizona.

Chad Campbell: I'm happy people are registering as independent. I hope they look at parties -- and actually look at candidates. I think that is better for our side than their side in our state. I hope these independents will start to vote in primaries. That's where the elections are being decided and we are seeing more extremism and more division because you have a small group of people, especially on the republican side, controlling the outcome of the elections and they do not reflect the vast majority of voters.

Ted Simons: Again, what you think and hoping is happening out there, and what is happening is people are falling off of the Democratic Party bus why and what do you plan to do to address it?

Anna Tovar: As far as the Democratic Party, we have a plan to go out and engage voters and register them as well. Like representative Campbell said people need to be engaged in the primaries. That is the focus of turning Arizona blue. You know, in the coming future as well. But, again, it is about looking and holding our elected officials accountable. It is one thing to say you support education and it is another thing to vote. Holding our public officials accountable, getting engaged in the process. That is essentially what I think every Arizonan wants.

Ted Simons: We have to stop it right there.

Anna Tovar and Chad Campbell: Thank you.

Sustainability: Micro-dwelling Display

  |   Video
  • Micro-dwellings are very small homes, sometimes built with salvage material, and are designed to have positive benefits on the environment. “MicroDwell” is an exhibition of owner built and inhabited micro-dwellings, and it will be on display through March 23 at the Shemer Art Center & Museum in Phoenix. We’ll take you on a video tour of the exhibit.
Category: Sustainability   |   Keywords: sustainability, micro, dwellings, exhibition, environment, phoenix, art, tour, museum,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: In tonight's focus on sustainability, we take a video tour of a micro-dwelling exhibit. Micro-dwellings are very small homes that are often built with salvage material and are designed to have positive benefits on the environment. An exhibition of micro-dwellings is on display at the Shemer art center and museum in Phoenix. Videographer Juan Magana recently visited the exhibit.

“The Shemer art center is presenting an exhibit of micro-dwellings. Each builder is creative. It's all do-it-yourself products. The way the builders approached this exhibit was with the guideline of having to create something that was square feet or less. Many of these builders have used recycled or repurposed materials. Many of them have also used found objects. As you can see, we talked about found objects. This steam shovel has been repurposed and is now a pizza oven. Every weekend, he is offering pizza on site that has been baked in the oven of the bay city steam shovel. This building was designed by Dan Dwyer. And it is all out of Styrofoam. Most of them will be taking down and then transporting to another location where they will then hook up Plumbing and electricity and that kind of thing. But, yes, some of these buildings are designed so that you could actually live off the grid, so to speak, and live more simply. This dwelling actually is called the beetle box. It pays homage to a mid-century architect who lived and worked here in Phoenix. I think most of the dwellings have been done for very personal reasons. A lot of them you will see are studio spaces. So, or an outdoor space like the beetle box to extend, you know, the indoor living, urban living to be more outdoors and that kind of thing. This dwelling was actually built as a studio for a landscape architect. The design that is so unique about this it is all meant to be indoors outdoors. This is an exhibit of what can be done in order to sort of live off the grid.”

The collected micro-dwellings will be on display through March 23rd. For more information, check out Tomorrow, our weekly look at state politics with the "Arizona Capitol Times" and we talk with Congressman Gosar about the issues on Capitol Hill. That is all of the time we have right now. Thank you for joining us. You have a great evening.