Recent efforts by top schools in the US against unpaid internships might turn the tide on this practice, which has become just another way that US businesses get free labor, and at negligible education benefit to the interns:
The National Association of Colleges and Employers reported last year that nearly half of the internships taken by college students in the class of 2013 were unpaid. Many of these arrangements (often temporary, low-level jobs with dubious educational merit) may violate federal labor guidelines, which say that unpaid internships at for-profit companies must be “for the benefit of the intern” and that the employer may not derive an “immediate advantage from the activities of the intern.” Yet colleges, through their career sites, frequently end up promoting internships that disregard these guidelines.
Two prominent universities in New York recently announced that they were tightening their policies on unpaid internships. In February, New York University said it would explicitly instruct employers posting on its job site to follow the Labor Department’s guidelines and to indicate that they are in compliance. (The university also clarified that it weeds out obvious noncompliant postings.)
Columbia University already had a similar warning on its career site. Last month, it said it would stop giving out “registration credit” (R credit) to students in internships. Those credits did not count toward a degree, and mostly functioned as a fig leaf for employers, who could pretend that the credit somehow justified not paying for a student’s work.
Columbia’s new policy brings it into line with other Ivy League colleges like Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth that do not give R credits, and ahead of many other universities. In the past few years, exploited interns have started suing their employers, and a high-profile case against Fox Searchlight Pictures was decided last year in the plaintiffs’ favor. But American universities have largely stayed quiet or even defended the practice. On this issue, Columbia and N.Y.U. are setting good examples.
Perhaps the worst aspect of the internship practice has been its bleeding over into the world of college graduates or the ranks of non-collegiate workers. Now an established business practice, but starting to decline, after the peak internship moment last year when gazillionaire Sheryl Sandburg’s non-profit was advertising for an unpaid intern to help promote her book, Lean In.
The minimum wage exists for a simple reason: low-paid working class people have little individual bargaining power. The same is true of college student or young workers in general, hoping to get the first step on a career. But the government today is caught with its shoelaces tied together, seemingly incapable to take the simplest steps to protect those without power. I’m glad to see these universities setting the bar higher, and forcing companies to do the right thing.
Kid logic works better for learning new gizmos
University of California, Berkeley Original Study
Preschoolers can be smarter than college students at figuring out how unusual toys and gadgets work because they’re more flexible and less biased than adults in their ideas about cause and effect, according to new research. The findings suggest that technology and innovation can benefit from the exploratory learning and probabilistic reasoning skills that come naturally to young children, many of whom are learning to use smartphones even before they can tie their shoelaces. The findings also build upon the researchers’ efforts to use children’s cognitive smarts to teach machines to learn in more human ways. (via Kid logic works better for learning new gizmos | Futurity)
User engagement down, as people defect to messaging apps. Is there some reason that Twitter hasn’t made its direct messaging function into a messaging app? And please add group messaging, too. Why is Twitter so slow at innovating?
For the moment, commercial drones are, unequivocally, legal in American skies after a federal judge has ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration has not made any legally binding rules against it.
The judge dismissed the FAA’s case against Raphael Pirker, the first (and only) person the agency has tried to fine for flying a drone commercially. The agency has repeatedly claimed that flying a drone for commercial purposes is illegal and has said that there’s “no gray area” in the law. The latter now appears to be true, but it hasn’t gone the way the FAA would have hoped. Patrick Geraghty, a judge with the National Transportation Safety Board, ruled that there are no laws against flying a drone commercially.
The FAA attempted to fine the 29-year-old Pirker $10,000 after he used a drone to film a commercial at the University of Virginia. Pirker and his lawyer, Brendan Schulman, fought the case, saying that the FAA has never regulated model aircraft and that it’s entire basis for making them “illegal,” a 2007 policy notice, was not legally binding. The FAA has never undertaken the required public notice necessary to make an official regulation.
Geraghty agreed: The FAA “has not issued an enforceable Federal Acquisition Regulation regulatory rule governing model aircraft operation; has historically exempted model aircraft from the statutory FAR definitions of ‘aircraft’ by relegating model aircraft operations to voluntary compliance with the guidance expressed in [the 2007 policy notice], Respondent’s model aircraft operation was not subject to FAR regulation and enforcement.”
I presume the FAA will new pass new rules making explicit that they thought their 2007 policy notice implied.
I don’t know what Siverstein meant by this, but I like it.
Dire Straits(via Industrial disease | Harold Jarche)