Category Archives: Editorials/Student Voice

Editor’s Note: The Plaid Line publishes editorials that contain opinions that are those of the student authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the the Plaid Line, HPSH, or its staff.

The one retake policy is pretty dumb, and here’s why

By: Abisola Dosunmu

First of all, where’s the motivation for this? Who thought this rule up? Because that puts way too much pressure on high school students, especially in accelerated classes. I get trying to prepare students for college, but I think the one retake thing per quarter is a little harsh. 

Second of all, what do educators hope to accomplish with this rule? I think I can understand the reason behind it. Maybe they think that if students are more stressed to perform well on the test, they’ll perform better. I think that more stress, even though some students perform better under pressure, isn’t necessarily what works well for all students. Is more stress really what students need? Most students don’t really need that extra pressure. 

You have to account for all students when it comes to making these rules. I wrote in the last paragraph that some students cope well under pressure and absorb the material better and therefore, won’t have as much trouble test taking. But other students suffer from test anxiety, and with the one retake policy, feel more pressure to score high, which is pretty disastrous for them. 

I think one of the biggest reasons for this rule is that in college, you’re not really allowed to retake tests like you would in high school. But in real life, you’re allowed to retake important tests. Imagine how many people wouldn’t have their driver’s license if they were only allowed to retake it once. 

Retaking tests benefits educators too! Retaking shows the spots they need to reteach a little more, and work on with students.

I think there should be a compromise. Instead of one retake in every class per quarter, two makes more sense. Also, If students retake the test more, they will absorb the information better and won’t immediately forget about it after the test is over.

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How is it fair that teachers had to be in school during the digital learning day on Election day?

By: Grace Blumer-Lamotte

On Tuesday, November 8th, 2022, there was an election for the new governor of Minnesota. The results came in the same night, Governor Tim Walz was elected again for the governor of Minnesota. 

On that Tuesday, all Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) had a digital learning day. According to the SPPS website, “A Digital Learning/E-learning Day is where students will be able to access work in Schoology during asynchronous time. During synchronous time, staff are available to assist and support students learning via Google Meet.” 

The schedule for the day was a B day. Period 1 was from 8:30am-9am, period 2 was 9:05am-9:35am, period 3 was 9:40am-10:10am, period 4 was 10:15-10:45am. Teacher’s office hours were from 11am-12pm. During that time period, 8:30am-12pm, teachers and students were to be on the Google Meets. 

Students were able to sit in the comfort of their own home, while teachers needed to be in the school that they work at. 

From a student’s perspective, I think this is unfair for the teachers. They deserve a day off; they work very hard educating their students. I also think that they would feel more relaxed in the comfort of their own home. 

I interviewed a teacher from a SPPS school, another student from SPPS, and a parent of a student at SPPS. I asked them these questions:

How did you think the digital learning day went?

Do you think it’s unfair that teachers had to go to school for the digital learning day? Explain?

I asked only the SPPS teacher this question:

Would you have felt more comfortable in your home compared to the school on the digital learning day?

I asked just the SPPS student and parent this question:

Do you feel that teachers would’ve felt more comfortable in their own home on digital learning day? Explain?

The SPPS teacher responded to the first question saying, “I think the digital learning day went pretty well. It was a bit hectic trying to get to all of my classes with only a 5 minute break, but I managed.”

They replied to the second question saying, “I don’t think it’s necessarily unfair that us, teachers, had to go to school for the day. I would’ve enjoyed showing my pets and kids to my students during the Google meet, which is a little upsetting I wasn’t able too, but it’s okay.”

They answered the third question saying, “I personally would’ve felt more comfortable and relaxed at my own house on that day. But again, it was not my choice to make. One thing I would like to mention is that it was difficult to get to my voting place, the one closest to my house, because I live fairly far away from the school.”

A student from SPPS responded to the first question saying, “I didn’t like the digital learning day personally just because I get work done better inside the school environment.”

They replied to the second question saying, “I would only think it’s unfair for the teachers to go to school that day if they didn’t vote already, or they didn’t have the chance because of the location.”

They answered the third question saying, “To a certain extent I do feel that the teachers would’ve felt more comfortable in their home on that day, but I think most of their materials are at school.”

A parent of students from SPPS responded to the first question saying, “For my 2 kids, I feel like the digital learning day went fine. I think my kids are more engaged with in-person learning. Ultimately I support the day of digital learning if it allows more adults to participate in the election.”

They replied to the second question saying, “Yes I think it’s unfair that the teachers had to go to the school, for two reasons. Number one, if students can learn remotely then educators have the ability to teach remotely. Number two, I think our country should make election day a national holiday to free up all workers to more easily vote.”

They answered the third question saying, “Yes, I feel that teachers would’ve felt more comfortable teaching from their own home because, teachers are professionals we should trust them to know what they need to do to educate our children.”

How Kanye West’s recent comments have cost him      

By Brogan Frey

In recent weeks, rapper Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, has said and done a few controversial things that are now earning him lost partnerships and bannings on several social media platforms. 

The most significant lost partnership is the partnership between Ye and sports brand Adidas. The German sportswear giant announced the termination of the partnership on Tuesday, October 25th. This was a very significant partnership, and its termination will lead to Adidas losing almost $250 million this year alone, and is said to earn Ye around $100 million annually, which would amount to about $20.83 million for the remainder of the year. 

This is also significant because Adidas is probably the most important partner in Ye’s fashion empire. 

In addition to his lost partnerships, Ye has also been banned from several social media platforms for his increasingly anti-semetic comments. 

On Monday, October 24th, 2022, he was restricted on Instagram, 4 days after he had returned to the platform. Ye has made several disparaging comments about Jewish people, this one being about “Jewish business people.”

Photo taken from Kanye West’s Instagram account, linked here

This photo was taken not long after Adidas cut ties with the rapper. 

As of Monday, November 14th, the most recent post on Ye’s Instagram account is from October 30th. 

The rapper’s account was restricted and content posted by him deleted, because Ye violated some of the social media service’s policies, according to a Meta spokesperson. Meta did not specify what post triggered its decision, or why it took action on West’s account, but says it places restrictions, like preventing a user from sending messages, commenting, or posting, on accounts that repeatedly break its rules. 

Ye’s Twitter account was restricted for the same reason that he was restricted on Instagram. He posted several anti-semitic statements in the space of a few hours. On a now-deleted post on Twitter, West wrote, “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death [sic] con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE. The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew also. You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.” 

In the same week that this tweet was posted, West was criticized for wearing a shirt that said ‘white lives matter’ on the back during Paris fashion week. The ‘white lives matter’ tag was used by many opposed to the Black Lives Matter movement that came to national attention after the death of George Floyd by a white police officer. 

Also, in relation to this tweet is Ye’s known connection to the Republican Party, who he seems to align with on many issues. 

Overall, besides his comments being deeply offensive and targeting a community that has faced much hurt in the past, Kanye West’s recent comments have cost him millions in brand deals, and a banning on several large social media platforms, including Instagram and Twitter. 

For more information, please visit: 

How many conspiracy theories are rooted in anti-semitism

By: Irene Cohen

Links image credit: A screenshot from the Russian Channel 1 segment depicting the Rothschilds as a sow, and Israel, the CIA, MI6, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram as nursing piglets. (Screenshot/MEMRI-TV). Image taken from: https://www.timesofisrael.com/nearly-200-years-of-anti-semitic-conspiracies-continue-to-cloud-rothschilds/

Anti-semitic hate crimes have almost tripled since 2015 after being on the decline for 15 years up until 2016. Even though these anti-semitic conspiracies have been around for hundreds of years, the hate being millenia old, something has popularized them so much, so the Jews in America, and all over the world, are being directly affected by this rhetoric.

The most prevalent trope among these conspiracies are that a tiny portion of the population, Jews, run the world. Antisemites believe that Jews are controlling the media, economy, government, and politics overall. In broad strokes, they believe Jewish people have gained money by being greedy and only interacting/doing business with other Jews. A large example of this is the Rothschild conspiracy. This conspiracy says that the wealthy Rothschild family, and Ashkenazi banking family, runs the global economy and manipulates politics into whatever they want it to be.

These conspiracies have not only originated in modern day times. In the 14th century, the conspiracy of Jewish people poisoning water wells to cause the Black Death was spread. Jewish people are often blamed for world tragedies as a scapegoat.

A phrase that is often used when describing this so called power that Jews have over the world is “hidden hand”. This is a phrase that more or less states that Jewish people are the puppetmasters of world events. This is one of the main rhetorics that allowed the Nazi party to take control of Germany. Antisemites believe that Jewish people are above them in a social/economic place in the world, yet they also believe them to be subhuman. This attitude allows them to think they are being righteous when punching down on Jewish people.

Be careful when looking into conspiracy theories. It’s easier to fall down that rabbit-hole of anti-semitism than you think.

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The scam of the keto diet

By: Irene Cohen

The ketogenic diet, or keto for short, is a diet that focuses on extremely low carbohydrates with high fat content and protein in their foods. The idea of using this diet in order to lose weight is that the low carbohydrate intake and high fat intake forces the body to go into ketosis and burn fat instead of carbs. This, theoretically, results in burning body fat for energy and subsequently losing weight.

The ketogenic diet was developed in the 1920s by physicians from the Mayo Clinic. It was developed as a means to help treat epilepsy, as it mimics fasting metabolically. Fasting has been used as a treatment for epilepsy for over one thousand years, and this new diet provided a more accessible and healthy way to mimic fasting while avoiding most of the negative side effects. This diet was a very popular method of treating epilepsy until antiepileptic medication was developed. The mystery of why this diet works for treating epilepsy is still unsolved.

The keto diet requires you to eat 80-90% of your daily caloric intake from fat, with less than 100g of protein and 10-15 grams of carbohydrates. This forces your body to go into “starvation mode”, or ketosis, where instead of using glucose as an energy source, it breaks down fat stores into ketones in the absence of sugars.

What most people experience as fat loss due to the keto diet is usually just a calorie deficit, according to experts. Tracking your macronutrients and calories makes you more conscious of your food intake, which in turn makes someone more likely to lower their intakes as a reaction to this awareness.

This diet is also incredibly hard to follow, and many people end up not even going into ketosis, instead just having a high fat diet while still having enough carbs to break them down as usual.

The ketogenic diet can even have consequences for those who don’t have a professional nutritionist to aid them or those who do not need to follow this diet in order to treat neural diseases, like epilepsy. With such a large chunk of your diet being fat, your heart takes a hit. Such a high fat intake for so long can really affect your arteries in the long run. Not only that, but limiting your carbs to such a degree limits the nutrients you can consume. Eating just one small apple can meet your daily carb limit, and think of all the nutrients you get from fruit with a high, but healthy, sugar content.

The keto diet is another fad diet of medical studies being taken out of context for those who are desperate to lose weight. Most professional nutritionists say that at best, for the average person, keto might be moderately healthy. The possible consequences of damaging your metabolism and heart long term in order to shed a few pounds is not worth it. Eating a balanced diet of fruits, veggies, and whole grains is almost always the answer, most professionals say. Leave the ketogenic diet to those using it as a means of treatment for various diseases.

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Why I don’t like the reputation of Ivy institutions

By: Irene Cohen

Ivy league universities are apart of an athletic conference which consists of eight institutions: Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University. They are considered the most prestigious colleges that one can attend in the US, with the highest acceptance rate being 8.7% and the lowest 3.9%.

The Ivy league produces some of the most influential people in the world, such as Supreme Court Justices, whose members all attended either Harvard or Yale.

However, for the majority of the people who get into these Ivies, they did not get there solely out of merit. Many of those who get into the undergraduate programs attended preparatory schools, or boarding schools, that cost a small fortune. These schools are a sort of feeder school, helping students specifically to get into these schools and helping them with connections, something the average American high school doesn’t have access to.

With the Ivies and their feeder schools costing so much, you may be wondering how families afford this. The answer is, because they’re rich. The median family income for undergraduate families of Harvard students was 3 times the median US household income. Dartmouth disproportionately accepts wealthy applicants, with one fifth of their student body coming from the top 1% in the country. The top 1% are households that make $630,000 or more a year. They are one of the few schools in the nation that has more undergraduates from the top 1% than the entire bottom 60%.

As if that wasn’t enough, they accept legacies at a much greater rate than non legacy students. Those who are legacies, which is anyone with family members who attended these schools in the past, have up to a 5 times greater chance of getting into the school.

All these components of privilege leave a sour taste in my mouth. I think it’s extremely inequitable to consider these schools the peak of education when most US high schoolers have a very slim chance of getting accepted, regardless of how well they perform in school, their intelligence, or their work-ethic. This country needs to stop putting these schools on such a high pedestal.

For more information, please visit:

  • income stats: https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2017/1/25/harvard-income-percentile/
  • legacy acceptance rates: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/07/harvards-freshman-class-is-more-than-one-third-legacy.html

We should be using Chromebooks, not iPads

By: Ava Bird

For us students, using iPads for school every day is what we’re used to. And many of us are perfectly okay with it. But there are also those who recognize the downsides that come along with using iPads for our learning – and there are a lot of downsides. 

First of all, almost every mobile application is different from its desktop counterpart, and when on a Chromebook, this is usually beneficial to the user.

For example, on the desktop version of Duolingo, you don’t have a limited amount of hearts; in fact, hearts aren’t even a thing, meaning that you can make as many mistakes as you need to without purchasing a “Super” membership (previously known as “Plus”). 

Another example is Schoology. On Chromebooks, students have a better, somewhat more advanced version of Schoology that is more organized and has more functions than the iPad version. One of these functions is how you can edit Google Doc assignments without even leaving the schoology app. There is a “My Document” button, which allows you to view and edit a teacher-created Doc, whether it be open-ended writing or a fill-in-the-blanks study guide, directly from Schoology. If you wanted to open the document from the Google Docs website instead, there’s an “Edit” button which allows you to do so. Any document opened via Schoology automatically saves under your Google account. 

On the iPad version of Schoology, on the other hand, there’s a button which allows you to create a written submission, but you can’t see the directions for the assignment while editing it, and you can’t easily go back and forth between the directions and your writing. And this isn’t the only part of Schoology where iPads don’t compare; there’s so much more, but it’s best to just leave it here.

Another thing that makes Chromebook usage much simpler than iPad usage is how, in most cases, everything you need to do can be done from your browser. This means that everything is right in front of you, and nothing will get lost behind layers and layers of forgotten apps and websites. If you’ve never used a Chromebook, it may seem like having too many tabs open at once would result in confusion and lack of organization, but there’s actually a very simple way to group tabs into different subjects or categories. 

Grouping tabs compresses the selected tabs into a folder of sorts, which you can then name and color code to your liking. For example, you can have a yellow tab group labeled “History,” in which you can store all of your tabs from that class; a blue tab group labeled “English;” and a green tab group labeled “Science.” The tab groups don’t even have to contain class materials – you could also have, say, a purple tab group labeled “other,” which might contain random things such as a Google search, a Netflix show, and the daily sudoku. For many people, however, grouping tabs isn’t even necessary, since there is a large enough view to contain a good amount of tabs.

If you’re worried about not being able to draw or take handwritten notes on apps such as Notability, or if you simply like having a touchscreen, that’s no reason to keep using an iPad; there are Chromebooks with touchscreens. And, unlike iPads, use of the touchscreen isn’t even necessary to perform the functions that your flimsy iPad keyboard/case can’t. Plus, it’s really nice to have a built-in keyboard mouse. 

There are some iPad apps that don’t have web versions, like Notability, but you’ll soon find that apps like that are easily replaceable. Notes can be printed and handed out to students, taken on paper or in a notebook, or shared via Schoology or through a Google Document. The same can be done for worksheets, and many people appreciate the occasional hard copy, as it helps maintain the handwriting skills that are vital to everyday life. There are also apps that are similar to Notability, such as Google Keep, which allows you to take notes in a way that is similar to Notability. But even so, once Notability and similar apps are taken out of the equation, many will find that they are easily replaceable or not even a necessity in the first place.

There are so many more reasons why we should be using Chromebooks instead of iPads, and I could go on and on about this, but here’s the bottom line: It’s time to stop pretending that iPads are the best option for our education. They’re not.

iPhone VS Android

By: Semaj Carter & Jhari Boayla

Android:

Image take from: https://9to5google.com
/2022/07/13/samsung-galaxy-s22-purple-leak/

So, we all know about the debate about whether iPhone or Android is better. This debate has been going on for almost a decade and I’m going to show the good qualities of Android.

Firstly, the phones have more storage and the battery life lasts a lot longer than iPhones. The newest iPhone is the iPhone 14, which has the same qualities as the iPhone 13. According to an Apple developer, “The iPhone 14 features the same A15 Bionic chip that powered the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.” This means that the iPhone 14 isn’t that different from the iPhone 13 and there was no point in making a new one except for exploiting money from people.

Android doesn’t have a lot of good features, but it does have reasonable upgrades and isn’t as expensive as an iPhone. The creators of Android did not shut off older models as soon as they released a new phone to get people to spend more money on a phone that’s practically the same as the older model, just like Apple has done, and is still allegedly doing.

The iPhone’s price is ridiculous, just like every other Apple product that they release; the price range is usually over six hundred dollars and that’s a lot for a small box.

The developers explained how there is no difference between the two phones and therefore there was no point in an upgrade. Most ‘Android’ products get an upgrade with different features, but the developers are having trouble with the camera quality.

Although there are a lot of statements that support both sides of the argument, this is my reasoning why I think ‘Android’ is better. I hope this helped you become more knowledgeable about Apple products.

iPhone:

I feel like most people feel like and think that iPhones are better phones than Android. Most people from this generation, I would say, have iPhones and only a few people have Android. I would say that some things about the iPhone are good, but some things don’t go to an extent like how Android can.

iPhones are popular, almost everyone has one. It’s something that most people in this generation have because Apple is a brand that I would say is ‘popular’ to most, I would say it is because it’s been out for years now and the company is very successful in what they are doing. There are a few things that I don’t like about iPhones. I would say you should upgrade to a new iPhone every two years because you can’t do certain things.

Some of the things I do like about the iPhone are: Facetime, iMessage games, and Face ID. Facetime because it’s a way to stay in contact with family. iMessage, is good because it’s really easy to use. Face ID is nice because if you forget your password, all you need to do is show your face.

So, even though the iPhone is missing some of the things the Android has, it still has some nice things going for it.

*NOTE: This article is kind of biased and does not completely rely on facts, but instead more on the authors’ opinions.

ACT vs SAT: Why do we take them? Are they necessary?

By: Maya Breininger

The infamous ACT/SAT exams date back to 1959, and have been used to summarize a student’s academic ability. The question is: Is this an accurate measurement of a student’s capabilities, or is it a grueling task that we just assign to high school students?

A study done in New York City addresses the high levels of chronic stress high school students face daily. It tells us how mentally damaging the repetitive cycle of school can be for young students, and about how the system is fit to teach students who all learn the same way. The cycle of learning a topic, memorizing it, and writing down the information on a test is the daily stressful learning system that students endure every day.

Although there are many studies done suggesting that this is the most efficient and effective way to reach large audiences of children, there are opposing studies that express how vital it is to have interactive assignments that immerse the kids in the material.

Now, what does this have to do with the ACT/SAT exams?

Well, first you have to ask yourself a few of questions – What are the contents of the exam? Are the pages of multiple choice questions of topics that were briefly discussed during class time the best way to assess a student’s academic value? Are the “core class” sections of the test – made to prepare you for very specific and non-diverse career paths – truly reaching into a student’s brain and obtaining its full potential?

Disregarding the repetitive nature of the test, along with the questionable measurement of educational properties, the way that these test scores are used can be very harmful for individuals.

Now, anyone can argue that the tests are used by many colleges and universities as tools to filter their applications, but is it accurate? Can it harm the individual?

SAT scores – according to the website Collegeboard.org – are used to make decisions about admissions, by comparing students based off of their scores. This indirectly states that a 3 hour exam can accurately capture the knowledge of an entire student. By using the same sections and decisions, colleges assess who can make it through applications.

Consider these components the next time that you have a conversation about the SAT scores, or form an opinion of a person for refusing to take them. Besides the fact that your score could deter your dream college from your application, it’s also a good idea to survey the contents of the SAT, and find out if it’s worth an entire year of stress to young high school students who might not even all learn the same way.

Now that you’ve read this article, can you confidently state that SAT and ACT exams are an accurate assessment of student knowledge? Should a decision made in 1959 about the rules of education affect how colleges view your application information?

The way I see it, it’s not an accurate assessment of the whole student, and there are lots of better ways for colleges to determine if a student is a good fit for their school.

For more information, please check out these websites:

What is spirit week? And how was it for HPSH?

By: Domingo Basso

Image taken from: https://www.westonschools.org/middle
/blog/2021/03/22/spirit-week-3-22-3-26/spirit-week/

So, our school, Highland Park Senior High, has this thing called spirit week at certain points in the year.

Actually, first allow me to explain to you what exactly this “spirit week” is. Spirit week is a time of year for schools to be a little more festive and have some fun with some little event or spin on the norm every day of the week. Such as: wearing all white clothes to school one day or wearing pajamas. Spirit weeks usually last… well one week (hence the name) and are usually active before an event at said school.

Another thing to note is that most high schools have their spirit week on the week of homecoming ,and ends with a pep rally on the Friday of that week, followed by the homecoming dance later that night. 

In Highland Park Senior High’s case, spirit week had the following events each day: Monday was pajama + stuffed animal day, Tuesday was Twin day, Wednesday was Cultural pride day, Thursday was class color day, and finally, Friday was RED OUT day. 

The whole concept of spirit week was first really put into use in the year of 1952. The first spirit week was known as “Friendship Week” at Palo Alto High School and later on in the 1960s it was renamed to what we know it as today: “Spirit Week”

Finally, to close off this article, let’s see the opinions of some students around Homecoming Spirit Week of 2022.

I interviewed four students and this is what they all said: 

The first student said: “Mid.” And after having this person elaborate a little more they proceeded to say that it wasn’t all that good because “There wasn’t a no backpack day,” and “it was so bad that I can’t even remember any of the themes from that week” (By the way this same person didn’t know what the theme of most of the days even were).

The second student said :“Kinda boring,” and after making this student also elaborate more, via the use of a very friendly message including their address and a picture of their immediate family, they proceeded to say that it was because “None of the daily events were all that interesting or engaging.”

And the third student had this to say about spirit week: “It was alright, Friday was cool because of the pep fest but some of the other days barely anyone participated in spirit week.”

Finally, the fourth student said: “Yah I like spirit week.” Not much to say there they simply found spirit week enjoyable.

Overall, I’d say spirit week was alright. Last year was better though, because the events were more interesting.

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