The locker room problem

If you’ve ever been in, or better yet, used, the girl’s locker room in the basement of our beloved high school you have probably noticed some flaws in the design. The showers are never used and constantly drip, creating weird and suspicious looking patches around the drains. Because of their condition, and a lack of time, girls never use the showers.

Also, for whatever reason only 3 of the 11 showers still have curtains. The curtains that are there are falling off of their hooks. I talked to my classmates and almost all of them agreed that there is a problem with the bathrooms.

Annika Stall said that:

“The shower curtains are broken giving no privacy.”

Because no one showers, missing curtains shouldn’t matter. However, many girls prefer to get ready for class there rather than out in the main area.

But by far the biggest flaw of this decently spacious locker room is its bathroom.

When asked if she thought there were any problems with the bathroom, another student (who wishes to remain anonymous)said:

“Yeah – it’s one stall!”

The bathroom consists of only one stall; in the corner of the locker room. Outside are two sinks and two hand dryers. Because many girls find that going to the bathroom during other classes or during the short passing times is difficult, they instead wait until right before P.E., when they know they will have time to access a bathroom. They wait in a line that on some days has been six or seven girls long, making them late to class. A girl in the locker room told me during her interview that:

“Girls are waiting in line and they’re being late for class sometimes – because there’s not enough stalls.”

Now that you have read about the problems with the locker room, you are probably wondering what can be done to fix it. The easiest fix is the showers. With some new curtains and some clean up they would be as good as new, and they would provide plenty of private changing spaces.

The bathroom is less simple. I know that this one article can not magically redo the bathroom, but I hope it has shined some light on an issue that could be fixed.

Should college be free in America?

There has been talk about whether or not college should be free for all students in America. Yes, I think college should be free in America because low income families can’t afford to send their young ones to college; the cost of the tuition and fees are too high. Over the recent decades the cost of going to college has risen, and this makes it hard for young ones to go to college and follow their passions or dreams. So, many have decided not to go to college, while others have borrowed student loans that sadly sometimes follows them throughout their entire life, even when after they have retired.  .

Here are some other important things to keep in mind as you think about the question of whether or not college should be free:

  • Free colleges would expand access to education offering free college tuition would make it possible for everyone to pursue a higher education.
  • Young people who are very smart may have to skip college because they can’t afford the tuition and fees
  • Students will be able to follow their passion and abilities.
  • Young students might go to college, but not to the one they wanted to go to because it was too expensive.
  • They might not take risks later in life because they have a large amount of debt in student loans that they have to pay.
  • Students would be able to focus more on their studies rather than worrying about how to scrape together enough funds for each upcoming school term.
  • Free colleges would make it easier for kids to be more focused on school rather on their jobs. Young people in college often have part-time jobs which help them pay for their expenses including possibly their school tuition and fees. Even with these part-time jobs, they face a struggle not being able to pay their bills.

According to the data that was provided by the U.S News in a survey, the cost of titution and fees for the 2018–2019 school year was $35,676 at private colleges, $9,716 for state residents at public colleges and $21,629 for out-of-state students at state schools. According to the information College Board provided in the “Trends in College Pricing 2017,” two-year institutions tuition and fees cost approximately $3,570 on average, per year, for in-state students.

On April 1, 2016 President Barack Obama talked about the need for free college. He said, “We have to make college affordable for every American, because no hardworking student should be stuck in the red.” He went to say that “We agree that real opportunity requires every American to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job.” This is not the first time President Obama had addressed the matter of free college, In his speeches in the past he had addressed the Congress to stop student loan interest rates from rising, and has asked the colleges to keep the cost of tuition and fees down.

For more in formation on this topic, please visits these sites:

https://www.studentdebtrelief.us/news/should-college-be-free/

https://smartasset.com/student-loans/the-pros-and-cons-of-free-college

https://www.cnbc.com/2016/01/12/obama-we-have-to-make-college-affordable.html

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/what-you-need-to-know-about-college-tuition-costs

Should school start later in the day?

Photo of female student sleeping in class. Shallow depth of field, multi-ethnic group of students in the background.

I personally think high school and middle school should start around 8:30AM because it can benefit the health and welfare of students. When there are early school hours it can affect kids health. According to the CDC, some health effects of students not getting enough sleep include: drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, marijuana use, use of other illicit/prescription drugs, depression, anxiety, behavior problems, and it can affect brain development.

Verywellfamily.com shows that when school starts around 8:30AM there can be benefits that include:

  • Students are more likely to get the amount of sleep they need.
  • Students will be less likely to depend on coffee to stay awake during the day.
  • When teens sleep longer it could reduce health issues that accompany sleep deprivation (see above).
  • Schools with later start times can improve school performance.
  • Later start times can mean less tardiness, and lower dropout rates.
  • Later school times can give students time to eat a healthy breakfast.

Other factors that have been found to be associated with school starting too early is a lack of sleep. When kids don’t get enough sleep they are more likely to have problems paying attention, and they can have poor academic performance. When kids miss a bus early in the morning, and that’s their only form of transportation, they miss class and then soon they are falling behind in their classes.

In December or 2014, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine advised many schools that later school start times could reduce car accidents. Researchers looked at two towns, and they found that among every thousand licensed drivers ages 16 to 17 there were about 53 car crashes during the school year.

In November 2014, the Healthy Sleep Project launched the “Awake at the Wheel” campaign to increase the public awareness of the risk of drowsy driving. The study they did included data from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles that showed that during the school year there were more than 520 motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers, and more than 320 teen crashes.

When school starts later in the day it will benefit kids, parents, and teachers.

For more information visit:    

https://www.verywellfamily.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-starting-school-later-2609565
https://aasm.org/teens-with-earlier-school-start-times-have-higher-crash-rates/
https://www.cdc.gov/features/school-start-times/index.html
https://www.educationnext.org/do-schools-begin-too-early/

School hours

I personally think school hours should start around 8:30am. Often, when school starts earlier, the students tend to still be tired, and even may cause you to be sleep deprived. Being sleep deprived can be the cause for anxiety, depression, mood swings, eating disorders etc., which could lead to serious problems.

Being tired can make you less focused, which impacts your learning, and memory. People often are cranky when they’re tired, which could cause them to talk bad to a teacher or start problems with others. That causes disruptiveness in classrooms, and disturbs others learning.

When school starts at 7:30am, students that live further away from school have to wake up at 6:00am to get ready. A lot of the times, it’s still dark out at 6:00am, and walking to a bus stop when it’s still dark out could be dangerous.

Another example of why I think school should start at 8:30am is because teenagers usually need at least nine hours of sleep, so if they were to get up at 6:00am that would mean they would have to go to sleep at 9:00pm. Often, in high school, students have part time jobs in the afternoons, and some jobs tend to close at 10:00pm. However if it were to start around 8:30am students would be able to go to sleep at 10:00pm and not be as tired the next day for school.

The last reason I have for school starting later is because I think fewer people would miss the bus by sleeping in. Many kids arrive to school late because they’ve missed their bus. Students missing their bus can often mean they miss a class, or sometimes even a school day because they don’t have a ride. Overall, I think school starting at 8:30am would be best for students, and even the school staff.

For more information, please visit:

Should kids be paid for good grades?

 

How many times have we heard people complain about school saying it was a waste of time? But what if kids were paid to get good grades? Would it boost attendance and test scores or would children not learn anything and only do work for the money?

Here are some possible pros and cons.

Cons:

-One opposing argument is that paying for good grades is a short term solution. A kid who likes to learn will continue to do work whether or not being bribed with money. If they like learning, then money wouldn’t be an issue to them. Also, if they’re learning only for the money, paying them will not completely solve their problems; they’re more likely to cheat or copy answers.

– Another concern is that if you introduce them to doing actions for money, or bribes, then in the future they might accept a bribe that could put them in trouble. No telling what they could do just for the promise of getting cash.

– The idea that it is an incentive might work for some kids but not all. Some kids may decide the work is not worth the money, so as they get older, plan to spend more and more money on their education.

Pros:

-Financial freedom. If a child is paid for schoolwork then they don’t have to ask their parents for money. Also, it could help low income families afford school supplies and help them keep their children in school rather than have them drop out and help support their family through a job.

– It gives kids an incentive, and motivates them to work harder, to get more work in, and get better grades on tests. If they wanted to buy something, then they would work extra hard to make sure they get the money to by that thing.

– It trains kids for what it would be like to have job. You are paid for your good work (it’s better for kids under 13).

For more information, please visit:

https://broncopress.org/2769/opinion/paying-for-good-grades/

https://www.mother.ly/parenting/pay-kids-good-grades

American Sign Language in schools

American Sign Language or, ASL for short, is very important and should be taught in schools as a language option. ASL is used for communicating with people who are mute, deaf, or hard of hearing. Schools should have ASL as a class because it makes it easier for students to find a school near them, be able to attend classes, and understand the lessons without having more difficulties.

Another reason why schools should teach ASL is because there are not many local schools that are specifically just for people who are mute, deaf, or hard of hearing. Kids who were born deaf usually have parents who can hear, so if there is no local school that teaches ASL to the children, or classes in ASL, it can be hard for the family to find a school specifically for their child. Their child might end up going to a school that is out of their district, meaning there is no transportation for the child thus, the parents will have to take their child to school every morning and pick them up afterwards.

ASL can benefit people who can hear by allowing them to be able to communicate more easily with family or friends that only know ASL; without having to text all the time. This makes it easier for everyone. ASL is easy and fun to learn, with no worries of having to pronounce a word correctly.

ASL is just using hand motions while using expressions of the face; sometimes people may mouth out a word while signing. The signs are simple and easy to learn, though some words may not have a sign, which means they need to be spelled out, so the alphabet should be learned. The alphabet is easy and simple to remember though. ASL can help everyone and make it easier for others. Down below is a picture of the alphabet in ASL.

Lowering the voting age

The debate of lowering the voting age has been going on for a while now, and there are a few pros and cons. The age of voting is 18 right now, but some people are arguing that it should be lowered to 16. There are 19 states that let 17-year-olds vote as long as they are 18 by Election Day: Connecticut, Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Ohio,
Oregon, Virginia, Vermont, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Washington.

Here are some of the Pros to lowering the voting age:

  • More people might turn up to vote. Only about 50% of people go to the polls to vote during elections, and letting 16-year-olds vote might get them in the habit to keep voting through their lifetime.
  • More voices mean more ideas and different contributions to public discussions.
  • A lot of 16-year-olds have jobs, can drive, and pay taxes, so they should get to help decide how our country is run and what their taxes go to.

Here are some of the Cons to lowering the voting age:

  • Some worry that teenagers’ opinions are easily swayed and could be heavily influenced by their family, their friends, and people they look up to.
  • Others think that teens take things that they see and hear as truth without doing some fact checking.
  • Teens need more time to see what policies are important to them, and learn about what their political ideology is.

Personally, I think that the voting age should be lowered because the arguments that teens can’t think for themselves and that they aren’t mature enough to vote doesn’t make sense to me. They trust 16-year-olds to drive cars, but cars can do way more damage than an irresponsible voter. More pros come from lowering the voting age and more kids could get involved in politics. By the age of 16, teens can measure pros against cons and make well thought out decisions.

Starbucks closes for racial-bias training

Two men who had entered a Starbucks in Philadelphia were arrested after trying to use the restroom in the establishment. An employee had refused to allow them to enter, or use the restroom, because they had not bought anything from Starbucks. Soon after sitting down, the employee told them to leave, before calling the police. Once the police officials had arrived they soon arrested the two men. At that time, another person, Andrew Yaffe, confronted the police officers and asked, “But what did they do? What did they do? Someone tell me what they did?”

From the narration of Rashon Nelson; he and his friend were at Starbucks to meet a business associate. He wanted to use the restroom but was refused, and was told it was for paying customers only. So, he and his friend sat back down and waited until the business associate came. They hadn’t ordered anything because they had bottled water, and this was when employees had dialed 911, and police officials showed up to the scene shortly after.

Image taken from: https://www.cursor.org/business/2018/04/18/starbucks-racial-bias.html

Many people after hearing/seeing the story, started to try and bring awareness towards the racism in society, especially towards Starbucks. Many people were happy to hear that Starbucks was taking action, but they hated how they’re only taking half a day to “learn” about racial bias. People believe that taking half a day would not address the problem of racism and how they caused the arrest of two men because of how they were African-American.

This event was a moment of racial bias, where the two African-American men were disrespected and not allowed to do normal things by a white man. Racial bias in the world is huge, not only does it affect the rest of the world, and countries, etc., it is also affecting people, families, children in the U.S. Children have been bullied for having different colored skin, for being “black,” or “Asian,” or foreign.

One way or another, people will always be racist, because people will always be judging others, in everyday life. No one will forget about it and will always use race, skin color, or ancestry as an excuse to hate/discriminate against people.

Starbucks had announced this incident as racial/implicit bias, but really it was just racism. Starbucks had then decided to close all Starbucks in the U.S. for a racial bias training. Believing that teaching their employee’s/staff about racial bias would stop them from enacting these events in the future.

“It’s not just a black people thing. This is a people thing. And that’s exactly what we want to see out of this, and that’s true change. … Put action into place” –  Rashon Nelson

Rashon was one of the two men arrested that day, and appeared on ABC’s, Good Morning America news to talk about the incident.

After the incident, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson had released a video explaing, what Starbucks would do to ensure that this incident would not happen again.

To view the video of Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson -https://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2018/04/16/starbucks-ceo-meets-officials-after-philly-arrests/33906029/

Image taken from: https://countryclubplaza.com/merchant/starbucks/

 

Public schools vs. private schools

There are many who say private schools are far more beneficial to the children of our generation than public schools, and vice versa. Although there is not a lot of animosity between the two sides, the conversation still lingers as many question the other’s ethics, morals, and values.

Many argue that private schools provide more individual help from teachers, while public school all have a massive number of kids, and not enough staff members to provide the help needed for those kids in the classroom.

On the contrary, people in support of public schools argue that kids need to take the initiative for teacher help, that there are enough teachers, and that it is the kids’ responsibility to own up to their concerns and issues and ask for help themselves.

There is a strong view that people should not have to pay for education at the high school level, and that embracing public schools is the solution to the divide. Separating our community is an argument that really has not been addressed in a head-on manner by private school enthusiasts. Taking pride of togetherness, and communal ways of developing as a country, starting with our kids’ education, is yet another argument from the supporters of public schools.

Parents of private school students often argue that yes, they want to be a part of the solution, but they often take their own child’s education over the solution. They do not necessarily believe in the solution, and a substantial number believe that their future success depends on where they go to school, and if it is private or public. Overwhelmingly, private school supporters agree that the divide communally is not a large enough problem to where everyone needs to go to public school. On top of that, they believe that the discipline issues are too much to handle, and again, they take the value of their child’s education over starting to develop and help the solution of integrating private into public.

For more information, please visit: http://www.ngopulse.org/article/2017/01/19/pros-and-cons-public-vs-private-schools

 

 

Pros and cons of social media

Everyone knows how efficient social media can be for contacting friends and family, and learning of news of all kinds. It has been momentous for creating a platform for awareness of political and social issues. Social media is also helpful for building business relationships and connecting with customers. However, social media has unfortunately become a viable platform for cyberbullying, which has increased vastly over the past decade.

Mental health issues, and lapses in focus, that come from the overuse of social media, are unknown to quite a great extent. The majority of the problem is seen in teens. With the overuse of social media comes a constant need to be on social media, and with that, a toll on one’s psychological well-being can be a side effect. Extreme, heavy use of social media has even be linked with suicidal thoughts. It may be the fact that these teens are having these thoughts because of the cyberbullying and disgusting things read on Twitter, Facebook, etc. According to Dr. Hugues Sampasa-Kanyinga of the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, “It could be that teens with mental health problems are seeking out interactions as they are feeling isolated and alone.”

More and more studies are being conducted to prove a correlation with direct evidence and data supporting the claim that these mental health issues are a result of excessive use of social media. Dr. Hugues Sampasa-Kanyinga states, “Or they would like to satisfy unmet needs for face-to-face mental health support.”

I myself know of kids that are dealing with depression, and I know two be heavy users of social media. I do think these kids, from my observation, do not have much going on in their lives, not many friends and not enough things to keep them busy, which is the main cause, but who knows. The extreme overuse of social media and constant need of attention from others through technology may feed their desperation even more so.

There would be no reason to rid humanity of social media because of all the good it does for our society, but there are definitely disadvantages that need to be paid attention to, and somehow fixed or toned down to a bearable level.