opinions


Bush's Scrooge-style agenda for children's healthcare

By Gus Woods | Oct. 28, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

President Bush, in a move that even the most hardened cynics had not anticipated, vetoed a bill on Oct. 3 that would have expanded the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which helps state-governments provide health insurance for children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance.


Rockin in the halls

By Boris Vassilev | Oct. 25, 2007, midnight | In Humor »

Yes, we've all heard them: The lyrical wonders and musical creations that assault the auditory senses every morning as students diligently wait for their classroom doors to open, or as they not so diligently await the bell to tell them they need to haul it to their first block. Like a phantom Michael Jackson, "ABC" follows students to class, Kool and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie" draws the denizens of the hallways into their respective classroom settings and all manner of other golden oldies mentally stimulate students for academic achievement.


Why do we put up with AYP and NCLB?

By Kevin Teng | Oct. 20, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

In an attempt to save the country's floundering education system, the federal government enacted the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2001 to set minimum standards for student proficiency in reading and mathematics. Under NCLB, Blair has failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards for two years in a row. However, all of the fault for the failure should not be heaped on Blair alone. The government's methods to help schools meet the standards disregard differences in the way education is run in states and impose unreasonable constraints on state governments.


New extended-hours program undoubtedly a plus

By Charles Kong | Oct. 19, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Blair has been forced to adapt to numerous changes this year, from a new grading system to a modified dress code. With High School Plus finally comes a change that should be agreeable to most everyone. After being piloted at four high schools last year, High School Plus is now running at all high schools for ninth and tenth graders across the county and will completely replace Evening High School by 2009.


"Starving" for global attention

By Anika Manzoor | Oct. 16, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

One child dies of hunger every five seconds, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN). To a simple minded person, this concept would be hard to understand. There is more than enough food for everyone in the world; global agriculture is able to provide an astounding 2,720,000 calories per person per day. Considering that a person needs a minimum of 2100 calories to lead a productive life, one would expect the entire world's population to be well-fed.


Prohibir el dicho de maldades no las elimina

By | Sept. 25, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Hoy en día, los salones de clase no solamente son lugares donde los maestros presentan su lección sino que también crean situaciones para que los estudiantes participen activamente en conversaciones sobre temas de estudio. La limitación de estas prácticas en clase es un mal recuerdo debido a que algunos temas son demasiado polémicos para tratarlos en un ambiente escolar.


Tackling the HSAs, one step at a time

By Greg Kohn | Sept. 22, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

With less than two years before the Class of 2009 is scheduled to be the first year to only graduate students who passed all the High School Assessments (HSAs), state Superintendent Nancy Grasmick is conceding that students unable to pass all four tests ought to be allowed an alternative means by which to earn a diploma.


Dress to impress

By Susie Branson | Sept. 17, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

On the first day of school, students cluttering the hallways at Blair seemed to glow of one color: skin-tones. Spaghetti straps, boxers and short-shorts were the clothing – or lack of clothing – that paraded around the school. However, due to the additional regulations prohibiting spaghetti-strap tops, skirts or shorts that are not fingertip length and pants worn below the waist, the hallways now sparkle with the brilliant colors of new clothes this season.


Getting cut short

By Boris Vassilev | Sept. 14, 2007, midnight | In Humor »

The break afforded to the average student between class periods is a holy time of sorts. Grapevines grow exponentially as myths are swapped, bathrooms are hurriedly visited, stairs are ascended, descended and jumped over and a little bit of academic stress is let out before the next class begins. As of two weeks ago, Blazers had this little pie piece of freedom and pressure relief relegated to a mere three quarters of its former glory - from eight minutes to six. Thinking upon this rather abrupt action, a responsible Blair student should consider the possibilities for other acts of shortening…before the bell rings that is.


The Big Easy still in big trouble

By Gus Woods | Sept. 10, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Two years after Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans, turning hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens into refugees, cutting the city's population in half, flooding 80 percent of the city and annihilating whole networks of infrastructure, New Orleans has yet to recover from the chaos wrought by the hurricane.


Always soccer, never football

By Andrew Kung | Aug. 11, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Last Thursday saw the biggest moment in soccer for the Washington area since Freddy Adu, as British superstar David Beckham suited up for the Los Angeles Galaxy to take on DC United in his regular season debut. League execs hope that the presence of an international superstar of Beckham's caliber will be a turning point for the sport, as soccer establishes its presence here in the US, taking its place alongside football, basketball and baseball in the pantheon of American sports.


Where have all the heroes gone?

By Pia Nargundkar | Aug. 1, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Michael Jordan. Cal Ripken Jr. Jerry Rice. Not so long ago, it was easy for a kid to find a sports hero to idealize. He or she could turn to the sports section of the newspaper, and it would be filled with stories of last-second baskets, great receptions, solid pitching – anything and everything about the games themselves. Now turn to the sports page, and one thing dominates the section – scandal.


A "gut feeling" on homeland security

By Sean Howard | July 31, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Recently, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said it was his "gut feeling" that the country faces a higher risk of terrorist attack in the summer, which raises the question: are we really safer with this government agency, which has one-fourth of its top leadership positions unfilled? Since it was established on Nov. 25, 2002, the Department of Homeland Security has been at constant odds with the mission it was supposed to accomplish and people it was designed to protect.


Peterson Cos. does right, allows photography

By Jon Kesten | July 30, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

The recent ban on photography in Downtown Silver Spring caused enough uproar to start a protest, a photographer rights group and now a change. Peterson Companies., the corporation who once claimed that Downtown Silver Spring is private property, has backed down and allowed photographers to freely take pictures in the area again. Nevertheless, these actions seem overdue and still leave the question of why the ban was placed to begin with.


"Speak no evil" does not destroy the evil

By Anshul Sood | July 22, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

In this time period, classrooms are not only places where teachers present lectures, but also situations for students can participate in active discussion on topics of study. A limitation on that classroom practice comes as a sad reminder that some subjects are just too controversial for a classroom setting.


Politicians unleashed on the Internet

By Kiera Zitelman | July 16, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

The next presidential election is more than fifteen months away, but the battle is already being fiercely fought in ways unseen in any other election. The new weapons at the candidates' disposal: social network and video sites like YouTube, MySpace and Facebook.


"Live Earth" is killing Earth

By Anika Manzoor | July 16, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

If we don't think about it, "Live Earth" sounds like a great idea: celebrities from across the globe unite to spread awareness about man-made climate change and how detrimental it is to our environment. Let's face it, whether we like it or not, celebrities have a significant impact on the mindset of the average person. They are considered role models by many, their words have value, so when they say, "The world is in trouble, we need to save it," people are likely to listen. However, this message is deeply marred by the disturbingly huge amount of gas used and pollution expelled to put this event into action.


California dreaming may become reality

By Greg Kohn | July 7, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

As humans continue to test the strength and resilience of Mother Nature, several U.S. state governments have been proactive in limiting their contributions to global climate change. Now the state of California, the leader of the pack, may be able to force the auto industry to manufacture cleaner cars, something the federal government has failed to do.


The "Scooter" Libby cakewalk

By Lucas Alvarado-Farrar | July 7, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

After the U.S. Court of Appeals denied I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's plea to avoid prison time while he worked out his next appeal, it was time for President Bush to step into action and make a decision. He was stuck. The President could pardon Libby – who was convicted of perjury in the Valerie Plame CIA leak affair – to satisfy the unanswered calls from his conservative base or leave the issue alone and allow the court's sentence for the former vice presidential aide stand in an attempt to soothe the Democratic Congress.


A sad strike against student freedoms

By Monica Wei | July 7, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against a high school student last week in Frederick v. Morse, the first major case involving students' First Amendment rights since 1988. However, the Court did not reinforce the famous Tinker precedent that students do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate as it should have, choosing instead to create a whole new rule on the First Amendment that allows censorship of student speech advocating illegal drugs.


Git out of Gitmo

By Kevin Teng | June 30, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

White House officials have been discussing the prospect of closing the detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay – an interrogation and holding facility for suspects of terrorism. Last Friday, they finally acknowledged that this issue has become a priority.


A false start with AP exams

By Boris Vassilev | June 10, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

High school is supposed to prepare us for college. Counselors encourage students to take challenging courses, try their best, maximize capabilities and show potential. And what better way to do this than taking and scoring well on an Advanced Placement (AP) exam? Many colleges currently offer exemptions from their first year courses if students score well enough on the respective AP exams. In light of this, students are using these exemptions in order to skip semesters, or even entire years of their college education. But instead of getting a head start on life, students who skip college courses are cheating themselves out of important life education.


Seven tips for 07

By Maya Calabrese | June 3, 2007, midnight | In Humor »

Graduation. After four long years of high school, seniors can finally celebrate…by sitting in a room for what seems like another four, long years. The sad truth is that graduation is like the Academy Awards – without the designer dresses, lavish goody bags or George Clooney.


Gainous's shoes are not an easy fit

By Iliya Smithka Gus Woods | May 29, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

On July 1, Principal Phillip Gainous will say farewell to Montgomery Blair High School. Now that his decision is final and his departure imminent, the school has turned its attention toward his replacement. As Gainous himself has said, "Nobody is concerned about my leaving, it's who's coming in." Blair's new principal must continue Gainous's precedent of excellent cooperation with vocal students by exercising the administration's obligation of oversight while consistently taking student rights of expression into consideration.


Supporting Service

By Ethan Kuhnhenn | April 26, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Amid the frenzy of preparing for high school graduation, Student Service Learning (SSL) often becomes an afterthought, a vague notion that settles into the far corners of memory until, for some, second semester of senior year rolls around.

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