opinions » oped

Abstain from abstinence-only education

By Julia Wynn | Sept. 23, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

When Republican presidential candidate John McCain finalized his pick for vice president, Governor Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) began to endure the usual ruthless media probing associated with being a top executive figure. As a result, the media has nitpicked and scrutinized the pregnancy of her 17-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol. They've got all the irrelevant details covered - her boy toy, his background, their hobbies, their future plans - except the most relevant piece: her mother's support for abstinence-only education, as publicized during her 2006 campaign for governor. Bristol is living proof that this type of sex education is inadequate.

Time to change colors for Bush's EPA

By Katie Sint | Aug. 2, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

The Bush administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have recently decided to postpone regulating greenhouse gas emissions until January 20, 2009, or more specifically, until the current President leaves the office. Rather than addressing the growing threats posed by global warming, the EPA, under the Bush administration, is instead choosing to seek out months more of public commentary before making changes.

Don't blind the NSA

By Lauren Kestner | July 29, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

President Bush recently signed a bill granting immunity to telecommunication providers that complied with National Security Agency (NSA) edicts to turn over American client records. Approved by the Senate last Wednesday with a decisive 69 - 28 vote, the law will broaden the scope of U.S. counter-terrorist intelligence measures while increasing congressional oversight. The new legislation arose from concerns that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978 was ineffective at checking government power, a fear that was confirmed when a 2005 New York Times article revealed the existence of an invasive government-run domestic wiretapping program. Although many liberals have reproached the bill as a heinous violation of First and Fourth Amendment rights, the law will better equip U.S. intelligence agencies to anticipate and eliminate terrorist threats - and does much to ensure that civil liberties are not compromised in the process.

Modified bus policy makes no cents

By Sonalee Rau | July 18, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

For Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students, a new bus policy proposal means it may be time to get out the old walking shoes. Current MCPS bus policy states that high school students who live within two miles of their schools must find alternate transportation, as must middle school students who live within one and a half miles of their schools and elementary school students who live within one mile of their schools.

SAT changes: A wolf in sheep's clothing

By David Tao | July 10, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

The College Board – makers of the SAT Reasoning Test required for entrance by colleges across the nation – announced a policy change in June. Starting with the class of 2010, students can now choose to only show certain test scores to schools, with the ability to hide attempts that resulted in low grades. Colleges now won't know whether a score was earned in one try or six. Before the cheering begins, however, look at the other side of the coin. Although this change is a stress reliever for many, its repercussions, as well as the College Board's motives, are far more sinister.

Credits make all the difference

By Emily Hsiao | June 17, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

One of the 17.5 mandatory course credits required for graduation, the technology education credit, used to be easy to earn, with a choice of 17 different technology education classes at Blair. Thanks to a new Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) technology education program, students are now faced with limited course choices, and classes that currently offer the credit and valuable technological skills are now fated to disinterest and decreased student enrollment.

Duty to the people

By Alisa Lu | June 10, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Representative Al Wynn's 15-year career in the House of Representatives has been marked by a series of ups and downs. After winning the Democratic primary by a little more than three percentage points over challenger Donna Edwards two years ago, Wynn lost to her by more than 20 percent in this year's Feb. 12 Democratic primary. Instead of gracefully serving out the remainder of his term, Wynn sent shockwaves throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. by announcing in March that he would resign, effective last weekend.

Five-year-old criminals

By Ya Zhou | June 7, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

While students and staff have every right to be protected from sexual harassment, it crosses boundaries when kindergartners who cannot tie their shoelaces have the permanent label of "sexual harasser" on their record. To consider any unwanted advance as sexual harassment will not solve anything. Instead of catching the real culprits and finding the true motivations for student behavior, sexual harassment policies in schools condemn everyone.

PRO/CON: Voter ID requirements

By Charles Kong Monica Wei | June 3, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

The Supreme Court voted 6 - 3 on April 28 to uphold Indiana voter identification laws, ruling that states can require voters to show IDs before allowing them to cast ballots. Some states have long required voters to identify themselves at the polls, but no state had a requirement for a current government-issued photo ID until Indiana and Georgia passed such legislation in 2005. These ID requirements promise to prevent voter fraud, but some people argue that the voter ID laws suppress voting, especially by minority and would-be Democratic voters. Should states take advantage of this ruling and require voters to present IDs before allowing them to vote?

More P.E., less TV

By Greg Kohn | May 18, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Bryan Moore was only twelve years old when he was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, caused by obesity and lack of exercise. Now a ninth grader, Moore has his name on a bill that aims to increase physical education requirements in school - including doubling high school requirements to two years.

From college to the classroom

By Susie Branson | May 12, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

As senior Gabriela Acosta walks into her Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology classroom, a tall female teenager with short brown hair and a button up shirt stands at the front of the board talking to teacher Julia Smrek. While students continue to file into the room and take their seats, Acosta assumes the new girl to be a transfer or guest from another school. However, Smrek instead turns around and introduces the guest as Ms. Emma Aguilar, the class's new student-teacher for the semester from the University of Maryland. What Acosta soon came to discover in her AP Psychology class is that she and her new student-teacher would not only share the same classroom, but also the same birthdate.

Preparing Blazers for the future

By Anshul Sood | May 9, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Real world experience has long been considered one of the best ways to prepare for life beyond high school. But as the struggle of scoring competitive internship and work programs mounts, students are often left to sort through this puzzle themselves. The capstone program - just one year old - provides students with the guidance they need to venture on personal academic journeys that will enrich them beyond the classroom.

Halted anti-discrimination bill must be pushed forward

By Monica Wei | April 26, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

They live their lives just like anyone else. They work, go to school and pay their bills. Yet many of them live in misery - either shunned and hated for who they are or forced to keep their lives secret for fear of being hated - because they are transvestites and transgenders.

Earth to Blazers: go green

By Gus Woods | April 22, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

This Earth Day, activists, politicians and pundits around the country will be discussing ways to make our society and technology more energy efficient. But it would be a shame if on the one day when the world focuses on the Earth's natural environment and resources, students and staff at Blair ignored the school's own problems with energy efficiency. Numerous methods to make Blair more energy efficient exist, many simple, some complicated and others ingenious. But no matter what, they should be considered as possible alternatives to the way the school currently consumes energy.

Acelerando en la dirección correcta

By Selene Tituana | March 30, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Los estudiantes Brenton Thomas Everson de 17 años, y Richard McManus de 16, de la escuela secundaria Winston Churchill, pensaron que una salida en su automóvil al CVS sería un viaje rápido y seguro, pero después de que McManus perdiera el control de su vehículo el 21 de enero a las 2:30 AM, Everson se convirtió en un número más de las fatalidades de los accidentes automovilísticos que han matado a más de una docena de adolescentes en Maryland desde noviembre.

PRO/CON: Curbing parental control

By Sean Howard Charles Kong | March 29, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

A three-judge panel of the California District Court of Appeals ruled on Feb. 28 that parents statewide who do not have teaching credentials can no longer home school their children. The ruling stems from a case involving eight home-schooled children who claimed that their parents were abusing them. Citing a 1953 ruling in which another appellate court rejected a challenge to California's education laws, Justice Walter Croskey ruled that parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children. But parents argue that the approximately 166,000 home schooled students in California will be forced to enroll in conventional schools - an enormous undertaking. Should Maryland, with its 24,329 home-schooled students, follow in California's footsteps?

A chat for change

By Kevin Teng | March 5, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

With the two frontrunning Democratic presidential candidates in this year's election - a black man and a female - showing a stark departure from the typical white male nominee, national attention has been focused on the country's supposed progress. Yet regardless of what makes for feel-good headlines, the classic stereotypes are tossed around in regards to these candidates, and unfortunately, in the halls of Blair.

Pro/Con: A coach for all seasons

By Sophie Schwadron Ya Zhou | March 2, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

As they gear up for the spring sports season, Blair coaches and teams are reminded of a small rule that means a lot when it comes to preseason training. Per Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) policy, high school coaches are only allowed to hold organized practice with their teams within the limits of the season, according to the Maryland State Board of Education Athletics handbook. In late April, the MPSSAA will consider changing the rule. Is the policy dispensable?

When the reporters become the reported

By | Feb. 27, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

When The New York Times published a front page story on Feb. 21 about Republican presidential candidate and front-runner John McCain's allegedly unprofessional relationship with a lobbyist, the article had the potential to wreck a presidential campaign.

Speeding in the right direction

By Susie Branson | Feb. 15, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

For Winston Churchill High School students Brenton Thomas Everson, 17, and Richard McManus, 16, it was supposed to be a quick trip to CVS. But after McManus lost control of his car at 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 21, Everson became yet another addition to the number of automobile accidents that have killed over a dozen Maryland teenagers since November.

From special to standard

By Emily Hsiao | Feb. 8, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Fifteen years ago, an eighth grader would be nervously hoping to receive an acceptance letter from the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at Richard Montgomery High School, inviting him to be one out of only 100 students in MCPS to enroll in the IB. Now an eighth grader applying may still be anxiously awaiting his acceptance letter to the IB at Richard Montgomery, but he will be one out of hundreds of students enrolling because of the open enrollment of the IB in other schools.

A promising new policy on bullying

By Monica Wei | Feb. 5, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

She was a bubbly 13-year-old who had overcome depression; her life was looking brighter. But then one day in November 2007, the mother of Megan Meiers found her daughter hanging from a rope in the closet. The shocking story of this Missouri teen caught the attention of the national media and spread like wildfire. Megan's suicide was prompted by hate messages sent by her neighbors, who had created a Myspace account under a false persona and befriended Megan. Her situation brings home the all-too-real torments of online hoaxes and bullying.

Clear roads, blocked communication

By Kevin Teng | Feb. 3, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

In a county school district, every constituent is entitled to rights – most importantly, the right to question authority. But when Devraj (Dave) Kori, a senior at Lake Braddock High School called Dean Tistdat, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Chief Operating Officer (COO) to ask why school hadn't been cancelled after three inches of snow, the call was returned with a hysterical message from Tistdat's wife, Candy. Calling an administrator at a publicly listed home phone is not a show of peskiness; it is a show of initiative.

County is right on Ride On

By Sophie Schwadron | Jan. 31, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

In mid-December, County Executive Isiah Leggett proposed a $23.6 million savings proposal to taper the enormous $401 million deficit in Montgomery County. But only on Jan. 14 did he remove a controversial component of the legislation that would have burdened Blazers who routinely flash a Blair ID for a free ride home.

D.C. school system drama

By Jenny Williams | Jan. 14, 2008, midnight | In Op/Ed »

When D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee took control of the D.C. school system nearly five months ago, nobody expected her to so radically reform the district. To many Washingtonians, she was just another notch on old D.C.'s belt – another replacement for the six superintendents who have failed in the past decade.

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