opinions » oped


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.


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.


Homework doesn't make the grade

By Simon Kanter | April 24, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

For as long as anyone can remember, there has been homework. It has become an unquestionable constant in our society, a concept so etched into the minds of our collective conscious that it's hard to imagine life without massive take-home packets, book work and essays. But what if we did?


Advanced ego

By Pia Nargundkar | March 27, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

The number and score of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams is a) a good indicator of progress in the county b) a testament to how well MCPS is doing compared to the nation c) a testament to better preparation and teaching d) none of the above


Chaos ensues every morning in the student parking lot

By Erica Turner | March 16, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Imagine that you are driving down University Blvd. toward Blair High School. Your iPod is blasting your favorite song and traffic is flowing well. You turn right to enter the student parking lot and as soon as you enter, you immediately press down on the brakes and come to halt. From the entrance all the way down the far lane closest to University Blvd., there is a long line of cars. Parents are stopping in the driving lanes to drop off their children and it is impossible for you to pull around them.


Minimum wage needs more than just a raise

By Maya Calabrese | March 6, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

For Blazers the typical after school job pays anywhere from $5.15 to $8.00, adding up to just enough for the latest gaming system or pair of sneakers. But what if you had to live on that money? For minimum wage workers this is just the case.


Pro/Con: Should Blair be required to implement OARS?

By Miriam Ragen Poorva Singal | March 3, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Blair is one of only a few high schools in the county that has yet to implement the Online Achievement and Reporting System (OARS). In the 2007-2008 school year, MCPS will require the use of this program in all secondary schools.


Maryland a step behind in saving lives

By Lois Bangiolo | March 1, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

It can prevent cancer, it can save lives, but in Maryland, it is not yet required for middle school girls. It is Gardasil, the newly released vaccine that protects against the human papillomavirus (HPV), a disease that can lead to cervical cancer. While there is opposition from parents and controversy over how the maker of the vaccine will benefit from state mandates requiring the vaccine, Maryland has made a mistake in not passing the legislation potentially preventing thousands of cervical cancer cases.


YouTube goes overboard

By Johanna Gretschel | Feb. 27, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

A nonstop flow of yelling in Arabic is the only sound in the film as an unidentified object swings in and out of the dark, grainy scene. A few more seconds reveals the object to be the dead body of Saddam Hussein, former Iraqi dictator. That's all thanks to YouTube, a widely popular and controversial home video uploading and sharing service. Now, anyone with a working email address and the savvy to change one's birth year to earlier than 1988 when registering for the site can access the disturbing footage with the click of a button.


Inter-county disconnect

By Rachita Sood | Feb. 8, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Every workday, thousands of commuters sit through miles of gridlock, crawling along the area's clogged local roads and highways as they face hour long drives to work. The Intercounty Connecter (ICC), a proposed six-lane, 18-mile highway, aims to alleviate this congestion by providing a traffic free east-west route between I-270 in Montgomery County and U.S. Route 1 in Prince George's County.


Beating a dead horse

By Jessica Cutler | Feb. 5, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Enough is enough.


iRaq

By Julie Zhu | Feb. 5, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Personal pronouns have been good to us over the years. After all, it was the "I have a dream" speech that helped materialize racial equality and "We will fight on the beaches" that inspired British and American troops to trump the Germans on the shores of France. But in our fast-paced, laptop-hugging, cell phone-glued-to-ear society, personal pronouns have evolved from replacing proper nouns to preceding simple objects as prefixes.


Warming up to clean energy

By Molly Reed | Feb. 3, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

The average American generates about one and a half tons of solid waste per year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. But that figure pales in comparison to the five tons of carbon dioxide emissions each person produces annually through their daily actions and activities, as estimated by the Earth Policy Institute.


Holding graduation at Jericho does not violate the Constitution

By Pia Nargundkar | Feb. 3, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

We the people of Montgomery Blair, in order to form a more perfect graduation, establish a site placing the least burden on tax payers, ensure seating for all, provide for the comfort of the aforementioned, promote the general sentimentality worth of such an event and secure this site to ourselves and our posterity, do wish to ordain and establish Jericho as our graduation venue.


Democratic Congress vs. Republican White House

By Iliya Smithka | Jan. 3, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

For the first time since the Republican Revolution in 1994, voters have elected a democratic majority in Congress. Now, with a 51-49 majority in the Senate and a 232-201 majority in the House of Representatives, the Democrats can pass the legislation that they've wanted to for the past 10 years. But with a Republican White House and divisions within their party, they may find it hard to get enough support for their bills. With topics controversial across America and in the Capitol, representatives will vote based on their loyalties: with their party, with their constituents or with their own initiative.


Detention policy gets itself in trouble

By Ethan Kuhnhenn | Dec. 12, 2006, midnight | In Op/Ed »

First came the cowbells, now it's detention. Things are getting increasingly worse for those afflicted with chronic tardiness.


MySpace resumes

By Hareesh Ganesan | Dec. 12, 2006, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Last fall, Danny Scheer, a 2006 Blair graduate, posted photos of himself "looking really stoned" on his MySpace profile as a joke. Though the Communication and Arts Program senior seminar teacher John Goldman told Scheer to take down the post so he would not run the risk of colleges seeing it, Scheer thought the whole incident was an empty threat. But Goldman's concerns may not be unwarranted.


Making an inappropriate fashion statement

By Bridget Egan | Dec. 2, 2006, midnight | In Op/Ed »

This just in: recently, two teenaged girls from a local high school were kidnapped, blindfolded and held hostage by approximately eight male assailants during the school day. Fortunately, they were rescued before any physical harm ensued, though the extent of the emotional harm has not yet been determined. Details after this commercial.


PRO/CON: MCPS flyer distribution policy

By Pia Nargundkar Iliya Smithka | Nov. 28, 2006, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Iliya Smithka says YES: Organizations have the right to free speech within schools. Pia Nargundkar says NO: Students should not be forced to take home material of questionable content.


Wishy-washy law makes sick people suffer

By Iliya Smithka | Nov. 15, 2006, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Last March, President Bush signed the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act (CMEA) into law as part of the Patriot Act. Pharmaceutical drugs containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine (PSE) and phenylpropanolamine (PPA), common decongestants found in Sudafed and Claritin-D, are now available only behind the counter in your neighborhood drugstore, and require photo identification to purchase. The law's intent, according to the Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis, is to regulate the sale of drugs used to make methamphetamine or amphetamine, both addictive and dangerous drugs. But instead of stopping meth addicts from mixing their brew, the CMEA harasses customers with the common cold.


Better discussion needed throughout the community

By Lois Bangiolo Merlyn Deng | Nov. 9, 2006, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Although much of the fervor surrounding it has dissipated, the ID policy and other administrative decisions remain a mystery to the school's students and parents. While the media-dubbed "student uproar" has subsided, this lack of understanding raises a legitimate concern about the overall communication in all school matters between the administration and the Blair community.


Playing by the rules

By Ethan Kuhnhenn | Nov. 1, 2006, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Reports of schools changing athletes' grades to meet eligibility caused a ruckus in the Blair community last week, with parents, students and administrators all weighing in on the issue through listservs, newspaper forums and chats with athletic teams.


Earlier curfew in DC only a first step

By Gus Woods | Oct. 26, 2006, midnight | In Op/Ed »

D.C. faces what police chief Charles Ramsey has declared a "crime emergency." To grapple with it, on July 11, the D.C. government declared that the 12 a.m. curfew for all resident and non-resident teenagers 16 and younger was pushed to 10 p.m. Although the curfew represents an admirable effort to reduce the number of robberies and weapons offenses committed by young people, it is too controversial a crime-fighting tool to stand on its own. Unless officials move to support the new curfew with other anti-crime initiatives, it should either be pushed back to 12 a.m. or repealed. Furthermore, the latest anti-crime measures should also recognize the prevalence of adult crime and address the needs of at-risk adults, rather than targeting only adolescents.


Newfound spirit surges through Blair

By Rachita Sood Boris Vassilev | Oct. 14, 2006, midnight | In Op/Ed »

A black ninja walks through the 150s hallway, stealthily slipping by the Expedition Club's colorful display of an erupting brown paper volcano with red and yellow streamers flowing out. A few feet away, a bold poster of graffiti art showcases the Hispanic Club's culture, proclaiming "Orgullo y Cultura" (pride and culture), as it hangs in the 160s hallway amongst the oversized dominos dangling from the ceiling.

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