opinions » oped

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.

A canned food drive to feed ourselves

By Charles Kong | Dec. 26, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

The Student Government Association (SGA) collected a record-breaking 5,393 cans in this year's canned food drive, 3,272 cans last year and 2,456 cans in 2005, all of which were donated to the Rainbow Homeless Shelter in White Oak. Although the purpose behind the food drive is respectable, the incentive students receive to bring in cans – such as this year's breakfast party for the three winning classes – has caused not only a shift from the concern for the homeless to the selfish wants of a reward, but also a loss in the whole meaning of charity.

Academy Day should be here to stay

By Ya Zhou | Dec. 17, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Academy Day. Many Blazers will take these words to mean an extra day off of school tomorrow, where in fact, this day is one of the most important all year. In the half-day event set aside for all Blazers, students will be presented with possible career paths via guest speakers from various professions, according to Academies Coordinator Jennifer Kempf.

Música en los salones

By Juan Orellana | Dec. 4, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Sí, todos las hemos escuchado: las líricas y maravillosas creaciones musicales que asaltan nuestos oídos. Todos y todas las mañanas: los estudiantes diligentes que esperan a que sus profesores les abran las puertasde los salones, y tambien aquellos, que no tan diligentemente, esperan que la campana suene para recordarles que deben arrastrarse a su primer clase. Como un fantasma, la canción de Michael Jackson, "ABC", acompaña a los estudiantes a clase, la canción de Kool and the Gang, "Jungle boggie," actua como imán, atrayendoa los estudiantes a sus salones y otras viejas canciones de éxito animan a los estudiantes a aprender.

A haven from a hostile world

By Kiera Zitelman | Dec. 3, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

As the 2008 presidential campaign heats up, the candidates are scrambling to come up with positions that please voters. Immigration is a particularly thorny issue, and the candidates are struggling to prove that they are the right ones to deal with the situation. Just last month, Republican candidate Mitt Romney accused fellow candidate Rudolph Giuliani of making New York City a "sanctuary city," or a haven for undocumented workers, according to the Associated Press.

Misplaced mourning

By Kate Harter, Miriam Ragen | Nov. 28, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

The death yesterday of Washington Redskins' safety Sean Taylor was undeniably a tragedy. Taylor was a mere 24 years old and left behind a young fiancée and an infant daughter. But the response to his murder has provoked in the community calls into question society's tendency to mourn the death of a public figure while ignoring the everyday passings of ordinary people.

Do Blair's policies make the grade?

By David Zheng | Nov. 24, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Blair's new policies this year have been a mixed bag of successes and failures. Earlier this month, students received their first report cards of the year as the first marking period ended. Now it's time to rate the school's new policies with Blair's own progress report.

Soliciting the country to death

By Kevin Teng | Nov. 4, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

More than 50 candidates are currently running for president of the United States, fighting for a chance to represent their party and spending an absurd amount of money on political advertisements in the process. On Oct. 15, candidates filed spending reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), revealing the high cost of campaigning – a whopping $420 million so far. Despite the considerable number of issues that the candidates need to debate and discuss, candidates are going about their campaigns wrongly, spending enormous amounts of money and time in order to gain publicity – a counterproductive exercise.

Padeciendo hambre para atención global

By Mary Rodas | Oct. 29, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Un niño muere de hambre cada cinco segundos, según la Organización de Comida y Agricultura (FAO). Para una persona sencilla, este concepto serí­a difí­cil de entender. Hay más que suficiente comida para todos en el mundo; la agricultura global tiene la asombrosa capacidad de producir 2.270.000 calorías por persona por día. Considerando que al mí­nimo una persona necesita aproximadamente una de 2,100 calorías para vivir productivamente, uno esperaría que la población entera del mundo estuviera bien alimentada.

Cortando el tiempo

By Kathie Arana-Mejia | Oct. 29, 2007, midnight | In Op/Ed »

Desde hace ya dos semanas se nos rebanó parte de la torta de nuestra libertad y alivio de estrés, reduciéndola a solo seis minutos. Mientras meditamos en este cambio tan abrupto, como estudiantes responsables debemos de considerar las otras múltiples posibilidades que existen para otros actos de recortar la políticas de la escuela... asegurándonos de lograrlo antes de que suene la campana.

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.

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.

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