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November 30, 2022

 

Should Students Have to Pass a Civics Test to Graduate?

In the article, “Should Students Have to Pass a Civics Test to Graduate?”(BTW) I read about a new controversial debate on whether students should be required to take a civics test in order to graduate. About 14 states are already applying this to their systems and seven other states are considering the bill. People who agree with this bill say that it should be a requirement for the reason that they believe that students should know the basics of how a democracy works. In this test, they should be able to demonstrate that they mastered civics and how to actively be great citizens. Over the years of others taking the test, it has shown the lack of understanding of how well people know a democracy. Others may say that this shouldn’t be a requirement for the reason that all it takes is memorization in order to answer the questions correctly which requires minimal thinking.

It would be a waste of time for students to be required for the civics test. Instead what should be implemented is for students to have received high-quality civics education. Having this type of education would be helpful by learning more difficult knowledge, developing skills, and building more complex understandings.

Should students have to pass a citizenship test?


The Broken Education System

The American school system is broken. “Even so, educational experiences for minority students have continued to be substantially separate and unequal.” As we’ve been going through the years, our school systems have aged, declined, and broken down. Students have been getting bullied, torn down, and have not been getting treated fairly especially when you are a minority. “It’s the measure of segregation that is most strongly correlated to the racial-achievement gap,” says Sean F. Reardon. 

A heartbreaking example of how our school system is broken is Isabella, a 10 yr old girl from Davis County UT. Isabella commited suicide as a result of her enduring horrific things and sayings from her teachers and classmates. Brittany Tichenor-Cox who is Isabella’s mother explains that her 10 year old daughter was getting bullied for being black and autistic. As this was happening they brought it to the school system but they did nothing about it. It is now coming into light that the administrators intentionally ignored the information that was brought to them and failed to respond to hundreds of reports from other black students that have been called slaves, the N-word, and threats of being lynched. I feel that this is a huge wake up call for the school systems in the US and many other places are failing miserably. We need to address how our education system is broken and take action. 

In conclusion, the American school system is struggling and we need to address that so we can make changes. The longer we wait the worse it’s going to get. It’s horrible what happened to Isabella and many other students around the country. It just shows that the education system is failing its students. We need to take action and prevent this from happening to anyone else. 


Why is There a Limitation to Student Speech?

In the article, “The Limits of Student Speech”(Upfront) I learned that a girl named Brandi Levy didn’t make it to her school varsity cheerleading squad and she remained on JV. She then expressed her feelings to her friends with negative words and one of the school’s cheerleading squad’s coaches saw the snap and reported it. This then caused Brandi Levy to get a one year suspension from cheer. She then sued the school, winning the U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. This debate on how far school authority has to punish students on off-campus speech.

I think the school should not limit students’ speech if it is off campus and I feel like depending on the types of things being said or done. I think it was wrong for the school to try to punish Brandi Levy for speaking out on her feelings of being upset for not being able to make the varsity team. Then having her being put off the team for a year which is excessive I feel. Schools shouldn’t limit students’ speech and I feel should only punish if someone is getting hurt. 

What do you think are the limitations of how far school off campus authority extends?


Oakland Education Crisis

“More than 3,000 public school educators from the Oakland Education Association went on strike to demand better pay, school funding and overall to improved classrooms conditions—meaning less-crowded” (Garrido). There has been a lot happening in schools in Oakland and sadly not much has changed since the strike. Based on the research, it is clear that Oakland education has had problems because  of the systematic problems in California have led to funding issues and too much of a focus on testing.  

Oakland Education has taken a big turn and is one of the lowest and poorest education in California because of funding issues. For example, Oakland Education Association went on strike to demand a better pay, School fundings and overall to improve education.  According to Strauss, “Teachers in Oakland, California are going on strike Thursday over largely the same issues that provoked the Los Angeles walkout: pay, large class size, too few nurses and counselors and other support staff, and the spread of charter schools where nearly 30 percent of the district’s students are now enrolled” (Strauss). This proves that teachers want the best for the student’s but if they don’t have enough funding or are not getting paid enough is likely that they will want to find a better job. The increase in class sizes and not enough staff makes it difficult for students to get the right education. Also, Strauss talks about Los Angeles also going on strike because of similar issues and this is a problem in the California system. A lot of the funding issues trickles down to teacher pay. According to the article “The Oakland Teachers’ Strike Revealed California’s Education Crisis by Bryce Covert says “The average Oakland teacher makes about $63,000, compared to the $80,000 average across California school districts” (Covert). This shows a funding issue that has made Oakland worse than other places in funding. 

 Teachers even use their own money which is less to help students. It is also a problem because rent is getting more and more expensive. This is a problem because then teachers because then teachers will leave. 

Secondly, education  in Oakland is a problem because California puts too much attention on testing. In the Interview, Sean Iannello stated, “Many teachers teach students to pass tests and not deal with real world situations” (Iannello). Teachers are focused more on what the school is requiring them to do and preparing students for tests that don’t determine what they are capable of.  President Obama agrees. In the article “Study says standardized testing is overwhelming the nation’s public schools” published by “The Washington Post” and written by  Lyndsey Layton Obama said, “But I also hear from parents who, rightly, worry about too much testing, and from teachers who feel so much pressure to teach to a test that it takes the joy out of teaching and learning, both for them and for the students. I want to fix that” (Layton). Even Obama agrees that there is too much testing because stressing students out and making education bad. We need a solution and we need it fast. 

Although a lot of people would disagree with me saying that the test that all of that is normal and that the class sizes should  be like that and that teachers should still get still get low pay and would be saying that test is just for practice. I know that that is putting too much pressure on the students on teachers and also on there funding. Based on the article on Good School, Rich School; Bad School, Poor School published by The Alantic by ALANA SEMUELS it says “This is one of the wealthiest states in the union. But thousands of children here attend schools that are among the worst in the country. While students in higher-income towns such as Greenwich and Darien have easy access to guidance counselors, school psychologists, personal laptops, and up-to-date textbooks, those in high-poverty areas like Bridgeport and New Britain don’t. Such districts tend to have more students in need of extra help, and yet they have fewer guidance counselors, tutors, and psychologists, lower-paid teachers, more dilapidated facilities and bigger class sizes than wealthier districts, according to an ongoing lawsuit. Greenwich spends $6,000 more per pupil per year than Bridgeport does, according to the State Department of Education.” This proves that the system is messed up and that we need to do something about this.

In conclusion, there has been a lot that is going on for the School systems in California such as low pay for teachers and that there is a large class sizes  and that the California schools give out too much test and also do not have a lot of fundings. If there is not a change students will not have the materials that students need. These are reasons why there is not a lot of school funding, there is a lot more class sizes and there is not a lot of education and also that the teachers give out too many tests which stress students out and give the students a lot of pressure.

Annotated Bibliography Strauss, Valerie. “Why Oakland Teachers Are Striking Quite Simply You Can’t Feed Minds Our Students-by-Starving-Their Schools.” The Washington Post, 21 Feb. 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/02/21/why-oakland-teachers-are-striking-quite-simply-you-cant-feed-minds-our-students-by-starving-their-schools/ .


Violence in Oakland

Why do you believe people are violent? An Oakland resident Ethan Cole, brought up so many interesting ways in which he believes that violence is caused. He states, “It is simply because nothing has changed in the status of poor and oppressed people” and  “is usually done for gang related reasons, then a person needing money gets involved joins the drug trade” (Cole). It is important to make sure there is enough opportunities for everyone in Oakland because we are all a part of this community and we all want to get somewhere in life the right way. Some ways Oakland can help reduce violence is by giving support to poor people in jobs and benefits, targeting the school systems, and to focus on the police force to first train officers.

Oakland can help solve the violence rates by first providing the poor people and those addicted with more opportunities to not act in desperation such as offering jobs so they can get money because now a days, a lot of things depend on money. In the article “Urban Crime: Causes and Solutions” “there are the people who are addicted to hard street drugs, and don’t have any more money to pay for their next ounce of whatever it is they’re taking, so, in desperation, they rob someone at gunpoint, or rob a store, or attack someone for their money, or burglarize a house, in the hopes of getting that cash they need for that next hit” (Bloomp). We need to be aware that addiction is really out there, and there is many people who are so deep into the addiction that they do not know how to control themselves. Ethan Cole talks about how opportunities can be really helpful, “Otherwise the police will only be looked down upon and hated for stopping illegal money flow and violence” (Cole). When he states “Stopping illegal money and flow violence” it means that through the way the less wealthy people get their money is illegal, but it is one of the only ways they could get the money they need. So, “police will only be looked down upon” by the poor people because they are stopping them from doing what they need to do to, although it is illegal. Giving poor people more opportunities to get a job can indeed be very helpful because it is a way that they can get the money they are looking for through a legal way which can also reduce crime rates.

Secondly, a strategy that can be really beneficial is by targeting school systems more. An Oakland mother who has been living in Oakland for more than ten years, Aracely Perez believes that school plays a very important role when it comes to this topic. This is what she stated, “If school can involve in such a way to allow students to feel welcome and enjoy going to school such as becoming a family like community or making school work more interesting, relatable, and understandable for all ages, future violence would definitely decrease” (Perez). Getting students of all ages engaged in school work will really be helpful when it comes to helping kids stay off the streets such as getting involved in gangs, drugs, alcohol, etc. Teens on Target (TNT) is a program in which they educate teens about violence. In the program, “They are taught a youth-authored, comprehensive, six-session violence prevention curriculum, which they then present, in the form of workshops, to middle school students across the city”(TNT). There is many programs like TNT which can help educate many teens on violence. These kinds of programs can be very useful when preventing youth to fall in a path that can lead to violent actions because they will know the dangers, risks and consequences of committing a violent action.

Finally, Oakland should focus a lot on training police officers. We have been seeing lots of police brutality lately. Aracely Perez speaks on how police should be trained, this is what she says, “Another thing Oakland could do is focus on the police force to first train officers and combat the current violence on the streets in a humane manner” (Perez). Police violence is out there too and this is a huge way in which we can reduce those rates. We are all human and we should be treated like one. Going back to the less wealthy people, the community  needs to stop arresting them and take a look at their roots and why they are doing what they are doing. Taking a look at their roots can also connect to giving them opportunities. Providing them with information of many programs they can get into would be a very beneficial way to help them make a new fresh start. I, as an Oakland resident, would love to see many people in my community to start over and later be joyful of the changes they made and how they came up from where they were before. We’re all human, we make mistakes that can lead us to rough paths, but there is always a solution. No human is perfect and we have to understand this and be empathetic. We all as a community need to find a way to come together and help our people.

In conclusion, Oakland can help reduce violence in our community by giving support to poor people in jobs and benefits, targeting the school systems, and to focus on the police force to first train officers. Our community is not perfect but it is the home of many people including myself. We want to feel safe to call it a home. Everyone deserves opportunities and second chances.

Work Cited

“BLOOMP.” Advantages/Disadvantages of Federalism, bloomp.net/articles/urban-crime-causes-solutions.htm.

This article talked about “why people commit crimes, root causes,and some possible solutions to lower our crime rates.” This Website is trustworthy because it is a page where many people write blogs.

 

Cole, Ethan. “Interview with Ethan Cole.” 13 Dec. 2018.

In this interview we discussed about the violence in Oakland. Ethan Cole has been an Oakland resident for a really long time. Ever since he was a little kid. He grew up in Oakland.

 

Perez, Aracely. “Interview with Aracely Perez.” 13 Dec. 2018.

In this interview, I also talked about the violence in our Oakland community. This time I interviewed an Oakland mother. We mainly focused on how to prevent violence and since she is a mother she wants what is helpful for kids of all ages including her own.

 

San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership. “Teens on Target (TNT).” San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership (SFHIP) :: Indicators :: Adults Who Are Overweight or Obese :: County : San Francisco, www.sfhip.org/promisepractice/index/view?pid=79. TNT is a program with many workshops that educate teens on violence

https://www.youthvoices.live/tag/schoolsystems/