Students experience school related stress around the world

Mar
16
12:00 pm
Comparative PISA results for the United States and Finland

Comparative PISA results for the United States and Finland

By Sophia Ordaz, Staff Writer

Semester exam week at Central. Dark circles encircle tired eyes, hands clench pencils and pens. Answer sheets cover each desk. Students fidget. Empty bubbles eyeball students, their hollow, vacant gaze unnerving even the most experienced test-taker. Minds race and pencils scratch. The clock ticks at a tiring, unvarying rhythm, its pulse becoming the students’ own life-force. But soon its beat accelerates. Half of the bubbles remain unfilled, half of the test lies ahead, but there is so little time, so little time to finish a test that determines twenty percent of a semester grade.

Semester exams are only one example of the stressors Central students commonly experience, and on a national level, American students face many of the same challenges. Today, college is seen as a surefire path to success, meaning that students in the U.S. end up juggling high school’s educational demands with extracurricular activities in order to attract colleges. The pressure for American students to achieve is high, but around the world students are succeeding by following vastly different education systems.

Around the mid-1900s, 78 percent of South Korea’s population was illiterate. During this time Korea was occupied by Japan, and only Japanese people were allowed access to secondary schools and higher education. Koreans were excluded from education. Today 98 percent of the country’s population is literate. When Koreans were finally in a stable enough place to build an strong education system, they drew on Confucian values, principles that honored hard work and reverence for education. They combined these standards with elements of egalitarianism, relying on merit-based tests that leave everyone on the same playing field.

Korea’s test-driven education system is producing incredible results. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), is a worldwide study that tests the ability of 15-year-old students from around the world in reading, math, and science. Korea’s scores are significantly higher than the OECD average and those of the United States.

The amazing performance of Korean students is linked to a rigorous curriculum that focuses on math and science and intense studying. The typical high school student will have class from 8 AM to 10 PM, and many students stay up to all hours of the night studying at private cram schools called hagwons. “If you sleep for four hours a night, you’ll get into the college of your choice,” a student proverbs says. “If you sleep for five hours, you fail.”

The three best colleges in South Korea are Seoul National University (SNU), Korea University and Yonsei University, nicknamed SKY. As a SKY graduate, students secure a higher status, the best academic pedigree of the country, and even better marriage prospects. But to be accepted in a SKY college, students must score a near-perfect score on the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT). Students spend their lives preparing for this all-or-nothing test.

There is a dark side to Korea’s effective education system. The number one cause of death for young people aged 15-24 is suicide, according to a 2011 report by Statistics Korea. Each year brings a new spate of student suicides, most occurring around the CSAT dates. Despite South Korea’s astoundingly high scores, students experience unhappiness and feelings of inadequacy. High school students dedicate their teenage years to studying and feel enveloped in the CSAT’s “deep play,” where the consequences of losing arguably outweigh the consequences of winning.

“[My student] said that when she finished her university entrance exam she started to uncontrollably cry because such a large mix of emotions, both positive and negative, hit her at the same time,” James Kobes, head instructor at SNU’s Foreign Language Center, says. “She said that after she cried she felt empty because she realized that she had dedicated the best years of her young life to the exam and that much of her identity as a person hinged on the exam. Upon completing the exam, the force that had given her life structure and purpose was suddenly gone.”

Finland has a completely different education system, yet ranks with South Korea and out-performs the United States. The Finnish model focuses on providing every child with the best possible education, relying on hands-on experiences and a close teacher-student relationship.

Before the 1970s, Finland’s education was less than remarkable. The economy was struggling with unemployment at near 20 percent. In 1972, the Finnish parliament began a series of reforms to transform education. Reforms included national curriculum guidelines and improved teacher training.

“Thirty years ago, Finland’s education system was a mess,” Linda Darling-Hammond, an education professor at Stanford, says. “It was quite mediocre, very inequitable. It had a lot of features [the American] system has: very top-down testing, extensive tracking, highly variable teachers, and they managed to reboot the whole system.”

Today Finland’s education is not test-driven and is geared towards cooperation rather than competition, unlike the Korean and American model. Only one standardized test exists, taken when students are sixteen. The list of differences goes on. Finnish students aren’t divided based on their strengths or weaknesses; all children are taught in the same classroom. New York City has as many teachers as Finland, but there are 600,000 students in Finland compared to New York City’s 1.1 million students. For the first six years of their education, students aren’t measured. The early years of education are for students to explore their interests and learn from hands-on experiences. Finnish students aren’t assigned homework until they are well into their teens, and even then, homework usually does not exceed an hour each night. While the average American child gets 27 minutes of recess, the Finnish child gets 75.

The secret to Finland’s success lies with its teachers. Being a teacher in Finland is similar to being a doctor or a lawyer. To work as a teacher, a master’s degree is necessary, and teachers are selected from the top 10 percent of graduates. Many teachers teach the same students year after year, making it easy to establish a close student-teacher bond. Because the Ministry of Education holds teachers in high regard, teachers also have a lot of freedom with lesson plans. They spend only 4 hours each day in the classroom, and they receive two hours a week for professional development.

“In Finland, we think that teachers are key for the future, and it’s a very important profession—and that’s why all of the young, talented people want to become teachers,” Henna Virkkunen, Finland’s Minister of Education, says. “Teachers in Finland can choose their own teaching methods and materials. They are experts of their own work, and they test their own pupils. I think this is also one of the reasons why teaching is such an attractive profession in Finland because teachers are working like academic experts with their own pupils in schools.”

The Finnish model does not come without its downfalls. Finnish schools aim to advance the lowest-performing students rather than getting the best out of some of the higher-performing students. This can potentially limit a student’s growth.

Both South Korea and Finland surpass the United States, in regards to education. Although, the two countries have different approaches to education, they have similar cultural aspects that allow education to be effective. Both cultures hold teachers in high regards. They are respected and trusted by both students and higher-ups. In both cultures, education is seen as necessary for a better future. Based on its results, the United States needs to change something about its education system, but it may not be possible to apply values from South Korea and Finland in the American system.

“An educational system has to serve the local community, and it’s very much tied to a country’s own history and society, so we can’t take one system from another country and put it somewhere else,” Virkkunen says. “I think that teachers are really the key for a better educational system.”

To improve the United States’ education, teachers need to have the freedom and inspiration of Finnish teachers, and American students need some of the discipline and hard work of Korean students. Students and teachers need to foster relationships of mutual respect and trust for the most effective learning to take place.

 

City Director speaks at GSA

Mar
16
12:00 pm
Kathy Webb expressed the need the for LGBTQ+ allies to vocalize their support during the GSA meeting on March 11, 2015. “It’s important that allies don’t remain silent,” Webb said. “Make sure you stand up and say, ‘That’s not right,’ because it’s a small thing but very important thing to do.” Photo by Melissa Joiner

Kathy Webb expressed the need the for LGBTQ+ allies to vocalize their support during the GSA meeting on March 11, 2015. “It’s important that allies don’t remain silent,” Webb said. “Make sure you stand up and say, ‘That’s not right,’ because it’s a small thing but very important thing to do.” Photo by Melissa Joiner

By Melissa Joiner, Feature Editor

Ward 3 City Director Kathy Webb recently visited Central’s Gay-Straight Alliance meeting. She spoke about her past, including her involvement in the women’s rights movement in Washington DC, her time as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, and how being out as a lesbian has affected her life and political career.

“One of the great ironies in my life is that I can introduce ordinances [to promote equality] in Little Rock, but I can get fired from my job at the Hunger Alliance because I’m a lesbian,” Webb said.

Webb also talked to students about ways that can get involved in influencing their legislators to make laws that will better protect all Little Rock citizens.

“Instead of just making phone calls [to legislators], send emails because they can track emails. Make sure to say in them, ‘I live in your district,’” Webb said.

At the closing of the GSA meeting, Webb expressed the need for LGBTQ+ allies to vocalize their support, and call out those who try to downplay the need for LGBTQ+ rights.

“It’s important that allies don’t remain silent,” Webb said. “Make sure you stand up and say, ‘That’s not right,’ because it is a small thing, but a very important thing to do.”

Matthew Perkins keeps it simple, classy when it comes to fashion

Mar
13
1:00 pm
Senior Matthew Perkins always dresses to impress, whether in the hallways or on the soccer field. Photo by Melissa Joiner

Senior Matthew Perkins always dresses to impress, whether in the hallways or on the soccer field. Photo by Melissa Joiner

By Melissa Joiner, Photography Editor and Taylor Smith, Staff Writer

Senior Matthew Perkins is picture perfect. A burnt orange sweater perfectly compliments his crisp, white button down. His khakis are pressed with precision and his mahogany brown loafers are perfectly shined.

Matthew is known among his peers for his intelligence, kindness, and impeccable sense of style. His style in his final year of high school seems crafted and well-executed, but it has not always been that way.

“I used to dress well in K-8 because my school required us to wear uniforms. But when I got to Central in ninth grade, I was a terrible dresser,” Matthew said. “In tenth grade, I began to develop a good sense of style.”

While his fellow students prefer trendy tops and sweatpants and leggings, Matthew gravitates toward a more classical look. While his appearance is more mature than most high schoolers, he still values comfort.

“[With my overall fashion sense,] I go for comfort really; sweaters, soft materials, and staples like khakis and loafers,” Matthew said.

In this day and age, celebrities like Kanye West, Rihanna, and Victoria Beckham sway the direction of fashion. Their personal style choices dictate many people’s fashion sense, mainly teenagers. But this is not true for Matthew.

“I don’t really have style influences. If I’m at a store and I see something I like, I adopt it and put my own spin on it,” Matthew said.

Though he does not necessarily participate in trends, Matthew himself is a trendsetter. Recently, his peers began to notice him wearing an interesting alternative to the average belt.

“This year, I began wearing ties for belts,” Matthew said.

The tie-for-belt fad has not yet caught on among Matthew’s peers, but that doesn’t seem to affect him and his outfit choices.

This aspiring fashion is to will be graduating from Central this May and taking his sense of style with him. But the memory of Matthew and his fashionable outfits will linger in the minds of Central students long after his departure.

Oscar night captivates nation, honors brightest stars

Mar
13
1:00 pm
Neil Patrick Harris drew mixed reviews as Oscar host, but there is no argument about his enthusiasm. Photo from USA Today

Neil Patrick Harris drew mixed reviews as Oscar host, but there is no argument about his enthusiasm. Photo from USA Today

By Sophie Barnes, Staff Writer

Only a few events on television these days are big enough to cause entire households to stop what they’re doing and watch, for a night, the goings-on of some subject in some area of the world. The Super Bowl is one that comes to mind, bringing together people all over the United States. But there is another that is unofficially called “Hollywood’s Super Bowl” and that is the Oscars.

I’ll begin with the lead up to this special night. Beginning on January 1 of the New Year, movies are premiered every day, some with the specific intention of being considered (through film festivals and the like) for such high awards ceremonies as the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA), and the Oscars.

At the start of 2014, many film critics and movie lovers could see only a bleak future for the year’s Oscar prospects. I knew of only a few movies that looked somewhat appealing, these including The Grand Budapest Hotel, American Sniper, and Foxcatcher.

I had heard rumors circulating the year before about Clint Eastwood’s involvement in the war drama American Sniper and had known about Bradley Cooper’s leading role. The story seemed intriguing, however very controversial, as it turned out to be. The other two were somewhat ambiguous at the time. I did know of Ralph Fiennes and Steve Carrell’s respective leads and soon to be Oscar noms.

Following a decades-long tradition, the nominations were announced in early January of this year. There were obvious mentions and some surprising, but as per usual, a small few were left unnoticed by the Academy, deemed every year as “Oscar snubs.” These included the civil rights epic Selma, the animated film The Lego Movie, and several acting snubs such as Jennifer Aniston for Cake, David Oyelowo for Selma, Amy Adams for Big Eyes, and Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler.

Per Oscar tradition, another well-known celebrity, Neil Patrick Harris hosted the show and has gotten mixed reviews from critics. In past years, famed comedians like Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Whoopi Goldberg, Ellen DeGeneres, and Billy Crystal have hosted more than once, to the delight of some and the chagrin of others.

Harris is a stage man at a heart and a magician on the side. Both of these played into his hosting numerous times throughout the telecast. His ceremony was choppy, but somehow still fresh. He began with a fairly cheesy, however cute, song about “moving pictures” and joked throughout the entire show with cringe-worthy puns and improvised-humor. The night was filled with awkward moments, and several bits that most likely caused snores at home.

The big awards of the night were as follows: Birdman (Or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Best Picture; Alejandro G. Innaritu, Best Director – Birdman; Eddie Redmayne, Best Actor – The Theory of Everything; Julianne Moore, Best Actress – Still Alice; J.K. Simmons, Best Supporting Actor – Whiplash; Patricia Arquette, Best Supporting Actress – Boyhood; and Birdman, Best Original Screenplay.

Ceremoniously, the awards were presented and accepted with grace and poise in all circumstances. There are always the few winners that give memorable, uplifting, and sometimes heart-wrenching acceptance speeches; this year, several of the speeches could be considered as such. J.K. Simmons told audience to pick up the phone and call their parents for a quick hello and thank you. Patricia Arquette spoke to the female audience and viewers at home in a powerful talk about the unequal pay of women in the workforce, specifically Hollywood. Eddie Redmayne freaked out a little about the win and talked of his thankfulness for his beautiful new wife, Hanna. Graham Moore, winner of Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, admitted that he attempted suicide at sixteen because he thought he didn’t belong, and warned anyone out there listening to “stay weird.”

Another highlight of the show was the inclusion of #TeamOscar, a group of specially-chosen, up-and-coming filmmakers, to present an award. Starstruck thought they may have been, none of them showed an inkling of that feeling on their calm, cool, and collected faces. And I know many a girl and boy my age who would give anything to have been able to be on that stage. Is the Academy finally transitioning into what may be their most welcoming years to date?

Though full of surprises, both good and bad, the night was overall well-done. This year’s films were competition worthy, so much so that it even caused some tense voting for the Academy, made up of all winners and nominees from Oscars of years before. Most people definitely had Boyhood locked down for Best Picture and Best Director. But in any case, Birdman was something no one knew was coming and for that I congratulate them. Neil Patrick Harris may have been a bit over-the-top, but what can you expect from a Tony-award winner? Not much else.

Cortinez expresses love for teaching; students reciprocate

Mar
13
12:00 pm
Psychology teacher Katherine Cortinez passes out another helpful worksheet to her students

Psychology teacher Kay Cortinez’s passion for teaching has always trumped any desire she has had to retire. Photo by Melissa Joiner

By Anna Norman, Communications editor

Psychology teacher Katherine Cortinez loves many things.

“Family has always been most important,” Cortinez said, and added, “Friends are extremely important to me. I like feeling useful too.”

Cortinez is also a great game player.

“I will play any kind of game with you, except numbers,” she said.

There’s another thing that is very important to her. Cortinez loves her job, made clear by the fact that she has been teaching for 47 years, longer than many teachers at Central have been alive.

“I’m one of those lucky people that chose the profession I should go into to start with,” Cortinez said.

In an age where many people claim to be unhappy at their jobs, Cortinez continues to love her place at Central High School.

“She seems to really love what she does and that shows through how she communicates with the class,” junior Rachel Green said.

Cortinez was married with her second child on the way when she graduated college. Despite this, she started teaching that November.  She began teaching in Louisiana, and then moved to Arkansas where she has remained. She taught in Springdale and Fayetteville before moving to Little Rock. She taught at Horace Mann Middle School and Parkview before coming to Central, where, but for a seven-year break, she has remained. Along the way, she has taught American History, English, Reading, Math (although she claims she didn’t teach it well), Louisiana History, Arkansas History, Sociology, and Psychology.

Although she does enjoy history, her favorite subject she has ever taught is Psychology.

“Psychology changes all the time, and history, unfortunately, it doesn’t change,” Cortinez said, “We can interpret it differently, but it stays the same.”

In the ‘80s, when Psychology was reinstated as a class at Central, Cortinez jumped at the chance to teach it.

“They said, ‘We’re going to put Psychology back in. Who wants it?’” Cortinez said, “Nobody wanted it. It was a new program. I said “Me!’”

Since then, it has gone from one regular Psychology/Sociology class to nine Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology classes and three Psychology/Sociology classes.

Cortinez enjoys teaching the AP Psychology classes.

“I thoroughly enjoy it. It keeps my mind going. I like something that challenges me, and teaching AP is definitely a challenge,” Cortinez said. “It’s changing so much scientifically that it keeps my brain going all the time.”

Besides loving teaching and the independence it allows, Cortinez especially loves teaching at Central.

“There’s nowhere like Central to teach. I don’t know that I could stay at any of these other schools. They’re just not as interesting,” Cortinez said.

The staff at Central is part of what makes the school so special.

“We are all in this together. We really are a family,” Cortinez said.

Because of her love for the school, all of her four children and three of her six grandchildren attended Central.

“The great grandchildren are scheduled to come,” Cortinez said with a laugh.

Cortinez acknowledges how smart her students are, and appreciates the things about technology that they teach her. Her students also keep her energized.

“On days I feel yucky, once I get here and get in class, I get my energy back,” Cortinez says.

Students appreciate the work she puts in for them as well. Senior Bekah Smith likes that Cortinez knows what she’s talking about.

“Mrs. Cortinez is a great teacher. She truly knows everything that she teaches, and if she doesn’t, she tells you,” Bekah said. “That’s something I like in a teacher.

Although she isn’t the teacher who has been here the longest, Cortinez is proud to carry the distinction of being the oldest faculty member at Central. Her love of teaching has kept her teaching all of these years.

“I’m well past retirement age,” Cortinez said.

Regarding the question about when she will retire, Cortinez had this to say:

“One more year for sure, and then we’ll see.”

Until then, students will continue to learn, while Cortinez continues to enjoy teaching.

“I love teaching. I really do,” Cortinez said.

Join the LRCH Tiger March Madness group!

Mar
13
12:00 pm

The Tiger welcomes all LRCH students to join our March Madness group! The winner will get a $10 Sonic gift card! Click here to join the group. The group password is “gotigers”. Join for free and participate in the madness!

  1. Go to www.tigernewspaper.net and click on the “Sports” tab at the top.
  2. Read the instructions and highlight the link provided. Then right click the highlighted portion and choose “Go to…”
  3. The CBS page with the bracket will open in a separate tab. Fill out the section titled “Register” to create an account.
  4. Click Submit and then Continue.
  5. Recall the group password on the instruction document on the Tiger page (password: gotigers).
  6. Fill out your bracket, including the final score and click Save.
  7. Click Close on the dialog box that will pop up and proceed to either change your bracket or exit the page.
  8. You may be able to create another bracket on the same group, however you must change to name of your new bracket(s) from what you had on the original bracket you filled out.
  9. Have fun watching March Madness and good luck! May the best bracket win!

History teacher pursues writing career, reveals hidden town

Mar
13
1:00 pm
Chris Dorer excited about the release of his new novel. Photo by Melissa Joiner

Chris Dorer excited about the release of his new novel.
Photo by Melissa Joiner

By Taylor Smith, Staff Writer

AP World History teacher, Chris Dorer will be joining a prestigious list of contributors to the popular series, Images of America with a book to be released soon.

“[The book is to be entitled] Images of America: Little Italy,” Dorer said.

The Images of America series provides the public a visual approach to the history of small U.S. towns. Dorer’s edition will focus on Little Italy, a small town located in Pulaski and Perry county. According to an article written by Dorer for the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, Little Italy was a hub for European immigration upon its founding in 1915 by a group of Italian immigrants. The small town is well known for its wine industry, which infamously provided Arkansans with clean, safe alcohol during prohibition. In the 1950s the wine industry was harshly devastated by agricultural problems, but Little Italy managed to preserve a lot of its historical value.

“[The] series uses pictures from the dawn of photography to the 1950s to capture the history of that particular area,’ Dorer said. “The text is in captions for background information.”

The release of the book will not be Dorer’s first published work on the area. Images of America: Little Italy acts as a continuation of this location he has covered throughout his writing career.

“I have a book and several journal articles about this place,” Dorer said. “It is where I grew up.”

Dorer hopes that the book will attract a variety of readers.

“A lot of people in Central Arkansas [should be interested in the book] but also other places in the country because of the other books in the series,” Dorer said.

For those interested in purchasing the book upon it’s release, Dorer will sign and sell copies at the beginning of next school year.

 

 

 

 

Central student wins contest, continues to pursue dreams

Mar
11
12:00 pm
Senior Augusta Fitzgerald stands with former President Bill Clinton after winning the Ideas Matter essay contest. Photo from Augusta Fitzgerald

Senior Augusta Fitzgerald stands with former President Bill Clinton after winning the Ideas Matter essay contest. Photo from Augusta Fitzgerald

by Daniela Berlinski, Staff Writer

Many students exhibit academic excellence in hopes of winning scholarships to aid them in their future decisions. Senior Augusta Fitzgerald, who is passionate in her studies, dramatic art, and social justice, submitted her application to the Clinton Presidential Center for the “Ideas Matter” essay contest. The prompt she chose focuses on how the Clinton Foundation works to change the world by increasing opportunities for boys and girls. Augusta also had to propose her own idea for this effort and for putting it into action.

“I was inspired by numerous Ted talks on equality on Youtube; there was even one on female issues by Hillary Clinton,” Fitzgerald said.

Augusta proposed to STEMulate our society. The STEM field includes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. A speaker’s bureau would be created in which women who work in STEM fields would come to elementary classes to teach boys and girls spacial skills. These STEM field workers would offer a female role model for the girls in the classroom to make them feel confident about themselves.

“I got called to Mrs. Rousseau’s office, and I thought I was in trouble. She told me I won the essay contest, and I couldn’t help but to scream with excitement. My parents were even more ecstatic,” Augusta said.

Augusta received a $2,500 scholarship to the college of her choice. Her dream colleges are Pace University and Mary Mount Manhattan college in New York, and her goal is to pursue theatre beyond high school.

Education machine has broken down, needs fix-up

Mar
11
11:00 am
Art by Emma Moore

Art by Emma Moore

by Emma Moore, Managing/Features Editor

The educational process is a complex and detailed machine. It’s something of a metallic monster: loud, constantly whirring, with heavy parts, and wheels and cogs that often turn against each other. All this relentless grinding and greasing of gears is supposed to make the process just a little smoother; this imperfect system is supposed to churn out student after student, ready for college, complete with high test scores to reflect years of good teachers. Sometimes the machine is inspected and added to or taken from, but often it is simply left alone. Three parts are largely responsible for making this machine run: teachers and administration, students, and conditions of the students’ society. But what happens when these parts don’t work together, or some parts are even ignored? 

If there is a problem with the machine, the first part to be checked is the teachers. They make up the exterior of the machine—easily seen and accessible. After all, they are the ones directly in charge of supplying students with the necessary tools and knowledge for adult life. So it would make sense that if students seem unprepared, the blame would rest with the teachers. So to assess and ultimately better students, more tests were created. Tests which have more to do with students’ teachers, than the students themselves. However these tests are objective, often failing to recognize students who have outside problems, or are simply poor test takers.

This brings us to the student aspect of the education machine. These are the inner workings of the metal monster, surrounded by teachers, parents, colleges, arbitrary letters and numbers for grades, and so on. These parts are constantly feeding into and pressing on the students in order to shape them into the “A-plus, college ready” mold. Sometimes the student is a perfect product—he or she took in the knowledge provided by their teachers, learned well, had involved parents and an environment conducive to learning and education. But, sometimes, the student does not have good teachers or involved parents, or an environment encouraging and understanding of education. Usually this is labeled as the student lacking an interest or desire in education, or having had bad teachers.

This is where the social environment of the student comes in.   This is the base of the machine, upon which all the other parts rest. It is hard to get to, and therefore often not examined or talked of. Yet it feeds directly into the end product of the machine, and all of the wheels and cogs along the way. Many high school students struggle with more than getting an A in algebra, or passing the next SOAR test. Aside from the regular pressures (parents, teachers, friends, and life after high school), there is depression, anxiety, poverty, hunger, abuse, and drugs to name a few. So the student who works late after school to get a little extra money so her single mom can put food on the table for her and her four younger siblings, sits through class tired, hungry, and bored, struggling to focus on what feels like another meaningless worksheet, and is seen as failing.

Then there’s the student who has been in four different foster homes in the past year, has no family and struggles to make friends. He has no interest in an education because he has been told time and time again that he is too messed up to ever make something of himself.

Or take the student whose parents bear down on her relentlessly with expectations for perfect grades and scholarships—who seeks an escape from the stress and depression through drugs and alcohol, just to make it through another week at home and school. They are all often seen as “poor” students, failing in the system—the educational machine. But are they the ones failing, or the ones being failed?

The educational machine aims to churn out great students, ready for life after high school. And it did that for a time. But it has failed to change alongside the world. Rather than incorporate creativity, more vocational training, better technology, or policies that protect student rights, it continues to add on confining rules, red tape, and over-expanded bureaucracies. We try to fix the parts of the machine that seem obvious and easy to get to (like the teachers), when the true problem with the process lies in the society and environment of the students. But because things like poverty, domestic abuse, drug and alcohol addictions, homelessness, and broken homes seem too great to surmount, we choose a temporary fix, a quick grease in the wheels, in the hopes that just enough “good” students will be produced to keep the machine going.

Basketball homecoming slideshow

Mar
13
1:00 pm
Freshmen Donald Richardson and Zoe Davis

Freshmen Donald Richardson and Zoe Davis

Principal Rousseau crowns senior Grace Jackson as queen.

Principal Rousseau crowns senior Grace Jackson as queen.

Sophomores Jordyn Payne and Joshua Perry

Sophomores Jordyn Payne and Joshua Perry

Juniors Faith Brown and Alex Herndon

Juniors Faith Brown and Alex Herndon

Seniors Grace Jackson and Tyler Fountain

Seniors Grace Jackson and Tyler Fountain

Sophomores Nia Jackson and CJ Fowler

Sophomores Nia Jackson and CJ Fowler

Malik and Grace smile for pictures!

Malik and Grace smile for pictures!

Juniors DJ Williams and Destyn Flanagan

Juniors DJ Williams and Destyn Flanagan

Seniors Malik Marshall and Jada Summons

Seniors Malik Marshall and Jada Summons

Seniors Chen Bo Fang and Bria Khabeer

Seniors Chen Bo Fang and Bria Khabeer

Seniors Kierra Swell and Austin Jackson

Seniors Kierra Swell and Austin Jackson

Freshmen Faraz Sayyed and Arianna Taylor

Freshmen Faraz Sayyed and Arianna Taylor

Malik and Grace goof around after being crowned.

Malik and Grace goof around after being crowned.

Malik and Grace take their final pictures as homecoming royalty.

Malik and Grace take their final pictures as homecoming royalty.

Seniors Kyla Phillips and Michael Givens

Seniors Kyla Phillips and Michael Givens

Juniors Mason English and Amaree Austin

Juniors Mason English and Amaree Austin