North Carolina Newspapers

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the north Carolina school of science and mathematics 1219 broad street, durham nc 27705
vol. XXXVIII
http^//wwwjTCSsm-edu2^stentor^^
Class of‘04 Speaks Out:
Perspectives on College and Senioritis
february 2004
By: Seun Ajiboye
B y now, seniors have
completed their college
applications and are
working on getting money to
finance their education at
institutions of higher learning.
Some seniors have already
been accepted to college and
know where they will spend
the next four years of their
lives, while others have to wait
until the spring to hear from
the schools they applied to. I
talked to four seniors-Ashlie
Canipe, Emily Steinbaugh,
Andrew Tamayo, and Luke
Oltmans-about their experi
ences and thoughts on apply
ing to college and on being
second semester seniors.
Of the four seniors, only
Andrew applied early to a
school. He was accepted to
NC State but will make a deci
sion on whether or not to go
after he hears from the other
schools he applied to. For
Andrew, applying to college
meant composing and perfect
ing endless essays and filling
out the same information over
and over again. He finds that
applying for scholarships is
just as long and tedious.
While preparing for college
has been quite the thorn in
Andrew's side, he is really
enjoying "the lackadaisical
and whimsical way of life" as a
second semester senior. He
has more free time but finds
himself going to bed later as
he opts to spend his days
enjoying that free time and his
late nights doing homework.
Ashlie did not apply early
to any schools but wishes that
she had, just to have the peace
of knowing she was in some
where. She says that at least
she will not be confined to a
school if she decides to change
her mind. Right now she
wants to attend UNC. Ashlie
is enjoying life as a second
semester senior because she
finally has time to focus on the
classes that she really enjoys,
such as Brit Lit. With five
classes, a seminar, and an
informal seminar, she does not
see herself as slack. She is
going to bed later than she did
last year but admits that it is
probably by choice rather than
necessity.
While Ashlie thought the
application process was easier
than she expected, Emily
found the process to be quite
draining, especially over win
ter break. She has been
accepted to Appalachian State,
so she has a measure of securi
ty but wants to attend either
UNC or Furman in South
Carolina. Along with Andrew,
she finds getting money very
frustrating but is very excited
about going to college. She
wants to major in international
law, diplomacy, or something
in that area. As for being a
second semester senior, Emily
is finally finding room to
enjoy her classes. She feels a
little slack now only because
she worked so tirelessly during
her first semester of senior
year and throughout her jimior
year.
Luke applied to Virginia
Tech and NC State. He has
been accepted to State and was
chosen as a semi-finalist for
the Park Scholarship. He feels
sure about going to State and
wants to major in biomedical
engineering. Luke got started
early, so he was not too
stressed out. As a second
semester senior, he feels less
pressured, and like Ashlie and
Emily, he is enjoying his class
es more. He is being a little
more slack but is getting about
the same amount of sleep and
free time as last semester.
When asked if he would like to
tell the students of NCSSM
anything else about college,
Luke replied "Relax! It isn't
that big of a deal and you do
better when you just relax."
Sounds like good advice!
Opinion: Bush’s No Child Left Behind
Inhibits Improvement and Discourages Educators
www.whitehouse.gov
President Bush announces his “No Child Left Behind” plan.
Rebecca Buckwalter
I n May 2002, an elementary
school principal in
Simonton, Georgia com
mitted suicide after receiving
the standardized test results
condemning her school to
funding cuts and possible clo
sure. Under President Bush's
"No Child Left Behind" pro
gram, educators are held
accountable for student per
formance regardless of outside
factors shown to influence
testing. In eighteen states,
severe and often counterpro
ductive consequences follow
failing test scores.
When a school fails stan
dardized testing, the response
should be to bring that school
up to par with increased fund
ing and attention; instead, our
government is now attempting
to pimish schools into better
test scores and diverts funding
to high-scoring schools. Bad
schools become worse, and
teachers suffer for teaching
sub-average students. Teachers
are by no means the first group
to blame for low student
scores; our legislators' deci
sions concerning funding - for
teachers, schools, and students
- are the origin of the problem.
Cutting funds in response to
bad scores only aggravates the
situation.
The "No Child Left
Behind" program involves
increased attention to the qual
ity of teachers; however, the
directive creates a self-promot
ing cycle. The program itself is
one of the factors contributing
to a drop in the level of educa
tor proficiency by making edu
cation an inhospitable profes
sion. The funding we direct
toward teacher salaries and our
school systems determines a
lot about the appeal - or repul
sion - of teaching and the qual
ity of the people who become
teachers.
Teaching is no glamorous
profession, and as our society
moves toward gender equality,
we lose the almost guaranteed
quota for teachers afforded us
by the stereotypical set of
available professions for
women: teaching, secretarial
work, and nursing. We are
beginning to rely more heavily
upon individuals who come to
teaching by choice, but our
government renews acts in
counter-productive ways,
rewarding members of the
teaching profession with low
salaries, long hours, and poor
benefits.
Though it seems this
might result in a work force of
empathetic teachers, in reality
this treatment of educators
invites lower standards for
teachers - leading to the inclu
sion of the unqualified, the less
committed, and those who
come to teaching for the
wrong reasons - while current
conditions drive off true edu
cators who cannot tolerate or
afford such exploitation. In a
typical public school environ
ment, some of the best teach
ers often leave to return to
school - choosing to pursue
high salary degrees in law,
medicine, or business - or to
become part of another profes
sion. As teacher workloads
increase and blassrooms fill to
the brim, teacher salaries show
bare minimum rises and stan
dardized testing holds teachers
responsible for factors beyond
control, such as family income
or immigrant status, reduces
school funding and doles out -
or withholds - bonuses based
upon student performance.
Students score, on aver
age, thirty points higher on the
SAT for every $10,000 dollars
their parents earn. The new
pay-for-performance approach
to educational funding has
served to punish both students
and teachers in low-income
areas, working not to counter,
but rather to amplify the dis
parity in scores between low-
income and high-income dis
tricts. Among students,
minorities and immigrants suf
fer under the new funding pro
grams. Low-income areas are
often areas with a large minor
ity population, explaining in
part the low minority test
scores. Instead of addressing
the problem by targeting these
Sm “ No Child Left Behind”
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