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    The New Detention Policy

    PTS Falconer Staff

    Just coming back from break, the whole school had to learn that there are no longer lunch detentions. It turns out every week one advisory during lunch has to clean the tables! My advisory had the pleasure of going first, but luckily we only had to do it for three days (since it was a short week). Every day for the last twenty minutes of lunch we had to take a damp cloth and scrub the tables.

    Personally, I think the lunch tables were disgusting! Then, one lucky kid got to sweep all of the trash and food on the floor into the trashcan. We also had to clean the chiki hut outside, which by far was the grossest. Now, I bet you are wondering: “What happened to detentions then?” Well now you either have to serve before school or after school detentions. You could also get a Saturday detention. Both of these options sound awful. Personally, I would not like to have a Saturday detention. What do you guys think about the new detention policy?


    The Struggles of Cutthroat Education

    By: BRIANA CANET '17
    PTS Falconer Guest Contributor

    Wake up, eat, school, extracurricular activities, homework, study, sleep, and repeat. That is the daily, monotonous life of a student. Do not fail. Do not get nervous. You need to be the top student. You have no choice but to do well. Fight the tears and the pain. But ask yourself: Will this all be worth the immense and constant struggle? Hopefully, it will, but that is not guaranteed.

    How many times have you remained awake past midnight completing homework assignments? How many times have you studied vigorously for a test and ended up not doing as well as you hoped? How many times have you felt like giving up on academics? Probably more times than you would willingly admit. But why do we -worrisome students- endure this horrendous routine and suffering? Just for three heavenly digits. We all constantly strive for that magic number; the number that scholars greatly strain to attain. The noteworthy number is one hundred -a perfect score.

    School has become a merciless, unhealthy competition, and the whole game consists of who is beating whom. We have become horses blinded of all the struggles, constantly racing to be the victor. Therefore, has this unexplainable stress in obtaining the ideal grade to outscore your peers distracted us from truly comprehending and absorbing the material? Yes. We all must face this evident fact -both teachers and students.

    Cram, memorize, regurgitate, and forget the material. Numerous students all around the country spend uncountable hours engaged in this ritual: Shoving vast amounts of material into their brains in the hopes that they will retain the information just long enough to spit everything onto a final exam. Once this act of expulsion ceases, the information vanishes from their heads. What is the point of studying if the material disappears a few hours after you have completed the exam? To receive an acceptable grade. We have stripped education of its core principle: true absorption of a topic. The values of education have been replaced by the grade given -not earned.

    The plethora of pressures in attaining a respectable grade has shattered the basis of education: processing, comprehending, and saving the information. In fact, we have developed a routine of memorizing information in order to gradually forget about it in a few hours because we -the students- have belittled the high education system bestowed to us. Instead of absorbing information for critical employment, we endeavor to obtain the grade at whatever cost, enduring endless amounts of sleep deprivation, anxiety, and distress. Students have transformed into horses with blinders inadvertently obstructing their view of the rest of their world, solely focused on winning the race. We must not be blinded by the grade that we receive. Instead, we must dare to focus on the most important component of education: truly learning.



    The Trump Card

    By: ETHAN HILL '17
    PTS Falconer Guest Contributor 

    Here in our nation of liberty, in the season when peace on Earth is celebrated with carols and candles, we are brazenly plunging ourselves into a new era. For now, at this moment, we Americans who tout justice for all rally around a man who has completely abandoned such concepts in favor of hate and fear. Now, we reach the end of the age of reason, plunging into a time when a single voice fueled by a single ego can shout so hard and spout such outrageous rhetoric that he would actually stand a good chance of becoming the republican nominee for President of the United States.

    Yes, we live in an age of fear. In the not so distant past, it was the Red Scare. But now, what threatens us is an idea. An idea so strong it can drive human beings to kill and be killed for little purpose outside of violence itself. This idea is infectious, spreading over the internet, seeping into social media and blossoming like a fungus, releasing new spores to contaminate more people. It calls itself ISIS.  And its only mission is to destroy. It would falsely preach devotion to a peaceful religion in order to shield the fact that it is merely a pack of hateful thugs who want nothing more than to breed more hate.

    And today, we would rally around someone who appeals to fear and hate. This someone makes claims about a “Muslim Problem.” Chillingly, he makes blatant propositions that the best way to contain ISIS is to track people of this faith and even prevent them from entering our country, based on religion only. He would have us follow them, keep a database, watch over their places of worship. He would have them be identified publicly, perhaps by showing an ID badge of some sort or by wearing a yellow crescent?

    Donald Trump currently leads by double digits in the polls. And since the Paris attacks, his popularity has only risen. His message appeals to fear, and his plan caters to hate. His frightening idea that we should single out human beings based on religion is disgusting and chillingly similar to other demagogues in our history. In addition, Trump’s ignorance and adherence to “straightforward” rhetoric no matter the consequences is itself a threat to our nation’s ideals. He is shouting fire in a crowded theater, threatening to move people to action against others simply because of their faith. And we, Americans, are prepared to elect him as the Republican nominee. What does that say about us? What does it say to people all over the world? 


    Discontinuing the SAT

    PTS Falconer Guest Contributor

    Fellow students. I would like to address something that is constantly lingering in the back of our minds. The SAT. We are all guilty of studying for hours on end in the hopes of proving our worth in order to get into our dream schools. But I have news. The College Board is lying to you. For the past 80 years, the College Board has been lying to generation after generation of high school students.  It has, in the past, claimed to measure innate intelligence, academic aptitude, and academic achievement, and now your probable freshman year GPA. In reality, the SAT only measures a set of arbitrary skills that will become absolutely useless after Junior year of high school. These include the ability to solve simple formulaic riddles in the areas of grammar, reading comprehension, algebra, and geometry under psychologically straining time limits.

    In short, SAT scores measure only a student's ability to take the SAT. This test rewards students with the highest stamina and condemns those who prefer to reflect on their response before submitting an answer. The essay portion of this exam in particular punishes creativity and encourages unimaginative and untalented responses.            

    A study was performed soon after the release of the current version of the SAT in 2005. It assessed the writings of several valued literary figures according to the rubric of the test. Shakespeare received a two out of six. Hemingway fared a little better, having earned a 3 out of six. Gertrude Stein, however, was deemed worthy of only a 1. By contrast, serial murderer Ted Kaczynski, more widely known as the unabomber, earned a perfect score. He was praised for his mastery of simple, complex, and compound sentences.

    There is something seriously wrong with how we judge teenagers today. The College Board does not expect skill, and by lowering its standards, it represses it. The result is scores that, no matter high or low, do not reflect the talent of the test taker. The corporation itself has slowly been acquiring a measure of self-awareness over the decades. Originally, the Scholastic Aptitude Test, then the Scholastic Assessment Test, SAT Reasoning Test, and now simply the SAT. These name changes reflect a loss of confidence in the exam and its value in the college admissions process, although it continues to dictate whether a student deserves a place in top, nationally ranked schools.

    Perhaps the most important argument against this exam is that it is the most effective tool for preventing diversity on college campuses. It’s classist, and it’s racist. Students from affluent families can purchase higher scores through SAT prep classes, while students from less fortunate families may walk into the test room with no preparation at all. Hispanic and African American students do significantly worse than their white American counterparts with the same annual income as they. This is because minority students must shoulder the added pressure of being expected to defy stereotypes, which in turn worsens their performance. In fact, the founder of this exam, Carl Brigham, used tests similar to it to conclude that the Nordic race was intellectually superior to the eastern European and Mediterranean Races in his book A Study of American Intelligence, published in 1923.

    Therefore, I believe that we should scrap the SAT in favor of SAT subject tests and AP tests. These tests more accurately capture what the student has learned in school and what they are truly passionate about, as well as narrowing the gap between upper and lower class students. Many universities have already made this switch, and have found no decline in the quality of their freshmen classes. So let’s alleviate at least a portion of students’ stress by discontinuing this harmful and unfortunate exam.


    Donald's Dilemma

    PTS Falconer Staff
    Photo courtesy of Google Images

    As the 2016 presidential election looms just around the corner, one candidate stands out from the ranks of his competitors. Even the most apolitical, technologically apathetic hermits are aware of Donald Trump’s clamorous campaign. Many have joined the bandwagon to support a candidate who “speaks his mind” despite his obvious obtuse and indecisive characteristics. Perhaps it is surprising that a “self-made” man can fail so greatly to recognize his faults, but this presidential frontrunner is restricted by his incapability to even attempt to rectify his learning gaps.

    Trump has, in the short span of his campaign, secured the record for the most media coverage ever received by a single presidential candidate. On countless occasions, Donald Trump has exhibited his indefatigable tendency for incorrectness and blatant disregard for the guidelines of political rhetoric and discretion. He has entered the race to become the leader of the free world with no apparent plan to address any of the key issues that will largely determine the outcome. Unfortunately, Trump’s habit to misspeak and offend will not likely subside as the election proceeds. He lives under a delusion of grandeur and sagacity that gravely limits his credibility, and restricts his opportunity to achieve his goal of becoming the president of the United States.

    After the overwhelming success of his career in business, many would suspect a man with such a background to have an air of sophistication or at least some knowledge of the societal expectations for a public figure, but Trump’s infantile conviction in the importance of free speech (without personal discretion) leaves those who witness the debacle that is his public speaking flabbergasted. He possesses the unique ability to offend entire nations and sexes with a single sentence, and regularly flip-flops on many of his public positions. On several occasions, he has given flippant statements demonstrating his ignorant and carefree approach to foreign affairs. He recently made the statement that he would learn the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah “when it is appropriate.” Clearly, this knowledge is not apropos to the campaign of one who hopes to become the figurehead of American foreign relations.

    It should be obvious to every citizen following his campaign that it’s perfectly natural for a GOP presidential hopeful to lack even the vaguest outline of an initiative. After all, none of the other candidates have feasible plans either, right? Wrong. Trump, however, fails to see his own shortcomings. He is oppressed by his own ignorance of both domestic and foreign affairs, but fails to see a need to be briefed before spewing his every thought on international television.

    Donald Trump is enslaved by his false sense of his own infallibility. His failure to acknowledge his shortcomings due to his elevated self-perceptions will indubitably result in a loss. To an outsider, the answer to his problem seems simple: Donald Trump should not be allowed to open his mouth until he has reflected for at least 30 seconds on the question at hand. Yet still, Trump is tied to his campaign promises of impulsivity and misinformation. Until he frees himself from his self-delusions, he will not be considered a serious candidate by many.