No more standardized tests

In Virginia, students in grades three to twelve have to take a form of standardized tests called the Virginia SOL’s. Other forms of standardized tests include Advanced Placement (AP) tests, Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), and American College Testing (ACT). These tests are hurtful to classes as they disrupt the flow of the school system. In the article, one of the disadvantages included “Puts Teachers in a Box.” I have a friend who told me that her friend, who is a teacher, claims that she hates standardized tests as although she wants to teach certain things, the standardized tests restrict her. The kids also think she is mean as she has to teach all the curriculum to the SOL’s in a rushed manner. This is due to the fact that the curriculum includes a lot of subjects that need to be taught in the matter of 8 months.

Another point stated was that the standardized test include “An Inaccurate Judgement” on students.” There are certain students, like myself, who do not do well on tests but they accelerate in normal class work. I feel like the stress of testing puts a negative mood on students and most students feel like if they fail their standardized tests, they did not do well in the class. The questions on the tests also cause stress as sometimes they do not line with the curriculum. For instance, some teachers might teach a certain class a certain and it might not necessarily line up with the tests. Also when students feel like they do not understand a certain question it might put a negative impact to their minds as they feel like they cannot answer it.

Standardized testing also “inspires cheating” as students feel like they have to achieve the best score possible. There is so much pressure and competition to get perfect scores on the test that some people will do whatever they want to get good grades.

Charlie Sheen, NOT an activist

Charlie Sheen is such an iconic person in the Hollywood world as he has done so much crazy things, his whole reputation is not the best. Sheen gained a lot of popularity back on the T.V show Two and a Half men and as his popularity grew, he got caught in a lot of sex and drug scandals. After the crazy ride, he topped all his scandals when he said that he was HIV positive. After that, Sheen claims that he’s trying to become and HIV activist but with all his bad reputation, I am not too sure he can do it. Although there have been cases where celebrities have gone to rehab and completely changed for the better, I do not think it is the same in Charlie Sheen’s case. Even after rehab, Charlie Sheen has continuously been caught and more and more scandals. The latest with this self-proclaimed HIV activist is that he gave unsafe, inaccurate medication to a man. Although Sheen claims that it worked for him, the protocol for this medication was completely wrong and should have not been done in the first place. By giving the bad medication to the man, he ended up causing the man’s death.

I understand that Charlie Sheen wants to become this better man but I just cannot take him serious after all that he’s done in his life. He has repeatedly messed up and although he keeps trying, he also keeps failing. I think the best thing for Sheen to do is to probably lay low for a while. He’s constantly been in the headlines and it’s never really been for anything good. I believe that if Sheen were to step down from his crazy Hollywood life, and actually try to better himself, then maybe he can try to become and activist.

Homelessness

Homelessness is a huge situation that is rapidity growing in the United States. By adding a law to make homelessness illegal, it seems very absurd as most people cannot control whether or not they are homeless. Some people have lost homes due to loss of job, a lot of homeless people are veterans, and some were evicted and have nowhere to go. The article talked about how most parks claim to close after a certain amount of hours to minimize people trying to deal drugs. The article argue that the real reason why parks do this is to actually minimize the amount of homeless people sleeping on the bench. The article also talking about how these law have led to the dead of Jerome Murdough, a 56 year old man who was a homeless veteran. Basically officials arrested him as he wa sleeping in a stairwell and when he could not pay the $2,500 bail they sent him to prison. What I did not understand is this man clearly has no money as he is sleeping in a stairwell in New York. How is he supposed to pay a $2,500 bail? The prison that they send Jerome Murdough to was so hot and he was not treated well but the prison staff. He was found dead in his cell after he “basically baked to death” This man was a veteran who fought for our country, who somehow ended up poor and homeless in the streets of New York, and yet he had to die in the prison cells due an absurd law.

I know here at VCU alone, we have a lot of homeless people. Honestly I do not have that much issues with them as long as they keep to themselves. After the school closed Monroe park due to construction, I saw how many homeless people were kicked out. The park was almost like their home. Some of them accumulated so much stuff it was sad to see them have to relocate. I feel like if they do implement the law, especially in the Richmond area, it might ‘clean up’ the city but it just so absurd to throw these people into jails for something most cannot control.

Suicide and Schooling

School and suicides have always been a controversial topic as education is an important factor to a child’s growth. Although it is important, sometimes people tend to forget that students themselves are very stressed from the amount of work that some teachers give. Although teachers always claim that they do this to ‘prepare you for the college workload’ it all does not make sense. How does a teacher expect a student to finish homework when they spend 8 hours of their days in school and a possible extra hour or two with after school activities. If you include a thirty minute to one hour dinner, that only leaves about six hours to complete homework and that’s assuming if the student sleeps at midnight. What makes it even harder is that most nights, multiple teachers will be giving out homework, not just one. Certain nights might be even worse as there could be projects or presentations as well.

The article “Palo Alto teen suicides spark fresh debate on stressful student life” talks about how the city of Palo Alto has sadly experienced quite a few amount of suicides from its high school students. Some people claim that it was not nesessarily the school work that lead to the students’ suicides but the students’ mental health. Although there is the possibility that their mental health led to their suicides, I believe that the school work kind of edged them and their mental health. The fact that even parents/adults have seen admitted to the crazy amount of workload also shows how that Gunn High was giving out too much work. What frustrated me at first about the article was that they did not mention any forms of help from the school to the students. Its kind of sad to see that the school had to go through quite a few suicides before officials decided to implement a way to help people mentally. (Counselors, yoga, ect.)

Trolley Problem

The trolley problem is an experiment which tests out different forms of ethics. In this experiment, the audience is given a situation in which there is a trolley car going down a path with five people in its way. You happen to be near a lever which changes the path of the trolley; the only issue is there is one person standing on that side of the path. While you may save the lives of the five people, there is that one person that you have ‘intentionally’ killed. On the other hand, you saved one person’s life but now you allowed five other people to die. Although you did not intentionally kill these people, you did have the chance of saving them but pulling the lever.

If I were in this person’s shoes I would probably be filled with a lot of stress and pressure. Knowing the fact that you could save five people’s lives but also kill someone’s life could really get to someone’s head. I would most likely go this route as it is the one that involves less lives being loss. Both outcomes, either way, would involve at least one person dying. Although you do not intentionally cause the death of the five people, the thought of having the chance to save their lives/ do something about it would be very bothersome to some people.

Researching this trolley theory, there was another random variable that some people have thought of. Instead of having the ability to pull a lever, you have an ability to push a fat man onto the tracks and he will stop the train from reaching either the five people or the one person. Most people will not choose to go this route as it seems insane to push a person onto the track to save other lives, but at the same time isn’t it almost the same as pulling the lever? The only difference simply how you choose to save a person’s life.

Thankfully the trolley problem is only a hypothetical situation and will most likely not occur in real life. If it were to happen in real life, it would be a horrible outcome either scenario. Although both are bad, I would rather save the lives of five people by killing one, then let the five people die and let the one survive.

Music in Class?

Implementing music into classes has been a topic that is slowly rising. Music has a way of portraying stories/spreading messages while having a catchy melody/beat. I believe that music should be used in classrooms as it provides a fun yet interesting way for students to learn.

In the articles/video we read/watched, they talk about the positive outcomes of using music in the classrooms. For the video, he talks about how the raps he makes for his classes really benefited the students. It was interesting because generally the stereotype for rap lyrics are negative/too vulgar but this teacher managed to incorporate school topics into his lyrics. He also let the students create their own raps in class to help them study for different subjects. By doing that, the students are constantly interacting in the class. It also allows him to make sure that they know the subject themselves.

Some of the articles from class also talk about how minorities have struggled to learn in their classes. By using music inside the classrooms, it allows the minorities to have another way of learning while making them interactive in the classrooms. They also talk about the improvement of the grades in the minorities when they use music in their classrooms.

The group presentations was interesting as we got to choose songs that correlated with our chapters. It was really interesting because a more slow paced song could be talking about unfairness within the criminal justice system and a more upbeat song could be correlated with inspiration for justice. I know for my group’s presentation, we choose the song Stand by Sly and the Family Stone. In chapter two, this was the song he was listen to before police knocked on his car window as they felt suspicious of him. The song also portrayed irony as when you listen to the song it talks about standing up what you believe for and it had an overall good message and yet Stevenson was still looked as suspicious.

Unit 1 Paper Process

For my unit one paper, I started out with a rough outline. This included how many paragraphs that I was planning to do and the overall topic of each paragraphs. I created the rough outline around two weeks prior to the due date of the essay. By doing this, it allows me to have a vague idea of what I want to talk about. The day afterwards, I made a ‘finalized’ rough draft. This is more structured as I included a few sentences that I could possibly use in the rough draft. I tried to add a lot to the outline so that when I try to write my rough draft, it’s almost like connecting the pieces together.

A few days afterwards I started writing my rough draft. When I write it, I like to put everything into correct format. This includes a proper header, proper font, double space and everything. I like to do this as it makes it one step easier for the final draft. The rough draft mainly includes the same sentences from my outline but with more detail and more explanations. I wrote the final draft a few days after the peer review session in class. Since I already did a lot with my process of making the paper (the rough outline, ‘final’ outline, and rough draft) the finalization was easy. The only things I needed to fix were small grammar mistakes and more explanations into my essay.

Although I know my writing process may seem long and tedious, it’s something I have done for a while. It allows me to slowly get my thoughts together and also allows me to not be in a rush in the the final draft. I have done it for so long where it almost seems like a habit to write out my essays this way.

Plates = Society

In the “Perks of Being an Outsider,” the author talks about how those who choose to not to conform to society tends to be rejected. The quote given in the article states that “The nail that sticks up will be hammered down.” As discussed in class last week, this is true in society. Those who try to be different or challenge society tend have to fight others (whether that is family, school, friends) in order to not conform to society. The author then somewhat stresses how in order to be creative, we must not conform to society. So does being creative mean you must be rejected from others and live an independent life? That’s where there tends to be an argument. Growing up, you are not afraid to be who you are and do what ever you want. Kids tend to not be aware of the concept of ‘society’ and how we are supposed to be conformed. But this is also why kids are so creative. They are able to draw countless amounts of pictures and see all sorts of imaginations. The less tainted they are by society, the more these kids get to be creative. Continue reading

Boring or Minimal?

I know, my blog looks pretty boring. It’s a simple white background with a large capitalized header that says “KP15” followed with a tag line of “STEP BY STEP, WORD BY WORD.” What is “KP15?” This may sound even more boring, but it’s just my initials followed by my favorite number. Maybe one day I’ll change it to something with more meaning; maybe I’ll just keep it to those four simple characters. Why “STEP BY STEP, WORD BY WORD?” I believe that everyone has the abilities to improve themselves, even if it means slowly going step by step. “WORD BY WORD” was simply added because this page was created for my focused inquiry class. This site will contain personal opinions said by yours truly and I hope that it will have the ability to spread my thoughts to my audience.

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