Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lars Eighner: On Dumpster Diving

When I first saw the title of this essay I thought it was going to be a tearful devotional by some ex-homeless person who would describe their fall to homelessness then the horrible act of digging through dumpsters to find hardly edible scrapes to feed their entire family, but what I read was the exact opposite. He is no uneducated, dirty hobo, but instead an intelligent and almost scientific persona. I found that his essay took on “how to” voice; like he was giving a guide to surviving off of dumpsters. One statement that he left out was that he never tried to make us feel sorry for him or complain about his situation; he was very upbeat and scientific throughout the entire essay.

Even though Mr. Eighner was in a very tough position, being homeless in all, he took his ability step back and see his situation in a different view and was able to produce a well written recap of his time as a homeless individual. Through this view point he explained the process in which he started, perfected, and eventually gave up. Mr. Eighner used constant word choice. I interpret this as he had the same kind of words and phrases; this means he kept his same persona throughout the entire piece.

In conclusion Lars Eighner took a very informal, revolting, and utterly un-socially accepted form of food gathering and made it into a formal, matter-of-fact and interesting topic. If by some random turn of events I became homeless, I would defiantly refer to Lars Eigher’s guide to dumpster diving, let’s just hope I won’t have to.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Amusing Ourselves To Death

I wake up in the morning, take a shower and get dressed and packed for school. Between eating breakfast and trying to remember where I left my shoes; I flip on the TV. Myself and millions of other Americans do the same every single day. As soon as our 42 inch flat screen plasma TVs’ warm up we are instantly assaulted with images of death, war, murders and the weather. This need for information drives us to succumb to the “god” of knowledge, The Today Show. More and more Americans use the TV as not only a way to stay informed, but as a way to silence their children, a so called “cheap” babysitter. In Neil Postman’s book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, he foreshadows how TV will affect the culture and society in the future, and for the most part it has come true.

Look at your own life everywhere you go there is a TV; Home, school, and even in churches. There is no way to escape it, save if you join a commune. Just recently Burlington Edison High School has switched from giving school wide announcements over the intercom, a completely verbal form of communication which Mr. Postman suggests is the most effective way of communicating, to having them read on a video feed. This is done to give the students something to watch as well as listen to in hopes of getting the information to the school more effectively. This is just one more place were TV has planted itself in our daily lives.

Mr. Postman used many rhetorical devices in his book. A major one that is relevant to me is foreshadowing events to come. Many of his predictions came true; like the fact that TV has become an essential element in everyone’s’ lives. TV is every where. Let’s just hope I doesn’t get worse.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Who Needs Oil?

Crude oil extracted from deep in side of the earth, pumped through pipe lines and loaded into oil tankers were it is transported to a refinery. From there it is processed into usable materials like gasoline, kerosene, propane, and other combustible substances. Gasoline is then piped into trucks and shipped to stations that distributes it to the masses to power their cars which they us to transport themselves and cargo to and from home, work, school ect.

This process is repeated day after day from the East coast to the West coast. Hundreds upon hundreds of thousand barrels of crude oil drive our nation’s economy, leisure life, and even our war machine. Our great Kingdom of States is the world’s largest consumer of crude oil, utilizing up to 20,730,000 bbl/day. Our next largest competitor of oil is China; they have nearly three times the population but only use 6,534,000 bbl/day. Many people take on a shell-shocked look as they fill up their 21 gal tank on their 2.1 mpg SUV’s for $66. With crude oil prices climbing to $90 a bbl and our current consumption rate; the oil industry has a net income of roughly $1,867,500,000 per day (20,730,000 X 90) that is roughly $680,980,500,000 per year (1,867,500,000 X 365) that is roughly $6,809,805,000,000 every ten years. With this kind of cash flow every day and every year the oil industry can afford to pay for health care for all of their workers and families and still have enough left over to buy out small agencies to further their wealth. Which they have done, but sooner rather then later this oil is going to run dry. Civil War will explode in unstable Middle Eastern Countries for control of still running oil wells. The stock of oil will skyrocket and eventually lead to another stock market crash. The world economy will come to a screeching halt; prices of goods will increase as well when the cost of gas increases because shipping by ground and air will become outrageous. This addiction to “Black Gold” will lead us down a path of mass panic and war. If all of this doomsday talk is getting you down don’t fret there is plan to say the world and it is quite simple.

First step includes a mass refit of all combustion engines to clean burning and easily maintained steam engines. A steam engine works by heating water to a boil then using the rising steam to turn a turbine. This turbine spins a magnate that is suspended inside of a coil of copper wire and through this process electricity is produced. This electricity is then transferred and stored in a lithium ion battery. From this battery the electricity will power every component of the automobile or airplane (larger cars/air planes will require a larger coil, magnet, and battery). Converting every automobile and combustion engine to steam engines will require a large work force of mechanics and specialist; this increase of jobs will employ more workers who will use their pay checks to buy goods. This increases the number of jobs and the economy.

The second step is to provide a means to transport, store, and distribute water to provide the “liquid fuel” that powers the steam engine. This presents a small dilemma; many rivers, streams, and lakes that could provide a clean, deep flowing water source and are located near major highways are protected under wildlife preservation acts and utilizing water sources that are not protected might cause a public uproar; but after the realization that this is the only solution, the public and government will lift their bands on these fresh water reservoirs. There may be protests and a cry for returning to past laws, but these demonstrations can be controlled through military action. To harvest this essential resource pipe lines must be built to transport water to still operational gas stations; water will be pumped into the tanks that once held gasoline. With water being non-toxic and non-flammable; it will ease worries of cancer and an explosion at a fueling station. At the stations filters and circulation pumps must be installed to insure the water stays fresh and silt free.

The final and most crucial part of the steam engine is the fuel required to heat the water in the tank. Specialized “fire boxes” and carrying racks must be installed to transport and burn the fuel in the automobiles; both of these can be easily installed during the refit from combustion to steam engines. The next step is to find, process, and distribute this fuel. Wood, paper, and wood/plastic composites are highly combustible; lumber can be harvested from areas once protected under wildlife protection acts, parks, backyards, private lands and government owned tracks of land. Paper can be harvested from tax rule books present at every government office. Six inch thick text books from schools will hold heat and boil water for a long period of time. Houses and apartments hold many combustible materials like mattresses, sheets, book cases, tables, even the walls and floors are quite combustible. To acquire these houses government and private companies can purchase the houses. If the family refuses to sell their house they may be forced to relinquish it to the government, if it holds a large quantity of lumber, or they may be taxed the amount that their living quarters are worth. Of course families that once owned these houses and apartments will have to find new living quarters; they can find shelter in concert barracks once used by military personnel. With this new found resource and ability to cut off our “addiction to oil” we can successfully end the war in the Middle East, halt all research of other fuel sources, collect tax money to purchase more lumber and combustible goods from outside countries. With a plan like this and the ability to see it through, I ask again Who Needs Oil?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Let The Shoes Burn

As the droning bell sounds, marking the end of the first long period of the day, I bolt out the freedom door. Having measured the radius of the all too familiar Burlington Edison High School parameter, I know that I have no time to waste if I want to make it to my next health class on time. This is, of course, if I beat the bathroom line rush, if the wind is traveling at a somewhat low velocity, and if I don’t get caught behind some of the infamous Slow Pokes.
This antagonizing, irritating, deadly breed always causes major problems. They come in many shapes and sizes, so you always have to be on the lookout. Whether it’s the Chatty Friends species, gossiping about their latest crush, the New Couples variety with their excessive PDA, or the Lethal Texters, phone in hand, they’ll get you if you don’t watch out. One second you’re right on schedule and the next you are struggling to avoid a “tardy.” It’s such a battle again the ever threatening odds. On time is the prognosis one minute while nasty delays change my expected outcome the next. Holy fleeting moments!
I make it out of the bathroom, no problem; the line is just forming as I exit. Looks like I’ll easily make it to the health portable. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining and there isn’t a lurking Slow Poke in sweet sight. Just as I ease up, two Texters merge into the flowing stream of passing students from the right. I was so foolish to think I’d dodge them. I craftily attempt to pass the oblivious Texters, but it is no use. The incriminating bell drones. I am late. I hastily sprint into class explaining to my teacher, who has that what’s-your-excuse look on her face, the details of my encounter just seconds before. “Tardy!”
This is merely one example of the monumental, unjust effect dastardly hallway blockages have on innocent, well meaning students at Burlington Edison High School. Yet, how can we reprogram this common race of student; these Slow Pokes? By transforming the hallways and ground at Burlington Edison High School into hot plates, passages of Sahara-like heat waves, the lethargy of the Slow Poke people will be brought to virtual extinction. With sizzling temperatures of 200°F this breed will be forced to flee the liberated halls, or be forced to sacrifice their shoes. I can think of no one objection that will possibly be raised against this proposal unless it should be urged that someone could get seriously burned.
Firstly, everyone attending the school will be required to sign a mandatory waiver. This will ensure that any injury caused by these heated plates will be solely the fault of that long tarrying individual. This will negate the blasphemous claims made by would be, suit-happy victims. Should they take the right of promptness away from others, consequences will be paid.
Secondly, due to the advantage steel has over carpet, as far as janitorial cleaning expenses, all carpet will be removed from transit halls and replaced by easily cleaned steel flooring. Rather than hiring a full custodial crew to vacuum the hallways daily, scrubbing at the never lifting stains, the steel will be simply brushed off or lightly mopped. Not only will this cut down on the school’s expenses, but it will produce a more sanitary environment along with faster transit times.
Thirdly, Public Display of Affection currently a major cause of the crippling hall jams. If there wasn’t anywhere for these swooning creatures to mingle, it would resolve all-to frequent smooching complaints. PDA can often be inappropriate, or even turn into a mild form of sexual harassment, causing discomfort to other students. This would resume the constant flow of traffic through the halls, while putting a stop to this distasteful act during school hours. When your interest in the world is limited to one other person, it’s hard to realize when you might be creating a debilitating problem from someone else.
Fourthly, punctuality a very important lesson taught in school, which students will carry on to their lives after high school. At Burlington Edison High School, tardies are treated very seriously; 3 time infractions are equal to one detention. It is unfair for innocent students like myself to be penalized for the thoughtlessness of the Chatty Friends, New Couples, or the Lethal Texters. Not only is punctuality emphasized at our school, so is justice. This unjust punishment needs to be put to an end; let righteousness be heard or let shoes burn.
Therefore, I repeat, let no student talk to me of these and the like expedients, till he has at least some glimpse of hope that we can put an end to these Slow Pokes and their troublesome ways. I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in the destruction of social life, relationships, or shoes, to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my school. I can already smell the burning of shoe rubber; the smell of justice.

A Proposal for People

Countries are represented by their people. Every citizen of a country is a small fraction of their whole homeland, yet paradoxically, every small fraction will singularly carry the image of an entire nation. When Yuri Gagarin became the first human to enter and return from space we saw him; he was Russian, he was Russia and we, along with the rest of the world, knew that Russia was a very advanced country capable of incredible feats. Likewise, Germans will symbolize their country of Germany, Japanese will represent Japan and so on – yet the great and powerful country of America is losing that solid symbolization that it achieves through its inhabitants. When foreigners travel to this land, presumably on vacation, it is not the various faces of white people that surround them; they do not feel embraced by the excellence of the American land. When a non-white American is asked where they are from and they state “America”, the world is not imprinted with a concrete idea of who, or what, exactly an American is. No longer does the white face of an American always stand for their country; it is now a varying array of colors. American soil has become somewhat polluted by the many ethnicities of the world; the face of America is no longer a white figure, but blemished by the shades of others.
It is not true to say that every country contains only citizens that have matching racial backgrounds, yet America no longer contains only drops of other colors but splashes. With only approximately three-fourths (74.7%) of this country’s population declared as white it is no wonder that the white face of an American has a difficult time revealing itself to the rest of the world. Less and less is the stream of white faces uninterrupted by the tints of others. Problematically, the supreme country of America is not honorably represented by similarly supreme people with congruent racial backgrounds. The trouble is that America is now fallaciously being represented by the wrong people, by the pollutants of America, and not always by the true, white, American people.
Currently I have seen this situation only dealt with by racial discrimination. I have made these observations in the public, in stores, schools, court cases and throughout merely every square inch of America. Usually the act only leads to ridiculous, unnecessary violence (in reference to gang fights). Yet this form of “defense” is quite unproductive and does not effectively show any country or person how remarkable an authentic American is; only does this show how quarrelsome we can be.
This problematic situation, which is only growing (with every additional non-white American either born or brought into this land), could perhaps be dealt with by simply removing the non-white inhabitants of America from this land… Yet, in proposal, I have a way that will not only give America back a consistent representation of itself, but a way to incorporate non-white inhabitants into the whole scheme. I propose the following in order to give Americans back America.
Firstly, to clearly displace true Americans from the false, all non-white individuals will be assigned a single uniform that will be worn throughout the nation, whenever in public. Detail on the design is not important other than that they are cheap, mass-producible, and contain a white bag, or mask, that can be placed over the head. First off, I believe that this will make the sight of the public easier on the eyes and more pleasing. In other words, this dress-code should effectively leave America with a solid, white image; leaving only the sight of the Americans and the others. With this uniform, it will be extremely easy to identify which individuals are merely “foreigners” and which are the exceptional, white people of the United States of America.
These assigned uniforms will also depict the, more than likely, dangerous individuals from the benevolent American citizens. Americans will be able to simplistically discriminate the suspicious beings; no longer will a deceiving criminal continue as invisible to the public’s eye. Think of how much less we will have to worry about criminals when even a child can point at the masked face of any hazard. I can guarantee that this will lower the crime rates of America, even if we must at times suspect inhabitants who are actually harmless.
The production of these uniforms will require many factories, considering that every non-white inhabitant in America must wear one. Yet this will bring in another positive attribute to the whole plan, unintentionally: job opportunities. The various clothing factories that will be built will require workers, and should rightfully employ the people that will be wearing that clothing (non-white Americans). This should force these workers to respect their new uniforms as well as release them from any previous jobs of importance. Overall I find that the uniforms will have many positive aspects that will only, in the end, filter the non-white inhabitants out of the white pool of Americans.
Secondly, to incorporate the remaining presence of these non-white Americans, white Americans shall be given the opportunity to appoint non-white inhabitants to moil for them, possibly at the house or work. This new opportunity will give many white Americans the chance to acquire extra help in areas that assistance is needed. Hopefully this will not only ensure that white Americans can focus on their important work but also make sure that only they will earn the jobs of importance in America. Non-white inhabitants will be appropriately placed below us, economically. This ruling will also give Americans back their solidity as the white race of America, clearly showing that genuine Americans earn and deserve the most important occupations, further more raising our status in relation to the world.
Thirdly, I believe that the silencing of non-white Americans (at least in public) shall bring the natural and rightful sound of the American tongue back to the land. Specifically, non-white Americans should be required not to speak unless spoken to by a white person or in times of utter importance. This simple law is mainly due to the unpleasantness of the biting and offensive noises that too commonly infest the ears of the public. A silencing will bring comfort to yet another sense (in reference to the previous proposal pertaining to sight) of the body for the white people of America.
Lastly, and considering the last three proposals, I have discovered that yet another movement is in need of initiation. The last proposals have made it clear that non-white Americans should indubitably not be granted the right to affect future leaders of this country, or become leaders of it at that. Voting rights should only be offered to white Americans. It is only obvious that, with the mentioned proposals, a non-white American should not have such powerful rights that directly influence the entire country.
In summary, my entire proposal, or proposals, focuses on two key points to the betterment of America. One that America is given back a prominent white appearance. And two that non-white Americans are effectively presented as untrue citizens of this country, not belonging to or deserving its supreme status and glory. I have faith in my plan and know that it will do what needs to be done. Also I must include that non-white Americans are only, and naturally, deserving of the actions and laws that my proposals partake in; their racial background was determined through genetics, and by chance they are not the white people of America. It was not America that gave them their unfortunate bodies but the uncontrollable force of Mother Nature.
Sadly, I must confess that I cannot participate in supporting my proposals. I have thought through my suggestion and do not worry about its failure. The truth is that I personally and unintentionally insult my own proposal. I am indeed a white American yet my very European name can easily offend the proposals effects, and is highly offensive to the American sound and tongue. Thus I will not participate in aiding the proposal and will most likely be leaving America quite soon, to go to the not-so-powerful country of Canada.

Rachelle's Modest Proposal

It is sad when people travel in our nation. The roads are overflowing with traffic and it takes 45 minutes to get somewhere that usually would only take ten. A fender-bender closes off one lane leaving two open with an onramp merging on to the road less than half a mile down. All you can do is sit and wait and inch forward every once in a while. You look over at the car next to you and the driver is suffering major road rage and is yelling and hitting their steering wheel in frustration. And all this time that you are sitting in traffic, the gas in your car is being burned up; wasted away because you’re not going anywhere. That fifty dollar tank of gas you paid for this morning is over half way gone by the time you get into your car the next morning. And that next morning, gas is five cents more expensive than it was the day before.

I think it is agreed by all peoples of our nation that the massive amount of gasoline cars use when they overflow the roads, streets, and driveways, is another addition to our never-ending list of down-falls. America is leading the world in gas consumption with an average of over 400 million gallons of gas per day. If someone could figure out a cheap and easy solution to make all that gasoline consumption decrease dramatically or even disappear, would be worthy of giant statue of him or herself placed near our nation’s capital showing what an impact they made as a preserver of the nation.

My intention includes the use of all automobiles in the USA, even those that are old and beat up. However, I will not need the assistance of gas or ethanol-based gas. I have though about this problem for many years and about how I can help our nation solve our gas guzzling situation. Millions and millions of gallons of gas have been burned up and those gallons cost money. America’s current population is 301,139,947 with the average household owning two cars, trucks or sport utility vehicles -- and one in four owns three or more. So what are we going to do?
There are various advantages to my idea which include no more gas. People will save thousands of dollars by not purchasing gas which currently costs an average $3.08 a gallon. My idea will also provide new job opportunities that anyone could become a professional at. Everyone will feel like they are doing the environment a favor because my solution will help our fight against global warming and over polluting our air.

89% of American households own one or more cars. The 2007 Honda Accord Sedan is a popular car in our country so I did some research and found that this car (depending on the version) can get anywhere from 20 to 34 mpg. 34 mpg is pretty good, but remember that all of these tests are performed on a smooth runway without twists or turns, and no stop lights, signs, or deer to jump out at you. So in real life, you’re probably getting around 23 to 28. 28 is still pretty good, but it’s never consistent. With my proposal, you will be getting a steady “mpg” so to speak.

As stated before, there is over 3 hundred million people living in this country and among these people who own a vehicle, 90 percent of them say they usually drive an average of 87 minutes a day behind the wheel. These 87 minutes are not only spent behind the wheel, but in traffic jams as well. About half of Americans say traffic in their area is worse now that it was five years ago, and about half expect it to be worse still five years from now, which only means more time is wasted, which means more gas is wasted, which means more money is wasted.

I shall now tell you dear reader, my proposition, which I hope you will see the good it can do.

I have been assured by a very knowledgeable man from a country near Tibet that horses of any breed can be ridden by a full grown adult as long as they are not of the “miniature” breed. Children I’m sure can ride them (miniatures) up till they (the children) reach sixty or so pounds.

My reason is that cars consume so much gas and the price per gallon seems to increase daily. It’s terrorist activities that cause the futures market to in a way, “freak out” making it more expensive for refiners to acquire crude oil and by the time it’s refined to gas, the price has already increased. But it doesn’t stop there. Then gas stations increase their prices as they see their competitors prices rise as well. The price of gas today is ridiculous so this is why I give the modest proposal of putting into effect, a law that all cars be traded in for money and that the people use horses for a means of transportation. Horses helped our ancestors in the past and can assist us today. These animals do not consume gas like cars, but hay and grain and oats -- all of which are at reasonable prices today. Hay costs around five dollars a bale and you can get a lot farther with one bale of hay than you can with five dollars of gas. Eight dollars can get you an eighty pound bag of oats. Now this feed can be only for the winter because during the summer, grass is available and in abundance for your horse(s) to eat. You can save a massive amount of money because the only time you will really be spending money to “fuel” your “vehicle” will mainly be in the summer.

Yes, horses do not travel as quickly as cars but some sacrifices must be made to save money. Horses cost less than a car and if you have children, when they turn sixteen, you won’t be buying them a new car, but your horse might be pregnant, therefore, you don’t have to buy a new horse. Some people who I’ve talked to are appalled by this idea because they do not want to ride a horse everywhere and one is allergic to them. I have thought these obstacles over and have some solutions. First off, you don’t have to ride a horse. You can build or buy yourself a carriage and either drive it yourself or pay someone to. Padding and shocks can be applied to make the ride smoother, and these days, fortunately, we have asphalt. If you are allergic to horses there is always the option of cows, alpacas, donkeys, etc… But if you are one to be opposed to all this, remember that if Mary rode a donkey all the way to Bethlehem, you can ride one to work and back.

Another question that one of my colleagues asked me was, “What are you going to do with the waste on the roads?” Here is where job opportunities come in. Anyone can become a professional pooper-scooper. In fact, when I was younger, that was my first job. I became very quick cleaning the fields of an alpaca farm and the best part was, I got paid for it. The DOT will hire people to clean certain areas of roads and the waste will be sold to fertilizer farms who will in turn, make it into fertilizer, and turn right back around and sell it to gardeners whose business will increase with the demand for carrots and other such plants for the owners’ horses. As for the cars, the dealers can sell the car parts to people who can take those parts and use them for other purposes, such as contributing to making carriages.

It has also come to my attention that fire trucks and ambulances must get to those in need very quickly. Thoroughbred horses were made to race, run, and do so rapidly. This way, officers and medical officials can be quick. If one is found to be mistreating their horse, animal cruelty will be on patrol, increasing the amount of jobs needed in that field too. Another field in which more jobs will be needed is the veterinary field. More horses mean more patients, bring in more profit. This will also affect the medical field in which new vaccines and medicines will be produced.

In the city and suburban areas, citizens tend to have small yards that will not be sufficient to support a horse. This is why localized horse pastures will be built so that you can board your horse and go get them when you please. You’ll be charged on either a weekly or monthly basis most likely, depending on the pasture you go to for business. Prices will also vary.

As for the poorer people of our nation, wild horses can most certainly be found in the desolate areas of Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming along with other states that I did not mention. But for those that do not live in those areas, cities will become more localized anyway with the commute people will have to make to town. Speaking of the commute, because of the time it takes to get from one place to another will increase, workers will have to communicate and negotiate with their bosses about there work times.

I’m sorry to say that the sport of Nascar will have to end. I am a fan of it, but it’s apparent that so many gallons of gas are wasted just for the entertainment of the American society. We are literally watching gas disappear just like it disappears in our own cars right now. Perhaps horse racing will become more popular and so will other sports.

As soon as other countries see that we can get along without gasoline powered cars, they will want to follow in our footsteps. We will become an example country and others will look up at us for our knowledgeable ways of saving money. We’re also helping the rest of the world by decreasing the amount of pollution we send into the air, contributing to the fight against global warming. America can do it.

The BS Test

A month in which the clouds part, the sun shines and the cherry trees are blossoming; in which winter finally ends and spring arrives. The bright yellow daffodils should be the harbinger of spring, bringing happiness to the people of Washington state but instead, March brings a look of anxiety and frustration to the expressions of parents and students. The dreading warning letters are sent home, advising excellent attendance, a goodnight’s sleep, and nutritious meals in preparation of the rigorous testing. March has been labeled the official WASL month.

The WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning) is an exam taken by 4th, 7th, and 10th grade students. It consists of multiple-choice, short-answer and extended response questions in the subjects of reading, writing, math, and science. 10th graders are required to pass the reading, writing, and math sections in order to graduate from high school.

The graduation requirement has caused many problems for the kids who are unable to pass. Hispanic students and migrant children have a higher failure rate, along with kids in the “special education” problem. The vast majority of children from low-income families, as measured by eligibility for free or reduced lunch, also do not meet the standard.

The WASL is an unjust measure of accomplishment to the greatest extent. It has been calculated that there is a 28.9% chance that a child has had his or her test incorrectly scored. If it is stated that a child fails the WASL, there is no recourse or proof as every test is immediately shredded after scoring.

I propose an alternative exam for the graduation requirement of 10th grade students. The BS (Basic Skills) Test will test their ability to complete certain tasks that are essential for life after high school. Unlike the WASL, this test will score life skills helpful as individuals transition to independence. These functions include telling time (from a standard clock), ironing an article of clothing, pumping gas, washing dishes, vacuuming and more.

The assessment will take place in January instead of March because everybody already hates bleak-cold January. Everyone is reconciling their overspending on Christmas and spring is a distant light. So why not throw in a huge test? The test will most likely occupy a couple weeks. Classrooms in schools will serve as stations in which there is a particular event held. Students will be given schedules of the rooms in which they go to at a specific time.

After completing each task, the student will be graded by a trained professional. It is my utmost desire to recommend Martha Stewart in helping with the judging of household decorum. Mr. Clean would be a perfect candidate to teach proper dusting and degreasing skills, and Marie Callender is an expert at cooking frozen goods to taste like home-cooked.

An excellent job is rewarded with 4pts, fair receives 3pts, average equals 2pts, needs improvement would be 1pt, and 0pts is failing. Students will be graded down on mistakes such as leaving a crease in the blouse they are ironing or forgetting to twist on the gas cap after pumping gas.

There are many advantages to the BS Test. First of all, it will benefit kinesthetic learners. Many kids are unable to function optimally when expected to sit down for long periods of time. Instead of reading and writing, they are allowed to move around and perform physical activities. This would likely strengthen their scores.

Secondly, the students who fail the WASL because of the language barrier will no longer have this problem. Because the test is physically demonstrated, students will not have to read, write, or even speak in their 2nd language of English.

But my intention is far from being confined to just “dumb down” the original test; it is of much greater extent and will be created to actually help students once they start living on their own. This brings me to my third point. The WASL, in no sense, brings aide to the growing brains of young individuals. Its pointless questions and open ended answers are meaningless. The BS Test will actually give teens the knowledge to more competently cope with life. Is it more important to know how to feed yourself or to know what a parallel line is?

After many computations, I have discovered that the BS Test would cost approximately $200 million. Hosting several celebrities, who are known for their expertise on life skills, would cost a great deal of money. On top of that, many supplies and equipment are needed such as vacuums, washing machines, cooking supplies, etc.

I can think of no other objection that will possibly be raised against this proposal unless it should be urged that the students who already have the knowledge of completing basic skills will not be challenged. But isn’t the basic educational goal these days is for each student to feel successful and good about themselves?

Personally, this proposal has no effect on me. Being an 11th grade student, I have already taken the 10th grade WASL and passed all sections sufficiently. My high school diploma is not in jeopardy. However, if you are a younger reader, yours may be. I do not reject any other offer that also opposes the WASL. After fully explaining my proposal in depth, I believe it is up to my audience to decide what the best solution is. You’re ability to graduate is in your own hands.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Proposal to Stop the Childhood Obesity Epidemic

Twenty or so years ago your neighborhood boy and his friends probably looked quite like Beaver or Wally Cleaver. Healthy, active, outside all the time. However, now there is a good chance at least one of those children looks more like Augustus Gloop. Overweight, even obese, gobbling up all the chocolate bars and any other fast, fatty, sugary, unhealthy food he can get his chubby little hands on, and the only exercise he gets is when he gets up to look for the remote.

This little problem has turned into quite the epidemic. It is estimated that one third of all U.S. children are overweight or at risk of becoming over weight, and anywhere from five to twenty five percent of kids and teens are obese. The number of overweight kids ages six to eleven has doubled, and the number of overweight teens has tripled, all within the last two to three decades.

A change needs to happen somewhere. And I propose that all schools, both public and private, become year round, live in boarding school, where every single aspect of a child’s and teen’s life can be monitored and controlled.

This may seem like an absurd solution, but looking at it more closely, you can see that it would benefit more than just the students.

While all schools would be boarding schools, they would still either be classified as private, with parents paying the tuition, or public, with the government and taxes paying for the tuition. Many parents are not home enough to monitor what their kids are eating and doing after school. That is one of the main time periods when kids eat unhealthy food and play video games or what TV for hours. Parents that are poor wouldn’t have to pay for the child to go to school, but also wouldn’t have to pay for the day to day care of that child, including food, cleanliness, and medical care. The parents would have time to become better educated and be able to take better care of themselves, afford healthier food and better medical care, and also be able to take better care of their children when they come to visit.

While at first the students may not be very happy about having every aspect of their life controlled, they will soon be too busy to have time to worry about it. Students will be required to participate in a sport all year long; fall, winter, and spring. There will be many options, including soccer, football, swimming, basketball, tennis, baseball, and many others. Unlike it is with many sports now, if you try out for a sport you cannot be cut, you are guaranteed the ability to play. It may not be on Varsity, but it will be on JV, “C” team, or, if need be, “D” team. Playing sports will be a graduation requirement and there will be no way of getting out of it.

The schools will have a strict entertainment and electronic policy. Students are not allowed to watch TV or play video games (hand held or those that attach to TVs) at all. They will only have access to computers for educational and homework purposes. They can’t play games, go on MySpace, or any other non-educational purposes.

Not only will students be required to play sports but they will also be required to take at least two semester of P.E. every year, compared to the three semesters total (all four years of high school) we currently have at this school. They will be placed in a class based on their ability. No longer will a student who can run ten miles be able to take a power walking class. For each class, there will be a required number of miles that must be run (or walked in the case of power walking classes) each week. Also to graduate, you must be able to run a mile in a certain amount of time (determined by your ability and class level). If students refuse to run, just because they don’t want to, they will be punished, usually by having to run at least twice what they refused to.

Once a week, most likely during their P.E. class, every student will be weighed and measured. This is just to check that students are getting enough activity and eating the right amount. This will be done in front of the class, not to embarrass the student but to compel them to do what they are supposed to do to remain healthy and fit.

Exercise would not be the only thing that the school controls. They would also control what the students eat. Currently, at this school, they serve greasy pizza, glutinous gravy, and sugar coated maple bars. However, in my proposal, three healthy balanced meals and two healthy snacks would be provided each day. Students would not be allowed to go off campus to get food, which would probably put many fast food restaurants out of business (another positive thing that comes from this proposal). Schools would not be allowed to serve anything fried or full of fat or sugar. Any student found to be in possession of any unhealthy food would be punished with detention, the amount being determined by the severity of their infraction.

Students would not be allowed to leave campus, not just for food, but for anything. Each school would have a store where students could buy anything they need. It would stock school supplies, personal supplies, and a limited number of clothing items, with any other needed items being bought by a parent and being brought to the school or with a parent over break. The only reason any student would be allowed to leave campus is if they have a medical problem that could not be treated by the medical personnel at the school. If that is the case they will be transported to the nearest hospital that has the ability to treat them.

Students would be required to talk with their counselors, the school psychologist, and the school nutritionist (all schools would be required to have at least one person for each of the three positions). They would be able to talk to them as often as they want but would be required to go at least once a week to make sure they are happy, healthy, and aren’t having any problems. A once a month visit with the nurse and/or doctor would also be required to make sure they are developing properly and don’t have any health problems.

Teachers will have strict instructions to hand out no more than twenty minutes of homework each night to any student. This ensures that every student will be able to participate in their sport without falling behind in class, while still being able to go to bed at their strict ten o’clock bedtime, both during the week and on weekends. Students must also get up no later than seven o’clock on week days, this will give them just enough time to get to class by eight o’clock, and nine o’clock on weekends, so they can participate in all the weekend activities the school with provide.

As will current year round schools, the students will have several short breaks throughout the year. On those breaks, the students will be allowed to go home and stay with their parents; however there will be many rules they must follow. Students are not allowed to be unsupervised for extended periods of time, they must be watched to make sure they follow all the rules. They are required to eat healthy balanced meals and keep a food diary to be turned in when they return to school. Also, they must exercise every day for at least one hour, to keep up their level of activity for when they return to P.E. classes and sports. As with time spent at school, watching TV and playing video games is forbidden. Any broken rules will result in detention and no longer being able to spend vacations at home with their families. For those students who can’t or don’t want to spend the break with their parents, they will be able to stay at the school on a weekend schedule for the entire break.

As you can see, this proposal, though being somewhat harsh at first appearance, would indeed be effective. I am not forcing you to agree with me, but I do not know of any other option that would be able to stop this epidemic from affecting every child in the U.S. Before we know it ten year olds will be weighing two hundred pounds and it won’t be uncommon for heart disease and diabetes to claim victims under twenty.