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NYC Teachers Sue Over Political Expression

Here’s an interesting issue.  According to the New York Times, the New York City teacher’s union is suing because teachers have been forbidden from wearing political buttons and displaying political signs on the job.  The union feels this is a violation of the teachers’ right to freedom of expression.  However, the school system feels that teachers have an obligation to maintain a strict sense of neutrality in the classroom when it comes to politics.

I tend to side with the teachers’ union on this issue — but I can certainly see both sides.  On the one hand, teachers have a right to free speech just like everybody else.  Teachers have an obligation to make sure their students feel 100% comfortable speaking their own minds about opinions, even if they don’t agree with the teacher — but that doesn’t mean that the teacher can’t express an opinion of his or her own.  This kind of open exchange of ideas teaches kids to participate in an intelligent and open minded way in political discussions, which is an important skill for learning to be a citizen. (more…)

Realizations While Turning 18

Today, October 12th, I officially became an “adult”.

I woke myself up to a song I love by The Maine and grooved around while it began to really hit me that I was an adult. As the years pile on, many begin to hate their birthdays, but turning 18 should be one of the most exciting and most memorable birthdays because of how significant the age really is.

Turning 18 signifies many changes in ones life. Once you are 18 you are labeled as an “adult”. This entails the ability to vote, to get into some clubs, and a number of other things that didn’t seem all that important until you realize once you turn a certain age all of these things are not at the tip of your fingers.

I spent my day spending time with family (had lunch) and my friends (dinner and a concert- Secondhand Serenade!) and couldn’t have asked for a better birthday. Although it wasn’t a huge ordeal, that’s the way I prefer it to be handled. I enjoyed myself and really loved being able to spend time with my family and friends on such an important day to me. Not only is this a big birthday for me, but the last birthday before I go off to college! And who knows how birthdays will be celebrated in the years to come since I’m looking at schools that are so far away.

After a busy, but fun-filled day, I can honestly say I look forward to being an adult and all the opportunities that come my way now!

3 Campaign Issues Most Important to College-Aged Voters

Yesterday we discussed how the under-30 voters could play their most influential role ever in the election of our next president. If all 44 million eligible voters in this Gen-X/Gen-Y demographic turned out to the polls, they would impact 25 percent of the overall vote. Right now it’s anticipated that 86 percent of these voters will show up on election day.

What is it that these young, and some first-time voters, are interested in hearing from the candidates? For this age group, their priorities are:

1. Economy

2. Iraq War

3. Health Care

“For us, that’s a big thing because we’re starting our careers and we need jobs,” said Sam Szynskie, a 21-year-old senior at Lawrence University.

It can be a worrisome time for new college graduates, as they enter the work force saddled with mountains of student loan debt, likely credit card debt, and a desire to put the past four or five years of hard work into lucrative practice. With the economy sliding further down the spiral everyday, and large companies continuing to slash jobs, students are paying attention to the economic plans of our next leader and making sure there is something in it for them.

The under-30 voter is also more concerned with the environment, finding more Earth-friendly energy solutions and reducing our dependency on foreign oil.

Under 30 Vote Most Influential in History

It’s no secret that the young voter population is paying attention to this presidential election in record numbers, and being more involved than they ever have before. The 18- to 29-year-old vote is one that’s been highly sought for years by candidates, but because of a vicious cycle where candidates don’t listen to the college voter because they don’t vote and they don’t vote because the candidates don’t listen – they both end up losing one another’s attention.

A fire has been lit, and people from both political parties are certain that the college-aged, 20-something voters will turn out in record numbers, likely to be higher than any other election in history.

How important are these votes? They’ll be quite influential, considering the 44 million eligible voters who fall in this age group make up one-quarter of the total electorate. They’re impact on this election could be quite decisive. (more…)

Top 10 Games of the Red River Rivalry

The second weekend in October always means one very important thing to the folks in Oklahoma and Texas- the baddest football game of the season. Since the first game in 1900, The OU Sooners and the Texas Longhorns have converged on Dallas’ Cotton Bowl at the Texas State Fair for one of the finest match-ups in college football. It’s a game wrought with tradition, passion, a whole lot of crimson and a whole lot of burnt orange.

This Saturday will only be the eleventh time the Sooners and Longhorns have met whilst being top five ranked teams. The Sooners have held the #1 spot for the past two weeks, and the Longhorns are holding on to the #5 position. Texas leads the match-up, with an all-time record of 57–40–5, Oklahoma trailing with a record of 45–36–4; Oklahoma has won six of the last eight OU/Texas games. Here’s a look at the 10 previous games: (more…)

99% of Entering Freshman Have Facebook

Man, I wish I had had Facebook when I was a college student!

Things have changed so much since when I was in college, way back in 1992, which, in terms of years, was not all that long ago, but in terms of technology, I may as well have gone to college with John McCain.  Here’s an article from Amherst College, where apparently 99 percent of all of their incoming students have Facebook pages. Only six members of the 2012 class have not joined the class group on Facebook.

In fact, this group of students at Amherst shares some pretty incredible statistics about the incoming Class of 2012 in general. While their incoming freshman class is made of only 438 students, these numbers must be indicative of technology trends across college campuses everywhere.

  • One in two students are likely to be carrying an iPhone or an iPod Touch
  • 370 people registered 443 iPhones, gaming units, etc.
  • Only 14 brought desktop computers; 5 have landline phones
  • Current classes of 2009 and 2010 are most likely to use Windows; classes of 2011 and 2012 are most likely using Mac


5 Favorite Ways for High School Seniors to Relax

One of the biggest problems I seem to have in high school is taking time for myself and just relaxing on a daily basis. Although it seems I find little time to relax, there are many ways in which I choose to relax!

1. Listen to music – listening to my favorite band or song always helps me to calm down and just mellow out. Just sitting down, or even when I’m driving, putting on a favorite song or band can help me to relax and can even help to completely change the mood I’m in!

2. Exercising/Playing a sport- For me, a great way to relax and relieve a little stress is to hit some balls in a batting cage. Not only is it a favorite way for me to relax, but its also a perfect stress reliever because hitting the ball gives me such a great feeling! So go to the gym or go outside and get a good work out, or play a quick game of basketball. Exercise always makes you feel better!

3. Pick up a good book – a lot of people may think this isn’t a way to relax, but I find it extremely relaxing when I pick out a good book and curl up in my bed or on a couch and read and read and read. Especially if it’s a story you can really get into and enter the reality of the book, leaving your own busy, stressful world behind. Reading a good book can help to take your mind off of anything that may be causing you a great deal of stress.

4. Take a nap- slowing down is key when trying to relax and become a little less stressed. And what better way to slow down than shut down completely?! Whether it is a much needed (and deserved!) 2 hour nap or it is just a quick 30 minute power nap, either can be amazing and you may be shocked at how much better you feel after a nap.

5. Hang out with Friends- This is a great way to just sit back and enjoy yourself. For me, hanging out with friends always helps me to forget about how stressed I may be or will help to take my mind off how much I have to do. Everyone needs a little time with friends to just chill and forget about everything, but enjoying a little free time along with your friends may help to slow things down a bit, too.

If you think you have no free time for any of these things and find yourself completely stressed, then I suggest finding some free time. Being stressed will do you no good, but approaching something in a much more relaxed manner will get you somewhere!

Barack Obama’s GPA and College Records

So how did Barack Obama fare in college?

It’s unclear how well he did as an undergraduate, although he was not a distinguished student. Obama refuses to release his transcript from his undergraduate years.  According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Obama was not well-known among classmates after he transferred to Columbia University from Occidental College in the early 1980s.  The article quotes a former roommate who states that Obama’s performance improved after he stopped taking drugs (which Obama has admitted to openly).  Since Obama did not graduate with honors, that means his GPA was between a 2.0 and a 3.3 — although, since he was admitted to Harvard Law School, it’s hard to imagine his GPA was much lower than a 3.3.

Obama graduated from Columbia in 1983 with a degree in political science. He specialized in international relations.

Law school was another story for Obama.  He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School (the second highest honor available) in 1991.  He also was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, a very prestigious honor.

Read more about Barack Obama’s educational background, or read about the educational records of John McCain, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin.

Common Misspellings: Barak Obama, Barac Obama, Barack Obamma

Joe Biden’s GPA and College Record

When I was watching the vice presidential debate, I was amazed by how intelligent and articulate Joe Biden came across.  Thus, it surprised me to find out that Biden didn’t do particularly well in college at all.

Biden attended the University of Delaware at Newark, where he earned a degree in history and political science in 1965. According to Paul Taylor’s See How they Run: Electing the President in an Age of Mediaocracy, Biden graduated 506 out of 688 in his class. Somehow, he managed to get into the Syracuse University College of Law. There, he admits that he underperformed as a law student, unlike Barack Obama, who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law.

Read more about Joe Biden’s University background, and check out the college records of Barack Obama, John McCain, and Sarah Palin.

Common Misspellings: Joseph Biden, Joseph Biden Jr., Jo Biden, Joe Byden, Joe Bidin

John McCain’s GPA and College Records

There’s no doubt that John McCain’s military record is exemplary.  The same cannot be said for his academic record.  McCain won’t release his Naval Academy GPA or his transcripts, but he did admit to graduating fifth from the bottom of his class!  That’s 894 out of 899.  Here’s what he had to say:

Good for McCain for being honest about his record, but wow, that’s pretty low.

Read more about John McCain’s university background, and check out the college records of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin.

Common Misspellings: John Mcain, John McCane, John Macain, John McKane, Jon McCain


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