Will the rise of student activism after the Parkland, Florida school shooting help reduce mass shootings?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-Ah, the idealism of youth! I sometimes long for the days when I truly believed that walking out of class, painting signs and marching while singing protest songs could actually bring about change.  Sadly, I have lived a half-century now and realize that our government has been completely bought and paid for by special interests, chief among them the gun lobby.  Even the merest suggestion that private citizens might not need to defend themselves or go hunting with weapons designed to kill humans by the score is met with Constitution-shaking outrage and the threat of dried-up donations. Continue reading

President Trump has called on the Congress to send him a bill that fixes the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Should this involve amnesty, a path to citizenship, or some other solution to immigration?

Myrtle Beach, SC Correspondent-The ONLY thing it should include is a path to citizenship. There is absolutely no reason to offer amnesty. I don’t want to sound heartless, but it’s not fair to grant amnesty for the sheer fact that their parents brought them over illegally. It’s NOT difficult to become an American citizen. There isn’t much else to say on the subject…become a citizen or leave like everyone else. I have a friend who wanted to come to America at a young age from Germany. So, she joined the American Army as a translator in Germany and went through the legal process to become an American citizen. I don’t know why all of the sudden it’s ok to allow “illegals” to stay. Did they change the definition of illegal without me knowing? Continue reading

Should apprenticeship/vocational programs eventually replace four-year college degree programs in America?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-Apprenticeship is a concept that stretches back to the Middle Ages and before. Of course, back then it usually consisted of parents essentially consigning their male children to indentured servitude in hopes they’d be taught a trade that would eventually profit the family. These days, the system isn’t quite as abusive, and it gives the apprentices a chance to learn a trade from the ground up. Continue reading

Will the constant use of emojis and emoticons lead to the downfall of communication skills?

Sheffield Jamaica Correspondent-I love expression. Like body gestures and sign language, emojis and emoticons are great ways to express oneself, especially in situations where the right words cannot be found to convey what is being expressed. To supplement, it’s quick, easy, and even an idiot can send one. You’ll agree, not all idiots possess proper communication skills, right? Continue reading

Do gender based reading materials damage boys and girls and should they be removed from elementary school classrooms?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent- Working from the assumption that the term gender-based reading material means books and other print media that feature characters who don’t identify as heterosexual males or females, I’ll say quite equivocally, “it depends.” Too much gender-based reading material sends the message that students might be “abnormal” if they are a heterosexual male or female. Little or no gender-based reading material sends the message that only two types of people exist in the entire world, and anything other than heterosexual male or female is abnormal. In either extreme, I don’t believe most students would be damaged. Children are usually much more flexible and tolerant than adults. These sorts of reading material shouldn’t be removed from classrooms, but they should be used judiciously and with sensitivity to the cognitive abilities of young students. Continue reading

Free speech on college campuses is turning into no free speech for anyone but protestors. Is free speech being compromised at the behest of protestors?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-One of the most disheartening trends of the past fifty years is the increased intolerance of “non-mainstream” ideas on college campuses. In the 1960s, student radicals were heard loud and clear protesting war, big business, capitalism, right-wing politics, and advocating for communism, socialism, peace not war, sexual freedom, and liberalization of drug laws. Continue reading

Should public schools in America be allowed to have Muslim prayer rooms?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Most opinions regarding Muslim prayer rooms in schools or other accommodations to religious groups in public places are centered around the Constitutional issue of separation of Church and State. And for a good reason, because if we don’t adhere to the rule of law as a nation, we are doomed to chaos, anarchy, and the rule of men. Continue reading

Are schools teaching kids the skills they need to succeed?

Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-That’s actually a good question. I’d like to think that I didn’t turn out bad, but I wouldn’t attribute my accomplishments to the skills I acquired at school.

Success is viewed differently, depending on the individuals involved. Success, for me at least, is not dependent on the height of my bank account, the clothes I wear, nor the assets I’ve procured; not at all. Continue reading

Symposium 2016: Many elite educators, politicians and bureaucrats believe that homeschooling deprives students of “in the classroom experience.” Current education secretary, John King feels that students aren’t “getting the range of options that are good for all kids.” Does homeschooling limit student learning, or is it a viable education alternative?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent- To claim that homeschooled students are “deprived” of in the classroom experience implies that all classroom experiences are desirable. What is so desirable about a classroom that contains forty students, is led by a teacher who has no control over the class’s behavior and may not even be qualified to teach the subject, and contains one or more children who are intent on either disrupting the class or doing physical harm to students or even the teacher? Continue reading

Symposium 2016: On the campaign trail, President-elect Donald Trump emphatically promised to get rid of Common Core. Should Trump and his Department of Education nominee, Betsy DeVos dismantle the national education standards? What should replace them?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent- There’s not a bloody thing wrong with Common Core, and it should be left alone.  I’m not sure Mr. Trump quite had a grasp of the situation when he made that statement, so I’m going to give him a pass.  The forces crying out against Common Core are the same ones who tell us there’s no such thing as bad teachers, accountability and performance evaluations for educators are tools of the devil and more homework is the solution to all of society’s ills.  Common Core forces schools to give children the tools they need to succeed in the real world, and while it’s not a perfect system by any stretch, it’s better than any of its counter-proposals. I would like to see far more STEM programs included, and that movement does seem to be gaining steam, but overall I’m happy with leaving Common Core as it is. Continue reading