EXECUTIVE BOARD Kimberly Tan Clarence Tan Sachin Peddada
MEMBERS Aishwarya Nene Aneesh Chona Angela Kong Chinmayi Manjunath Claire Liang Connie Li Dana Lin Hana Kim Henry Shangguan Hima Rajana Jacob Antony Katie Gu Michelle Su Nihar Wahal Rishabh Jain Scott Raine-King Sonia Raghuram Tara Pichumani Tiffany Chao Valerie Tan Zareen Choudhury
Volume 4, Issue 2
San Jose Youth Advisory Council of District 1 Newsletter
Message from Youth Commissioner: Kimberly Tan Happy 2013! I hope that you all had a relaxing holiday season, and that you're now ready and refreshed to take the new year by storm. For high school seniors, we have finally made to the end of the stretch and should remember to thank everyone who helped us get to where we are today. For all other students, remember to keep working hard and to live up to the lofty New Years Resolutions that you set for yourself. When you find yourself with a little
Inside this issue: Message from the Youth Commissioner
Opinion: Calabazas Library
Opinion: More Money, More Problems. True Statement or False Claim?
Legislation: Proposed Gun Laws
Legislation: Illegal Immi-
Opinion: Learning Life’s Hard Lessons
Legislation: Prop 30
Opinion: Standardize the System
Legislation: Copyrights in the Digital Age
Art and Poetry
bit of free time, be sure to participate in volunteer activities around your community or take a moment to enjoy the latest creative writing from D1 youth at www.overtureliterarymagazine.co m. Below is the second issue of the 1Voice Newsletter Volume (insert Vol. 4), which contains art, poetry, and articles written by District 1 Youth. We hope you enjoy! Sincerely, Kimberly
Opinion: Calabazas Library The Calabazas Library has been closed since August 2009 because of extensive renovations. Despite its projected opening in the summer of 2011, the library is still a good six to seven months from opening due to a lack of funding to support the building costs and new staff. Although the renovation attempts are commendable, the planning and execution of the project was poor. The Calabazas Library was often a go-to place for Lynbrook students to work on projects and do homework. “The Calabazas Library pre-renovation served its purpose well: small size, local library and can be used as a convenient alternative to the Santa Clara Library,” said junior Michael Sheng. To enhance the experience of its members, the City of San Jose decided to renovate the library to
include new technology and create a modern feel for its members. In November 2000, a $212 million library bond measure that would reconstruct 14 library branches and build six new branches for under-served neighborhoods was approved by voters. At a community meeting, members decided to reconstruct the Calabazas library
in the same location; renovations were estimated to cost $7.4 million. The operating costs of the library, however, come out of the City’s General Fund, which also funds for most of the city’s services. Over the past decade, the City of San Jose has been forced to cut back on costs as a result of constant budget cuts. The budget cuts do not affect the building of the library, but they greatly impact the operating
Calabazas Library during renovations
Opinion: Calabazas Library (cont.) costs due to insufficient money in the city’s General Fund. “That is why there has been a reduction in library hours, although some have been restored. Besides reducing hours, one strategy to save money was to delay the opening of certain newly completed branches— Calabazas being one of them,” said aide to San Jose City Councilmember Pete Constant, Jerad Ferguson. When budget cuts on the General Fund were imposed, construction had already begun; the city could not stop the remodeling when the budget cuts hit because of voter approval from a decade earlier. “The bond measure was passed ahead of the budget deficits and at a time where the outlook for the city was good,” said Ferguson. But this is not an excuse for the fact that the city should have conducted extensive research to determine whether there would be budget cuts later on down the line. The voters who approved the renovation may not have voted the same way had they known of the likelihood of insufficient funds prior to their decision. Even though the budget cuts happened after the passage of the renovation, the city still should have planned for a alternative back up in case of such cuts. Such a plan
could have included temporarily shutting down construction and restarting once funds were secured. Had the general public known about the insufficient funds earlier, some members of the community could have donated money to support the renovation of the library. The library could also implement a small library card fee to cover the costs of staffing and operating hours; this money could have facilitated an earlier grand opening of the library. As the reconstruction continued, the budget deficits began to hurt the library. At this point, the city should have gotten voter approval to temporarily suspend the project until the General Fund was stabilized. Since it had become apparent that the General Fund was not likely to be stabilized, the city should have called on residents to vote on an additional fund, in the form of a parcel tax. This would cover the operating costs of the library and would also provide a safety net if some part of the reconstruction went wrong. The immense benefits provided by the library to the local community should have dictated the city to ensure the security of funds for the reconstruction.
Throughout the Lynbrook community, frustrations arose from the lack of updates on the status of the library. Junior James Ma said, “[The Calabazas Library] was so convenient before it closed down, but now I have to go all the way to Cupertino or Saratoga to find reading material.” Without the Calabazas Library around, Lynbrook students will continue to pay quite a bit of money to check out necessary books. As the library continues to remain closed due to lack of funding and poor execution of remodeling plans of the Calabazas Library, many students who have relied on resources provided by the library for years will be detrimentally affected.
Recap: Designing the 21st Century School Education Forum By: Hana Kim On November 15, 2012, a long line formed in front of the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose. Students from all over the city came to the education forum, to discuss educational barriers they faced in school. These students offered their school experiences to help shape the ideal “21st century school:” safe, motivational, and productive. We started off with a very warm welcome from Dr. Xavier De La Torre, the County Superintendent of Schools, and Christian Sanchez, City District 3 Youth Commissioner. They explained that 67-78% of Latino students drop out and that there were 4,347 suspensions in the East Side Union High School District. Afterward, we broke up into groups of about 10 students and 2 facilitators who asked questions and guided the discus-
sion. The facilitators asked questions including: 1.In what situation do you feel you learn best? 2.Do you feel safe in your school’s environment? 3.Do you see a problem with gang violence at your school? Our group concluded that lack of support from family and role models is a major cause of dropouts because students don’t have enough motivation to learn. Conversely, teachers are a crucial element in a student’s school performance because their help allows students to keep pace with other students, instead of slowing the whole class. Furthermore, we found that a student’s ability to learn is greatly influenced by his or her peers.
If a student is surrounded by others who are hardworking, they are more driven to work hard in school. The main goal of the students in our group was to graduate high school and be accepted into college. In our group, 8/10 students would be the first generation in their families to go to college. Near the end of the forum, we began to envision the improved 21st century school. We, the students, want a school where everyone is safe, staff and family make sure we don’t fall behind, and interactive technology keeps students connected with their teachers. At the end of the forum, we all understood the importance of education and the possible ways to could improve schools in the future.
Volume 4, Issue 2
Opinion: More Money, More Problems.True Statement or False Claim? By: Aneesh Chona Teenagers may assume that the political process is only relevant to adults, but this is simply not true. The political process determines the representatives of the general public, public policy, and even shapes the views of teenagers. Therefore it affects everybody. With the passage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, unlimited spending from corporations on independent expenditures is now allowed in our election process. Aside from the influx of corporate money in the election process, one consequence of the decision is that it was used as a legal precedent for other decisions like the SpeechNow case, which created super PACs that wealthy organizations and individuals now use as vehicles for spending. One avenue super PACs have used their funds on is advertisements. Unfortunately, one study has found that “misleading claims [are] in 85 percent of ads produced by super PACs.” There can be several unintended harms from this recent phenomenon. A study by Columbia University found that without advertising in the 2000 election, a specific subset of voters wouldn’t have voted and consequently Gore would have won the presidency instead of Bush. Thus, with deceptive advertisements now plaguing our election process, there is a po-
tential for individuals to vote based on false information and inadvertently elect the wrong president. This fear is empirical proven as an analysis by George Mason University simulated truthful and deceptive campaigns and found that “in the deception treatment, when
information is received, there is a four-fold increase in the likelihood of an informed voter casting a ballot for a low-quality candidate.” The study also found that informed voters abstain from voting due to not fully trusting the information in a deceptive campaign while uniformed voters begin voting off the deceptive information. Thus, in a world where super PACs are displaying misleading
advertisements that cause the public to vote off false information and potentially elect the wrong candidate, it seems that democracy ceases to exist. However, there can surprisingly be some benefits to this kind of advertising. For example, Newsweek Magazine analyzed negative campaigning and found several benefits. First, the press goes “into factchecking mode, which injects even more information in the campaign.” Second, they force the opposing candidate to clarify their true position on the issue, as candidates must respond to the false advertisement, which creates more accountability to the public. In fact, from this inflow of information, elections become more competitive and informative, as the USF Law Review found that “thanks in significant part to the [Citizens United] decision, the 2010 elections were the most competitive and issue-oriented in a generation” and the Political Research Quarterly found these advertisement viewers are “14% more likely to know about the election and the candidates.” So next time you see a political advertisement, be cautious that it may contain misleading information because of Citizens United, but the content that is now called the “worst decision ever” may ironically be the one thing democracy needs most.
Opinion: Why we’ll never get over Honey Boo Boo By: Jacob Antony I was too young to notice the reality TV explosion that took place thirteen years ago. When American Idol and Survivor hit America was taken by storm, a storm that has raged for thirteen years since. We loved the come up stories of Idol, the voyeuristic nature of shows like Big Brother, even the sometimes harrowing survival tales in Survivor. They were all relatively original shows, but, like all good American moneymaking machines, they spawned seasons and
seasons of spinoffs and knockoffs alike. There are more sobbing talents, more scripted catfights, and many more idiots on television than anyone would care or like to see. But reality television continues to be one of the most profitable industries that network television has ever seen. And so we come to Honey Boo Boo. Do people enjoy watching it? I don’t think so. There’s a certain element of spectacle that keeps audiences tuning in week after week to watch the antics of a prediabetic six year old. The outrageous hilarity
of that family isn’t something audiences revel in, but we don’t exactly condemn it either. Why? The exploitation of the poor for the entertainment of the masses isn’t anything new for human civilization. Gladiator fights in Rome, human sacrifices in Tenochtitlan, and more recently, the drastic “classy” makeovers of MTV’s Trailer Fabulous-a show giving low income households a chance to look like upper class ones (every other problem the family had would then magically solve itself). But there’s something much different about Honey, real name Alana, and the rest
Opinion: Why we’ll never get over Honey Boo Boo (cont.) of her family. People like them are the butt of jokes about the dredges of middle America, memes about hillbillies and trailer park white trash that the educated of the coasts can laugh about. But Honey is a child. Are Americans just trashy enough to be able to laugh at someone who does and says the things she does because she doesn’t know any better. If Honey had Down’s or Asperger’s would we still laugh at her the way we do?
They keep us entangled in their spectacle and utter ridiculousness-like the funny looking animals at the zoo. They are the peak of the parade of the weird. We’ve been treated to the sex tape of Kim Kardashian and the surprising boring life of Sarah Palin. America decided that it was time to take on something significantly weirder and outrageous.
The problem is, Honey is normal. Normal in a six-year-old sense. It’s her parents that are the problem. Honey Boo Boo likes junk food and soda just as much as anyone else her age does. But the antics of her parents are what keep us coming back for more.
And that’s why we’ll never let go of Honey Boo Boo. Reality TV has fed us so much over such a wide range of settings and situations that we need to turn to the increasingly absurd. Reality TV isn’t a spectacle anymore. It isn’t voyeurism. It’s an obsession.
And like a desperate crack addict, we just keep on wanting more.
Legislation: Proposed Gun Laws By: Zareen Choudhury In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, a devastating tragedy that sent shock waves throughout the nation, the debate over gun laws was reinvigorated. As President Obama called for immediate action following the event, legislators in California likewise began to square off with various proposals. California already boasts some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation. Gun purchasers must first pass strict background checks and subsequently wait ten days before buying a firearm. Furthermore, gun sellers keep records of customers, and some cities such as Los Angeles and Sacramento also maintain fingerprinting archives. Most importantly, California has banned assault weapons, or semi-automatic firearms that have more than ten rounds of ammunition. Despite these regulations, though, loopholes exist and are the source of concern for many. While guns with detachable magazines are illegal, the advent of “bullet buttons” has allowed semi-automatic rifles to be used legally. “Bullet buttons” allow new rounds of ammunition to be inserted with the use of a bullet, rather than one’s hand, which would normally be considered illegal. Additionally,
although mentally ill people cannot obtain firearms, they are eligible to purchase guns once they complete treatment. To address these concerns, state legislators have proposed an array of new laws. Kevin De Leon (D) has led anti-gun proponents by supporting stricter regulations. Under his proposal, gun owners would have to renew their gun permits every year from the Department of Justice and pay an annual fee. De Leon also proposes tougher safety measures and background checks for the mentally ill, as well as a clearer definition of “handgun ammunition,” which he says is currently ambiguous. The Gun Owners of California has lashed out at this proposal; they claim that taxing the right to bear arms would be unconstitutional. Leland Yee (D) has proposed bills similar to De Leon’s, advocating annual background checks and fingerprinting before purchasing firearms. In addition, his bill would ban all semiautomatic weapons that can be easily reloaded, in order to close the loophole created by “bullet buttons.” To ensure secure storage of firearms, Yee would mandate all guns to have lock triggers, as well. Meanwhile,
Senator Ted Gaines (R), would like to permanently ban guns from mentally ill people and prevent them from obtaining arms even if they complete treatment. These proposals and more will surface for debate in the state legislature in the upcoming year and will undoubtedly face fierce opposition from gun rights advocates. The National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of California, and some Republicans are concerned that further restrictions will only limit the people’s rights and “empower those who choose to break the law.” We are yet to see how the proposals will play out in the upcoming year.
Volume 4, Issue 2
Legislation: Illegal Immigration By: Jacob Antony Undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country before they turned 16 can now breathe a sigh of relief as California recognizes their right to have a driver’s license. Previously children brought illegally into the U.S. would be deferred by California if they attempted to apply for a driver’s license. The only caveat to the measure is that applicants must be eligible for a federal work permit, an Obama administration protocol that allows the undocumented who were brought into the U.S. as children and are presently under 30 to earn a living without the threat of deportation. The measure is part of a larger push by Gov. Jerry Brown to push for extensive immigration reform at the state and national levels. "Gov. Brown believes the federal government should pursue comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship," said Brown spokesman Gil Duran to the Los Angeles Times. Giving workers a chance at a driver’s license is “the most obvious step.” “For me it just feels really liberating,” says 28-
year-old Ismael Soto, speaking to KQED, “...the amount of pressure I had every day – like I’m gonna be picked up off the street and sent to Mexico.” Brown also vetoed another measure, the Trust Act, which would have kept local law enforcement officials from collaborating with federal immigration officers to detain illegal immigrants, except in cases of certain felony charges. The measure was vigorously campaigned against by law enforcement such as Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who stated that he would defy a measure that, in his eyes, conflicted with federal law. The act was intended to hinder the Secure Communities program, which would have created a database between local jails and federal offices to find illegal immigrants. Critics of this program state that it has a negative impact on local communities, with immigrants having an unnatural fear of the police and packing jails at high economic cost with those who otherwise would not be detained. Legally speaking, all states are a part of this program, but they are also legally
allowed to ignore requests from ICE to detain immigrants. The Trust Act, if passed, would release undocumented immigrants from custody if they didn’t meet criteria or based on the seriousness of the crime committed. Gov. Brown wrote in a statement explaining that although "federal agents shouldn't try to coerce local law enforcement officers into detaining people who've been picked up for minor offenses and pose no reasonable threat to their community.” it was a flawed plan. It created a protective umbrella for all illegal immigrants, including those involved in criminal activities like child abuse and drugs and weapon trafficking. "I believe it's unwise to interfere with a sheriff's discretion to comply with a detainer issued for people with these kinds of troubling criminal records," Brown stated.
Legislation: Burglar Alarm Responses By: Nihar Wahal The San Jose Police Department has recently decided to stop responding to burglar alarms. According to Jose Garcia, a spokesman for the San Jose police, only one percent of all alarms sounded in 2010 were legitimate. The rest of the alarms were false alarms. To save money and time, the police department has decided to not respond to a burglar alarm unless it has some form of confirmation that the alarm is real, such as a call from a neighbor. Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule. Police will automatically respond to alarms sounded at airports, banks, and businesses involved with the sale or distribution of firearms or other weapons. Understandably, residents of San Jose had mixed feelings about this change. Proponents of the decision say that it is a good way
to save money; they argue that if a majority of the calls are false alarms, there is no point in responding unless police have confirmation that the alarm is real. Additionally, they believe officers can spend more time focusing on more important matters. On the other hand, protesters argue that protecting personal safety is not something the police department should be cutting back on, and that officers should respond to all alarms to ensure the safety of the public. If a family leaves home and happens to return during a
burglary, the robber could feel threatened and would be more likely to attack the family. However, if police had responded the moment the alarm sounded, there would be no risk of harm towards that family, as the criminal would be safely apprehended by officers.
Lack of response from burglary alarms is causing concerns.
Opinion: Learning Life’s Hard Lessons By: Vineet Kosaraju
off and work during the weekends to earn their pay.
Life is not easy when you don’t have the basic comforts. The three weeks I spent in India observing my extended family showed me how hardships brought out the best in them and taught me an important life lesson: how all of us need to adapt in the face of adversity and take joy in whatever life has in store for us.
There were many nights when we just couldn’t go to bed because it was incredibly hot and humid, and there was no electricity to run the fans and air conditioners. The lack of electricity didn’t seem to faze any of my extended family members who slept through the heat and still went about their work cheerfully. The last time we had a minor blackout in the Bay Area in March 2011, traffic was a chaos, elevators and garages wouldn’t function, and life became quite miserable.
It is extremely unusual to see a blackout in the US and to imagine that there would be eight-hour blackouts every day is beyond comprehension. However, while I was in India, that turned out to be the situation because of the power crisis. No new power plants are being built, and because of the rapid industrialization and urbanization, the demand continues to outrace supply. Small-scale industries are forced to shut down for two days during the middle of the week, so the workers take those days
Another observation, which reinforced my beliefs about the toughness of my relatives living in India, was how they dealt with the lack of adequate drinking water supply. The reservoirs dry up during the summers, and the groundwater in the bore wells continues to be depleted, causing a further drain on the
existing water supply. In some parts of the country, drinking water is supplied only twice a week for a few hours because of the scarcity of rain. Water is stored in huge containers for usage later in the week as it is quite expensive to buy bottled water. It is amazing how my relatives did not seem to mind at all and had figured out a way of making the best of the situation. These experiences made me pause and reflect on my life in the Bay Area. To say that we live a privileged life is an understatement. Basic necessities such as drinking water and electricity are taken for granted. We do not have to struggle one little bit to have these essentials delivered to our houses, and yet there are parts of the world out there which have to struggle to get these every day. The few weeks that I spent in India showed me how resilient the people are despite the adversities they face and how we could learn from them to tackle difficulties in life with a positive attitude.
Legislation: Measure D By Jacob Antony Thousands of workers across San Jose can rejoice after the passing of a minimum wage hike in November. Fifty-nine percent of voters approved Measure D, increasing the minimum wage from eight dollars an hour to ten. The idea was first propagated by San Jose State sociology students in January, a movement that eventually snowballed into a ballot measure. The students themselves drafted the measure and then collected signatures so it could be placed on the ballot. The Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and various small business leaders led the charge to oppose the measure, stating that if passed, the wage hike would force businesses to layoff thousands. Mayor Chuck Reed also opposed the measure, explaining that the city would have to use $600,000 of an already scant budget in order to form and
implement an auditing program to ensure the law was being followed.
The opponents of Measure D countered support by using radio and TV ads to explain their side of the story. Most voters, however, agreed that a higher minimum wage was needed in an area with a high cost of living. The wage hike, which will take place in March 2013, will affect about forty thousand workers in San Jose. A statement from raisethewagesj.com explained that “California requires most employers to pay a minimum wage of
$8.00 per hour. It’s been that way since 2008, while cost of living has increased 5.76%. As a result of state and federal inaction, cities have taken the lead to raise wages on their lowest paid workers. San Francisco passed a citywide minimum wage in 2003 with an annual cost of living adjustment, and the workers in that city now make $10.24 an hour.” Professor Myers-Lipton, whose classroom was ground zero for the wage hike movement, added to the support for Measure D in a written statement. “It is our belief that people who work hard and play by the rules deserve to make a fair wage. Unfortunately, $8 an hour is not a fair wage due to the high cost of living in San Jose, where a minimum wage worker’s salary of $1,280 per month doesn’t even cover the cost of the average SJ rent of $1,800, let alone provide for food and other necessities.”
Volume 4, Issue 2
Opinion: Should Gun Sales be Legal? By Nihar Wahal Recently, there has been much talk about gun control in the wake of the Connecticut shootings. What happened was a complete tragedy, and I sincerely hope that it will never happen again. However, the solution that lawmakers have brought up is to have a complete ban on the sale of guns. This ban will not work at all in stopping tragedies like the massacre from occurring again. Prohibiting the sale of goods has never worked out in history. If one looks at the Prohibition Era, when the sale of alcohol was made illegal, one will find that much alcohol was still being sold in speakeasies and moonshiners were making their own alcohol for sale on the black market. Today, certain drugs are illegal, such as heroin and cocaine. Does this stop the sale of these substances? Millions of dollars are made every year through the sale of illegal drugs. Anyone can buy illegal drugs. If the sale of guns was made illegal, nothing would be changed. A black
market for guns would rise, the same way one for alcohol did and one for illegal drugs has done. Anyone who wanted to buy a gun still could buy a gun. Additionally, the government would have less control over who can have a gun. Currently, the government has regulations regarding who can own a gun. If the sale of guns were made illegal, the government would not be able to impose regulations on these black market sales. Anyone whom the government deemed unfit to own a gun would be able to buy a gun on the black market, and this black market only exists if there is no legal way to buy guns. The end result of prohibiting the sale of guns would be an increase in the number of people whom guns will be available to. Additionally, gun production can currently be monitored by the government.
black market that will be created from this prohibition. One needs to see the consequences of both sides of the gun control debate to make an educated decision. If guns were made illegal, the government would have less control over their sale, and the common people would have a false sense of security that there are no guns in the world. If nothing was changed, the government would keep some control over who can buy guns and what type of guns can be bought. I believe that if a different course of action must be taken, the restrictions over the sale of guns should be slightly increased but not made outright illegal, to gain more control without creating a black market and losing all control.
The government can make laws regarding the specifications of weapons available to the public to ensure maximum safety. If the government makes gun sales illegal, they lose control over this, and anyone can buy any weapon, no matter how dangerous, on a
Legislation: Prop 30 By: Hima Rajana On November 6th, 2012, California voters voted to pass Proposition 30, or the Schools and Local Public Safety Act, by a 53.9% majority vote. Proposition 30 will impress a temporary tax hike on high-income citizens and increase California sales tax by 1% over four years in order to increase tax revenue to the state. 89% of the tax money generated by Proposition 30 will go toward K -12 schools, and the other 11% will be given to community colleges. Only Individuals who earn $250,000 or more per annum will be affected by the income tax increase, as they will face slightly increased taxes. The exact percentage that tax rates increase depends on personal income. For example, those individuals earning between $250,000 and $300,000 per year will only see a 1% tax rate increase, while those who earn $500,000 and up will see a 3% increase from the 9.3% that applies to every-
one earning above $48,029. For couples who choose to file their taxes together, the same increases apply, except that the base about is doubled. The 1% tax increase that affects people who earn over $250,00 applies to couples who earn over $500,000. The increased tax rate does not change the extra 1% that applies to personal income over $1 million that goes toward mental health services in the state of California. This change will go into effect for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, so it applies to all taxes filed after July 1st, 2012. It will continue for seven years, through the 2018-2019 fiscal year. California has the second highest sales tax rate in the United States with a statewide average of 9.04%, coming in second only to Tennessee, where the average is 9.44%. Sales tax varies by county throughout the state, ranging from 7.25% in Ventura County to a whopping 9.75% in Fremont and in Los Angeles County. Over the next four years, it will increase by 1% all over the state, going up in
increments of 0.25% each year. The new sales tax will go into effect on January 1st, 2013. All online stores that serve California, even if they cater to the entire world, such as Amazon.com, will also have the increased sales tax. Both tax hikes combined are projected to lead to an estimated $6 billion dollars annually in state tax revenue, which will go toward K-12 public schools and community colleges (together referred to as K-14 education). The money will allow schools all over California to have full 180 day school years, keep art and physical education programs, and prevent multimillion dollar budget cuts in the near future. While it is up to each district how the money will be used, every school district is subject to an annual public audit to ensure that the money is used for educational purposes.
Opinion: Standardize the System By James Wilhelmi, modified by Sonia Raghuram Grades exist to assess a student's understanding of an academic subject. Ideally, a report card would reflect only a student's aptitude and not be influenced by other factors. But this is not true at Lynbrook High School. Schedule distribution on Viking Days elicits a wide range of emotions. Students smile if they receive an "easy" teacher, and groan if they end up with a "hard" one. This phenomenon exists because of a lack of uniformity among teachers that teach the same subject. A standard grading system tailored specifically to each subject would promote fairness and allow students to obtain the same grades regardless of who they are taught by. In order to achieve uniformity, a key area to standardize is assignment grading. Essays play an integral part in a literature class, and each English teacher has a different rubric for grading essays. For example, some teachers choose to use eight-point grading scales on essays. In this scale, a one is an F, a two is a D, a three is a C, four to six earn a B and a score of seven or eight results in an A. Grading systems like these can be very frustrating for students because the difference in quality between two essays that receive an identical score can vary greatly. Also, students are left in the dark as to how much they need to improve to get a high score. "The problem with this system is that if you got a six, which is considered high, you still have no idea exactly how close you were to an A," said Lynbrook sophomore Rahul Iyer. Additionally, there are no definite guidelines as to how much weight should be placed upon each aspect of an essay. "I think that teachers should focus more on the ideas presented in the essay instead of the technical aspects of writing. They spend too much time grading the smaller problems," said Lynbrook sophomore Dhruv Walia. Both of these conundrums could be solved by a 100-point rubric designed in collaboration by all literature teachers at Lynbrook. The rubric would allow each writer to see how close they were to an A right down to the percentage.
Furthermore, the allocation of points toward mechanical errors would be restricted to what it was assigned to in the rubric, allowing the assessment of a student's abilities to develop ideas in an organized manner to shine through in their grade, rather than their knowledge of Merriam-Webster's Dictionary.
Opponents of greater standardization argue that it is important for teachers to have autonomy in their classroom. If they were to be subjected to a uniform system, the belief is that the traits that make each teacher unique and entertaining would dissipate. These claims are totally unfounded. Creating a school-wide grading system would not restrain the teachAnother realm that needs to be standarding itself; it would just change the grading. ized is the weighting system. In math teacher Furthermore, the power of teachers in the Stephanie Wu's Pre-Calculus class, tests make up classroom should have limits. Teachers are 60 percent of the grade, the final exam is 20 public employees of California and as such, percent, homework is 15 percent and participa- their salary is paid for by the taxpayers. tion is five percent. For students in Rita Korsun- Therefore their teaching and grading methods sky's Pre-Calculus courses, tests are 50 percent, should be determined by the public's wants the final is 25 percent, homework is 20 percent and needs, rather than their personal whims. and participation is also five percent. While these differences do not seem like much at first glance, As a public school, Lynbrook gives those an A in one class can be a B in the other, despite that live within its boundaries a chance to keeping the same percentages in each category. receive an education. If this ideal of equal opportunity is truly to be believed in, a standA possibility such as this is a reason why ardized grading system should be implemented teachers of each class, whether it is Algebra II/ to ensure that all students get a fair shot at Trigonometry or American Literature, should the grades they deserve. collaborate and create a standard system of weighting for their subject. It would create complete equality and each student would receive the grade that reflects their aptitude, rather than be at the mercy of a teacher's judgment on what types of assignments are important.
Volume 4, Issue 2
Legislation: Copyrights in the Digital Age By: Kevin Zhang Copyright laws such as the DMCA provide artists with the tools to make a living off their artwork but these laws are not yet prepared for the digital age. Copyright in the US has been argued over from the founding of the US to now. At America's birth, they first decided on a bill which would encourage creation of content by giving creators the ability to act as the sole users of their property, allowing Congress enforce and provide rights to the creators of content. The reason we need to modify IP laws is to prevent unauthorized distribution of intellectual property. In the online age, media can be sent between people rapidly without any licensing fees or restrictions. This is the main problem that these laws aim to solve. Users in the online world agree that the ability to find and use content for free should be easy for everyone. However, this contradicts the opinions of the intellectual property owning people, who demand that content should be charged for. Despite the fact that many owners wish to charge for their work, some differ. These feel that being able to show people their creations and allow these works to be shared takes priority over immediate profits. “They also claimed that, in the networked world, with expanded use of the Internet and the broad availability of Internet access, thousands of copies could be distributed around the world with the single click of a mouse. The creators of intellectual property complained that, with the arrival of digital technology and the Internet, their works were under greater threat of piracy than they had ever been before.” (Thieler 97) Representatives of creators of intellectual property suggested the DMCA to the US Congress as a solution to the newest threats: "digital technology and the Internet", which have the potential to promote stolen works. According to them, these would allow duplicates to be completely accurate with no reduction in quality, unlike older technology which made inaccurate duplications.
Other problems include: Duplication preventing digital media is also a worrying development. These discs can be restricted to be playable only by official media players, not by computers. This would stop the reordering of songs that has always been considered a legal use.
property would be able to be the sole decision maker in regards to the property, therefore, blocking public storehouses of media from lending books through justifiable usage. Instead, these works would only be available through systems where you must spend money to acquire the media, even temporarily.
This is the act of changing the way songs play, allowing you to play more desirable songs first, etc. “Public interest advocates also argued that Congress had left the definition of a protective "device" up to the copyright holder. The DMCA lets companies "write" the law, and then puts the power of the state behind them.” The actions following, such as the DMCA, nearly ended careful thought and lawmaking in intellectual property protection rules.
The 1201(a) (1) clause, of the DMCA is extremely worrying. It makes the bypassing of digital locks illegal, even for non-piracy related instances. The content creators accusations scared Congress into accepting the DMCA with no alterations, giving the creator complete command in regard to his/her creations.
The creators were given to power to police their works. In the future, there may be a period where the creator of intellectual
Because of these examples, The DMCA is one of our first attempts at regulating intellectual property online. However, the vague language and unconstitutional rules make this law unprepared for the real world.
Featured Youth: Cecilia Lang-Ree By: Kaitlyn Gee During long lunch at Harker, senior Cecilia Lang-Ree spoke to the Medical Club and other attending students about her battle with cancer and her experience overcoming the challenges. Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Cecilia was admitted into the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at the age of four. Although her parents expressed doubt about enrolling her into kindergarten, they found a way to schedule the treatment around school. By attending school every day, Cecilia found a way to “feel normal” despite her thinning hair and regular overnight hospital stays. Within the hospital, Cecilia found friendship in her support group members, many of whom were her roommates. “We had the same cocktail, basically, the same doctors, nurses, and treatment,” she said. When looking back upon her experience, Cecilia remembers skateboarding on IV carts and spending time with the compassionate, caring staff. Cecilia went into remission at age six, and many of the side effects of her chemotherapy began to become more apparent. Yet Cecilia describes herself as rather “vindictive” after coming out of remission at age ten. “I wanted to make full use of what I’ve been given. It’s a challenge to prove myself wrong […] I want to find joy in what I’ve been given,” she said. Now, she reflects on her past and is startled between her memory and the reality. As a child, she found the situation “rather ordinary:” overnight trips to the hospital were a vacation from school; her parents called them “hospital parties.” Distracted by new toys and paint to decorate her windows, Cecilia forgot about the never-ending flow of hazardous chemicals, the constant battle with her body, and even the chance that she might have died.
“They saw me as a little kid, not [just] a case file,” she said. Each year, Upper School vocal group Downbeat goes to Lucile Packard Hospital to distribute toys and perform; many of Cecilia’s past doctors are still there and see her every year as she hugs the children, poses for pictures, and sings. “My mom calls it ‘being the hope’ […] That’s something I’ve really dedicated my life to,” she said. In the future, Cecilia aspires to become a children’s psychologist, although not necessarily a medical psychiatrist. While she may not become a pediatrician, she expressed her wish to always attend charity fairs. “[I will] always be volunteering for cancer kids. It’s a connection I’ll not let die,” she said. After Cecilia’s speech, the club members created paper cards to give to the children in the Lucile Packard Hospital. Touched by Cecilia’s speech, many of the students created multiple cards to send to the children’s oncology ward. “I was quite surprised that there could be someone […] who had gone through so much and still have been able to go to a school like Harker,” Samali Sahoo (9) said. “I would have never thought someone who had gone through so much would be able to achieve so much. It was really inspiring.”
Many of the students expressed similar opinions. “I really appreciated that she came. It’s very personal, and I know it’s hard to talk about such personal topics. I thought it was very touching,” Medical Club president Zina Jawadi (11) said. “When you hear Nevertheless, Cecilia considers herself very ‘cancer’ on the news, lucky. Of all the children in her ward support there’s this perspective group, only she was able to go into remission that they put it in, but and survive with no relapses. Moreover, she is when you hear it from grateful to have been surrounded by attentive person who’s a survivor, doctors, nurses, and parents and even just to it’s this sad yet joyous be literate. feeling.”
In addition, Shivani Gillon (11), a fellow cancer survivor, found the speech incredibly relatable. “All the experiences she had, I had too, you know? Not going to school that much […] It was almost the exact same thing,” she said. Cecilia’s speech inspired many of the attendees, some of whom plan to become doctors to help young patients like she was. Throughout the week, the Medical Club is holding a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society, a nonprofit organization built to help those with similar diseases to Cecilia’s.
Volume 4, Issue 2
Poetry by Angela Kong How the clear lake reflects the sunrise How the cattails sway— How the red weeds are masked in shadow By the moonlight’s fade— How the new couple shares a blanket Till the fog is clear— Have I the blood of the Cardinal That I hold in fear? Then, how the couple lies so still— Ensconced in the grass With intertwined fingers— crimson-- shapes— As the sunrise passed— How the shrill cry echoes through the air When the lake glistens And the opaque night’s shade, fades away Runs until it opens— How it is chill—in cranny and crook— And where was the swan Just a draft of currents was blowing into destruction — These are the moments flitted couple— No one—would ever—hear— The couple got to their feet and ran— Terrified with fear— How the youthful woman cried in pain How the winter howls How the big tree is covered in snow By the white snowflakes How her brave lover works on the tree Till his hands are numb—
Page 11 Has she the courage of the eagle That she would summon Then, how the dark descends like a cloak— Taking all her life With a fleeting—gruesome— expression— As death took the wife
Nothing Left to Say by Valerie Tan Forgotten laughter leaves still silence only broken by darkness so bright I know that the answer is not violence but I cannot lose you without a fight
The Lost Ones
Michelle Su Running, running, fast as they can They hide from their problems, Flee from crushed dreams No one will help, no one to be seen No more courage in this world of thieves Stealing the lights and extinguishing flames Of innocent fireflies who can no longer play. Where is the love, where is the peace? There is no more goodness left In our world full of thieves Bloodshed and violence prevail in the end, The end of their journeys Sound with a bang
Featured Artist: Lydia Kassinos
Broken promises and little white lies our story is more like a tragedy It's strange how fast seasons change and time flies I'm certain in our future lies jeopardy But you will soon learn the loss you thought was mine is an illusion that you feed your mind and when you realize I'm doing just fine you'd be but a memory left behind Knowing that I gave 'us' my very best try, there's nothing left to say but goodbye.
Past Events Winchester Mystery House Christmas Tour What? A tour showing exclusive designer Christmas trees and decorations in the 160 room mansion. Every tree is designed to complement the room’s character, while reflecting its heritage. When? Daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Where? Winchester Mystery House
2013 Bay Area Amazing Pet Expo
What? Downtown Ice has become a holiday tradition and one of the top outdoor skating experiences around. The opportunity to ice skate under the stars and palm trees attracts more than 40,000 skaters and thousands of spectators.
What? People can bring their pets or simply go visit this expo. There are live demonstrations, giveaways, low cost vaccinations, contests, and more. There are also more than 200 pets available for adoption.
When? Open from 9:00 a.m. to midnight until Tuesday, January 1st.
When? Saturday, January 12th, 2013 at 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Where? Santa Clara Fairgrounds Expo Hall
Where ? Located at 120 S. Market Street between the Fairmont Hotel and the San José Museum of Art across from Christmas in the Park.
Recap: Family Giving Tree By: Scott Raine-King With the last days of summer slipping away and the cold weather seeping in, the wintry winds herald the arrival of every privileged child's favorite holiday — Christmas. This festival evokes many warm images, most commonly of hot chocolate, a hefty pile of presents beneath a large Douglass Fir lavished with colorful baubles, and a stout but smiling Santa Claus, imaginary or not. Although, not every child is able to grow up with such privileges — for many, presents have been nonexistent as their family's income is hardly able to keep up with day to day living, let alone often expensive gifts. Thankfully, the community is stepping in to help bring a bit more cheer into the holiday season for these less affluent families. This December, the District 1 Youth Advisory Council (D1
YAC) is once again partnering with Community United to host the Starbird Family Giving Tree on Wednesday, December 21st from 4:00pm - 6:00pm at Starbird Teen Center on 1050 Boynton Avenue. At the event, members of the Youth Advisory Council and volunteers will help wrap presents to give to under privileged children. Games, food,
claimed that helping out other children has
arts and crafts will also be provided at the event for
been one of the best annual community service events they have volunteered at.
children to enjoy, as well as a costumed Santa
This event will help to continue
Claus granting wishes, handing out candy canes,
strengthening the bond between YAC members and the San Jose youth as they
and posing for pictures.
congregate together for an evening filled with casual dining, craft-making, and gift
In the past, YAC District One has donated
gifts to over 100 youth and made personalized holiday greeting cards for every teen attending the Starbird Teen Center. Not only does this event bring out the brightest smiles from these less privileged children, but many YAC members have
Pictures of members at the Family Giving Tree events at Starbird Youth Center