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page 1A issue 14 volume 39 homestead high school 4310 homestead road fort wayne, indiana 46814

NEWS

OPINION

DISTRICT

Fr i d a y, A p r i l 1 7 , 2 0 0 9

Oprah recognizes Shine family 7 million viewers watched as Halle, Ari Shine interviewed about single father’s ability to raise nine children BY FLOR ORTEGA WRITER

For most students, the opportunity to appear on national television with all expenses paid is nothing more than a dream. However, for the Shine family, which includes Halle Shine (9), Ari Shine (10), Henry Shine (’07) and their six siblings, this dream became a reality. When single father Larry Shine first heard from his daughters that the Oprah Winfrey Show wanted to include him and his one-of-a-kind family in a segment of their show entitled “Unconventional, Unforgettable Dads,” he could not believe it was true. “They called us on a Thursday when we had a half-day at school, and he didn’t be-

lieve me; I was like, ‘Dad, the Oprah Show sister’s musical, my brother’s soccer praccalled!’” Halle said. “My little sister said it tice and my track meet,” Halle said. “They was true, and then he beinterviewed us, and then lieved me.” on the Wednesday mornTHE KIDS After multiple phone ing before spring break interviews and mailing a they filmed us waking up, Henry Shine: age 19 series of birth certificates eating breakfast and getAri Shine: age 16 to verify the authenticting ready for school. It Halle Shine: age 15 ity of Mr. Shine’s seven was pretty awkward, but I Eli Shine: age 13 adoptions, the Shine fampretended like the camera Lili Shine: age 12 ily was ready to appear on wasn’t there.” Sofia Shine: age 10 the Oprah Winfrey Show. After making the trip Genevieve: age 8 With this confirmation, to Chicago in a “stretchSimone: age 5 it was time for the show’s bus-limo” provided by the Lucia: age 3 camera crew to make a Oprah Winfrey Show, it house call and film the was time for the Shine famShine family in their own home. ily and their dog Betty to make their way “A camera crew came over, and they to Harpo Studio to shoot the show. filmed our everyday activities like my See Oprah, pg 2a

“When we were waiting in the green room the producer came in and yelled ‘Five minutes!’ Then twenty minutes later he would come in again and say ‘Five minutes!’” HALLE SHINE (9)

PHOTO BY MARGARET DISTLER

Simone, Halle (9), and Lili Shine play with their dog, Betty the Bulldog, who was also present during the family’s Oprah show debut.

BRIEFS EARTHFEST Earthfest 2009 will be held on April 30 from 7-9 p.m. and applicants will only be accepted if he/she can perform on this date. Performers will be accepted based upon quality of music and appropriateness of genre. An organizational meeting will be held after school on April 20 in room 531.

PHOTO BY SUZIE REECER

PHOTO BY MARGARET DISTLER

DIPLOMATICUNITY High School Student Governments meet to discuss, reflect at Student Exchange

5 schools 40 students 3 speakers 5hours

help the future leaders of student government to gain more knowledge,” Jessie Hanselmann (10) said. The morning began with a light breakWith an array of event shirts colorfully displayed and chairs arranged around the fast and a brief introduction, followed by lectures from guest community room pospeakers Dianne dium, student govern“It was an enriching experience that Moake and Mark Terment members from allowed us to interact with other rell. Between lectures, four local schools gathschools.” the students took ered on Tuesday, April part in team building 14, for Homestead’s JESSIE HANSELMANN games, and after a brief “Student Government Sophomore Treasurer break, they gathered Exchange.” Convening for meetings to discuss for fellowship, brainstorming meetings and a series of leader- interesting ideas and share tips for leadership lectures, representatives from Colum- ship development. “I thought it was fun,” Mac Finley bia City, Elmhurst, Bishop Dwenger and South Side took part in this unique confer- (12) said. “I was flabbergasted by the ideas that were presented to me by the other ence. “It was an enriching experience that al- schools.” lowed us to interact with other schools and See Exchange, pg 2a BY KARA HACKETT NEWS EDITOR

Superintendent threatens costly waiver Department of Education considers methods to stop lax adherence to 180-day school year needs to be set straight. In a statement to administrators issued by the state superintendent of public education, Tony With the educational agenda of the previous Bennett, a clear statute on the standard 180-day national administration under revision and the academic year requirement was made: “Beginning in the 2009-2010 school state of Indiana experiencyear, the Department of ing the upheaval of a new Education will no lon“The Department of Education will no superintendent, the future of Hoosier education is in longer permit schools to use six half-days ger permit schools to use six half-days for profesjeopardy. The uncertain for professional development activities.” sional development acscheduling and the rumors TONY BENNETT tivities within the 180 of changes dissatisfactory full instructional day reSuperintendent of Public Education to students have drifted quirement. Additionally, down the halls like a diviparent-teacher confersive pestilence, but amidst the chatter and confusion, one thing remains ences must be conducted outside of the 180-day clear—plans may be undecided, but the record requirement.” BY ADRIENNE WESTENFELD WRITER

However, students, faculty and onlookers continue to question whether the quality of an education can really be measured by the amount of time spent within the confines of a school. “I do believe that a certain number of hours should be spent in a classroom, but I don’t think the validity of an education depends purely upon the time we spend in school,” Emily Rapoza (10) said. This mandate spells trouble on the horizon for numerous schools and will, in all likelihood, lengthen the academic year. Because parent-teacher conferences are often conducted on half-days, Bennett’s new policy of a minimum six-hour instructional day will no longer allow this practice. “Research shows that two or three days forfeited See Waivers, pg 2a

SCRIBE PUBLICATION The Scribe is a new publication at the school, and is currently collecting submission folders of students’ creative artwork to publish. Poems, stories, songs, paintings, sketches, doodles, pictures or anything creative will be accepted. The submission folders will be collected, divided based on type of artwork and filtered through. Students will then be notified if he/she will be featured in Scribe. Submission folders are available in every English and Art room for any student who wishes to have their work published. NHS COFFEE HOUSE The National Honors Society Coffee House will be held on Friday, April 24 from 6-10 p.m. The Coffee House is a celebration of the artistic talents of students and concludes fine arts week. This event will feature musical acts and art from various students. Homebaked goods and beverages will be available for purchase. Admission is free for all students. ACADEMIC AWARDS PROGRAM The Guidance Office would like to recognize seniors that have received community scholarships, general scholarships, or academic scholarships to the college they are attending. Bring a paper copy of your award to Mrs. Nelson in Student Services by Thursday, April 30 if you would like to be recognized at the Academic Awards Program on May 19. Any questions should be directed to Mrs. Nelson at 431-2253.

IN THIS ISSUE PAGE 2A, News: News stories continued, Ed Board, Teachers’ Unions PAGE 3A, District: Pro/ Con: RefQ&A erendum, ndum Student I Refeenreewal ‘09 R ED$15 Opinion -N PROU*CT$EIO 10 CA Q&A, *40-50 Referendum *30:1 Response PAGE 4A, District: Voter’s ead lie ah Guide: State cuts not, m or endu Refer Test Debate, What Lies Ahead

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us E WES the tedio ed siiar with nforc g—e famil after Refe g age, all too ed testin boredom the ardiz are of votin ndum been e nged nts are have were or Stude dure of standand prolo the refere letion that they’v Q: If youyour stance on proce lence comp long Standarda test’s for so e. no what is col innat comutely proto almost a better e for absol the horirenewal? R to make property taxes on becom g is fun rs EDITO s help in ON of quarschool the increase ge linge ized testin ed ation H • OPINI A: Better but chan ment ns has push on Y HEAT so I believe one, P the imple inatio BY ASHLE munity, worth it. r (12) ISTE Walke be zon as A exam nes of -Maria would is about NWE confi l battlefield.uses o and us terly free n Chicag eat enough the yearlyeducationa school that over rinten gap betwee ts don’t any ative to keep Supe r for The price e our studen ty taxes the legisl stands now, SACS ms is bette it, proper it it,” becaus c progra our “It’s “As for ted $5,000 Increasing athleti state won’t said. adop P, rs and A pays s. the state ms ISTE lunche music, teache NWE Brian Smith ry since progra . If the pay for us Dr. ation to our art, but necessa teachers and ts and dent A. Vario studen ointing . Our dic evalulonger have NWE ort dropour disapp for perio d no for unity e the money pay le. sancto supp opport provid ators the state- g as it woul wouldn’t e a great by any way possib legisl we provid testin with NWEA as le (11) and be kept . than much to in talks -Joe Everso should more money ls are to switch We do toor evaluation s need schoo P and will ed test. de bette ISTE the school originally ite, thea ping standardiz provi believe nded d tests A webs by I do not were overfu it. tione lated nts s and local ns.” al NWE with (11) The school to deal it is, inatio the offici tion is calcu g stude of an learn exam Poorm ne to e nistra participatin climate state need to -Joseph rding admi age everyo Acco averag test’s amount of economic no miniely encour e Southwest is of the definit for the er becaus unwanted price ratio of the and socioe NWEA exorbitant. r should dum ts taxes . 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From of uniit is really involve a shift in menta s. ionalt it would do a Adm The mod positions to preven every That ids s, aren’ — what d upon except idbase citizen the studen y tion of opport should may age am. an by party, teacher band-a change ACT renewal band-a A follow ors and a r g school [the] voting ld stead and progrnteed without every of equalit Guara NWE leane to push, fundin yes. Home SATThe shou less likething about etation both legislatpolitician, saying ined. tering agenda eliminated dents of (12) Section Thecut. 8, de interpr so why you’re for a make d gh the uired longEvery than just -Mace Beech its own be determ in Article es- woul Althou it so cal ified, the blood, from being rather provi n-req a failed mod see uatio this can ent, has tution don’t fix now, even more g… being et that-er fiscal this referen movem change to make. ted to make on,” ty, is if you the an A quick be?” vote in state Constie and learnin abudg it. grad as much free govern great to disant to later, and situation down its own may have attempract[s] ambiti un- the test s need owledg ion ly to treat ation of allow General it’s import y, school refers 1,“[k]n ated OZA counte of the ensat l schools, proposition preserv is only Found I think this econom exacerbRAP ility if the la ion… term ng force naive will sential to the be the duty comp for a genera ILY tageds, loweredand now possibre g formu can get. real omo that “ambit that opposi should by law, advan often direnot is EM dum. With aid they ohn (12) a verySophthe fundin ovide, on School rmed, long enough ment; it the days, and Ettens t , road these to…pr uninfo years, and the suppor of Comm butt charge -Tracey idea. at the se does auto- m passes ably into Assembly m system few for afwithou a good leashed nts t federal an erendu expen dum is reme voter everyes to come irrepareducation and unifor shall [be] ist have sitate lot of s the same. our curren taxes of the onlyion.”remain necesngdecis lobby the referen d out of a n tuition to all.” n, with requi mistak with the free A ng, ot wherei spendi not meet ts receivi cannIn additio open m. - But, think thatbeing cheate out enough NWE for many as is the case nistra I ment matic $9965 does studen proble EA o’s is give n, anyadmi by the refstead we need d Act,” to — itwith govern well aware and equally Chicag “NWn of Pfair with fruitio formula. d of Our school e we don’t the money e in ors are answer With Home red to East d ung c met incurre s violatio ce ISTE Left Behin get legislat t the efforts becaus e the increas fundin revisebe Mace theh.tax obviou repla grow becom compa money so we have to me, the fearly will not an a withou said. keep to bring $5610, t, there is an continue toNo Child so we can heavi Marcrary, this s, Believe It’s also n, even and parents Obam on theclaims toMaceifc we can ise, ’s ol in it’s just being lunche will d here. the studen tempo gap situatio people io think rs her capit Otherw fluper by m The rat or falselyHeat The state of the for you istrato ancy to to be super erenduLeft Behin ether from somewmany people funding now. cuts. vote admin herlegislatif ng abouttorsit.at thetesNo Child ue this clause.or your be d. d altog state silike respon soon SWAC tly biased discrep founde staff and funds and ors contin done be placing in the ng more budget oolsanythitaxd which mitiga e- the o-teacafter legislat rn may accept of the With to do the blatan These legislatby self-interest the as t-tbe able sch I won’t mustrema poran conce you ntly (12) nality ps aban checki make even keep all den by on. , this butprese stitutio perha ted dum, d in rentheewe have to -Ashley Wyss the extem ulated Stu notentisary attenti n, beyond referen you to renew maycitizenship April P21, we will the uncon and inistration they roote ically motiva is not be manip inatio yeseon if vote of firml despite in elem pedant ues to to rectify. 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Es- anothe punished and true. will help ing AP and these are often rema claims increas BENE only affects and pursue “A test answers. g board gradu ty. e e, this ful are become more said. upon ant, since discover help school lum includ them thatdistrict proper dum our ld the of fundin argue improv referen shou a tax increas who own referendum pecially import students s ed the average in- will only CLAIMS. The system will that (10) based er, penaliz has orter y likes success so why Howev lity. A be one of since that help passions classes to bedent nobod only affects thoseS SIZE. The the SACS FALSE ing the school unity. A supp its ly, in usabi fied, classes in will and if your er them er, emodi we NWE of high , NWE cesential the comma buyer places mal and TAINS CLAS to mainta dum will talents is use that improv homes in and empow y. 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Pretty MENT. lish, BY SUZIE ign becau individual lapse strati scribed It’s on quality om manag wher do.URE the PHOTOS theing has the value. l’s to very se, those subject T STATE this campa schoo PRESS n dum, is ot classro in unity Y ly testsolutioin show RTAN on referen so preci during the state’s school UNIT P cann the rs inpartial “The ive IMPO s arecomm ooms ut the effort in teache said.ots h ISTE 21, effect COMM taxes and result ownclassr Witho turn. 45-50 quality of ion and the inequity enough grassro , whicOn April se thee their is more ooms s discuss Your ripple is will loose fy their TIVE. becau addres couldit (all -2261 system in turn a lower and to increas r modi ing.” ld to the that it been to formula. There a classr ized, school )431 cific bette and power learn SACS class sizes ers OLS. funding idual uphe ive action a and Indian t (260 ds. SCHO g indiv help teach the students’ atically nistra wortors in the the curren t for legislat ast Indian creasin NG housin the l admi it may om system schoo ion. it will e. Our short with hout d a role S STRO a diminishing strong suppor hout northe state, ail.c being voic educat the gaps by throug playes fall te ITATE throug t the@gm y and andfilla NWEAOurtion are over. alsodistrict districts fix,” 21, to FACIL ghou nent has econom dum will facilita county rn shing educa April With t of ula throu ana compo Allen failing il-pu doaid.othertemporary mode t on stu-ul statement ties part tmen With a t, the referen la, ascial as a turnou are a key a significant P penc affected ges the ing form 0 aper thes of finan powerf formu depart various coun l in n’s presen s lack ndumvotert $5,00 of ISTE asingly and the fund chan Good ing marke schools which ct’s school tos days refere childre st schoo it. ructure are Strong vote, makes incre if it truly state). acros and distri unity the Yes!abou higheto our is too know fulget that the age has comm unity’s infrastserankin unity, those gs. age and help defined “I see success “We is vitalnt. That will tell students seem day as ical and langu ss comm ion the and values becau -of-life time for ty of comm quality busine stude g as ing. said.that educat ting, perour the school . The . only The techn proper skillsss and high, in grade strong recruit Smithest educa ion of are built 00 to printed to pull ed testin ges ic third ty, but factor for health. l disrupt future, not be to s een low Southw te encoura emat busine ndum socie standardiz and $10,0 ute ation d and e found betw icature needs before gets refere CY.cur- dent state and materia e Court will corporation math and pment a’s econom contrib develo rity secon wher FULL theEPAN matter, Stuface of Suprem the - aIndian ng adequa dispa the legisl hope that need to ss and y from s County DISCR a broad of subject tion of by the ist d busine ng skills ATES grade readi s and l govern of not receivi est Allen a wide range that mone to keep HALFly produc journal High I woul we won’t on equal , Southw Federa much saying l s is AP classe MITIG nt of cts tead and her. skills k of the schoo ideas and student y School be over, S ISa is a bi-weekper of or the at Homes , chun Count s treatme issues, events, ol distri State high y we’re back toget years are t we will thea lot other Allen lize on pro-educate e to, vigorou controversial The Spartan na scho Newspa KETT CLAS g en, at the g from alread that --tha to offer tions: ng seven nity, nation, enlight ’s 308 to editoria A HAC Allen is used fundinng have for stu-es India e is to A testin ing.” offeri may continu ge includi to report and school, commu west ce spe- the next referendum that ties dent Publica state RS , 171 BY KAREDITOR l fund theand rtuni gly believ exchan the NWEaofhas, r 4150. Its purpos South delegated riculum S high are free et cuts ntary scien of the renew the SON schoo oppo stronWRITE numbe nt the free In 2008 21, School.ed in Spartan NEW in their ves.” budg ADAMthe on their the Homepolicy cipat in. Theperceopen forum for BRAD proposed electi ng the loss of eleme t porti that the footing with g equal R and issues according to flood BUSSE d from red into edipartienterta ay, April able EDITO ct, Smith accepte factoKARAequit andin larges to the Amo , the , or 55.5 Tuesd voters will or deny the bill’s ulment in hope CHASE as a limited distri Dem ON ld be more and world input will be On gram Amend of letters ISKEY ct the . OPINI EMILY for the holds out made operate ort every of ing libel shou JONNA The cuts First form “a nts H distri cts. CUMM R in e ASSOC et the lity been t the Public ty dless r supp YOGES distri ds concern any form. tial ensur CARRIE FUTTE Smith dents nity in ntabi Coun to eithe ver, regar n in budg option cialists accouthe of ideas. rs suppor hip in standar ever, ER budcommu ALEXlity index a substan HIEF accou R ion to s.” ns the student censors R our that Staff membe equat g fund ntabi ent: ; howe $1.3 millio no other statio cial savings. How EDITORINC must follow could cause l, stead oppose LIFE EDITO will not JOE HANAU ined by nt of DISTLE eting OVICS ovem VIC t finan ndum bendeterm SVETL an accou butin 55.and5% ARET perce tor. Letters ty. Those that the school day imprE IVANO budg SKI ersial materia a at perand refere fate, abou made. With meting system, NICOL HANA its entirety the paper is distri R to be ce and MARG “90 ies to KAMIN controv Spartan highRS of content e a ion the of obsceni ally ACKEN plum CAM ing the salar re place way S EDITO or EDITO d to y been timat some rman for potenti re needs l disrupt content decide “We’ Nt MCCR IATE is N adonly e fund from the e-maile to beMIKESELL alread ensate SPORT “The RAY at perfo said. COLLI cases of by the ASSOC getLUFKI meet to orabl ng and materiaLetters can be So the have CHRIS is with ough EW NAZARI assisted % s. BRADefits. staff. In al Board will comp unfav . rangi ce spelooks Smith thereMATTH O K SVITEKadjust will be 100 m. printed AGER cuts that MANA so l scien ures,” but to s and an s of AREZO ORTEG tely.” PATRIC mail.co South the Editori per. The staff ethics and legalitie by be hour schoo ESSmeas NSEN ition has issued ct, and high.” FLOR tana@g rtuna you can RS ce of of two newspa ional BUSIN cond as defined unfo thespar ntary ions and ct EDITO LIN rman PARIKH JORGEdistri rming value N of the profess COPY people, perfo PRIYA KALYN ing high PONTO or obscene a substantial the perfo areas of FRANK the distri n of eleme of posit was rvePSON SMITH t formGRAPH libelous is the ANIE d for ERSd for the ols STEPH ANDY LUTTRELL cause visor in tion natio s and it ,” THOM VEER AN l that is could rewar rewar toRprese SS elimi to reduc voter DEREK BRI TAYLO L VANDE Materia pers or ty Scho fore, rintenden PHOTO One DOLFU in k-12, lost some ty. ts, R urgesWEISS Newspa ELL Coun ct. There DANIE KYLE to facul million cialis S Supe EDITO W Smith Wayne MIKES body Allen NFELD R AN afford estead SAC Fort BEN distri ANDRE PHOTO REECE ship, al. WESTE in westROZM Hom ve cut $1.3ced—every we can’t cular dCHRIS NNE s high s in the R te Town ADRIE renew SUZIE “We’ ES WALTE home value balan with that, all the curri withy neede CHARL R l of Aboi referendum home because peo-l EDITOTT mone y well the NEWS ls keep . 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Ed board wrestles with issue of athletes exempt from phys ed, 2a page 2a issue 14 volume 39 homestead high school 4310 homestead road fort wayne, indiana 46814

Gym Class Heroes

Sport Substitution

Unions in Education

Fr i d a y, A p r i l 1 7 , 2 0 0 9

Ed board: Rewarding athletes with gym credit beneficial to school, eliminates redundancy

another hurdle to

The argument of whether or not student athletes should

EDUCATION

receive legitimate academic credit has been daunting the SACS Administration like an uprising camera phone student sensation. While young athletes would appreciate a little more accreditation than just that of a social level, the

Politicized teachers’ unions detrimental to education process

administration may have a different outlook on the issue.

Teachers would be rewarded for their efforts, accountable for their mistakes, and, most importantly, allowed to act independently Teachers know their students best. Administrators know the Beckoning back to the days of Eugene V. Debbs and the Knights of Labor, workers’ unions are responsible for improving business of education best. They both have the same priority wages, working conditions, and much more for millions of em- of providing the best possible education to their students. The ployees. But that was the 1800’s; this is the 21st century. Inten- unions serve only to poison the relationship between these two tions have become less honorable, complaints have become less parties, essentially throwing out the critical concept of cooperalegitimate, and the process has become more distorted. Unions tion. Moreover, these unions notoriously fight against merit pay. today tend to neither protect employees, employers, nor conI have preached it before and I will preach it again. If there sumers. This premise is especially true for education. Teachers unions is no incentive to perform, there will not be any quality perare the worst breed and a prime example of the politics that formance. It is true for the auto industry, it is true for CEO’s, can interfere with nonpartisan goals. When tenure, not talent and it is true for teachers. This considered, why isn’t merit our or results, becomes the presiding factor in the pay or influence most valued criteria? A stuffy old teacher who has lost his pasa teacher receives, students suffer. It’s a simple concept, but we sion for teaching will not benefit the students as much as an inexperienced, but enthusiastic have yet to rid ourselves of this teacher who goes the extra mile spoils system residue. for his students. Even the threat In Indiana, after 3 years, a “When tenure, not talent or results, becomes the of that new teacher can be incenteacher is considered to have presiding factor in the pay or influence a teacher tive enough for the experienced tenure. Those with less time in receives, students suffer. It’s a simple concept, but we teacher to revitalize their efforts. the system are known as probationary. According to the Center have yet to rid ourselves of this spoils system residue.” Merit pay keeps teachers on their toes and gives students the best for Union Facts, our state has ASHLEY HEATH chance for success. a .13% firing rate of tenured Opinion Editor Some seasoned teachers will teachers, proving that experience continue to do their job best practically buys you lifetime sepurely out of their love for the curity. Probationary teachers endure a 2.02% statewide firing rate. However, private schools, work, but a meritocracy would not penalize them. It would, maintain a 9.8% firing rate. Competitive schools demand the rather, ensure that their coworkers are equally capable, even if their motives are monetary. best, which means weeding out the unacceptable. But unions like to see the hallowed halls of school campuses The National Council on Teacher Quality publishes an annual report card. In 2008, Indiana received D’s in the catego- as the closest thing to an idealized world, a place where students, ries of meeting No Child Left Behind teacher quality objectives, free from the toxic influence of the outside world, can imteacher licensure, teacher evaluation and compensation, state merse themselves in the purity of knowledge. For these people, approval of teacher preparation programs, alternate routes to one fantasy must be paired with another: teachers should not certification and an F in the preparation of special education be competitors. “I don’t believe in having competition,” Carol teachers. For an institution who protects tenure instead of moni- Schmook, a member of the Missouri National Education Astoring quality, one might attribute this to the 98.2% of teachers sociation, said, referring to the supposed problem with having a large portion of teachers in her state not belong to a union. And who are protected by a union in our state. Teachers unions establish an ‘us vs. them’ relationship be- so the village raises the child, without the nastiness of competitween teachers and administrators. Most strongly discourage any tion, the fear of termination, or the unbearable idea of unequal teacher to discuss any job specifics without union approval and pay for respective results. Unions can be beneficial. They have been in the past; they advice. Essentially, the union is the middle man, the advisor and the arbitrator. But the thing about middlemen is, often times, can be in the future. But the highly politicized, highly ineffective when you cut them out, the process goes a lot more smoothly. way in which they operate today simply doesn’t make the grade.

would murky the waters of the current gym class diversity

They argue that rewarding student athletes with academic credit, subsequently ridding his or her requirement to take two semesters of physical education in order to graduate,

BY ASHLEY HEATH OPINION EDITOR

-- ranging from the utmost die-hard fitness gurus to notso-participatory individuals who give the class a fresh scent of reality. While gym class may be less diverse with the absence of the “athletic” students, the countless time, money and sweat expended throughout each respective sport season should not go without scholastic acknowledgment. First, we must consider is the purpose of PE to get students active for 47 minutes a day for at least a combined length of one school year during their high school life? Or is it to teach them the basics of life sports, as the teachers preach? Given that within a week of any unit test most students forget the information, we agree that it is the former. In this potential system, all athletes participating in a fall, winter or spring sport recognized by the state would be exempt from the graduating requirement of Gym I and Gym II. Instead, the time and effort spent throughout the athletic season by an athlete would then replace the daily athletic activity that a gym class would otherwise provide. In essence, gym class is created to promote physical fitness and enhance daily activity among the school-base, which is essentially a redundant idea in the case of a student who practices a school sport for multiple hours at the end of the day for five days a week.

PHOTO BY MARGARET DISTLER

OPRAH CONTINUED FROM 1A

PHOTO BY MARGARET DISTLER

The oldest of five girls, Halle Shine (9), shown second from right, acts as the “mother figure” according to her interview with Oprah.

WAIVERS CONT. FROM 1A by half-days won’t make a significant educational impact,” Dr. Brian Smith, Superintendent of SACS, said. “Connecting with parents is vital to education, but it will be incredibly hard to arrange without half-days.” “Conferences allow parents and teachers to specifically address concerns with one student,” Rapoza said. “E-mails and phone calls can only take care of so many problems. I believe that the students’ education will ultimately suffer [without conferences].” Disturbingly enough, schools that deviate from this policy may find themselves in fiscal woe. According to a legal memo issued by Bennett, “The Department [of Education] clearly has authority to grant financial penalty waivers to schools who fail to conduct

After being warmly received, stripped of their electronic devices and branded with name tags, the Shine family was sent to their “green room” to prepare for their appearance. “Everyone had picked out our nicest outfit from our closets, but an employee came in with like nine shopping bags with outfits,” Halle said. “We all put on the clothes she got us, made sure they fit us and then we had a rehearsal. We practiced walking off and on the stage and sitting on the couch, but we didn’t all fit so my three little sisters had to sit on our laps.”

the minimum 180 instructional days, contingent upon the instructional days being canceled for extraordinary circumstances.” While schools may be penalized for deviating from the 180-day tally, “extraordinary circumstances” do not necessarily equate excusing snow days. However, students will be elated to learn opportunities to sleep-in without repercussions on two-hour delay days are still intact, as said in a statement issued by Bennett: “One or two-hour delays due to weather-related conditions will still be considered an extraordinary circumstance, and the day will still be considered an instructional day.” While waivers are often raised in legal discussion by legislators, Homestead has remained something of a stranger to the concept throughout the years. “Under previous governments, waivers have been issued for partial

After going through the routine preparations, including getting their hair and makeup done, the Shine family waited patiently for their next instructions. “When we were waiting in the green room the producer came in and yelled ‘Five minutes!’ Then twenty minutes later he would come in again and say ‘Five minutes!’” Halle said. After the wait in the green room was over, suspense built as the family moved backstage for another long wait. “There was a T.V. backstage where you could see us coming on, and we saw part of the film they took of our daily activities,” Halle said. “We also saw the interview with my dad. Then we heard Oprah say, ‘You might have seen the hip T.V. show ‘Jon and Kate Plus Eight,’ and

in-service days, but time had to be banked,” Smith said. “Snow make-up days can also qualify for a waiver, but only when the amount of days missed surpasses six, and we haven’t had that in a few years.” With a structured future in doubt, students have raised a rather unconventional alternative to the rigidity of the state’s mandate—some believe that, if a school were to fulfill curriculum requirements in under 180 days, that school should be permitted to break for summer early. Unfortunately, reality doesn’t consistently allow for this approach. “I would love for the schedule to be so flexible,” Rapoza said. “However, I foresee possible issues dealing with less academically equipped schools. Everyone wants a longer summer, but I think the curriculum should be planned out over 180 days. That way, the issue won’t arise and conflict will be avoided.”

now here is Larry Shine plus nine!’ and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, the time is finally here!’” After returning home and reflecting upon the event, Halle feels the exciting experience adds another interesting fact to her fascinating life. “I was really excited, but it didn’t change my life,” Halle said. “It was just another day. Our family was on the Oprah Show, but all the credit goes to my dad.” In the end, the Shine family’s greatest appreciation goes to their father and all he has done for them, exemplifying how unique and exceptional he truly is. “It was a very exciting experience, but the whole purpose behind it was to celebrate it with our father and honor him,” Henry said.

EXCHANGE CONT. FROM 1A After lunch and a short tour around the school, the representatives heard from guest speakers Mick Baker and Luther Whitfield. Reflecting on their leadership roles in Fort Wayne’s “Youth for Christ” program. These motivational speakers encouraged the students to be responsible and passionate about their work while developing a vision for their schools’ progress. Overall, the conference was deemed a success. “With the amount of time that it took to get the conference together, we are very pleased with the final product,” Alex Defreeuw (12) said. “So many kids shared their thoughts and ideas, and I was very

happy with the turnout.” Students from other student governments shared in his enthusiasm, enjoying the engaging speakers as well as the captivating conversations. “I really learned a lot,” Ashleigh Michael (11), Elmhurst student government member, said. “Our school is very different from [Homestead], and I think we will be able to build off of what we have gathered from others.” Preparing these representatives to tackle the obstacles involved in their elected positions, the conference ended with the words of Whitfield, who compared lively leadership to a fire: “Whenever you have passion and vision together, it creates a fire,” Whitfield said. “Nobody gets excited about anything dead.”


referendum vital for district, but administration must be cautious, 3a page 3a issue 14 volume 39 homestead high school 4310 homestead road fort wayne, indiana 46814

boys’ soccer qualifies to make first state appearance since 1999, 8a SACS Administration Building

Fr i d a y, A p r i l 1 7 , 2 0 0 9

Q&A

Referendum must be renewed, but cause should be examined

PROCEED with CAUTION The solution involves, as do most long-term changes, a shift in mentality on the parts of both legislators and citizens. Every politician, every party, every movement, has its own agenda to push, its own change to make. Although the Founders may have attempted to make it so that “ambition… counteract[s] ambition,” these days, that opposing force is only unleashed at the uninformed, often naive will of the voter every few years, long enough for many mistakes to come irreparably into fruition, as is the case with the education funding formula. Believe me, the legislators are well aware of the situation, even without the efforts of SWAC administrators and parents to bring the blatantly biased discrepancy to people’s attention. These legislators continue to be pedantically motivated by self-interest and society continues to be manipulated by the politics of class envy. Why can’t we get this fixed? For a government which, on a national level, is so charged for change, why is it so difficult to have alternatives to such an obvious problem even considered? Politicians and representatives have already chosen sides; but the only side that matters is the one in the majority. The rest must remain complacent or at least idle until

I

Referendum Refresh Q: If you were or are of voting age,

BY ASHLEY HEATH • OPINION EDITOR

what is your stance on the referendum renewal?

don’t like the referendum. Quite simply, we should not have to pay more to receive the same quality of education. However, our current funding predicament warrants our support of it. With some school districts in the Midwest receiving more than twice the amount of funding per student than Southwest Allen County Schools, an intolerable discrepancy has taken a hold of education.

A: Better

schools help to make a better community, so I believe the increase in property taxes would be worth it. -Maria Walker (12) The price gap between Chicago and us is about $5,000 because our students don’t eat enough free lunches. Increasing our property taxes to keep our art, music, teachers and athletic programs is disappointing but necessary since the state won’t provide the money. Our teachers and programs provide a great opportunity for our students and should be kept by any way possible. -Joe Eversole (11) I do not believe the schools need more money. The schools were overfunded originally and will need to learn to deal with it. -Joseph Poorman (11)

society calls their number and power is redistributed. That repressed alternative is to have funding follow the student. From any logical interpretation of equality of opportunity, this can be determined. Guaranteed by the state Constitution in Article 8, Section 1,“[k]nowledge and learning… being essential to the preservation of a free government; it should be the duty of the General Assembly to…provide, by law, for a general and uniform system of Common Schools, wherein tuition shall [be] without charge, and equally open to all.” With Homestead students receiving only $5610, compared to East Chicago’s $9965 per student, there is an obvious violation of this clause. The gap will continue to grow as legislator after legislator falsely claims to not be able to do anything about it. The vote is to renew the tax which mitigates such a gap, despite the unconstitutionality of the burden it wishes to rectify. The citizens of a district should be able to raise more money for their local schools if they so choose, undoubtedly. But if we vote yes on this referendum, we must exercise another duty in the responsibilities of a citizen: continued efforts. Starting April 22, we

Students should definitely encourage everyone to vote yes to the referendum because Southwest Allen County Schools has had to make unwanted changes in student funding which in turn has led to a decrease in student participation in worthwhile activities. -Artinder Nanrhe (12)

c a n choose whether or not our votes were the right choice. The referendum is a short-term solution, a band-aid to prevent those things which make Homestead an exceptional school from being cut. The thing about band-aids is if you don’t see the blood, you’re less likely to treat it. A quick fix now, a failed longterm proposition later, and an even more dire and now exacerbated situation down the road is a very real possibility if the referendum passes and the funding formula remains the same. In addition, with our current federal affair with government spending, taxes have become the answer to any problem. But, if we can keep the tax incurred by the referendum temporary, this fear will be unfounded. I won’t be placing your vote for you on April 21, but you must accept the responsibilities of citizenship beyond checking the ballot. By voting yes on the referendum, you could help our school. But only if you continue to care by pressuring state legislators, will you save our school.

I think that the referendum is a good idea and it would help out, but I really believe that the school should do a better job notifying their students of [the] voting age — what it is really about rather than just saying yes. -Mace Beech (12) I think it’s important to vote in this referendum. With this economy, schools need as much support and aid they can get. -Tracey Ettensohn (12) I think that the referendum is a good idea. Our school is being cheated out of a lot of money because we don’t give out enough free lunches, so we have to get the money we need from somewhere. It’s also not an increase in funds like many people think it’s just so we can keep all of the staff and funding now. Otherwise, we will have to make even more budget cuts. -Ashley Wyss (12)

Weighing the consequences: Is referendum worth it? BENEFITS OUTWEIGH BURDEN. The referendum only affects property taxes. Though nobody likes a tax increase, this increase is minimal and only affects those who own property. MAINTAINS CLASS SIZE. The referendum renewal is essential in order to maintain the SACS excellence education status. The referendum will protect smaller classes, and allow teachers to keep the focus on quality teaching rather than on classroom management. Without the referendum, the SACS school system will loose 45-50 teachers increasing class sizes and in turn a lower quality of education. FACILITATES STRONG SCHOOLS. With a failing economy and a diminishing housing market, the referendum will facilitate strong community schools which are a key component of community’s infrastructure and a significant factor in quality-of-life rankings. Strong schools contribute to strong property values and help business development and business recruiting. MITIGATES DISCREPANCY. Southwest Allen County Schools is not receiving adequate funding from the State or the Federal govern-

PRO

ment. The referendum will help offset the lack of funds and keep the school system competitive. OFFERS CLASS VARIETY. The referendum will help maintain breadth and depth of curriculum including AP and elective classes. This is especially important, since these are often the very classes that help students discover and pursue their talents and passions classes that help them see their future and empower them to be successful on their personal journey. Imagine if your Homestead experience was limited to math, English, social studies, and science, and with choices in those subjects. Pretty bleak. IMPORTANT STATEMENT. Part of the discussion and effort during this campaign has been to address the inequity in the state’s school funding formula. There is enough grassroots support for legislative action that it could ripple throughout northeast Indiana and Indiana (all Allen county districts fall short with the current formula, as do other districts throughout the state). Good voter turnout on April 21, and a successful Yes! vote, makes a powerful statement that education is vital to our children’s present and future, to our business community, and to Indiana’s economic health.

SPARTANA ASSOC. OPINION EDITOR YOGESH JONNA

ASSOCIATE EDITORS BRAD LUFKIN PATRICK SVITEK

LIFE EDITOR HANA SVETLOVICS

COPY EDITORS ANDY FRANKLIN DEREK LUTTRELL PHOTO EDITOR SUZIE REECER NEWS EDITOR KARA HACKETT OPINION EDITOR ASHLEY HEATH

SPORTS EDITOR CHRIS RAY BUSINESS MANAGER KALYN JORGENSEN PHOTOGRAPHERS KYLE DOLFUSS BEN MIKESELL CHRIS ROZMAN CHARLES WALTER DESIGNERS MARY DISTLER BETH HUBER

resolve the funding issue, but only in the shortterm. Any long-term solution must be accomplished by legislators who, contrary to idealist philosophy, do not operate according to community pressure, only from their own politicized self-interest. PUNISHES SUCCESS. Under the current US tax system, the longer and harder you work, the more you will pay to the federal, state, and local governments. The referendum will levy yet another progressive tax. In America, the successful are punished and with the referendum that will only become more true. FALSE CLAIMS. The school board claims that improving the school system will improve the value of homes in the community. However, only the importance or value a buyer places in the quality of schools when choosing a home will determine an effect if any on it’s assessed value.

CON

Our voice. Our words. thespartana@gmail.com

Your turn. (260)431-2261

STAFF & EDITORIAL POLICY 2008-2009

the

EDITORINCHIEF MARGARET DISTLER

PROPERTY TAXES WILL RISE. The referendum is funded for by a property tax. Property taxes went up for Aboite and SACS residents after annexation in 2005, and will now continue to rise. COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. The school board agrees that the problem at hand is that school funds have been cut because of the new system of funding public schools that has penalized our district. Essentially, since the average income in our district is high we will be one of the least funded schools in the state. However, the referendum provides no solution to the described problem, it only provides a short-term solution to the lapse in funding. COMMUNITY PRESSURE INEFFECTIVE. On April 21, the community has the power to increase their own taxes and partially

WRITERS BRAD ADAMSON KARA BUSSE EMILY CHASE CARRIE CUMMISKEY ALEX FUTTER JOE HANAUER NICOLE IVANOVIC CAM KAMINSKI COLLIN MCCRACKEN MATTHEW MIKESELL AREZOO NAZARI FLOR ORTEGA PRIYA PARIKH STEPHANIE PONTON TAYLOR THOMPSON DANIEL VANDEVEER ANDREW WEISS ADRIENNE WESTENFELD

The Spartana is a bi-weekly production of Student Publications: Newspaper at Homestead High School. Its purpose is to enlighten, educate, and entertain. The Spartana has, and may continue to, operate as a limited open forum for the free exchange of ideas. Staff members support the First Amendment in its entirety and oppose censorship in any form. The content of the paper is determined by the student staff. In cases of potentially controversial material, the Editorial Board will meet to decide the content of the newspaper. The staff will be assisted by the advisor in areas of professional ethics and legalities. Material that is libelous or obscene as defined by Fort Wayne Newspapers or could cause a substantial

and material disruption of the school day as defined by the Supreme Court will not be printed. Southwest Allen County corporation encourages vigorous treatment of a wide range of subject matter, including controversial issues, and student journalist are free to report and to editorialize on events, ideas and issues in their high school, community, nation, and world according to policy number 4150. Public input will be accepted from the Homestead community in the form of letters to the editor. Letters must follow standards concerning libel or obscenity. Those that could cause a substantial and material disruption to the school day will not be printed. Letters can be e-mailed to the Spartana at thespartana@gmail.com.


page 4a

issue 14 volume 39

DISTRICT Friday, April 17, 2009

State test schism highlights NWEA BY ADRIENNE WESTENFELD WRITER

PHOTOS BY SUZIE REECER, BEN MIKESELL AND HAYDEN O’SHAUGHNESSY

Referendum or not, cuts lie ahead District budget to be trimmed by $1.3 million regardless of referendum renewal vote results BY KARA HACKETT NEWS EDITOR

On Tuesday, April 21, Southwest Allen County district voters will flood their delegated stations to either support or deny the proposed referendum; however, regardless of the bill’s ultimate fate, about $1.3 million in budget cuts have already been made. With no other option but to compensate for plummeting financial conditions and an unfavorable funding system, the district has issued cuts ranging from the elimination of elementary school science specialists, to reduction of positions and hours of Homestead faculty. “We’ve cut $1.3 million in k-12, and it was pretty well balanced—everybody lost some,” Smith said. “Even with that, we can’t afford to keep the small class sizes and all the curricular offerings that we have at the high school without a referendum.” If the referendum renewal is denied, the SACS district will be facing additional losses, including the reduction of approximately 47 teachers. With such a large loss of staff, elementary school class sizes would inevitably increase, and the selection of high school electives and Advanced Placement classes would drastically decrease. According to Smith, these consequences would be detrimental to the district’s ability to establish early educational foundations and nurture the knowledge of avid learners. “The referendum money that we are asking for is used for two things,” Smith said. “One is to have small class sizes in kindergarten, first,

second and third grade because those are the grades where foundations are built for language skills, reading skills and mathematic skills. The other chunk of the money from the referendum is used at the high school to keep a broad curriculum offering to offer a lot of AP classes and electives.” Among the budget cuts that have already been made, the loss of elementary science specialists accounts for the largest portion of the savings. However, Smith holds out hope that the “90 percent of our budget is salaries and benefits. So the only place you can adjust is with people, unfortunately.”

BRIAN SMITH SACS Superintendent PHOTO BY S. REECER

district will eventually gain the money needed to re-implement this important program. “We had to take away science teachers at the elementary schools,” Smith said. “Although they didn’t teach science, they did the hands-on component of it. It would be a nice program to restore. I think programs that actually touched kids and had to do with the curriculum would be the first priority.” The condition of our economy is not the only factor contributing to the need for a referendum renewal. A fundamentally flawed

funding formula has also played a role in the district’s lack of financial aid. “I see the referendum as a temporary fix,” Smith said. “We get about $5,000 per student for educating, and the highest school in the state gets $10,000 per student. That is too much of a disparity between low and high, and we’re saying that the legislature needs to pull that back together. I would hope that before the next seven years are over, we won’t need to renew the referendum--that we will be on equal footing with school funding.” Demanding equal opportunities for students in every district, Smith strongly believes that accountability should be factored into the budgeting equation to ensure “a more equitable way of distributing funds.” “There needs to be an accountability index that looks at performance and improvement: two measures,” Smith said. “We’re a high-performing district, and so there ought to be some reward for performing high.” One reward for the performance of Southwest Allen County Schools is the high value of homes in the district. Therefore, to preserve the appeal of Aboite Township, Smith urges voters to support the referendum renewal. “The things that keep home values high in Aboite Township are the schools because people move here so their kids can go to Southwest Allen County Schools,” Smith said. “So even though some people may not have kids in school, there’s still a reason why they need to support the referendum. Great schools form great communities.”

Students are all too familiar with the tedious procedure of standardized testing—enforced silence and prolonged boredom after a test’s completion have been the protocol for so long that they’ve become almost innate. Standardized testing is fun for absolutely no one, but change lingers on the horizon as the implementation of quarterly NWEA examinations has pushed over the yearly confines of ISTEP on the legislative educational battlefield. “As it stands now, any school that uses NWEA pays for it,” SACS Superintendent Dr. Brian Smith said. “It’s better for periodic evaluation. If the state adopted it, it would no longer have to pay for ISTEP, and we wouldn’t pay for NWEA. Various schools are in talks with legislators to support dropping ISTEP to switch to NWEA as the state-sanctioned standardized test. We do too much testing as it is, and local tests provide better evaluation than state examinations.” According to the official NWEA website, the price of the test’s administration is calculated by a specific ratio of the amount of participating students to the property taxes and socioeconomic climate of the school corporation. While NWEA is no minimal expense, ISTEP testing is far more exorbitant. “ISTEP will cost Indiana taxpayers over $23,000,000 in the coming year,” Smith said. “Using a modest inflationary assumption, taxpayers will pay a total of $271,579,296 over the next ten years for the administration of the ISTEP “A test should not be program. Adminismodified for a student tering NWEA may provide for a leaner based upon answers. budget that would The SAT and ACT aren’t allow greater fiscal modified, so why should compensation to disadvantaged schools, the graduation-required test be?” but the lowered expense does not EMILY RAPOZA necessitate an autoSophomore matic decision.” “NWEA cannot replace ISTEP — it does not meet requirements for the No Child Left Behind Act,” NWEA lobbyist Heather Macec said. Macec met with administrators at the state capitol in March. With No Child Left Behind being heavily revised and perhaps abandoned altogether by the Obama Administration, this concern may soon be superfluous. While ISTEP may presently remain the state government’s choice examination, the extemporaneous NWEA test has already become firmly rooted in an escalating number of Indiana schools. “In 2008, 171 NWEA school corporations participated in the program and 267,859 Indiana students were enrolled,” Macec said. “The group is more focused on [student] growth than meeting state standards.” Unlike ISTEP, NWEA is self-leveling, meaning that the examination will adjust its difficulty to the amount of correct and incorrect answers that a student contributes. The more correct answers submitted, the harder the test will become, and vice versa. However, not everyone is pleased by this revolutionary development in standardized testing. “ISTEP is a universal test and all the questions remain the same, as they should,” Emily Rapoza (10) said. “A test should not be modified for a student based upon answers. The SAT and ACT aren’t modified, so why should the graduation-required test be?” On the other hand, NWEA supporters argue that the test’s flexibility is the essence of its usability. “70 percent of Indiana districts use NWEA because it is a more accurate representation of a school’s individual strengths and weaknesses,” Smith said. “The test is very stratified and very specific, and it is more effective in showing where to adjust specific classrooms, which ISTEP cannot do. It’s more individualized, and because the results are so precise, it will help teachers better modify their classrooms to fill the gaps in the students’ learning.” With NWEA being systematically upheld to the department of education by school administrators across various counties throughout the state, it may seem that the days of ISTEP pencil-pushing are over. The technical age has increasingly affected modern society, but only time will tell if it truly changes the face of standardized testing as students know it.

CLASS IS HALF FULL In 2008, 171 Indiana school districts participated in the NWEA testing program, or 55.5 percent of the state’s 308 districts.

55.5%

100%


The Spartana Issue 14