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wingspan • may 12, 2010

• Staff Editorial

Standardized tests do not effectively measure learning

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Do you think that standardized testing effectively measures what you learn?

classes that have standardized tests, and classes such as foreign language and the arts are left out of the limelight and are considered of lesser importance. Inside those classes that are pushed to the forefront because of impending state tests, challenging curriculum is put in the backseat. Students learn through multiple-choice materials, while in-depth exploration

“I don’t think it’s fair that the tests are different for every person. If someone gets a question on a topic you’re really good at and you don’t, it’s not fair to you because you don’t score as high.”

Christy King freshman

of a subject and hands-on activities are eliminated. This hurts those students who have a different style of learning than the state considers when deciding the required curricula. The state legislature must take different learning styles into consideration when writing school policies. We cannot afford to have students’ needs pushed away in the name of standardized testing.

“There has been a lot of stuff that I haven’t learned in the class that I guess the teacher didn’t feel was necessary that came up on tests. I like teacher final exams better than standardized tests.”

“I don’t think it judges very well because some people aren’t good test takers. They get nervous so that makes them do worse on standardized tests, but they could be really smart.” Laura Hamilton sophomore

D.J. Rauland junior

“It all relies on one test, and you could be making an A in the class, but not do well on the test, but that’s what they base everything on. The teachers teach to the test so they can pass the kids.” Austen Melton senior

• Viewpoint

Should health care be considered a human right?

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hile she listened to the beeping sound of ife, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — these the heart rate monitor, Ann Dunham, the are our rights as Americans. The term “rights” is mother of future President Barack Obama, a moral term, and it tells us which behaviors are lay in her hospital bed wondering how she was ever proper and respected by others. going to pay the bills for the medical treatments she Anyone who violates someone else’s was receiving. Recently, she had been diagnosed rights is lacking in morals. The right to with ovarian cancer. Her health insurance “pursue happiness” basically means company had already denied her claims, ruling that Americans have the chance her cancer a preexisting condition. to work for what they want Unfortunately, and not have it given to them Kayla Sciupider Bella Bonnessi Dunham died on Nov. by others. Those are the basic Asst. Opinion Editor Feature Writer 7, 1995 without ever and fundamental reasons why knowing of her son’s historic election. our country is the free, rich and Today, Obama’s health care legislation prevents health insurance powerful country that it is today. The drive to make oneself companies from denying claims because of preexisting conditions. better is the right that we have as Americans. Hardworking Health care should be considered a right for everyone. people in our country make it great, and these people Should anyone have to choose between being financially ruearned their way to the top without handouts. ined and staying alive? In the past, many Americans have had to Health care is not a right; it’s not listed in the Bill make such a choice. The right to health care should be considof Rights in the U.S. Constitution and the Preamble ered a civil right. People should not be discriminated against states that the purpose of the Constitution is to “profor being sick. According to www.healthcare.procon.org, 46.3 mote” the general welfare, not to provide it. As Americans, million people in the U.S. do not have health insurance and we have the right to pursue wealth and happiness, not the by 2010 the number of citizens that do not have coverage right to be provided with wealth and happiness. No one should would have approached 50 million if health care reform be entitled to health care since it is a service that a person must had not passed. pay for in order to have it. Under the new health care law, this right to life will It is the individual’s responsibility to ensure personal be protected. A W.K. Kellogg Foundation survey said that health, not that of our government. Some diseases such as obesity, 77 percent of Americans believe health care should be stroke and diabetes can often be prevented by people choosing to a right. The American Medical Student Association live their lives in healthier ways. Just by exercising daily and cutting (AMSA) found that people who don’t have health inback on fatty foods, we can prevent many life-threatening diseases. surance live a shorter lives. In addition, the right to Guaranteeing health care for all Americans will lead to a life is stated in the Constitution’s Preamble. problem known as “moral hazard.” This means that people will take Finally, guaranteeing the right to health care riskier actions because they know if they get hurt they are will help our economy. “Make no mistake: the cost guaranteed health care coverage. They may also visit the of our health care is a threat to our economy. It is an doctor more since they know it will be free on their part, escalating burden on our families and businesses. costing much more on America’s part than necessary. It is a ticking time-bomb for the federal budget,” Universal health care would be a huge burden on the econObama said in a speech given in June 2009. When omy, which is already more than $12 trillion in debt. Over the next 10 (based on a survey people save money, they can spend more money years, the health care reform plan will cost over $1 trillion, which is of 212 students) to help boost the economy. In addition, the new almost 10 percent of our current national debt. For those that already health care will cover almost 95 percent of legal have health care, their health care prices will increase to make up for American citizens. those who can’t afford health care on their own. It is clear that this plan will benefit many Health care certainly needs reform, but not in the form of soAmericans, whether by enrolling more people to cialized medicine. With each government program, we get farther and receive care or by improving the economy. The new farther away from the capitalism this country was based on. We could health care bill will provide American citizens with the include a type of Medicaid or Medicare for people that make slightly more right to a health care plan. Even our forefathers, hundreds money than what already qualifies for these programs . This could help out of years ago, agreed that proper care should be provided for all. the lower middle class, without a complete government takeover of health care.

• PRO 64%

CON 36%

EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Joy Owens Jessica Tobin

JUNIOR EDITORS Katie King Brandi Martin

MANAGING EDITOR Elizabeth Huntley

NEWS EDITOR Carly Holland

ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR Kim Randall

ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR Lindsey Fore

SENIOR EDITORS Ryan Duckett Kyle Keith

ASSISTANT ENTERTAINMENT EDITORS Meredith Cole Hailey Robinson

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Katie Huntley

FEATURE EDITOR Ashley Roy

ASSISTANT FEATURE EDITORS Whitney Howell Kaitlyn Reddy

FEATURE WRITERS Bella Bonnessi Hailey Johns Natalie Rice

OPINION EDITOR Kaylan Proctor ASSISTANT OPINION EDITORS Kayla Sciupider Josh Wentzel

STAFF WRITERS Tyler Bice Lauren Gentile Diane Gromelski Angela Gross Autumn Hardin Josh Heatherly Jamie Hunt Brandon McArthur Katlyn McCarthy Rachel Shoemaker Aury St. Germain De’Shawn Thomas Marissa Treible

SPORTS EDITOR Matt Thielke ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITORS Kevin Robinson Camen Royse

Culture has lost love of reading

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Art by Katie Huntley

very student in an American public school knows that nervous feeling in the pit of their stomach. They can hear the echo of pencils scratching and taste the fear of wondering if they’re prepared or not. Some know that sinking feeling that overcomes them when they see their test scores; all that studying, worrying and preparing was for what? A score that’s frequently lower than they had hoped for. Many students will agree when we say that something is wrong with standardized testing in the public school system. Standardized tests don’t measure the amount of knowledge learned in a course like they are supposed to do; in most cases, they just filter out the good test-takers from the bad test-takers. If these tests really measure knowledge gained, why do students have to learn good test-taking skills like “aggressive guessing?” Why do teachers worry about whether or not students had breakfast? The truth is that the questions on standardized tests don’t ask, “How much have you learned?” They ask, “How well can you take this test?” Students across the country receive unequal educations. Identical expectations for students in poorer communities and in wealthier communities put those who receive a lesser education at a disadvantage. According to www.testcritic.com, students whose parents earn $30,000 to 40,000 annually averaged a score of 885 on the old 1,600 SAT while students whose parents earn more than $70,000 averaged a score of 1,000. Standardized tests also stifle creativity in the classroom. They create boundaries teachers cannot breach; lessons are oriented toward helping students pass the state tests, which cuts out on real education and the kind of learning that matters most. Emphasis is put on

The Girl Next Door

Talons & Feathers Feather to Coach Rob Bliss for deciding to continue coaching the men’s basketball team Talon to the gas prices that are projected to rise to well beyond $3 during the summer Feather to everyone who participated in Thoroughly Modern Millie for three outstanding performances Talon to the state legislature for even temporarily removing funding for the driver education program at public schools

ere we are, 2010. We have cars that start with the push of a button, Internet on our phones, 3D TV, and snuggies. Our world has come a long way from the way things were just a few years ago. I would have thrown up if I had to wear bell bottom pants on any day other than Halloween, but I don’t have to worry about that because we have better styles now in the 21st century. I can wear Kaylan Proctor rain boots when it doesn’t even rain, and the Jonas Brothers wear tighter pants than I do. Today’s fashion sense is just great. Of course, it would be nice if gas was still $1 per gallon, but who can complain when we live in a time where we can “Just Dance” with Lady Gaga every single time we turn on the radio? To top everything off, what’s really great about 2010 are our literary skills. I just love how we value learning and knowledge over staring at MTV drama on a flashing television screen. FYI, if you haven’t sensed my sarcasm yet, you need to set this paper down; you epic fail. What worries me most is our apathy toward reading. Yes, people do read, but those people are few and far between, and they are becoming even more scarce as generations pass. I’m just wondering why civilization drug itself out of the Middle Ages and worked so hard to bring about the Renaissance just so we can ignore the fact that books exist. I’m not saying Harry Potter and Twilight aren’t good books, but does it really take wizards and vampires and werewolves to get us reading? What happened to Mark Twain and Shakespeare? Oh yeah, Mark Twain’s works have too many allegories about society, and we have no patience to try and understand Shakespeare. I forgot. If things keep going the way they are headed, 20 years from now the best selling novel on Oprah’s book club will consist of sentences like “See Jane. See Jane run. See Jane fall in love with a vampire.” There’s not much beef to any of it. Novels are written for entertainment. I can pretty much say that entertainment the way it is today is intense. If you don’t believe me, just watch Paranormal Activity, Law Abiding Citizen or Shutter Island. Books have to keep up with today’s movies to keep the readers’ attention. There’s no thinking. There’s a beginning, a middle, and an end and that’s it. Try reading 1984, or Brave New World sometime; that will make you think. Today’s books have to spoon feed the story line to the reader, throwing in exciting twists every now and then to keep their attention. How do you want to be fed; an airplane or a choo choo train? Personally, I want to eat for myself. I want to read something that will make me think — something that inspires me to do something and be someone. Something that leaves me with more thoughts than “Yeah, that book was pretty good. Maybe they’ll make a movie out of it. Hmm… I wonder what’s for dinner….” So, 2010, here we are again. It took me two hours to write this, and now I’m done.... I hope I’ve left you with some substantial thoughts. Hmm.... I wonder what’s for dinner....

wingspan The student forum of West Henderson High School is published seven times each year by the newspaper journalism class. The purpose of Wingspan is to convey school and community news to the students, faculty, administration and community. Wingspan content is determined by an editorial board of student editors. Wingspan is a Southern Interscholastic Press Association All-Southern, National Scholastic Press Association All-American, Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist and N.C. Scholastic Media Association All-North Carolina and Tar Heel Award publication. Staff editorials express the opinion of the editorial board. Columns reflect the opinions of the writer. Circulation is 1,200. Printed by The Mountaineer of Waynesville, NC 28786. Contact the staff at wingspan@henderson.k12.nc.us.


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