Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Students mixed on schedule change

Ryan Shadle
Staff Writer

 New Hope-Solebury High School has changed its schedule this year to make kids feel bad if they miss the start of the day. They now have first period starting at 7:50 and homeroom after first period at 8:30
 The Lion’s Tale interviewed four teachers, and they all said they like the new schedule. Mr. Achenbach said that they also tried this schedule 10-15 years ago. He said that, from experience, he “likes the schedule,” but it’s harder to pass out notes and get to the news. Also, science labs are two periods long, so homeroom falls between the two periods. He said that it would possibly be acceptable for homeroom to be placed after second period, but if that was the case, then such things as the pledge of allegiance would be taking a backseat to scheduling dilemmas, which would be considered disrespectful and not the proper way to start off a school day.
 The goal of having students feel bad if they miss school is good because when they miss school, they miss material that the teacher taught. The students don’t seem to like the new schedule because it’s different than their regular routine. They are used to waking their brain up in homeroom,” but now students must find other ways to charge their mind, including coffee and energy drinks, which is simply not a proper way to begin the day. New Hope-Solebury senior Spencer Tinkel only has this to say about the issue; “ I believe that the idea behind putting homeroom after 1st period is a solid concept, but receiving a test as soon as you step into the school is a hard adjustment to make.”

Panic Spreads Over Ebola

Steve Ratigan and Max Wagner
Staff Writers

  Ebola is a infectious fatal disease that causes fever and severe bleeding internally, which first started in 1976 and there hasn't been any big cases since then, but it recently has spread to 6 countries, has had in total over 15,000 cases since 1976 and currently there are 4,000 in the world right now. Liberia where the disease started has had 2,705 deaths from this disease, as reported by Reuters News Company. The disease has just become big because it has spread to the United States and reporters have made a huge deal about it. Although the flu has taken so many more, people the have made it a much bigger deal than needs to be.
  The Ebola virus has spread rapidly both physically and through the media. Recently visitors of Africa have carried the virus back into our own country. The first victim was reported to have the virus in Dallas, Texas. Two nurses had contracted the virus after trying to determine what was wrong with him. They are on the road to recovery. He came in contact with at least 18 other citizens after the hospital sent him out with the deadly disease without knowing it. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has confirmed that it will be one of the sites to house young Ebola patients in America. The safety precautions in doing so will be taken very seriously of course. The CHOP experts say they are not worried about an Ebola outbreak in the United States, but they are worried about the doctors and social workers that have to deal with patients up close and personal. America has beaten Ebola so far, and each patient taken to an elite US hospital and correctly treated for the disease has lived.
  The survival rate in the United States is 80% after the first five incidents and is expected to improve dramatically. Ebola is a deadly virus and in some cases can mean an immediate death sentence, but United States citizens are foretold to have nothing to worry about due to our wealth, modern medical care, and dozens of intelligent doctors on their way to find a complete cure to the Ebola virus.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Mile

Oren Depp 
Staff Writer 

In New Hope Solebury High School, there has been a long standing dissatisfaction with the mile time requirements for boys and girls. While boys must run a mile in 6 minutes and 30 seconds, girls only need to run a mile in 8 minutes 30 seconds. This two minute difference has been the subject of much controversy. Obviously there are differences in the physical capabilities between boys and girls, and those differences must be accounted for, but the current difference between requirements for the two genders is radically disproportionate.

 In order to prove this theory, I gave out a survey last year for my statistics project to find out what the average mile times are for boys and girls. When I got the times for both boys and girls, I subtracted the given mile time from the required mile time depending upon the gender. This allowed me to measure how close a person was to getting a 100%, or by how much they beat the required mile time.

 The findings were astonishing; the girl’s average time was -53.47, or 53.47 seconds below the required time, while the boy’s average time was 11.7, or 11.7 seconds above the required time. That’s a whole minute in difference.

 Using these averages, I was then able to calculate what percentage of girls got a 100% and what percentage of boys got a 100%. When the crunching was done, I found that 90% of girls obtained a 100% for the mile; in comparison, a measly 39% of boys received a 100% for the mile.

 Now these results might seem extreme, almost to the point where one might think that something was wrong with the sample. But when one finds the p-value of the data, or the chance that the differences found between boys and girls were merely the product of a sample that was not representative of the school, it becomes clear the data is exceedingly relevant. Normally statisticians will accept a p-value below .05 for an experiment; this experiment had a p-value of .0000000798.

 Obviously the above data means that the mile time requirements need to be revised. It becomes a question of what the purpose is for the test. Should a majority of the people taking the mile be getting a 100%, or should the mile be a challenge that only those exceptionally fit and healthy should be able to conquer?

 In my opinion, this survey should be taken to a larger scale, where a random sample of 300 boys and 300 girls in the district are asked what their most recent mile time was before any definitive action is taken. This would create a stronger basis for change when those in charge of schools in the district asked for more concrete evidence.

 In the end, the data only presents the problem as reality. In order for any change to be made, action must be taken and effort put in. Gym class grades affect a person’s transcript as much as any class, and leaving boys at such a distinct disadvantage means they have to fight an uphill battle. G.P.A. is still affected, and even though many colleges subtract classes like Gym from a person’s GPA in college admissions, it still affects admissions into clubs like National Honor Society. Making sure the way the school evaluates its students is equal must be a priority of both the school and its students.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Michael Brown’s Death Still Under Investigation

Lexi Anderson
Staff Writer

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an 18-year-old resident of Ferguson, MO, was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson.
 Reports show that Brown was unarmed when he was shot six times. Brown had his arms up and was pleading: “Don’t shoot me,” at Wilson. Wilson shot anyway. According to eyewitness Devin Stone, Wilson “let it rip.” Police Chief Thomas Jackson initially said that Wilson approached Brown because he was blocking traffic. Although, only hours later, Jackson released another statement claiming that Wilson approached Brown because he believed he was linked with a cigar robbery that happened moments before. I agree with Michael Brown’s mom on her opinion that Jackson was trying to draw attention away from Wilson and place blame on Brown. Either way, it was unnecessary to shoot Brown six times for either of the two crimes. Instead of trying to understand why the murder happened, they are trying to justify it.

 Another report from the New York Times claims  one of Brown’s neighbors, a nurse, was nearby to the incident when she saw Brown get shot. She begged Wilson to let her perform CPR on Brown in an attempt to save his life, but she was rejected. They didn’t even check to see if Brown was breathing. Many Ferguson residents gathered to demand justice for Brown’s death. Protestors were met with tear gas from the police. Have we really gone as far as to tear gas our own people? The police sincerely do not understand why people are so upset over this event, which is baffling. Honestly, Brown’s death was just another racist act. A high school student and beloved child is dead for no other reason other than his race.  African American people are constantly being stopped, searched, and arrested, simply because of their race. Brown’s death was that taken to a whole new level.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

SAT Holds Too Much Weight in College Acceptance

Ben Muzekari
Staff Writer

 SAT-Superfluous Absurd Test
 Or at least that’s what the SAT should stand for. Nowadays, the SAT is blown out of proportion, and the one single test is an essential part of getting into a college of your choice. It shouldn’t be this way.
 "A lot of my teachers have said that if you don't have these scores, [colleges] won't even look at your applications" said Mara Meijer, a junior student who attends Belmont High School in California. Meijer surely isn’t the only student who feels this way, as thousands of students across the country are stressing the importance of the test. Kids are buying SAT practice book after SAT practice book, studying day after day, and signing up for SAT class after SAT class. Thousands of dollars are being spent, but what for? It’s all for one five hour test, on one day, that most likely narrows a student’s future down in the time of one sitting: one long sitting. Are college admissions really expressing more interest in a five hour test than a four year transcript? Yes, and that’s unfair to many, and from a decision-making point of view, flat out foolish.
 "They're not exactly a fair way to show our skills" Meijer stated. "I wish they could find some way to really show what we can do." It’s simple, and that way is through GPA.
GPA is the best way to define one’s ability. A transcript clearly shows grades over a four year time period. Within that time period, there are numerous homework assignments, projects, and tests. These grades reflect productivity, consistency, effort, and improvement. These four attributes distinctly represent one’s ability to perform over a long period of time as opposed to the SAT, the superfluous absurd test. What does the SAT test? It simply tests one’s ability to take the SAT, better known as, “a waste.” So why is the SAT so important? Why is it valued so much higher than GPA? Who knows? It is possible the test could be used as a deciding factor between two applicants who are in a tight race, but it shouldn't be measured as such a critical piece of information like it is today.
 "Human intelligence is so multifaceted, so complex, so varied, that no standardized testing system can be expected to capture it" states William Hiss, a former dean of admissions at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. In recent years, Hiss has conducted multiple studies comparing the importance of GPA and SAT’s. A conclusion that Hiss often came to was simple, high school grades are crucial. High school grades are merely the best predictor of one’s success in college, not standardized test scores. Hiss came to one overall cessation, the students who had moderate test scores, but higher GPA’s, did better than students with good scores, but moderate grades. “It's probably not so surprising that a pattern of hard work, discipline and curiosity in high school shows up as highly predictive, in contrast to what they do in three or four hours on a particular Saturday morning in a testing room" inferred Hiss.
 Ultimately, the SAT solely should not be weighed more heavily than GPA. GPA is an extremely beneficial source of information as it demonstrates multiple key attributes of a student as opposed to one plain test which shows a few scores in a confined time period. As of now, more and more colleges are beginning to realize that SAT’s may not be the best determination of one’s ability. Today, 800 of 3,000 four year colleges or universities have made the SAT or ACT optional. However, this number is still relatively low and concludes that the SAT is still an exceedingly powerful way of admitting students into college, rather than GPA.

Friday, October 3, 2014

One to One Device Brings Distraction to the Classroom

Michael Iverson
Staff Writer

New Hope Solebury High School’s One to One Initiative has officially begun in the High School with the start of the academic year. The initiative, started by the administration, is part of a greater nation-wide movement to bring technology into schools. The initiative so far has had a relatively smooth start. Networks are working, wifi is working, however students are not.
While the devices are working as intended, their purpose to students is not quite what the administration wanted it to be. The initiative was supposed to encourage students to use technology to advance their academic knowledge. However, for most students, it has only advanced their knowledge in how to avoid the long track in Asphalt or how to make virtual friends in the My Little Pony Game.
The One to One device initiative has become become a one to one distraction to students.
The problem at hand is not within the devices themselves, they’re rather useful to complete a physics lab or quickly grab notes from the previous day’s class. The problem lies within the students and teachers, and their mutual understandings of respecting the classroom while utilizing technology for an academic purpose.
Teachers who reject the technological movement in schools do nothing for students who are going to be thrown into a working world filled with expectations of understanding technology. However, teachers who simply allow students to use their devices, without any restriction, allow for their students to easily become sucked into the internet, leaving their minds far from school. Teachers need to find the right balance within their classroom, allowing their students to use technology but strictly for academic purposes.
In no way do I mean to vilify or add responsibility to the teacher. Enough responsibility is already placed on each teacher, as they are not only tasked with teaching but controlling the classroom as well. However, the reality is that computer use must be added to this responsibility of controlling the classroom if teachers are to be successful at capturing their students attention.  
However, while teachers are responsible for the use of devices in their classrooms, the greater responsibility is that of the student’s. It is the student’s own responsibility, both for their own understanding in the classroom and to prove “we can have nice things,” to utilize their devices correctly. If students continue to abuse the privileges awarded to them by the school, then students can expect those privileges to be revoked. And this doesn’t stop at computers, because if we can’t handle the freedom of having a personal device, who is to say that we can handle the multitude of other freedoms awarded to us?
Implementation of one to one devices is planned for the middle school next year. Judging from the distracted responses of high schoolers, are middle schoolers capable of having the internet at their fingertips and deciding to pay attention to lattice and the cartesian coordinate system rather than cool racing games?