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The United States was once the destination of the finest K-12 education system in the world. The United States used to be consistently ranked in the top-three best in the overall educational rankings worldwide that highlight a mixture of reading/literacy scales, problem solving skills, science/mathematic proficiency levels and overall average scores. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) now ranks the United States as 24 in terms of high school literacy, eight in researchers and 54 in education expenditures. The United States falls well behind countries such as South Korea, China, England, Canada and Japan to name a few. There are plenty of reasons as to why we fell so behind, but today I would like to focus on the issue of presidential administration shifts, state government rule over the educational system and the lack of social, ethical and emotional education.
Pull the lever, roll the dice, play the odds. Video game loot boxes are the newest and most accessible form of gambling to date, and they have taken over the gaming community by storm. There are many advocates for and against loot boxes, but the majority of consumers seem to be perfectly happy spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on virtual gambling.
In late May, James Livingston, a professor in the Department of History, made a post on Facebook that resulted in a considerable amount of negative publicity:
A drug overdose epidemic has seized our country, tightening its grip and raising the numbers to alarming heights. More than 72,000 people died of drug overdoses last year, a large number of which were opioid related, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This makes the number of opioid overdoses more than five times higher than it was in 1999, merely 20 years ago. Even more terrifying is the fact that this calamity extends its effects to pregnant women who abuse painkillers during pregnancy. The CDC confirmed that from 1999 to 2014 the rate of pregnant women misusing opioids has nearly quadrupled. This is a major public health issue and many mothers do not realize that their abuse can consequently affect their children through breastfeeding.
I am not a big name at Rutgers by any stretch of the imagination. So it might seem arrogant, or at the very least unnecessary, for me to preface this column with an explanation of my personal politics. Is there a point?
Society is becoming more aware of the prevalence of sexual assault and dating violence on campus. Part of this growing awareness is credited to campus climate surveys designed to measure on-campus sexual assault and domestic violence. Around the nation, these surveys estimate that approximately 20 percent of women and 6 percent of men experience sexual violence while in college.
As yet another year comes to a close and with the summer being right around the corner, students at Rutgers are probably now, more than ever, thinking about their futures and what they want to do with the rest of their lives. For many, the beginning of the rest of their lives may start this summer. Some may have prestigious internships with their dream firms lined up, some may have summer jobs in their hometowns waiting for them and others may still be figuring out what field they want to enter. And while each person has a unique path depending upon the future career they envision for themselves, there is a common theme in those that are trying to be as successful as they can: Experience is necessary.
With finals week just around the corner, many of us are already in the summer vacation mindset and have started making plans with our friends and families for exciting events. Especially for those who are graduating, summer 2018 is a time for relaxation and freedom from school-related stress. Although we should definitely dedicate time in our end-of-year plans to our friends and families and enjoying ourselves after a long semester of stress, exams and existential crises, we should also devote a significant chunk of our schedules to pursuing intellectual and personal growth.
On April 16, NASA launched its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The satellite’s aim is to search for and find extensive numbers of planets outside of Earth’s solar system. Utilizing new and more advanced technology with very sensitive cameras, the satellite will provide a wider and clearer view of space to our researchers. To many, investing time and money into space exploration and research is a waste, especially considering the fact that we seem to know more about our solar system than our own planet’s oceans. With that said, research and discoveries regarding space and exoplanets can be extraordinarily valuable for multiple reasons.
Climate change is real, and the effects are spiraling now.
Two U.S. Senators rolled out stunning proposals this week that would fundamentally change how the United States government deals with economic downturns and persistent unemployment. Both Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Bernie Sanders (D-V.T.) expressed support for a “job guarantee,” a type of program designed to act as a permanent backstop to unemployment. The idea itself is so riddled with flaws that it is probably unworkable in practice, but that is almost besides the point. Rather, its truly important contribution to our national discussion will be forcing America to reexamine — and hopefully reaffirm — our government’s longstanding pledge to stabilize the economy and ease financial hardship within our borders.
In December, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in favor of curtailing the net neutrality rules set forth by 2015’s Open Internet Order. Those regulations worked to restrict Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Verizon, Comcast and a few others from blocking certain content or slowing down services — also known as throttling — to those who are not able to pay as much as others. When President Donald J. Trump entered office, he appointed Ajit Pai, who is adamantly against net neutrality, as head of the FCC. Any day now, the former President Barack Obama-era net neutrality rules preventing a tiered system of internet access will be lifted. Puzzlingly, though, the internet’s users are considerably more silent on the issue today than they were back in December.
An article that appeared in the Daily Targum on Monday, April 23, discussed a recent online petition demanding that Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Felicia McGinty not participate in the upcoming Rites of Passage Ceremony, organized by the Paul Robeson Cultural Center (PRCC) and scheduled for May 9.
More and more people are participating in a phenomenal age of a greater understanding of the colonial history of much of the Western world. But, for some reason, this trade-off between ignorance and knowledge falls short when many of those same people are asked to question the settler-colonialism of the state of Israel. This recognition is not, as Scarlet Knights for Israel put it, “denial of the Jewish people’s basic right to their historical homeland” or a “double standard to the world’s only Jewish state.” It is standing up for an indigenous Palestinian population and showing people that the establishment of a Jewish state came at the expense of expelling native populations during the 1948 Nakba. The claim that “Arabs” (an overused term intended to erase Palestinian identity and delegitimize their history) and Israelis live harmoniously together in one nation, while enjoying equal rights and protection under the law, is a gross and blatant lie that erases the levels of Palestinian oppression by Israel. Palestinians in Gaza face brutal physical violence and systemic starvation of basic resources. Palestinians in the West Bank face night raids, checkpoints and segregated roads. Palestinians that hold Israeli citizenships in Israel (some of whom get deported to the West Bank to make room for settler expansion projects) face racial discrimination at every turn, even as they hold positions in the Knesset.
On Saturday, New Brunswick High School hosted the fourth-annual Trans Youth Forum with the aim of discussing the experiences and issues within the transgender community, as well as the importance of education with regard to it. A transgender person, or someone with gender dysphoria, experiences a conflict between their physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he, she or they identify. Included in the event held Saturday were workshops and panels to help inform the community on this subject. The transgender community itself is growing in visibility and gaining a strong voice, but there are many who still fail to see the necessity for acceptance and understanding.
Two Fridays ago President Donald J. Trump ordered a missile strike against the Syrian government for a chemical weapons attack against its own people. The strikes, intended to both punish the Syrian government for the attack and to deter them from using such weapons in the future, targeted weapons research and storage facilities. These strikes, though, accomplished little and despite having taken action the president maintained that he wanted the U.S. to get out of Syria. It is becoming all too clear that the Trump administration does not seem to have a coherent long-term strategy for Syria — and it desperately needs one.
Unlike Mother’s Day where you can avoid your mother or Thanksgiving where you can be ungrateful and ungiving like every other day of the year, Earth Day is the one holiday you are implicit in celebrating just by merely existing.
During his campaign for governor, Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) made multiple promises with regard to properly investing in and funding education in the Garden State, which are reflected in the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget. Among the points of discussion around education was the idea of working toward providing free tuition at New Jersey’s community colleges on the basis that education is a right, not a privilege. A proposal like this is heartening on the face, as equal opportunity for education across the board is important. That being said, it comes with multiple questions — the first of which for many will be: How much will this cost?
United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley made headlines last week after she got into a flap with the White House. On Sunday, April 15, Haley announced new sanctions against Russia before President Donald J. Trump appeared to change his mind on the issue. A White House official blamed Haley for announcing the sanctions too early but she stood her ground. This forced Larry Kudlow, the president’s economics advisor, to apologize. Haley being in the news is as good a time as any to tell you why I think she should and will be the first female president of the United States.
In a letter published in The Daily Targum on Feb. 20, I gave myriad reasons for phasing out “animal science,” including climate breakdown, devastation of lands, pollution of water and soil, inflation of prices for grains, which could be redirected to eradicate human hunger, rampant and irresponsible use of pesticides, insecticides, antibiotics and other chemicals, horrific abuse and exploitation of nonhuman animals, lifestyle diseases, including cancers, obesity, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and the spread of infectious diseases, including the recent deadly influenza epidemic.