This forum was held at Temple Israel in Boston, where over 1,200 people showed up to hear the candidates and to show support.
The gubernatorial candidates drew straws to determine the order in which they would speak.
The four candidates running are Democrat and incumbent Deval Patrick, Republican Charlie Baker, Independent Timothy Cahill, and Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein.
In the final days leading up to election day, November 2, polls show that Patrick and Baker are in tight competition for the title, with Patrick in the lead at 43 percent and Baker trailing closely behind at 39 percent. With the poll’s 4.3 percent margin of error, however, either candidate could be in the lead.
Cahill received eight percent of the votes, while Stein received two percent.
The questions on the election ballot involve removing the 5.25 percent state sales tax on alcoholic beverages, allowing comprehensive permits for low- or moderate-income housing, rather than separate permits, and reducing the state sales and use tax rates from 6.25 percent to three percent.
At the end of the forum, the four candidates were asked to sign GBIO’ s Questions 2 & 3 Initiatives Statement, a promise to oppose both ballot questions. Question 2 is about the repeal of Affordable Housing Law and Question 3 is about the decrease of Massachusetts sales.
Candidates answered the following questions at the GBIO forum:
1) What to do about the status of Haitian refugees in Massachusetts.
2) What to do about the inner city youth violence.
3) The candidate’s plans to resist unlawful banking practices in Massachusetts.
Republican Charlie Baker proposed that the Massachusetts government work with the federal government to provide Haitian immigrants with temporary work status and more permanent board.
“It is not appropriate, he argued, “To spend excessive amounts of money on homeless families living in hotels. We can think of better strategies.
On teen violence, Baker strayed from the original question and dwelled in to the specifics of the merit of public trials and the District Attorney’s inadequate budget.
He finally announced that he would aid charter schools and increase the number of policemen to help curb violence in urban areas.
Baker expressed interest in helping local banks and small businesses to counter the influence of prominent lenders.
Democratic incumbent Deval Patrick, like Baker, stated that displaced Haitians should be allowed to work; “Until authorization happens, stabilization cannot happen, Patrick said.
He argued that fixing problems with violence is not solely the responsibility of the government’€the most important thing we can do, he said, is “act like adults. Patrick clarified his position by taking a stance favoring improvement of district schools rather than charter schools.
On the issue of unlawful banking Patrick supported the government’s oversight of privately controlled agencies to control reckless investments.
In his conclusion Patrick quoted Winston Churchill, “We are entering a period of consequences, he said, and ended by asking those present to engage in the election. “I’m not fighting for my job, he said. “I’m fighting for yours.
Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein began with a rallying cry to “raise the bar even higher on the government’s strengths.
She supported giving Haitians working status, saying, “We owe it to them! Then, she spoke of economic inequality: “It’s not that there’s no money…it’s that it’s all at the top.
To combat violence, Stein proposed an $18 million supplement to the current $8 million currently being spent to keep urban youth off the streets.
Stein advocated moving funds out of the four largest lenders to crack down on usury and to bring interest rates down from 18 to 10 percent. She plans to help homeowners renegotiate mortgages and aid small businesses.
Stein attacked economic inequality and condemned charter schools. Most important to her were restoring funds to “critical programs and establishing single-payer healthcare to benefit all citizens.
The independent candidate, Treasurer Timothy Cahill, spoke next, agreeing with the other three candidates by saying “The best social program is a job.
He encouraged the relocation of Haitians in Massachusetts from hotels into more “livable situations.
Cahill addressed inner-city violence by emphasizing the importance of crime prevention, and planned to hire more police officers and rebuild urban schools.
On the third issue of corrupt banking, he announced that he had been using his title as treasurer to forge relationships with three of the four major banks: Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. Cahill said that has yet to compromise with JPMorgan Chase.
Further plans included investing state deposits in smaller banks.
Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, had gone to his RA complaining of his roommate, Dharun Ravi, who had used his webcam to record Clementi’s intimate activity with another man days prior to the suicide. Ravi and another Rutgers student, Molly Wei, watched the encounter from another room.
Ravi reportedly frequently updated gossip about Clementi via Twitter, including an invitation to “anyone with iChat to videochat him regarding a second public streaming of Clementi’s romantic engagement: “Yes it’s happening again, he Tweeted.
Then, the next day, police found Clementi’s wallet and cell phone on the George Washington Bridge. The day after that, a body washed up near the Columbia University boathouse and was identified as Tyler Clementi.
Gay rights activists, friends of Ravi and Wei, law enforcement officials, and University spokespeople all assessed the tragedy slightly differently. But for those of us who didn’t know Clementi, who maybe don’t belong to any of these groups’€how are we affected?
There’s an aspect of the story that connects us all, regardless of where our sympathies lie: technology. How is new media culture transforming us? Is the ability to, say, secretly video someone and then broadcast the footage on the Internet, destroying our moral compass?
Many people enthusiastically shout YES, with the fear that if we don’t do something soon, generations that grew up with this technology will begin to use it for evil. Others pin youths’ unethical behavior on human flaw’€technology is powerful, and we have the choice to use it either as a helpful tool or as a vicious weapon.
Here at South, students’ witness cyber bullying all across the web.
More specifically, kids use Facebook as a tool to create an unsafe environment with cruel comments and untruthful claims. According to senior Joe Step, childish jokes online can be misinterpreted and lead to hurt feelings. “[Poking fun] can often be misconstrued and people can get offended, Step said.
“People are targeted by statuses, senior Kirby Howell said. “I’ve seen full out fights on [Facebook] photos.
According to research company Pear Analytics, “pointless babble and “conversational Tweets make up almost 80% of all Tweets originating from the United States, or written in English. Among those is Ravi’s string of Tweets about his roommate.
This begs the question: How many other Tweets out there are as potentially harmful as Ravi’s were? It’s a free country; there is no limit to what can be revealed over the Internet.
But if some things, like Ravi’s Tweets and his webcam footage, cause so much harm, it becomes difficult to confidently support the original intention of sites like Twitter, applications like iChat, or inventions like the webcam.
New Jersey officials are investigating the nature of the incident; privacy charges against Ravi and Wei carry up to five years in jail, and the case still remains to be classified as a hate crime.
Regardless, the events leading up to Clementi’s death have shed light on some uses of modern technology that have yet to be managed.
If nothing else, Clementi taught us a lesson when he died. Just hours prior to his suicide, Clementi updated his Facebook status: “jumping off the gw bridge sorry.]]>
“For me, I feel the key is to make my expectations as clear as possible. I will let students know what is due with a syllabus and I expect them to use that syllabus to plan their week. After this, I will let them know a week in advance of a test and give them a study guide several days in
- Eugene Stein, History Teacher
The Number System
By Amanda Sands
Almost every student speculates whether or not a teacher grades fairly. Did you get a bad grade because of who you are, or because of what your work is like? To make grading fair, teachers find new ways to ensure their students’ anonymity to limit bias.
In the English Department specifically, some teachers have implemented a system in which students replace four-digit numbers with their names on the top of each assignment.
“Students appreciate the system because sometimes they worry about getting ‘Ëœstuck’ at a particular grade, or that their teacher has made certain assumptions about them or their writing, English teacher Dana Arnaboldi said.
With this system, students are able to earn the fair grades they deserve.
Instead of the loud kid who drives the teacher crazy, you’re known only as 4819. The quiet suck-up who always offers to hand back papers is simply 1022.
Grades may vary based on the effort put into the work, or its overall validity, but Arnaboldi’s perseption of her students will almost never color her opinion of their writing.
“The rationale, she said, “is that I can read a paper with ‘Ëœfresh eyes,’ and not let a student’s previous writings or contributions to class discussion affect my reading.
Some people expressed skepticism toward such a number system, usually because, they argue, a teacher simply needs to know who is writing each paper. For Arnaboldi, this aspect is equally as important as anonymity:
“Of course, I do not always use the code system because there are times when we workshop a paper multiple times, and it is important that I do know whose paper I am reading so I can see how a student has improved.
Most students in her junior honors English class espouse the integrity of this bias-reduction method.
“I like the number system because it assures the student that [his or her] teacher is grading their work solely on academic value without personal or non-academic factors, junior Shervin Rezaei, said.
There’s obviously no way to completely eliminate teacher bias, but this number system, at least in Arnaboldi’s class, seems to be effective.
“It’s not a perfect system, said Arnaboldi, “but it has worked for me.
“On changing the system, sometimes I’ll modify the percentage value of the grading categories–writing, tests, quizzes, homework–to better reflect the percentage of work they actually did during a given term.
- Alan Reinstein, English Teacher
A Different Style of Conventional Learning
By Amanda Sands
As students, we are on the receiving end of the grading system. We control what grades we receive’€to an extent.
There’s no universal template for our evaluation, just like there’s no universal ‘ËœA.’ Varying quality levels of schoolwork may receive the same grade; likewise, similar work may yield totally unlike final grades.
Many teachers have found alternate ways of grading their students to ensure fairness for everyone.
These modifications to the standard grading methods are more prevalent with history and English teachers, where grading papers is more subjective.
Most math and science teachers can get away with a more typical system because those subjects are much more objective.
One thing that housemaster and math teacher Josepha Blocker does is “grade tests one page at a time to make sure to give partial credit equally to every student for each problem. She also grades tests without looking at whose she is grading.
Blocker hands out a survey twice a year; one question asks if students feel that the grading is fair.
“Students pretty universally say yes, she said.
Another way she improves grading for her classes is weighting tests and quizzes differently for individual people if, for example, they do poorly on quizzes but “worked up to the grade on the unit test. Blocker counts the quizzes less for someone for whom “the journey was a little rocky, but who mastered the material for the final exam.
In her sophomore and junior classes, history teacher Deborah Linder also uses unique strategies for grading her students.
“I tend to count homework more than I count tests, she said, “[which helps students] on a day-to-day basis. I grade it, and leave comments. That way, students can see what they know and what they have yet to understand.
The satisfaction of her students with the grades they receive compared to their effort given “depends on what grades they’re getting, she said. “The majority of kids understand that I’m not grading to punish them.
Many students feel that they should be graded based on their effort, but “it’s not just about effort; it’s about content and quality. If there’s substance in the writing, that’s what gets you a good grade, Linder said.
A tricky part of grading students in such a diverse population at school is the possibility of a double standard.
Some kids, like ELL students or kids with IEPs or a 504 plan, may require an alternative grading curve.
“It’s important to take that into consideration, Linder said. But then, she explained, you wonder, “Why are you grading one kid different than the others when they end up getting the same grades for different work?
While kids may have equal knowledge, some may have more difficulty expressing their thoughts accurately.
To make grading more fair, sometimes Linder doesn’t look at whose paper she’s grading. “[With] some kids’€when you don’t look at who they are’€there are some surprises.
She also said that a good relationship with a teacher can lead to better grades.
Students have also found truth in this: “When you have a good relationship with a teacher, it can help boost a term grade, junior Natalie Walters said.
It is impossible that students expect to be graded solely based on their academic performance, as attitudes in the classroom are so prominent a part of a teacher’s view of a student.
“What happens in a classroom is a big part of class, freshman Rachel Hurwitz said. “[A final grade] can’t all be based off of homework and tests you study for at home.
Teachers at South have tried hard to make sure that their grading methods are fair.
At the same time, should the goal for students just be a good grade? Or should it be to “improve certain aspects of writing or comprehension? as Linder said.
This is still a matter to be resolved, but in the mean time, teachers’ individual modifications to the normal system have proven generally successful in reducing injustices in student evaluations.]]>
Brandeis Student Jon Sussman created the largest group on Facebook that objected to Oren speaking at Commencement, called “Commencement Was Supposed to Be About Us: Against Michael Oren as Speaker. In the description, Sussman argued that “with the selection of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, commencement has been hijacked to serve as part of a debate about Middle Eastern politics.
Since the group’s inception on April 25, Sussman’s sentiments were reflected in the group’s numerous wall posts by fellow angry Brandeis students.
Among other things, they posted petitions, Youtube videos, crudely-worded complaints, and relevant news articles.
The morning of Commencement, a small gathering of students and adults carried anti-Oren signs and marched around outside Brandeis’ field house, where the ceremony was held.
Several levels of security were ready and waiting for Oren’s arrival. Humid and cramped, the field house was crowded with parents, graduates, and members of the press waiting for something to happen.
Finally, they blasted Israeli pop and a wide range other lively ethnic music (including “O, Canada!) and the ceremony began.
Negativity toward Oren as speaker was impossible to detect during Commencement; the ambassador spoke, the student speaker addressed the class, and Paul Simon sang’€all without any obvious discord.
Later that day, a post appeared on Sussman’s Facebook group (from which Sussman ultimately resigned as administrator): “So, anyone [find] it funny how much Oren sucked as a speaker?
Possibly in an attempt to avoid taking decisive positions on the Middle East debate, a hot topic at Brandeis, students argued that they were only against Oren because “he is a divisive choice that politicizes what should be a day of celebration for graduates.
This division that Oren’s presence would allegedly create in the Brandeis community was arguably reinforced through the founding of such Facebook groups and public protests. As one student wrote to the members of the group, “You guys are the ones causing the divide.
Two hundred and forty seven students joined the Facebook group’€out of 3,185 total undergraduates. Not all students firmly disapproved of Michael Oren on campus. “The protestors are creating the divisiveness within the Brandeis community, expressed student Katie Waizer.
Parents and some professors were appreciative of the speaker and critical of the protest. “Do yourselves a favor and don’t embarrass Brandeis anymore than you already [have].
Another student wrote a couple hours later, “I just wonder if Brandeis is about anything besides Israel. Even the group’s founder backed off: “This group/petition is made of members of the Brandeis community who see Oren’s selection as a political gesture, and would rather not have that at graduation.
Still, dissatisfied students did not want to take advice from the ambassador if his views strayed so much from theirs. Ultimately this controversy came down to a free-speech argument. Students from schools other than Brandeis wrote wall posts complaining that Brandeis was ruining free speech.
Spencer Burger, a Canadian student, was especially outspoken on the issue: “Develop some thicker skin, get beyond your demonization of Israel, and recognize this man’s right to free speech. If you disagree with him, good for you, but that is no reason to be against his very right to give you a commencement address.
Oren himself candidly addrssed the tenion, “As an ambassador, he said, “I must grapple with issues that affect millions of lives¦and frequently face criticism in the media and on campuses.
Filled to the brim with warm personal anecdotes, life lessons, and biblical allusion, Oren’s eloquent speech was mainly centered around Jewish lore, but also touched upon Middle East conflicts.
Oren used his former experience as a paratrooper to thread together an allegory about having to leap from airplanes, and sometimes needing a push in order to fulfill a duty.
Not surprisingly everyone present was served a large dose of anticipated future achievement as seen through a Biblical/Israeli/.Jewish lens. The theme from “The Lion King sounded over the speakers, Paul Simon sang “The Boxer, and Brandeis’ senior class of 2010 finally graduated.
Freedom of speech was honored, and Oren fed the graduates what he felt would benefit them in life.
“It is my duty’€it is my privilege’€to leave you with a few modest words of advice, concluded Oren.
“Seek your transformative moments, and seize them. Dream. Take responsibility. Take pride. Serve. Be strong. Be courageous. And though you may occasionally need a push, jump.]]>
Cultural clashes have existed since the beginning of humanity, often appearing in literature, television, and the general progression of history through time. Differences in custom, social class, and etiquette are some of the main reasons for familial conflict in today’s world. Pop culture has embraced this aspect of life, such as in the novel The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, or the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Even the musical theatre industry has adapted familial conflict in Fiddler on the Roof. In our country, and even in our own school, hostility and opposition arises within families due to contrasting cultures, religious beliefs, and political views.
Every household has a generation gap that accounts for certain differences between the adults’ and the kids’ day-to-day life’€simple choices that range from the appropriate way to dress or dating, to more controversial topics like political party or religion. Many young people feel as though their parents come from a different world.
Parents were born in an entirely different era, however, and they all grew up in distinctly dissimilar cultures from those of their teenage children.
Parents often have different outlooks on life due to past experiences and learned morals derived from their upbringings.
Naturally, the same was true when they were children themselves: if a teenager of any generation hasn’t been ordered to change her clothing or to turn off his loud music, then he or she is rather lucky.
America is characteristically diverse; it’s a melting pot of hundreds of cultures and traditions. Like in any society of mixed beliefs and customs from varying backgrounds, disagreements will emerge.
South, a school containing a variety of different backgrounds including students who are either first generation Americans with foreign parents or who are immigrants themselves, is precisely the same way.
The teenage immigrant commonly faces struggles that many of his peers typically don’t worry about: maintaining his cultural heritage or sustaining the traditions of his birthplace. Because the American lifestyle differs considerably from his mother country’s culture, arguments over social status, fashion choices, relationships, and even arranged marriages will begin to tear apart his family.
From the beginning of time, children and their parents have been at odds with one another. Especially when the folks come from a different neck of the woods, the apple certainly does fall far from the tree.]]>
Starring sophomore Hannah Dober as Charity Hope Valentine, a recently brokenhearted yet optimistic dance hostess at the Fandango Ballroom, and junior Jake Light as Oscar, an accountant who falls in love with Charity, the show assembled a full house of students and parents alike for all performances.
The number of underclassmen stars in the cast was astounding. “South Stage productions base casting on more important things than age¦seniority didn’t affect me at all, sophomore and cast member Allegra Borak said.
The musical opened with Charity sitting on a park bench with her boyfriend, a married man named Charlie, played by sophomore Evan Ogden, when she sings a song about how much she loves him. After this, he pushes her in the lake and snatches her purse.
In the first of many comical scenes, passersbies intrude on the situation, but no one is considerate enough to help the drowning girl.
In keeping with the overarching “every man for himself mantra, this mocks the all too human tendency to passively observe another’s misfortune.
Two cops finally pull Charity out of the water, and she makes her way to the ballroom under the inglorious employment of Herman, played by junior Max Grossman.
The choreographically impressive number “Big Spender follows with dozens of Fandango girls singing about “fun, laughs, and good time, which sums up the girls’ occupation.
While Charity is walking home, she spots the fictional famous movie actor, Vittorio Vidal, played by junior Harry Neff, on the street arguing with his girlfriend, Ursula, played by junior Ellie Crowley.
In this scene, Charity and the stoic doorman observe the fight, and in a huff of rage and vengeance, Vidal grabs Charity and recruits her as his date for the evening. At the Pompeii Club, “Big Spender is one-upped by “Rich Man’s Frug, a brilliantly executed musical number featuring the entire company.
Back at Vidal’s apartment, he offers Charity a hat and cane and mementos of his past movie roles, which she uses in her solo number, “If My Friends Could See Me Now.
Much to the audience’s surprise, Ursula comes to the door, begging to make up with Vidal. Charity, hat in one hand and cane in the other, hides in the closet until morning.
When Charity escapes from Vidal’s apartment, her friends back at the dance hall barely believe with whom she had spent the night.
Charity, Nikki, played by Borak, and Helene, played by senior Maya Lee-Parritz, then announce their plans to leave the ballroom and make something of themselves in the song “There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This.
Nikki and Helene give up their dream about 10 seconds after they stop singing, but Charity is determined to refine herself. On her way up to a class at the YMCA, an elevator stalls and traps her inside with Oscar Lindquist, a claustrophobic young man whom Charity must pacify while they wait together. They sing a song about bravery, and the first act is over.
It was clear that the entire cast was highly dedicated and that they spent a good amount of time learning their parts. “I think being in any show, regardless of the part or size of the part, requires an actor to be responsible, Borak said.
“Even if you fit a part perfectly, you have to do your homework. You need to think about your character’s objectives, what their relationships with the other characters are, how the character moves, and how he or she talks, Neff said.
The second act begins when Oscar brings Charity to a “church, which is under the Manhattan Bridge. The eccentric church leader, Daddy Brubeck, played by senior Michael RiCharde, leads his congregation in singing “The Rhythm of Life, another creative number complete with Bohemian costumes, unconventional choreography, and tongue-tying lyrics.
Oscar and Charity are from two different social classes, and as much as they love each other, Charity can’t seem to tell him about her job, not even when they’re stuck together on the top of a Coney Island parachute ride. Oscar comforts Charity, since she’s scared of heights, with the song “Sweet Charity.
Charity finally summons the courage to go to the Fandango Ballroom, quit her job, and meet Oscar to admit that she’s not as “pure as he thinks she is.
Oscar says he doesn’t care’€he already knew about her job’€and he suggests that they get married. The elated Charity sings “I’m a Brass Band as cast members skip on and off the stage in red marching band outfits.
After her burst of enthusiasm, she heads back to the dance hall to say goodbye to her friends and boss.Â When she enters, Herman and the girls jump out to surprise her with a cheap cake that reads “Happy Birthday, Angelo and a wrapped box that contains baby clothes, due to the fact that one of the girls was under the impression that Charity was pregnant.
Herman and the girls sing “I Love to Cry at Weddings while Charity says her final goodbyes.
All seems well, but then, suddenly, Oscar breaks down, chickens out, and runs away from Charity, ending the engagement. Next is a curtain call.
Considering the comedy and vivacity of the show, Sweet Charity ended more depressingly than it had begun.
Is Charity’s life doomed to continue in this vicious cycle of failed romances?Â Or does it all come down to hope and optimism’€that one day, if she doesn’t give up, Charity will end up all right?
Aside from its ending, which couldn’t be helped, the show overall was well done’€from the digital scenery and simplistic sets to the sound effects and meticulous attention to detail’€but it was the memorable ensemble numbers that enhanced its quality. These fabulous routines stood out from the other songs that only featured one or two people.
Although the entire play didn’t appear under-rehearsed to the audience, Neff felt that more rehearsals would have helped, and that some cast members didn’t think the show would be “polished enough by opening night. “However, I think we [exceeded] our own expectations. We had a lot of fun with it, Neff said.
“Focus during rehearsal and the amount of time put into a show outside of rehearsal [most affect the final performance], Borak said. “I think [our high] expectations were met because of the dedication and ability of our cast and crew.
“[The audience] seemed to enjoy it and it’s great to know we had done our job, Neff said.]]>