America’s educational drought

Dennis Gosnell, Assignment Editor

Global economics serve to push education to be a more prominent concern.

With many stressing the current economic situation in America, many try and understand why and how we have arrived at our current destination.

Where is your parent?

It is possible that, due to both parents being out of the house to work in order to sustain the household, children are left to their own devices. Instead of focusing on education, they become fixated on searching the Internet, talking to friends, watching YouTube, or playing video games.

Education becomes an afterthought in the twilight of surviving. This would not be such a bad thing if it didn’t affect the next generation. As a country, America is not as focused on producing and supplying the demands of the country as a whole.

American jobs being given to other countries

With science and technology becoming a more demanding industry, jobs need to be filled. Yet America is recruiting the majority of employees for these positions from other countries.

Public education needs to design its curriculum around a more demanding and trying education system.

According to an AFP report, “The three-yearly OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report, which compares the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in 70 countries around the world, ranked the United States 14th out of 34 OECD countries for reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for mathematics.”

It is imperative that America, in order to remain among one of the top countries in the world, raise its requirements for public education.

Raise the standard of public education

By raising the standard of education and perhaps even adding more trade skills to the curriculum of high schools, the U.S. could train a better and more efficient work force rather than debating non-consequential policies that only further harm the standing of the U.S. in the global economy.

In the 1990s there was a popular saying, “Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders.” This concept is even more important today.

By 15th Street News Posted in Editorial Tagged AFP, , , Global Economy, PISA, Public Education, Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders

Dawn of a Digital Learning Day

Education has come a long way since the little red schoolhouse. Shortly after the inception of the Internet, educators looked for ways to incorporate new technology into course curriculums. For more than 15 years, digital technology has played an ever-increasing role in education.

In schools throughout the country, typing classes replaced cursive writing. This is an effort to make today’s youth develop relevant skills for the advancing technological world.

Transcending national barriers

Thanks to the Internet, like-minded individuals can find each other, even when separated by thousands of miles. As a society, we’re no longer limited to national barriers for identity. Online communities are built and strengthened by members throughout the world. The same mentality can be applied toward learning.

In previous generations, conformity was one of the hallmarks of education. There was a “one size fits all” mentality as far as curriculum was concerned. In those days, students were punished for attempting to write left handed.

The future of education

Thanks to the digital revolution in education, students with unique learning styles can connect in an environment tailored to specific needs. Educators are embracing individualistic approaches to education, which is made possible via the use of digital learning services.

In celebration of the technological advancements we enjoy today, the Alliance for Excellent Education and its partners are calling on educators and students to participate in the first-ever national Digital Learning Day, Feb. 1, 2012. Digital Learning Day will celebrate innovative teaching practices that make learning more personalized and encourage exploration of how digital learning can assist students in completing college.

By 15th Street News Posted in Editorial Tagged Alliance for Excellent Education, conformity, Digital Learning Day, digital revolution, , , online communities,

Legislation aims to chain cyberspace

Dennis Gosnell, Assignment Editor

Power hungry politicians start off the year with a slap in the face

At the end of last semester we published an article about legislation aimed at changing the fabric of the U.S. and the Internet. Why should the beginning of this year be any different? Legislators in the U.S. Capitol have once again shocked many of their constituents by attempting to pass outrageous and unconstitutional laws to prohibit the flow of information within the Internet. The absurd rationale within the confines of the congressional halls is astounding and perplexing. Are they working for the people or for themselves?

SOPA/PIPA it’s more than just a name

The most recent attempts to seize control of the Internet happened with the introduction of the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act of 2011) and PIPA (PROTECT IP Act of 2011) bills. These bills would essentially disallow anyone from viewing, linking to or otherwise using other website information (both foreign and domestic) as a resource in their own website because of conflicting issues of copyright legality.

These bills would affect websites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Wikipedia and YouTube. While this is troubling, the greater problem lies with the subtle threat it poses. Schools across the country use other websites and their information as resources to help in educating students of all grade levels.

What Representative Lamar Smith had to say

“Current law protects the rights of American innovators by prohibiting the illegal sale and distribution of their products by domestic websites. But there is no equivalent protection for American companies from foreign online criminals who steal and sell American goods to consumers around the world. Congress must address the widespread problem of online theft of America’s technology and products from foreign thieves.” – Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, said in defense of SOPA.

Those who oppose the bills ratification, Is it another NDAA?

Those who oppose SOPA and PIPA ratification take issue with the vague language of the bill. It seems innocent enough, but like the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012) people could be targeted without cause or reason and subjugated to jail time and major court hearings.

Like a hydra, the more heads you cut off a bill the more heads there will be to take their place. Even though the SOPA bill has been temporarily shelved, PIPA is still before the Senate. Like any other freedom, Internet freedom can only be maintained by being vigilant. That requires recognizing and stopping anything that seeks to infringe or restrict those freedoms.

Commitment to cut carcinogens is everyone’s resposibility

When we became a tobacco-free campus in August, it was understood that change would be required. Having observed the policy in action, the perceived enforcement inaction was initially troubled.

While all ashtrays have been removed from the campus, some trashcans still have mini ashtrays in their tops. People can still be seen smoking near the trashcans outside the Communications Center, in plain sight of the “breathe easy” sign. Seeing people smoking in the campus parking lots has also become commonplace.

Change we can all believe in

This was disheartening; because when your campus advertises itself as “tobacco-free,” certain standards are expected. How is this policy being enforced?

Some thought that the only ones required to make changes would be campus security and those who smoked. One group catches offenders, and the other group complies with the tobacco-free policy.

What we need to understand is that the tobacco-free policy requires not just security and smokers to make changes, but all of us.

Smoking cessation stories

Chris Leland, Wellness Center director, shared an experience that he observed on campus since the tobacco ban. He saw a young man smoking on the campus mall. Before he could say anything, Leland stayed back and watched as a group of young women approached the smoker. They asked him if he knew that Rose State was a tobacco-free campus. They then told him to put out his cigarette. “I was so proud,” Leland said.

We’ve been an alcohol-free campus for so long, that no one thinks it’s acceptable to tap a keg in the campus mall. It’ll be the same with the tobacco-free policy. Everyone just needs time to adjust.

It’s everyone’s responsibility

It’s selfish for non-smokers to think they had no responsibilities regarding the tobacco-free policy. Everyone needs to do their part to honor our campus’ commitment to cutting carcinogens.

Don’t be belligerent, but if you do see someone smoking on campus, remind him or her of the tobacco-free policy.

For three consecutive years the Student Senate petitioned for our campus to become tobacco-free. Now that we are, it’s each of our responsibilities to ensure that we, as a school, are honoring our commitment.

Robins merry men become Anonymous

Dennis Gosnell, Assignment Editor

There once was a man named Robin of Loxley who became known throughout Great Britain as Robin of the Hood. Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor; he was a man for the people.

In more recent years, Anonymous has taken up the mantle of the once great Robin. They seek out injustices wrought by big businesses and overzealous governments to prevent personal freedom and privacy from being extinguished.

Anonymous what the? ….

Officially Anonymous does not exist or have leaders. They seem to be an elusive shadow that anyone can join or claim to be a member of. This sounds shady. If you plot and send warnings of impending attacks, you are a group with an agenda. There is some form of leadership, there is also individual control over what is and is not Anonymous.

This leads to a variety of questions about the trustworthiness of such an organization that hides behind a computer without being held accountable for the actions of its members.

This is not to say that what Anonymous is doing is wrong. The everyday person has more to worry about than what is going on in global politics, economy, and unification. People worry about getting food on the table, having a place to live, and whether or not their children are happy, healthy, and safe.

The increasing level of personal freedom and privacy that is being stripped from the everyday person for the sake of security has made citizens question what is really happening in government. Thus, Anonymous has formed into a kind of resistance. Targeting social media sites, and businesses that exploit the trust of the people for whom they work. For this reason, governments both foreign and domestic are also targets.

Faceless men cannot be Revolutionaries

There is one problem though; faceless men cannot fight a war against injustice. One day some overzealous youth will take up the call, make a mistake and be convicted of espionage because they did not know what they were doing, but felt they were being called to fight in the ever-evolving Internet privacy war.

Would Anonymous go to their brother’s aid? It is unclear, as Anonymous can disclaim they were involved in any action taken. Is Anonymous scared of retribution? Why else would they claim to be a non-group of like-minded individuals who perform tasks pertinent to social freedom?

What do they really stand for?

So who is Anonymous, what is their objective? Are they for the people, vying for control, or just malcontent workers of former Internet companies? It is uncertain, as the shadowy cloak of the group’s image remains unseen.

One thing is for sure. What is unseen can be friendly or deadly, and Anonymous thus far seems to think they can take on the world. Until proven otherwise a stamp of “treat with caution” should be applied to the non-group’s business card.

Surveying sites for cinema structure

Demolition of Midwest City’s sixty-four year old landmark raises speculation about what will be erected in its place.

With the demolition of the old Bomber water tower on the horizon, the question is what is going to happen with the land. The tower, along with the old City Hall complex and the Westside Elementary School, are the most recent acquisitions of Midwest City in their Town Center plans. What is going to go in all these blank spaces?
There are a few choices, such as new retail, a new restaurant, that long awaited book store, or better yet, a movie theatre. While any of the above would be excellent additions to the 29th Street complex, a movie theatre seems to have the biggest movement. Online, there has been something of a petition started for AMC to bring one of its branches here. Other AMC locations in the area are at Crossroads and Quail Springs, the latter maintaining a steady flow of customers in the Edmond area.
Can a theater survive here? There have already been multiple theaters in Midwest City, but none have survived the commercialization and the influx of mega theaters to the OKC Metro area, as well as lack of upkeep on the part of owners. Harkins, the Warren Theater and the newly renovated Tinseltown would offer competition, but the Tinker crowds and numbers of students from the high school and the college would provide decent attendance.
Movie theater admissions are one of the highest revenue streams in the nation, selling 1.34 billion tickets in the U.S. and Canada in 2010, based on the MPAA Theatrical Market Standards, with $10.6 billion dollars being brought in.
Harkins theatre in downtown OKC is approximately a 15-minute drive from the RSC campus. Having a theater in Midwest City would be convenient for adolescents and adults, as well as provide entertainment for the younger age groups in the city.
Theaters host special events during the summer and other times of the year, such as the Summer Movie Fun Lineup at Harkins where kid friendly movies such as Shrek and Yogi Bear entertains for a $1 per showing. The new space opened up by the city may not be the size for a theater the size of Harkins and Tinseltown, but could open the discussion to bring a business that garners large amounts of revenue to our growing community. A theater would definitely be a welcome addition.

By 15th Street News Posted in Editorial

Fall fashions and fancy frappuccinos

Fashion Weekwas held recently in Milan, Paris and New York City to showcase the new Fall Fashions. Red was a huge part of the event, in every shade imaginable. Metallic and fur are still going strong, along with bold prints, polka dots, and a comeback from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Finally, the hemline has lengthened, while the maxi dresses and the “midi” skirts are in this fall.

Designer fashions and designer coffees go hand in hand, but not always in everyone’s budget. Graphic created by Tracie Bullen

These runway styles seem fun in theory, but are they easy to put into practice? Especially for the perpetually broke college student, who lives on a budget; with the staple of their diet being a trip to Taco Bell and the ridiculously priced Starbucks coffee. Fashion Week represents the standard of style for that quarter of the year, (since Milan Fashion Week is held four times a year). Keeping up with the ever-changing trends can prove to be a hassle, for both the mind and the wallet.

A college student is more likely to buy a simple black pea-coat than a fur lined trench coat for one, and TOMS or tennis shoes are a more sensible choice than lace-up heels for running around campus between classes and activities. Fall represents a change of pace from the spring and summer styles. The clothes get thicker, more layered, and a little darker in color.

The stylists should change their focal point from the small minority of the population that can afford a $5,000 coat, to the majority of the population that spends, on average, 5.4 percent of their income on apparel. Due to inflation rates and rising costs, the ability for a student to afford what’s “in” for the season is practically nonexistent. And besides, who wears a fur lined trench coat to class?

There again, is the impracticality of the trends.  A student is more likely to show up to class in sweats or jeans and a hoodie, than a dress and heels. They should have a runway show dedicated to sweat pants.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from clothing is food. The Java Rose Café has recently reopened and is serving Starbucks coffee, much to the delight of the student body. Yet, the question stands, $4 dollars for coffee? Designer coffee is nothing new, what with the introduction of the Starbucks chain, and the opening of two stores within a five-mile radius of the campus. (For those of you who don’t know; there’s one on 29th in Target and one next to the AT&T store also on 29th)

It’s easier than ever to spend that $4 dollars on a fancy coffee fix; And those who “need” more than one cup may find themselves spending into the $12 dollar range. For the fall season, Starbucks runs a range of Pumpkin flavored items, such as the Pumpkin Spice Latte and the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin. From designer foods to designer clothes, the constant emphasis on “designer” is overwhelming and desirable to everyone. The trend may sound appealing, but may not be exactly practical for the college student, or anyone on a budget.

By 15th Street News Posted in Editorial Tagged budget, coffee, college student, designer, Fall Fashions, Fashion Week, impracticality, Java Rose Café, runway, Starbucks, , TOMS, trend

Marriage: An evolving institution

Marriage has always been a focal point of society. It used to be expected of individuals to marry and continue their line. Over the centuries, particularly the last century, marriage hasn’t been given quite the push. Constant figures are thrown out showing the failure of the institution in its modern form. In 2009, Oklahoma had 37,284 marriages and 20,158 divorces in the same year. Statistically, up to 40 – 50% of marriages end in divorce, but this is a generalization and does not account for distribution (i.e. divorce for first, second, third marriage and the age range of the divorcees). The new political push by the Republican Party, and the Tea Party movement, family values and controversial arguments over same sex marriage, has necessitated  taking a look at marriage itself.  For better or for worse.

Marriage has many benefits. There are joint tax returns that allow couples to get more back on their taxes each year, and when children are brought into the equation there is even a tax write off on kids until they’re 17. When one is simply “with someone” they are not able to make the decisions that may be necessary for their loved one’s future if they are not married. Joy Behar, a co-host of the ABC show The View, cited this as her reason for getting married after being with her significant other for 29 years. US News cited the financial advantages of marriage in an article released shortly after California passed a Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriage (later overturned by Proposition 8). They brought up the tax deductions available to married couples, as well as other pros. Sharing a health insurance plan generates savings, property is easily transferred from one spouse to another, as is the estate of a deceased spouse and the Social Security benefits as well.

Liberal voting in the last two presidential election years have actually proven to have lower rates of divorce than their conservative counterparts.  June Carbone, the author of Red Families vs. Blue Families believes this is because people in liberal states wait longer to marry. One disadvantage of marriage is the initial financial setback. The marriage ceremony, on average, costs around $27,490 in the United States.

Charles Darwin even compiled lists in the form of two columns, one labeled “Marry” and the other “Not Marry.” His pros for marriage were “constant companion and a friend in old age” and his cons were “less money for books and terrible loss of time.” He eventually married Emma Wedgwood, his first cousin, and they were married until his death in 1882. As marriage itself continues to “evolve,” society will have to wait and see what current social taboos become the accepted norms.

By 15th Street News Posted in Editorial Tagged marriage, marry,

Ban a Book: Restrict Potential Learning


As literature has progressed through history to modern day, books have caused impacts on societal norms.  Writers do not always write for readers who use polite language.  Because of this, some books have been removed from shelves of libraries and banned from other similar institutions.

Some of these books are full of strong sexual content, or use obscene language as a means of emotional expression.  Other books have been targeted for banning by being racially insensitive or disrespectful to the social idea of decency.

Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer”, has been contested and taken to court numerous times and banned from many libraries, being considered racially insensitive to people dis-empowered by slavery.

During Twains life, he was an avid abolitionist fighting against the very idea of slavery.  And in his own ways, used his stories as a means to make the plight of slaves more visible and the acts of slave masters more despicable.

The English proverb “never judge a book by its cover” is the perfect example when it comes to interpreting works of literature and art.  In writing, there are specific story lines and character developments that deliver a stories meaning and message.

To criticize classic literature by current standards, distorts the writing’s initial purpose and also contradicts that purpose.  This re-categorizes the story’s fundamental message as negative when it does not apply to current society.

Understandable as it is to want negative word usage removed from a book so that it is politically correct, there is a factor many may not see in the use of those negative words.  It causes a person to consider the effects of such words and may enable a positive move forward.

This, for literature, allows writers to light a fire within the hearts of society by illustrating social wrongs, which enables and alerts them to the crisis.  Giving them a chance to change hidden-under-the-rug social problems.

This advertisement encourages readers to take part in Banned Books Week. Photo courtesy of

For William Pynchon, who in 1650 wrote “The Meritorious Price Of Our Redemption, Iustification, &c.,” the social response was instantaneous dislike.  In the market place of Springfield, MA, judiciaries burned the book, attempting to obliterate its seemingly evil message.

Pynchon’s religious arguments caused the puritans to discredit his work and put him on trial.  This is an early example of the extent to which society can determine what subject matter is socially relevant.

So why are books banned?  Disagreements of the contents value and/or significance to enabling a strong and morally sound social being creates a dissolution of, at least in some ways, the First Amendment Free Speech Rights.

There are some books that should perhaps be limited to specific age groups and/or establishments.  These books are often too graphic for the average family.  However, if an individual wants their voice to be heard, then being open to those voices is essential to maintaining an open society.

So, by banning or limiting the content in which people engage each other through means of literature and works of art, is to restrict disagreeable views.  Which opposes the very idea of an open society.

A wise man might say “he who does not consider the perspective of another, loses sight of himself by limiting himself to never knowing more than himself.”

Banned books week will be taking place from September 36 through the 30th at the RSC LRC

By 15th Street News Posted in Editorial

PvP comes to life with the newest Starwars game

Coming to the MMO (massively multiplayer online) game stage is Star Wars: The Old Republic.  With World of Warcraft slowly falling from its throne due to its latest expansion, players will be searching for a new way to feed their addiction to gaming.
Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) offers gamers a different universe to explore with EA (Electronic Arts) Games, Bioware, and LucasArts pooling their talent to build the next game for the galaxy far, far away.
SWTOR is set 1,000 years prior to the rise of Darth Vader, and 300 hundred years after Jedi/Sith Reven saved the galaxy from the malicious Darth Malak.  Players experience Reven and Malak’s adventures in the 2003 RPG (role playing game) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
The official SWTOR site shows the evolution of the game development with information and videos on the different classes, their associated powers and abilities, which worlds can be visited, armor sets, and player companions.

Developer videos show what has captured many players’ hearts and minds, PvP (Player vs. Player) action.  It’s certain that SWTOR’s production team has developed engaging areas in which players can go into full out battle against each other.  Whether a player is partial to blasters, heavy cannons, rocket launchers, lightsabers, or vibroblades; SWOTR aims to create a unique experience that captures the minds of all.
In Hutt space, PvP takes football to the next level in what is being called “Huttball”.  Huttball is played with two opposing teams going for a ball set in the middle of the field.  This ball can be thrown from one player to the next. When a player is hit or killed, the player who performed the killing blow receives the ball.
This is nothing new of course, it’s capture the flag but with fire blazing obstacles exploding as players run across a platform, this creates a challenge for players that fuels their adrenaline addiction.
Bioware Austin has insisted that this is the first story driven MMO that includes character voice over features.  What this means is the quest each player accomplishes has an effect on both the player and their environment.  Instead of bland and non-committal conversations a player is fully immersed in the game’s environment with each conversation choice having its own outcome to the quest or mission at hand.
The change in environment feature in SWOTR is no different from Blizzard’s attempts at salvaging their own franchise with the last two expansions of World of Warcraft.  SWTOR differs from WoW by not limiting the options to a specific choice in changes but based on the players quest decisions.  Many of the features are upgraded and allow players different types of in-game choices. These action, conversation, and story choices give the player the power to shape their gameplay experience.
SWTOR has not, as of yet, posted a release date.  Many of the games followers wait in anticipation for the games release.  On July 22, 2011 however, the fellows at SWOTR put out the announcement that players could start pre-ordering the game with exclusive in game items and possibility of pre-launch game-time that would allow players a head start.  There is speculation and excitement brewing; with the pre-order available, many believe the game’s release is not that far in the future.