Be the Change You Wish to See

jdutton2.jpgWalking through the halls of Skyline High School is a true experience during an election year. Interspersed with the usual talk about clothes, boyfriends, and homework (that can be expected of any typical high school) is buzz about Obama winning another state, and whether Hillary can make a “comeback.”

It has been seen in recent elections that the youth are not a demographic to be overlooked. Just noticing my fellow students and observing their level of awareness is enough to make me truly believe this. Many high schoolers will turn eighteen before November, and some are eligible voters already. In fact I had several classmates vote in the California Primary and many more who plan to vote in the General Election. Even my sister, who will not be living in the United States during the election plans on sending in an absentee ballot.

So my question is this, what is it about the 2008 Presidential Election that is causing such a spark in interest? Continue Reading


Teaching for the Tests?

jdutton2.jpgIt’s finals time at Skyline High School, and this is the first year that I’ve ever had all six teachers give a fairly difficult exam. But hey, I should get used to it, from here on out the amount of testing only increases.

I’ve heard that the last few months of Junior Year are going to be filled with more tests than you can wrap your head around. There is the SAT, ACT, SAT II, AP Exams, State Testing, and finals…again. Don’t worry though, I promise to write throughout that hectic mess.

It seems like in just the last 10 years we’ve witnessed a huge increase in the amount of required tests and the way teachers “teach for the test.” Not to mention the fact that schools are funded based on test scores.

Don’t get me wrong, Continue Reading


What this high school student thinks about COLLEGE…

jdutton21.jpg Sorry for the delay everyone. Getting ready for the winter break was a very busy time, what with the holidays coming up so quickly this year, so I do apologize for taking a little while to post something new. Anyways, what I would like to start a discussion about this time is the big, looming topic that hangs over the heads of so many high school students, college.

I have found that at this point in my schooling, most of the discussions that I have with adults are about college, where I’d like to go, what students my age think about it, the increasing cost, etc. As a junior, the idea of college that once seemed so distant is becoming very real, so I usually have something to contribute to these discussions as college is something that I find myself thinking about more and more.

I would like to touch on three major things that were on my mind when I began writing this. First, the dilemma between staying in-state or going to an out of state school. Second, the role that parents play in where their child will end up, both financially and mentally. And third, the incredible amount of students who, for a variety of reasons, simply don’t consider or have the option of college.

Here is an interesting story. One day a representative from a college counseling service came to my classroom and spoke to the students about college options. One of the questions we were asked was whether or not we would considering going to school out of state. About three out of thirty-four students, including myself, raised their hands. I would confidently say that that number would hold true in most classrooms in my school. The UC, CSU, and Community College systems are simply cheaper, and easier to get into (in some cases) to the point where most students see nothing beyond it.

By saying this I don’t intend to resurrect the same discussion from my last blog. I’m simply stating what I have observed. I myself will apply to a few UC schools and I see nothing wrong with taking this route, I am just curious what you all think about this. Why do most college-bound students in Oakland Public schools prefer to stay in-state? Is it purely financial? Continue Reading


What’s Bangladesh? Thinking outside the Bay

jdutton2.jpgEvery day on this blog, we talk about students and their education. So, I figured, why not have some teenagers tell us about it, firsthand? Meet Jesse Dutton-Kenny, a Skyline High School junior, who will occasionally share her musings with us. -Katy

I have been enrolled in Oakland Public Schools for my entire academic career and, believe me, I have a lot to say. 

 Something that has been on my mind this past year or so is the lack of knowledge that many students have about the world and the international communities around them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a teacher mention a foreign country and have a a classmate respond with “What’s that?”

 I really feel that with impending global crises like global warming it is especially important that students know where we are in the world and know a little about our foreign policy seeing as we will be the ones to inherit the earth.

 Teachers can play a big role in this too. Continue Reading