Friday, August 10, 2007

Response to B-On-Time Project

A colleague of mine has commented on and brought to my attention the “B-On-Time” program in her blog Laws vs. Liberty. While I had never heard of this program before, this commentary was well written and informational. I agree that it is a great idea to encourage students to do well in school as well as completing their education in a timely manner. While Nina pointed out that this may promote cheating or other forms of academic dishonesty to achieve higher grades I do not think that this is any different from the competition required for competing for scholarships. There will always be some form of academic dishonesty regardless of any precautions to prevent it. There will always be a few students who lack the moral integrity to earn a grade on their own and are willing to risk their entire academic career, but these students should not stand in the way of those willing to put in the extra time and effort to earn the better grade.

Another concern pointed out by Nina is the limited and decreasing budget for this program. While the additional money needed to support the large number of students cannot simply appear out of thin air there could be the possibility of working with the limited budget instead of fighting against it. One suggestion could be to treat this program as a scholarship fund which would require students to apply for the funding and could be evaluated and compared to other students applying. This would indeed require additional work by the students applying for it, but this could also be a way of discouraging those students who are inclined to take the easy way out, who would most likely be the ones inclined to cheat.

Overall after reading this blog commentary I have come to the same conclusion as Nina that the “B-On-Time” program should be upheld and given as much government support as possible.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Increase funding or increase tuition?

As a current student of both a university and community college I can understand the frustrations from both sides of the current debate over the recently vetoed community college funding.
Presented in Rick Perry’s argument in the article Perry: Community colleges must follow state law Perry addresses why he has vetoed additional funding for community college health insurance funding. From his very reasonable point of view, the law is not being followed and should be. Perry’s argument points out that community colleges are not following the law and many are deliberately acknowledging that they are not following it because they feel it no longer applies. Understandably, this is not a reasonable response to not follow a law. As frustrating as our legal system is, if it does not hold everyone up to the same standards then it is failing as a whole. As cliché as it may be, if one person does not have to follow the law then why does anyone have to?
Countering Perry’s veto with his opposing opinion, Dewhurst gives his reasons for calling for state funding for community colleges in the article Dewhurst presses for community college money. Defending the notion to not raise local taxes or community college tuition, Dewhurst is fighting for $154 million for community colleges from state funding. While handing over this money will solve the problems of the community colleges as far as funding and tuition and tax payers as far as not having to raise taxes, but there is one problem in Dewhurst’s argument – where is this money coming from? Solving one problem only seems to lead to another.
Seeing both sides of the argument there are pros and cons to each. I understand that the law is an essential part of our nation and I do agree that everyone should be expected to abide by the law. If community colleges can get away with feeling that a law no longer applies to them, then I believe that this trend will trickle down to other businesses and eventually lead to state debt which will need to be bailed out by an increase in taxes and tuition. As a student and taxpayer I do not want to see an increase in state taxes or to the tuition bills I pay. The reason I go to community college is to lessen my overall tuition bill because the classes are dramatically cheaper than university classes. For some it is not only a convenience that classes are cheaper, but a necessity. Raising tuition could result in some students unable to afford attending community college. As unfortunate as it is, it seems to me that agreeing with either Perry or Dewhurst will lead to an increase in taxes sooner or later. While Dewhurst’s proposal will delay this increase, the need for extra state money will eventually come and tax payers and college students will both have to pay.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fat now equals dumb?

A recent study on obesity was conducted at UT Austin discussed in the artice UT Study: Obese girls less likely to attend college. In this article is the sad conclusion that being a fat girl results in less education. This is a sad implication for girls and women everywhere. If you are less educated then you are most likely earning a lower salary at a lower status job and are therefore prone to money problems, which often augment relationship and life problems as well. Everyone is aware of the amount of judgment that occurs simply based on appearance. The joke has always been that when talking about a girl if a description took the form of "she has a great personality" or "she's a great girl to talk to" these meant that she was overweight or unattractive. On the plus side of these comments was the impression that there was an intellectual side to these girls. With the results of this study this proves to be the exact opposite. Hopefully this study will be an awakening moment for some girls who struggle with self confidence and are determined to prove this study wrong, but unfortunately my fear is that this study will simply discourage many of those girls who are already on the road to this life style. In my opinion simply revealing these findings should be a jump-starting point for government to step in. I know that at least at my elementary, middle, and high school (and I’m sure many others) pizza, nachos, cookies, soda, and several other unhealthy foods overwhelmed the cafeterias and lunch lines. I understand that soda and fast food companies would be loosing out as well as the schools themselves who would be loosing great amounts of profits from these fattening sales, but does profit need to come before the well being of the students they are educating? Starting young is where the problem needs to be corrected because the trend of this study cannot continue without serious social consequences in the near future. America is obese and something needs curb this trend.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hope for slayers?

What happened to the saying “an eye for an eye?” In today’s world many excuses are arising for the crime and moral wrong doings of members of society. The issue is no longer if a crime was committed, but what traumatic experience or up bringing led the prosecuted to commit the crime? As in the recent story, Hit man in 1992 San Antonio slaying gets stay of execution, appearing in the Dallas Morning News, defending attorneys are falling back on “substance abuse and troubled childhood” as circumstances that should have been taken into consideration before sentencing Mr. Ruiz to death. Mr. Ruiz is now 35 and committed the murder of Theresa Rodriguez 15 years ago. Keep in mind that this still makes him 20 when he committed the murder, therefore not a minor. Regardless of whatever “troubled childhood” he may have had, this does not exempt him from knowing that receiving payment for murder is not right or lawful.

The role of a judge and its jury is (or should be) a respected position and by giving Mr. Ruiz a sentence to death roe this is exactly where he should end. The punishment should not be a drawn out process that fails to go through and is canceled after the planned execution time. The mere fact that Mr. Ruiz says “I’m happy,” is a clear sign that something went wrong in our judicial system. Prison is not meant to be a vacation stay at a hotel. Prison is prison and this should bring all the implications that go along with it. Murderers do not deserve hope that they can continue to waste tax dollars and avoid proper punishment for their crimes.