Congressman Ron Paul issued the following editorial following the March 20 vote.
Following months of heated public debate and aggressive closed-door negotiations, Congress finally cast a historic vote on healthcare late Sunday evening. It was truly a sad weekend on the House floor as we witnessed further dismantling of the Constitution, disregard of the will of the people, explosive expansion of the reach of government, unprecedented corporate favoritism, and the impending end of quality healthcare as we know it.
Those in favor of this bill touted their good intentions of ensuring quality healthcare for all Americans, as if those of us against the bill are against good medical care. They cite fanciful statistics of deficit reduction, while simultaneously planning to expand the already struggling medical welfare programs we currently have. They somehow think that healthcare in this country will be improved by swelling our welfare rolls and cutting reimbursement payments to doctors who are already losing money. It is estimated that thousands of doctors will be economically forced out of the profession should this government fuzzy math actually try to become healthcare reality. No one has thought to ask what good mandatory health insurance will be if people cant find a doctor.
Legislative hopes and dreams dont always stand up well against economic realities. Frustratingly, this legislation does not deal at all with the real reasons access to healthcare is a struggle for so many the astronomical costs. If tort reform was seriously discussed, if the massive regulatory burden on healthcare was reduced and reformed, if the free market was allowed to function and apply downward pressure on healthcare costs as it does with everything else, perhaps people wouldnt be so beholden to insurance companies in the first place. If costs were lowered, more people could simply pay for what they need out of pocket, as they were able to do before government got so involved. Instead, in the name of going after greedy insurance companies, the federal government is going to make people even more beholden to them by mandating that everyone buy their product! Hefty fines are due from anyone found to have committed the heinous crime of not being a customer of a health insurance company. We will need to hire some 16,500 new IRS agents to police compliance with all these new mandates and administer various fines. So in government terms, this is also a jobs bill. Never mind that this program is also likely to cost the private sector some 5 million jobs.
Of course, the most troubling aspect of this bill is that it is so blatantly unconstitutional and contrary to the ideals of liberty. Nowhere in the constitution is there anything approaching authority for the Federal government to do any of this. The founders would have been horrified at the idea of government forcing citizens to become consumers of a particular product from certain government approved companies. 38 states are said to already be preparing legal and constitutional challenges to this legislation, and if the courts stand by their oaths, they will win. Protecting the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, should be the courts responsibility. Citizens have a responsibility over their own life, but they also have the liberty to choose how they will live and protect their lives. Healthcare choices are a part of liberty, another part that is being stripped away. Government interference in healthcare has already infringed on choices available to people, but rather than getting out of the way, it is entrenching itself, and its corporatist cronies, even more deeply.
Editors Note: Ron Paul is the Republican Congressman from District 14. The district includes Chambers County. He has served District 14 since 1997.
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Congressman Ted Poe presented the following speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Mar 20.
Mr. Speaker, the Constitution of the United States of America was written by our Founding Fathers to limit the size of government. The Constitution sets limits on what the government can do for us and what the government can do to us.
The people decide what is best for themselves and our country, not the all-seeing eye of the federal government. James Monroe said in 1788 at the Virginia convention to ratify the United States Constitution, how prone all human institutions have been to decay, how difficult it has been for mankind in the ages and countries to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, imperiled as they were by an irresistible fate of tyranny.
Now the tyrannical all-seeing eye of the federal government is trying to take care of us. The government doesnt think we know how to take care of ourselves, so it must come in and take care of us. We are to be made subjects incapable of taking care of our own health. Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government given any authority to control the peoples health, not one place. George Washington didnt fight the redcoats so people could be the subjects of the new, oppressive, and untrustworthy federal bureaucracy. The colonists didnt die in the War of Independence so a healthcare czar could rule over us.
The government takeover of healthcare is unconstitutional. And if this bill passes, the Texas attorney general and 30 other State attorneys general are prepared to sue the federal government for an exercise of unconstitutional action because this bill is unconstitutional. It forces Americans to buy health insurance against their will. And if people dont buy the insurance, they will face fines or go to jail. And on top of that, it forces people to buy government-approved health insurance. That means the Feds tell people they have to buy the federal-approved insurance, and it tells them what insurance they must buy. Thats not allowed under any stretch of the law or imagination. That is unconstitutional.
And of course, in this bill they are hiring 16,000 new IRS healthcare police to enforce that dictate. The IRS healthcare police will verify that American citizens have acceptable healthcare insurance every month. I say American citizens because illegals are exempt from paying healthcare fines and taxes, although illegals can receive coverage in this bill.
The healthcare bill also violates the peoples right to privacy. Peoples most secret, private, intimate medical records will become the property of the U.S. government. Healthcare busybody bureaucrats will burrow through private medical records and decide what medical care people are allowed to have. Healthcare bureaucrats will stick their nose into private banking accounts and their records to decide how much people have to pay for that health insurance. They will be able to seize tax refunds, bank accounts, garnished wages all in the name of forcing people to buy insurance for their own good. And of course, this is in the bill.
This power grab is not about health, and its certainly not about care. Its about liberty. Its about federal government control over peoples lives against their will. The federal government has no right to dictate to the people their healthcare needs. And in my opinion, its unconstitutional.
Most of the American people oppose the government plan to take over this healthcare. There were thousands of people here today making their voices known that they are opposed to this bill. It costs too much, it borrows too much, it taxes too much, its inefficient, and it gives government bureaucrats the control of our medical decisions.
Even Thomas Jefferson talked about government-run healthcare. He said, If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.
Mr. Speaker, government-run healthcare is unconstitutional, and its unhealthy for everyone. We must remember the Constitution says and begins with We the People, not We the Subjects.
And thats just the way it is.
Editors Note: Ted Poe is the Republican Congressman from District 2. The district includes Highlands, Crosby and Liberty County. He has served in Congress since 2006.
Rep. Gene Green voted in support of H.R. 3590, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and H.R. 4872, The Reconciliation Act of 2010.
Rep. Green released the following statement in support of the legislation:
While no bill is perfect, my greatest concern is ensuring that the people of our district have greater access to healthcare. Your health care decisions shouldnt be made by the government or by an insurance company. Your health care decisions should be made by you. This bill expands coverage to 30 million U.S. citizens including 223,500 in our district.
This is middle-of-the-road legislation that builds on the private insurance system that we current have. This is also a market-based approach, not a government takeover or government option, that utilizes insurance exchanges to pool individuals together – who dont have employer-based insurance and would otherwise be on their own to secure insurance – in order to reduce exorbitant premiums. The legislation includes significant consumer protections and improves Medicare benefits for 56,000 seniors in our district.
In addition 217,000 residents in our district will receive improved employer-based coverage, 34,500 residents will no longer be denied coverage for preexisting conditions and no one will be denied coverage because of health status or gender. The time for health reform has come and these benefits to our district are essential.
Editors Note: Gene Green is the Democratic Congressman from District 29. The district includes Baytown (south of I-10), Channelview, South Houston and Northeast Harris County. He has served in Congress since 1992.
By SEN. JOHN CORNYN
The United States Army is the finest in the world. Throughout our country’s history, these brave men and women have demonstrated unparalleled patriotism, valor, and resolve. I join my fellow Texans in saluting the often unsung efforts of the American Soldier.
The Army’s achievements would not be possible without the efforts of its Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) Corps. These Soldiers — ranging in rank from Corporal to Command Sergeant Major and responsible for the “nuts and bolts” of daily training and operations in the Army at home and overseas — are truly the backbone of the Army. Oftentimes, commissioned officers are the public face of the Army, but NCOs work behind the scenes to get things done. Whether it’s the drill sergeant training new Soldiers, the squad leader caring for young Soldiers and their families, or the platoon sergeant leading a patrol in Iraq or Afghanistan, NCOs are out front, making things happen Army-wide every day.
The U.S. Army is celebrating 2009 as the “Year of the Non-Commissioned Officer.” Since 1775, the NCO Corps has distinguished itself as the world’s most accomplished group of military professionals. Historical and current accounts of NCO actions are exemplified by acts of courage coupled with a dedication and willingness to do whatever it takes to complete the mission. NCOs have been celebrated for decorated service throughout our nation’s military history – ranging from Valley Forge to Gettysburg, to charges on Omaha Beach and battles along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, to the current operations in the mountains of Afghanistan and streets of Iraq. The recent actions of Texas’ own Staff Sergeant Matthew Kinney, from Nacogdoches, represent the tremendous level of leadership, dedication and courage epitomized by the Army’s NCOs.
Staff Sergeant Kinney had already served twice in Iraq when he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. Kinney, a flight medic, responded to an urgent MEDEVAC request for four casualties in the rugged Korengal Valley of Afghanistan on October 16th. Once on the ground, Staff Sergeant Kinney discovered six American casualties in a small mud hut, as well as several other Soldiers taking cover from fire.
Demonstrating strong and decisive leadership in a very difficult situation, Kinney ordered all nonwounded Soldiers to secure the outside area as he triaged the casualties and stabilized the critically wounded. As hoist operations began, the aircraft and the shelter came under heavy machine gun fire. While completing a hoist, Kinney was able to locate the direction of the fire and redirect Apache gunships to take out the enemy threat, ultimately saving the crew in their MEDEVAC aircraft as well as the Soldiers still on the ground. As Kinney continued the evacuation, he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire as he diligently cared for his fellow Soldiers, without regard for his own physical well-being. Then, while en route to the Forward Surgical Team’s location, Kinney single-handedly treated the wounds of five critical patients.
His heroic actions that day earned him a Silver Star, our nation’s third highest military award for valor. He has also been awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for a separate engagement in Afghanistan.
Staff Sergeant Kinney epitomizes the critical role played by our Army’s NCOs, and he and other NCOs like him provide the gold standard for others to follow. Today’s NCOs are more innovative and capable than ever; they lead by example, all while taking care of their fellow Soldiers, adapting to ever-changing environments, and taking on growing responsibilities. This year of recognition for our Army NCOs serves as an opportunity for Texans and all Americans to become better acquainted with the significant functions that NCOs carry out within our Army. They are truly a national treasure, deserving of our utmost gratitude and respect.
Please join me in celebrating the accomplishments of Staff Sergeant Kinney and these fine American patriots. I applaud the efforts of the Army’s NCOs as they train and fight every day to preserve our way of life and care for the American Soldier. I also offer my sincere thanks to our Army NCO veterans who have sacrificed in defense of our freedom and who continue to represent the best of both Texas and the United States. I am humbled by your dedicated service. Well done!
Sen. Cornyn serves on the Finance, Judiciary and Budget Committees. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.
Today, Congress passed the largest spending bill in our nations history I voted NO.
This morning, before the vote, I was talking to my friend Sammy Mahan from Baytown, Texas, and I shared our conversation on the House floor today. Like most Americans, he was concerned about his business and what this is going to cost.
Sammy owns a wrecker business and has five wreckers under his service. He asked me, How are we going to pay for it? And I said, Well, we dont have the money so we are probably going to have to borrow it, maybe from the Chinese. Eventually there is going to be a tax increase.
And he asked, How much is it going to cost? I said, $790 billion. Then he said, No. How much is it going to cost me? I replied, It is about $10,000 per family, is what they say.
Then he said, Well, I dont have $10,000; and unlike you government boys, I cant spend money I dont have. So I want you to opt me out of this deal. And I asked, What do you mean, opt you out? He replied, Give me a form. I want to sign it. You take $10,000 off that $790 billion. I dont want to pay it because I dont have the money.
I suspect that if most Americans read this bill and they realized how much it was going to cost them personally they would agree with Sammy. And since people I represent cant opt out, I am going to opt out for them.
Congress needs to come up with a plan that actually stimulates our economy by addressing the problems that got us here, not creating more. But in another failed attempt to save the day, Congress continued down the same path of careless and wasteful spending and voted 246 – 183 to pass this misguided spending bill loaded with pork. Congress needs to act to revive our economy, but a bill loaded with pet projects and more government programs is not the way to financial salvation. Government is not the answer it is the problem.
Allowing Americans to keep more of their own money by providing tax cuts for everyone who pays federal income tax is the only proven method of giving the economy the shot in the arm it needs to recover. We do not need more government jobs, we need to allow our small businesses to increase their productivity and create jobs that will last. I believe that Americans know how to best spend their money, not the Washington elites.
Ted Poe is the Republican congressman for East Harris and West Liberty County.
Rep. Gene Green last week voted in support of H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This legislation will help Americans become more globally competitive and energy independent, modernize our infrastructure and healthcare systems, invest in the future of education, while providing unprecedented accountability and transparency. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was approved by a vote of 246-183, and will be sent to President Obama this week for his signature.
Today, Congress took action and passed a responsible solution that will put America on the road to recovery, said Rep. Green. We are not looking simply to provide a crutch for Americans who have lost their jobs. Our investment in the workforce is designed to not only rebuild America, but to transform our economy for long-term growth and make Americans globally competitive in growing industries like green collar jobs, new energy markets, and health care information and technologies.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will create and save 3 to 4 million jobs and prepare our economy for long-term growth. This legislation focuses on the struggling economy today and on creating a sustained workforce for tomorrow. ARRA includes strong oversight and public transparency. More than three quarters of all Americans favor this legislation.
Right now Texas has an unemployment rate of 6 percent, and it is estimated that the Recovery package will create or save over 269,000 jobs in Texas alone, said Green.
A staggering 3.6 million American jobs have been lost since this recession began in December 2007. High unemployment and rising costs have outpaced Americans paychecks. The Recovery Act will help workers train and find jobs, and help struggling families make ends meet. Every dollar in unemployment or food stamp creates at least $1.63 in economic activity, as these funds are spent quickly. 95 percent of Americans will receive an immediate tax cut.
This jobs and economic recovery act contains plans to create or save 269,000 jobs in Texas over the next two years, provide a Making Work Pay tax cut of up to $800 for over 8 million workers and their families immediately, and modernize the states infrastructure and create jobs with an extra $2.8 billion dollars in funding.
We cannot afford to wait. Our economy is crumbling, workers are being laid off, people are losing their health insurance, and families are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet, said Rep. Green. This legislation will start us back on the right track by looking out for those who have been most affected, and by broadly investing in multiple sectors of our economy. It will take time to turn this economy around, but I am confident that this package will make our economy stronger.
Gene Green is the Democratic Congressman for East Harris County.
By AISHA FARHOUD
“Rock hasn’t died, it’s just moved underground”
That’s what someone said to me when I told him rock was dead. At the time I thought it was just a nicer way of saying it was dead, but I’m beginning to realize that the underground movement in music is growing stronger by the minute with the help of the Internet.
Popular networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook aren’t just for teenagers looking to message their friends anymore, these sites are becoming powerful tools for musical groups. Musicians can create a profile and upload full-length songs off of their latest album, list upcoming tour dates and locations, post photos and articles, and, perhaps more importantly, include a link to a page where fans can purchase their album on mp3. Fans can add their favorite performers to their friends list, further increasing Internet exposure.
In essence, the music industry is changing completely thanks to these websites. 10 years ago we wondered what tiny media we would be purchasing for our music, as the bulky record had transformed into the cassette tape and then the nearly paper-thin CD. But with the advent of the mp3, tangible music media began to vanish. Even MTV has let music fans down, evolving from a kooky 24-hour music video channel into a commercialized empire that airs programs such as “The Hills” and “Pimp My Ride” over music videos in what looks like a ratio of 20:1.
A few nights ago I went to a concert of a band named I Am X (with Chris Corner of the Sneaker Pimps, a trip-hop group that had decent radio exposure in the mid-90s). I stumbled upon their MySpace page and noticed that under “Label” they listed “Unsigned”. Yet the turnout at the concert was fairly good, and they seem to have a pretty strong fan following, with some people travelling all over the state to see them perform. This means that even without label support bands are able to sell digital copies of their albums and organize concert performances; websites such as MySpace and Facebook help them do just that. The music industry has definitely taken notice. Universal Music even threatened to sue MySpace over “copyright infringement” in 2006, which arguably shows that they felt endangered by the website’s increasing prominence.
It appears as though television is following a similar path with the help of websites such as YouTube. In fact, I know several people who no longer own a television and instead watch their favorite TV shows online. Although YouTube frequently deletes copyrighted videos uploaded by users, this does not stop them from reappearing later, nor does it stop similar websites from offering copyrighted material (in a similar fashion to what happened after the music-sharing network Napster was shut down in 2001). We may even see independent television shows and movies appearing on websites such as YouTube in the near future.
The revolution will indeed not be televised, but rather broadcast over the internet for the whole world to see.
Aisha Farhoud is the Youth Editor of the Northeast News. She can be reached by email at aishafarhoud, yahoo
Community members met to discuss groundwater contamination near the Eastex Freeway and Hartwick.
Aldine ISD hosted a city-wide conference on student race relations.
Alberto Gonzalez, an Aldine ISD alum, was confirmed as the first Hispanic U.S. Attorney General.
Northline Mall announced plans to demolish the existing structure and replace it with an open air shopping center.
Aldine FFA students earned $84,800 at the 46th annual project show.
Houston ISD superintendent Abe Saavedra announced the district would seek outside help for Sam Houston, Kashmere, and Yates High Schools. Parents voice opposition.
Aldine community groups petition to save METROs Route 54 bus line.
Houston Texan and Aldine ISD alum Aaron Glenn donated $15,000 to the Aldine Scholarship Fund.
Smiley High creates the first teen Community Emergency Response Team.
Habitat for Humanity built is 500th house in Houston. The home was built in the Wood Glen subdivision where more than 200 Habitat houses have been built.
Aldine ISD is named a Broad Prize finalist for the second consecutive year.
The water line project for Inwood Place received an $80,000 boost with a grant from the Harris-Galveston Coastal Subsidence District.
A Teague Middle School student brought a gun to school.
Houston ISD decided to retain the principals at Sam Houston and Yates but replaced half the teachers.
Aldine YOUTH opened the Youth School of Business and Renewed Blessings Resale shop on the centers 15th anniversary.
Houston ISD fired two former Bowie Elementary teachers because they helped students cheat on the 2004 TAKS test.
METROs new Route 59 along Aldine Mail began service.
North Forest ISD approved school consolidation and a new administration building. The distribt also swore in three new board members: Jarvis Jermaine Clark, Charles H. Taylor, and T. Marie McCall.
Smiley High School biology teacher, Melvin Johnson, was indicted for possessing and receiving child pornography.
Scenic Woods Library opened after being closed two and a half years for renovations.
The owners of Chinese Wok on Aldine Mail Rt. were arrested for illegally smuggling immigrants from Mexico and making them work at the restaurant for slave wages.
Two Aldine ISD trustees, Steve Mead and Art Murillo, were robbed at gun point in the district offices parking lot following a meeting.
Two Aldine High students admitted to torching the car of their chemistry teacher in exchange for passing grades.
North Forest community gave support to the proposed Royal Oaks Terrace subdivision. The project calls for 64 homes to be built near Homestead and Tatenhaun.
A sheriffs deputy shot and killed a deputy constable when he was mistaken for the fleeing suspect.
A tip from Americas Most Wanted helped police catch a suspect in the abduction and rape of a 12-year-old at the Fiesta on Airline.
Developers met with community organizations to discuss the creation of Wayside Village, a proposed housing development to contain 1,600 new homes near East Little York.
Area citizens stepped up to aid victims of hurricane Katrina.
Local stores ran out of water, gas, and supplies as Houston braced for Hurricane Rita. Evacuees clogged I 45 and Highway 59 as they tried to leave town.
Airline Improvement District tax approved by voters.
Broad prize awards Aldine ISD $125,000 in scholarship monies.
Aldine YOUTH receives new parking lot.
Landvest announced plans to build 200 homes near Aldine Bender and Lee Road.
Emmett Hill resigns from Aldine school board due to health concerns.
ACORN Housing announced plans to build 89 homes near Mesa and Tidwell.
Seven of nine constitutional amendments passed, Adrian Garcia was reelected to District H.
High Meadows Library reopened after being closed eight months for remodeling.
The Texas Art Education Association named MacArthur art teacher, Michael Hall, best art teacher in the state.
Jarvis Johnson was elected as council member for district B after a run off election against Felicia Galloway-Hall.
North Forest ISD reinstated superintendent Dr. James Simpson after he was placed on temporary paid suspension in November.
Aldine ISDs board of trustees chose Dr. Alton Smith to replace Emmett Hill.
MacArthur alum Phanta Jack Phoummarath died during a fraternity hazing at the University of Texas.
I hate being sick.
It starts with a little tickle in the throat, a stuffy nose, a sore neck, an achy feeling in the back, and it just goes downhill from there.
I’ve got this box of vitamins on top of the refrigerator, full of vitamin C, cod liver oil capsules, echinacea and multi-vitamins. Every morning my family gets “treated” during the cold and flu season.
A major milestone we use to determine whether a person is really sick is when they complain that their hair hurts.
Every year our family tiptoes through the wilderness of flu bugs. Some years we have more casualties than others. Some years are so bad that we refer to them in historical terms: “Remember that winter when …?”
One year we caught the granddaddy of all flu bugs. I was so sick that it was too much effort to watch, much less assimilate, what was happening on television. Then my two littlest ones caught it. They lay side by side on the bed for days, unmoving, staring with sightless eyes at the TV screen. The doc said we just had to wait it out. Every half hour or so I’d take their pulse, their temperature and force-feed them liquids. They lived.
Thankfully, we’ve never all had such a major illness at the same time. I shudder when I read about those folks in pioneer days when they caught typhoid, diphtheria or some such, and were all down at the same time. Sometimes they owed their very survival to a tiny tot who could still bring them a drink of water. The community knew to stay away from that house until the disease had been eradicated.
We don’t handle sickness in such a very logical manner anymore.
If you have kids in public school you know that if your kid misses more than three days due to illness, you must have a doctor’s excuse to get them back in. Everybody knows that it takes about a week to get over the common cold, and the doctor will probably tell you to “rest and drink plenty of liquids.” But this holds no water with the schools. Apparently, they don’t believe a mother is capable of diagnosing a cold or flu, so you have to go buy an excused-slip from a medical professional. This mentality also inspires the wholesale prescribing of antibiotics, which in turn creates super bugs resistant to treatment.
Meanwhile, we so-called adults drag our damaged bodies out of bed, fill ourselves with some kind of artificially life-giving medication, and weave our way through rush-hour traffic to our jobs, either out of a sense of duty or a sense of fear that some up-and-coming person is going to make the company realize that they really can get by without us.
With a system like this, we don’t even need bio-terrorism introduced by an enemy to decimate our populace. We do a pretty good job of it all on our own.
Write to Francis Shrum in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TAKS, FCAT, HSPA? These probably look like just a jumble of letters to most of us, but to high school students in 24 states, these letters mean the difference between a diploma and a ticket back to high school. They are the abbreviations for high school exit exams.
Students come to dread the exit exams required for graduation. But it’s worth it once they get that passing score. They’re ready for college or a good job, right?
Unfortunately, no. Too many students who pass exit exams are still not ready for college or for a well-paying job.
A study by Achieve, Inc., a nonprofit organization formed by governors and business leaders to promote high academic standards, shows that most high school exit exams don’t measure the skills students need for success in college or the world of work.
The report, Do Graduation Tests Measure Up?: A Closer Look at State High School Exit Exams (available free at www.achieve.org), analyzed tests in the six largest states requiring them. It found that students who pass the tests in those states aren’t necessarily college-ready. In fact, the “exit exams,” more closely resemble ACT’s EXPLORE Assessment designed for 8th and 9th grade students.
High school students need to know that passing an exit exam doesn’t mean that they’re ready to succeed in college. I’ve met many students and parents who assume that the courses required to graduate from high school are the same as the courses required to be admitted to and succeed in college. In a word, “WRONG!” ACT recommends high school students take at least these classes to be prepared for college:
* 4 years of English — grammar, composition, literature, etc.
* 3 or more years of math — algebra I and higher
* 3 or more years of science — Earth science, biology, chemistry, physics
* 3 or more years of social studies — history, economics, geography, civics, psychology, etc.
Many colleges also recommend:
* At least 2 units of the same foreign language
* Additional courses in visual arts, music, theater, dance, computer science, etc.
Students who followed ACT’s guidelines scored two and a half points higher on the ACT Assessment in 2003 than students who did not. But less than half of the students who took the test took the recommended courses in math and science. In other words, many students who intend to go to college are making the choice to avoid courses that will prepare them for college.
It doesn’t make sense, does it?
When students are unprepared for college-level coursework, they need remedial (sometimes called “developmental”) classes. These classes cost as much as a college-level course, but the student doesn’t
get credit for them. They don’t count toward graduation requirements. It’s a waste of both money and time, learning skills that should have been mastered in high school. Even students who enroll in community colleges, thinking they might not be held to as high an academic standard, receive a rude awakening when they are placed in remedial classes. In too many cases, this means a lot longer than two years to earn a “two-year” degree, and more than four years to earn a “four-year” degree.
An exit exam can be a good tool to see what students have learned, but it should be viewed as a minimum level of learning. Students need to go further to truly prepare themselves for college and for the future. If you’re a parent of a high school student, it’s a good idea to consult with your student’s counselor and make sure his courses are the ones needed for college success. The hard part is convincing some students that hard work in high school will pay off down the road.
College requires a lot of difficult preparation, and students must have the foundation on which to build their knowledge before they arrive on campus.
Rose Rennekamp is the vice president of communications for ACT. She is a mom and has a master’s of education in guidance and counseling. Have a question you want answered in a future column? Send a letter to this newspaper or e-mail Rose at AskRose@act.org.
“The most important thing [in the Olympic Games] is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.” – The Olympic Creed
We’ve all been inspired by Texas’ athletic stars, hometown heroes to many of us. But there is one star who seems to shine brighter with each summer victory. Lance Armstrong has done it again. He’s accomplished what no other cyclist has done before, winning his sixth straight Tour de France.
The Austin native held up six fingers as he raced to the finish line in Paris, pedaling his way out of Montereau and into history as one of the greatest athletes ever.
Cyclists from all over the world compete along 2,050 miles of road ranging from flat wheat fields to the steep Alps, making the Tour de France known not only for its beautiful terrain, but also as one of the most grueling sporting events of the modern era. Lance Armstrong has been an inspiration through his cycling accomplishments. Yet the headlines and glory fall a distant second behind his victory over cancer.
In October of 1996, while seemingly at the top of his game, the two-time Olympian was stricken with pain and forced off his bike. Armstrong was given less than a 50-50 chance to live after testicular cancer spread to his lungs and brain. As if scripted by Hollywood, the promising athlete fought and persevered to defeat the disease – and then employed that same tenacity to get back on the bike and back on top.
Today, our Texas hometown hero uses his triumphs to serve as a symbol of hope, inspiration and survivorship. He established the non-profit Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF), which has become one of the nation’s preeminent cancer research organizations. This year, the LAF sold yellow bracelets with the words “Live Strong” with a goal of raising $5 million for cancer patients and their families. So far, LAF has sold seven million bracelets, bringing a total of $7 million to the cause already and more on back order.
A Look at Athens
The competitive side of Texas will continue to shine this summer as the country and the world heads to Athens, Greece for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games.
Every four years, the world comes together as one in celebration of the globe’s most prestigious athletic event. All too often our nations are unified only through tragedy, but, for the past 108 years, the Olympic Games have brought us together for friendly competition.
In the first modern Olympic Games, approximately 300 athletes from 13 countries competed in only nine sports. This month, nearly 10,500 athletes from 202 countries will partake in 37 different events.
So who will be next in joining Lance Armstrong and Michael Johnson in Texas Olympic history? Texas is the home state of 29 athletes on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team. We are proud to field more athletes than any other state, except California. Fellow Texans will be cheering on their hometown heroes, including returning Olympians Mia Hamm, Sheryl Swoopes, Laura Wilkinson, Amy Acuff, Glenn Fuller, Connie Schiller Smotek, and Stacy Sykora. Texans are accustomed to being among the biggest and the best, but this competition is world class. Each one of these Lone Stars will be doing their utmost, competing for the gold and fighting to be among the great Texas Olympians.
I congratulate our Texas hometown heroes, Lance Armstrong and our Olympic athletes, in all they have achieved and have yet to accomplish. They make us proud.
To learn more on the Lance Armstrong Foundation visit www.laf.org and www.livestrong.com, to order a Live Strong bracelet. Keep up to date on the US Olympic team and Olympic events at www.usolympicteam.com and www.athens2004.com.