In efforts to promote the Youngstown City School District, my speech class at East High School gathered information from the Mahoning Valley citizens to resolve violence and the lack of moral respect in our public schools. As an East High student, I must say that this district is by far the most complex, yet caring, system I have been a part of.
Teachers and staff find themselves taking on parental roles due to the lack of discipline at home. Students tend to attach themselves to the authoritative figures outside their home, due to a lack of parental support. We have nearly 1,000 students attending East High School and roughly 100 parents attended the parent-teacher conferences this year.
When I moved to Youngstown in 2005, I found students who lacked basic morals, self-respect, a need to strive for their very best and some who did not want to comply with our society. I was stunned at the value placed on education and the value of life. It seemed like many of the students did not care about the school or what others thought of them and their actions. After a while, I began to believe that the arrogance of some students was so severe that no action could change the behavior.
Vandalism seems to plague the streets and schools of Youngstown, but why? Is it because students find themselves bored and in the desperate mood for entertainment? Are some students angry and relieve their tensions on the property of others? From my knowledge, it’s a sad and humiliating environment for the citizens of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.Thus, some may wonder, why do these students deserve a levy to be passed, why do they deserve to have a multi-million dollar learning facility, and why should the community step in to inform students that it’s not OK to deal or abuse legal/illegal drugs and teen pregnancy is not OK? If you want the district to change direction, if you want the students to change their actions, then you, as our parents and guardians, need to stand up and teach us the appropriate values many of us lack desperately. We need you, these children need you, your children need you. The district cannot do it alone. You cannot expect these students to change in the community when their lifestyles aren’t changing at home.
Bottom line, don’t give up on them, don’t you dare give up on these students. They are the immediate future of Youngstown. Children are considered to be miniature figures of their parents or guardians, and if you do not find our students to be appealing, we have learned our values from you. So, if you, as parents and guardians, have not taught us right from wrong, then how do you expect us to automatically know the difference?
AMMIE-MARIE ROXANNE LITTKE
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
- The John Adams mini-series on HBO is great. Paul Giammati gives an inspired performance as the nation's second president.
- PBS' Frontline examined the Iraq war over two nights this week in "Bush's War". This was an insightful look at the war that has dragged on for five years.
- Battlestar Galactica wraps up its series with the beginning of the fourth season next Friday, April 4th. This superb television show does exactly what good science fiction is supposed to do; it examines the human condition in a format that entertains as it holds your attention. Questions about politics, religion, torture, genocide and peace have all been explored in the past three years.
- Lost has wrapped up an eight episode run chronicling the ever complex lives of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. This season was even more abbreviated than it was scheduled to be (it was only scheduled to have 16 episodes) but they were eight fantastic episodes. Some answers were given that led to more intriguing questions and the writers have tightened up the plot nicely. How did the Oceanic 6 leave the island? What happened to the rest of the survivors? What do the numbers mean? Oh, it's going to be a long wait until the next season.
So, we lost Jack Bauer for this year but everything is not dismal. If you missed any of the above programs they can be found on their network's respective websites. Now put down those books and get watching. Happy viewing.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Ohio currently generates 1% of its electricity from renewable sources according to the PUCO website. While it is common knowledge that Northeast Ohio lacks the sunshine California and Arizona enjoy, we have been known to experience some fairly strong winds and have abundant space for windmills. Space available includes landfills, offshoer areas in Lake Erie and abundant rural areas.
In 2007, Governor Strickland approved a five million dollar grant for two projects in Ohio which will generate 149 mega-watts of power or enough to power 45,000 homes. It is good to see Ohio making an effort to invest in renewable energy sources but I would obviously like to see some of that investment find its way to Northeast Ohio. Perhaps further development can take into consideration some of the advantages this area has to offer.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I found this video of Youngstown by Art Director Ron Flaviano on You Tube. It shows I-680 leading downtown and then the downtown area itself. I enjoyed the views from on high and the spotlight on the architecture of the buildings.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Keith Olbermann thinks so. This story raises the possibility that it was Senator Clinton's campaign that contacted Canada about dismissing the rhetoric on NAFTA. If this is true, all of Senator Clinton's talk about renegotiating NAFTA because of the detrimental effect it has had on the Mahoning Valley is just so much hot air. We need to make sure both her and Senator Obama are held to the promises made when they visited the area.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
So I ordered some books from Amazon.com and they arrived today. By "arrived" I mean the UPS guy did that thing where they bang on the door once and then run back to the truck like they are a little kid playing a Halloween prank. I know this because people were home all day and never heard the package arrive. After what must have been hours, we noticed the box lying in a half inch pool of water on the porch because it had been raining all day. The delivery guy couldn't be bothered to put it between the storm door and the entrance door. No, it was easier to chuck it in a puddle. To be fair, the box was just soaking wet and ready to fall apart when we brought it in. We completed the disintegration process when we pulled the flaps open. Luckily the good folks at Amazon are aware of UPS' shortcomings and shrink wrapped the books inside the box, keeping them nice and dry. Therefore, a whole messy yelling and screaming match with the goofballs in brown was avoided. Thanks Amazon!
Saturday, March 15, 2008
At the time the article was written our household switched 10 light bulbs to CFL's and saw a reduction in electricity used the next month. We read some more about energy efficiency and then started killing the vampires in the house. Vampires are devices that drain electricity even when turned off. These include TV's, DVD players, desktop PC's, and cell phone chargers. Instead of actually turning off, these devices go into a stand by mode which still draws power. To combat this drain, we unplugged as many of these devices as possible when they are not in use. If they are grouped together, such as a PC, scanner and printer may be, we plugged as many of them as possible into power strips and turned them off with the flick of one switch. The strategy seems to be paying off.
For our home, kilowatt hours used in January 2007 were 894. In January 2008 usage dropped to about 600. That's about a 30% drop in electricity usage. It remains to be seen if that will continue throughout the year, especially if we have a hot summer. If rates increase the whole enterprise could quickly turn into a way to hold costs steady instead of saving money. Luckily rates have not increased very much since last year so the bill is also 30% smaller.
It's great to see that doing good for the environment can keep a few bucks in your wallet.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Proving once again that decency and common sense have long since departed his White House, President Bush vetoed a bill that would have specifically banned the use of the torture act known as waterboarding. This interrogation technique involves strapping a person to a table, covering their face with a cloth and then pouring water over it to simulate drowning. Apparently the president believes that he must destroy the core values of America to keep America safe. A little of the old "We had to burn the village to save the village" you see.
I see people supporting things like torture, holding people without charges, secret prisons and extraordinary rendition and I wonder what will become of us. Aren't these the actions of Castro's regime or the old Soviet Union? Being patriotic used to mean supporting what was best for America regardless of political loyalties. Now I guess it means we slap a yellow ribbon magnet on the car and adhere to the old "might makes right" philosophy.
By endorsing these acts the president squanders any sense of fair play or morality we may have had with the rest of the world. How can we possibly champion human rights in a place like China when the president says this about waterboarding; "The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror". Valuable tools? Is that what stress positions, freezing temperatures and simulated drowning are?
There will come a time when we speak against these same acts being carried out in another country and our own crimes will be thrown back at us by dictators, questioning our authority to do so. Worse, there may come a time when we see such acts taking place and remain silent because we believe we have no authority to speak out.
Monday, March 03, 2008
Perhaps the same is true of gun violence.
Yeah, it's a stretch but stick with me.
- Waiting periods and background checks help reduce gun violence but that waiting period and background check should apply to every gun transaction, not just those taking place at a firearms dealer. Private sales should should meet the same requirements.
- California wants to require gun manufacturers to sell weapons with micro-stamping funtionality. Basically, the casings of the cartridge would be marked with a micro-stamp that would identify the gun it was fired from. It won't help with crimes committed by revolvers where the casings aren't ejected but many crimes are committed with semi-automatic handguns that do eject their casings.
- Finally, investigate how a firearm got into the hands of a criminal. Guns leave the factory, go to a licensed dealer and then into the hands of a private citizen who passes a background check. So how do so many of them end up in the hands of criminals? New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to investigate that but was stymied by the Federal government. It is common sense to root out all of the illegal strawmen buying guns for the purpose of reselling them to criminals. It is also time to investigate the licensed firearms dealers who are selling to those buyers.
Making it harder to commit suicide by placing barriers in a person's path seems successful. It seems reasonable that making it harder to obtain a firearm would keep criminals from committing crimes. Just as those who want to kill themselves can be deterred by making the act more difficult, criminals may not act if they do not have the advantage of a firearm. I have no doubt that if obstructions like the Tiahrt Amendment were repealed, local communities could begin to ferret out the dealers and buyers who dump firearms into the hands of criminals.
ETA: Gun crimes from today:Six Shot Dead in Memphis
2 Dead After Shooting at Florida Wendy's