Category Archives: Editorial

Editorial: Education Trumped

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Alexis Faley

Staff Writer

alexisfaleyesg@gmail.com

 

As America takes its first steps into the Trump presidency, the new head of the executive branch has begun appointing people to various departments of government. One of his most recent appointments was the woman he hopes to be the next secretary of education – Betsy DeVos.

One would certainly hope that someone who was given such an important role in the nation’s government would be qualified, but if this election cycle has made anything clear, it’s that being qualified is no longer a requirement for political office.

Tuesday, Jan. 17, a confirmation hearing was held for DeVos. Students should know that her appointment to secretary of education could come with many consequences. Any mistakes DeVos makes will affect an entire generation of students if she is confirmed.

Many college students across the United States depend on loans or federal grants in order to receive higher education without incurring extensive debt. It is the responsibility of the secretary of education to distribute this money to students in need through Pell Grants and other forms of financial aid.

During the hearing, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said that 150 billion dollars is invested into students each year by the federal government so that they can pay off their student loans.

Warren also said, “The secretary of education is essentially responsible for managing a trillion-dollar student loan bank.” The financial futures of an entire generation are dependent upon a well operated Department of Education.

To hold the entire future of a generation of students in one’s hands is no small task. It’s likely safe to assume that most people agree that someone with such responsibility should be experienced in dealing with programs like this.

So what experience does Betsy DeVos have?

Warren asked,

“Mrs. DeVos, do you have any direct experience running a bank?”

“Senator, I do not.”

“Have you ever managed or overseen a trillion-dollar loan program?”

“I have not.”

“How about a billion-dollar loan program?”

“I have not.”

“Ok, so no experience managing a program like this. How about participating in one? Mrs. DeVos have you ever taken out a student loan from the federal government to help pay for college?”

“I have not.”

“Have any of your children had to borrow money in order to go to college?”

“They have been fortunate not to.”

“Have you had any personal experience with a Pell Grant?”

“Not personal experience, but certainly friends and students with whom I’ve worked -”

“So you have no personal experience with college financial aid or management of higher education.”

Betsy DeVos is a member of the aristocratic elite. She has a history of using her family’s considerable wealth to promote her personal agenda through politics. This is clearly not someone who knows the struggles faced by lower-class citizens fighting to make their educational goals a reality.

If DeVos lacks experience running a government loan program, then surely she must have some redeeming quality that makes her worthy of this position, right? Perhaps what she lacks in personal experience she makes up for by being extremely knowledgeable about the education system.

Later in the hearing, Sen. Al Franken asked DeVos for her opinions on the debate regarding proficiency and growth – a long-standing, well-known debate in the world of education. However, DeVos made it clear that she did not know the difference between these two terms when she confused the definition of proficiency with that of growth.

Despite being underqualified, perhaps DeVos’s redeeming quality is that she just wants what is best for students. However, she made it very clear that she will likely not make decisions that are in the best interest of the majority of students.

When asked by Sen. Murray if she could promise to everyone at the hearing that she would not work to privatize public schools or cut federal money from public education, DeVos refused to do so.

All schools that receive federal funding are expected to uphold certain standards provided by the federal government. When asked by Sen. Kaine if she would hold all K-12 schools who received federal funding to equal accountability under the law, whether public, public charter, or private, DeVos said that she did not believe that all schools should be held to the same standards.

This has the potential to cause major inequalities in the education system regarding the treatment of students.

For example, Kaine also asked if DeVos believed that all schools receiving federal funds should be required to uphold the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. To respond, DeVos said she thought that was a matter for each state to decide. This would mean that in some states, students with disabilities could be treated well, while other states could treat disabled students poorly.

Sen. Sanders also had questions for the nominee. “Some of us believe that we should make public colleges and universities tuition free so that every young person in this country, regardless of income, does have that option. That’s not the case today. Will you work with me and others to make public colleges and universities tuition free through federal and state efforts?” DeVos responded that it was an “interesting idea,” but nothing is truly free.

What about the simple matter of safety in the nation’s schools? When asked about the presence of guns in schools, DeVos said that she believed it was the right of the states to decide their policies for firearms on school grounds. She then cited an earlier statement from Sen. Enzi saying that guns may be necessary in some schools to “protect from potential grizzlies.”

Potential grizzlies. In case this wasn’t obvious, there have been far more school shootings than grizzly bear attacks.

A far greater threat than grizzly bears to a young student is the potential to become a victim of sexual assault. When asked by Casey what she would do about the current rates of sexual assault in public schools, DeVos was vague. It should never be unknown whether or not the national head of education will work to protect students from assault. Students deserve to know that they will be protected under the law and that their attackers will be brought to justice.

It is important for the people of this country to remember that their power as citizens comes from using their voices to fight for their best interests. Too often, average citizens disagree with political events, but they don’t use their rights as citizens to fight for what they truly believe.

If confirmed, Betsy DeVos will make decisions that will impact students for the rest of their lives. Are these decisions in the best interests of students?

The Flawed Committee

Robert Burack
Sports EditorCFB-Playoff-Vertical Signature_RGB

Many Michigan fans are still moaning about the loss to their arch rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes, and are still upset about finishing in 6th place. They, however, are not the only fan base dissatisfied with how the committee ranked their team on Sunday. The new college football playoff system that takes the top four ranked teams remains much, much better than the controversial, scandalous system known as the BCS. However, the new system still remains highly flawed.
The most argued point this year is Penn State being left out and placed 5th and Ohio State making the playoffs while holding down the number three spot in the country. The big outcry is that on Saturday, Oct. 22, Penn State, at home, defeated the Buckeyes. Not only that, but this result led to Penn State making and winning the 2016 Big Ten Championship game. Ohio State stayed home. In defense of OSU, they did finish with an 11-1 record, compared to PSU finishing 11-2. (The additional game was the result of the Big Ten Championship). The PSU supporters say, “we won the head to head” and “we are the big ten champs,” leaving out a brutal lost to Michigan (49-10), who OSU beat, and a loss to a Pitt team that finished twenty-second.
The issue with the committee isn’t that they put OSU in. OSU earned it. OSU beat Michigan and they beat non-conference opponent Oklahoma who finished 7th. Beating the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma is not easy. Not to mention that they had the best loss in the country, to Penn State at Penn State. The committee messed up by putting Clemson in over PSU. Yes, that is right, both Ohio State and Penn State should have made the third annual playoffs.
Let’s break it down. Clemson, the ACC Champions, played a weak schedule. The win over Louisville, who was number three at the time, was impressive, but Louisville showed later on that they were actually not very good. Clemson even struggled against Troy. If NC State didn’t miss a chip-shot field goal, Clemson would have also that game. Pitt beat them, they struggled against Virginia Tech, and they lack any dominate wins. Penn State had some flaws, but they were playing much better down the stretch than Clemson.
Washington went 12-1, are Pac-12 champs, and they should not be in either. College football is the only sport to not let teams get better. The Huskies only lost one game, but it was a huge game against their arch-rival USC. Forget the 26-13 score. USC didn’t just beat them, they embarrassed them. USC – 400 total yards, Washington – 276. USC – 113 yards rushing, Washington – 17. USC looked like the best team beside Alabama going down the stretch. All three of their losses came in the first four weeks. That was then, this is now and they are much better than Washington. Don’t forget, that game was at Washington.
Michigan also has a case to be in the ranking because as they outplayed OSU for three quarters and were victim to some outrageous calls.
The college football honchos need to make one change to settle all this on the field: an eight-team playoff. The best way to do it? Give all five of the conference champions a spot and give three wild cards spots. Do not let this be settled by old college football committee members.

You’re Write For Us!

Why you should join the Erie Square Gazette next semester
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Therese Majeski

Copy Editor
thereseagnes@gmail.com

The Erie Square Gazette wants you!
Do you have an interest in writing? Would you like to be an editor and save money on tuition? Have you ever thought it would be fun to try being a journalist? Do you just want to improve your writing skills?
If so, then the ESG may be exactly what you need.
This past semester the ESG has been woefully understaffed with only five of us doing all the writing, editing, and formatting. Luckily for you, our shortage of staff is an excellent opportunity for you to join next semester and make your own impact on the paper.
Don’t worry if you think writing isn’t your greatest strength. If you have an opinion that might benefit others, if you want to help inform the student body, or if you just want to share why your favorite team is a disaster this season, your voice has a place with us.
Even if you find grammar and writing intimidating, you should still contribute. Because that’s where I come in.
As copy editor, my job is to make sure that everything the ESG publishes is free of grammar and spelling errors. So, even if you are doubtful about commas or get a rash when thinking of semicolons, just take the plunge. It’s my job to fix your grammar mistakes so that you can write without fear. By the time your article goes to press, it will be spotless.
Writing, like any skill, improves with practice and if you would like to polish your writing skills, newswriting is an excellent place to start. Newswriting is one of the easier forms of writing, with a simple format and low word count demands. The minimum number of words the ESG requires for any article is only 250.
Easy, right?
If you want to write for the ESG, you have three options.
Option one is to submit articles as a guest writer. This is likely the best choice for those of you who have busy schedules, as you are not required to make any sort of time commitment. Just email your article to us at eriesquaregazette@gmail.com and we’ll be happy to print it.
Option two is to join the paper as a staff writer. This choice requires a certain amount of commitment because it involves actually registering for the newswriting class that accompanies the paper. Staff writers are required to attend meetings in the ESG office every Thursday and are also expected to meet deadlines. Staff writers may also be assigned fixed topics to write about and will be graded on their performance in the class.
Students interested in joining us as part of the ESG staff should register for CM-110-01 Journalism Practicum I.
Option three is to become an editor at for the ESG. Editorial positions have the most responsibility; in addition to attending meetings and keeping deadlines, editors must perform specific duties such as managing funds or maintaining the ESG website. The ESG currently has several editorial positions open, including Advertising/Business Manager and Managing Editor.
These positions offer scholarships ranging from one-quarter to one-half. The Advertising/Business Manager also earns a commission based on new, paid ads acquired for the paper.
Those who want to wield editorial power next semester and reduce their tuition should submit a letter of interest and a resume to the ESG’s faculty advisor John Lusk at jlusk@sc4.edu.
If you have questions about joining the Erie Square Gazette, please contact us via Facebook, Twitter or our email, eriesquaregazette@gmail.com.
We hope to see you next semester!

Letter from the Editor

Emily Mainguy
Editor-in-Chief

As fall comes to an end I would like to thank our readers for another great semester!
We will be back next semester with a new issue coming out on Jan. 21. With a new semester comes new opportunities to join our crew. If you are interested in joining us you can stop by our meetings on Thursdays from 2-3p.m. in the Main Building or you can sign up for our class which is listed as CM 110.
The Erie Square Gazette is also looking for freshmen students who are interested in pursuing an Editor position with us next fall (2016). We will be training interested individuals in journalism skills such as writing, editing, and publishing newspapers during the Winter Semester.
If you are interested in a future editor position please shoot us an email to, eriesquaregazette@gmail.com including a letter of intent and a resume.

Letter from the Editor

Emily Mainguy
Editor-in-Chief

emilyWelcome readers to a new year at the Erie Square Gazette!
Coming with the new school year, there are new staff and new editors joining our returning members. Please see our Staff section of this paper to get to know them a little.
However, we are still looking for new members as well as a Sports Editor. This editor position comes with a one-half reimbursement scholarship but this comes with a few duties as well. The sports editor is in charge of creating our sports calendar for every issue and covering athletic events when staff cannot attend.
If sports is not your thing we are always encouraging students to stop by our meetings which are held on Thursdays at 2 p.m. in the Main Building, Rooms 122 and 123.
I hope you enjoy our paper this year! If you have any suggestions or feedback feel free to stop by the office or drop us a note; I would love to hear from you.

Middle school students make their mark on the ESG

Angie Stoecklin
Editor-in-Chief

The Erie Square Gazette will like to thank Michelle Gierman for her idea to incorporate her student’s articles in a couple of ESG issues.
Gierman is currently teaching her seventh grade students at Fort Gratiot Middle school how to write for journalism. She reached out to the ESG asking us if it were possible to publish articles written by her students.
Myself as Editor-in-Chief recently met with Gierman’s students and informed them on how to write with the inverted pyramid style, and gave them a brief description of AP style. The student’s seemed very enthusiastic and eager to learn.
Readers may be wondering, “why publish middle school student articles in a college newspaper?” Well the answer is simple, getting kids inspired to write is our way of reaching out to the community. How cool would it be, as a seventh grader, to be able to bring home a newspaper that usually sports articles written by college students with an article that you wrote? And, quite honestly, we at the ESG see no reason not to give these student’s an opportunity that may benefit them greatly if they decide to go into any form of writing as a career.
So readers, when you pick up the third and fourth issues, be sure to read the articles from student guest writers, you could be looking at the future generation of journalism.

Letter from the Sports editor

Tyler Smith
Hello reader,
A new semester starting means new things are happening in the sports world. The St. Clair County Community College Skippers start a new season. The Men’s Basketball team started the season with a rough 2 wins and 4 losses, but there is a lot talent in this team. These young gentlemen play their hearts out on the court and prove themselves with every block. The season started a bit differently for the Women’s Basketball team. Starting their season with an impressive 4 wins and 2 losses, it seems like this team is a close family of players. Both teams have a promising season of success and I can’t wait to see what rest of the season holds.

Letter from the Editor

New semester, new staff, new opportunities
Angie Stoecklin
Editor-in-Chief

Angie-220x126With a new semester, also comes a new staff for the Erie Square Gazette.
This semester, the ESG is facing only one shortage in the staff department, a vast improvement from last semester; alas, we still must acquire a business editor.
There is a one-quarter scholarship being offered for this position, as well as 15% commission on all new accounts and paid advertisements that are sold.
That being said, since our staff is back to more of an ideal size for this semester, we would like to start covering more stories on a greater level that appeals to students.
So, as readers, I encourage you to pay attention to local music artists, and if any of them strike your ear, do not hesitate to contact the ESG for a band or musician cover. And if our readers have any other ideas for stories they would like to see covered in our paper, or if one is interested in guest writing, feel free to contact us.
I hope that we can continue to meet our goals for the remainder of the school year. I am aware that to some we may seem like just a community college paper, but I would very much like to see us continue to succeed in being a strong publication that is enjoyable to read.
For anyone interested in guest writing or the position of business editor, contact the ESG at eriesquaregazette@gmail.com. Any students are welcome to stop by our meetings on Thursday at 2 p.m. in room 123 of the main building.

Letter from the Editor

Staff writers wanted
Angie Stoecklin
Editor-in-Chief

As the holidays draw closer, the end of the semester is approaching. But with every end, there is a beginning, in this case, the Winter 2015 semester at SC4. As the Erie Square Gazette finishes up its production schedule for the Fall semester, new ideas for the next semester begin to take fold.
To implement these new ideas, which include covering more topics that peak student interests, the ESG will need of more staff writers. Opportunities for staff writers include the covering of both campus and community events, writing opinion pieces, and reviewing movies, books, video games, and other entertainment outlets.
To be considered a staff writer officially, one must enroll in the Journalism Practicum; a one credit course and can be added to his/her class list by either going to sc4.edu in the “Register for classes” section, or by talking to an academic advisor.
If one is interested in joining the ESG, but cannot enroll in the practicum for financial or other reasons, don’t be discouraged. Students can still write for the paper under the title of Guest Writer. It is preferred however, that even for guest writers, that those who want to write for the paper attend our weekly meetings every Thursday from 2 to 2:50 p.m. in room 123 of the Main Building.
Writing articles for the Erie Square Gazette can help to build a portfolio if the writer is considering pursuing a career in news, whether it be for print, internet, or television.
Anyone with questions about writing for the paper is encouraged to e-mail the ESG at eriesquaregazette@gmail.com.

Quality in games vs. quality in gamers

Is the industry really to blame?
Pessimistic Gamer
Guest Writer

Gamers, developers, and corporations that control it all, oh my!
Recently, it’s become apparent to gamers of all shapes and sizes that games aren’t what they used to be, in good and bad ways, but is it the games or the gamers themselves?
I got the chance to work in the retail end of the gaming industry, seeing how sales and quality of games correspond, and have noticed a few patterns.
Every year, the normal Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and Battlefield all launch and all sell out, but almost everyone comes back, and complains about each game.
Now, while I understand that not every game fits every gamer, it seemed strange that, after all of the complaints and drama about why “Call of Duty: Ghosts” was a waste of money, many of those same people came back to reserve a copy of “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.”
There is nothing wrong with being loyal to a series of games. I know I have a few that I constantly complain about, but then buy the next game with open arms.
What I’m trying to get at is, who does the blame fall on?
Okay, for example, Destiny. Activision and Bungie’s love child just came out in September. It was a game that although both companies have had shaky track records, that everyone needed to own.
The game turned out okay, but let’s think about what the expectations were.
Amazing.
How did the game turn out?
It’s good. Not amazing, but good.
So many fans were let down by the game not being what they expected it to be. That’s the thing, though. It’s fun. What else does it need to be?
At some point, gamers need to take a step back and remember: what they are playing is meant to be fun, it’s a game.
Understandably, at $63.59 a pop, people want their games to be good, but maybe a little too good.
So what do gamers think? Should games be at the peak of greatness and treated like they’re expected to be that way at launch, or should gamers relax a little and just have fun playing the game?
Email eriesquaregazette@gmail.com to tell us what you think.