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?

Trump inauguration brings protesters to SC4 campus

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Andrew Kovacs
Staff Writer
andrewkovacsesg@gmail.com

After perhaps the most controversial election in U.S. history, businessman Donald John Trump has officially been sworn into office as the 45th president of the United States. In his inaugural address, Trump declared that no man or woman shall any longer be forgotten, and the power has returned to the people at last.
Trump said, “January 20, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.” However, Trump’s inauguration has been met with much backlash from the American people. Recently, people have been converging all over the country to object to Donald Trump becoming the president, even on SC4’s very own campus.
In Port Huron, an activist group, the Michigan People’s Defense Network, organized a gathering on Inauguration Day, Friday, Jan. 20. Those wishing to express disapproval for Trump were asked to assemble at the corners of Erie and McMorran, although the group claims the reasons behind the protest are not strictly about Trump.
The Michigan People’s Defense Network stated that they are a part of the Workers World Party, a socialist organization founded in the late 1950s to fight racism and fascism and intended to stand up for the rights of all people worldwide, especially those under racist or fascist attack. The intention of the protest was not to just speak out about Trump’s presidency itself, but the types of ideas that following Trump encourages.
The group claims that while Trump is unfit to be President, it is the types of people he rallies underneath him and the beliefs those people hold that are more worrisome.
The Michigan People’s Defense Network argues that the ideas Trump holds have emboldened fascist and racist ideas, and because of this Trump has garnered legitimate Nazi and KKK support. The group said it is important to unite in opposition to such ideologies and that such hateful behavior will not be tolerated.
When asked why they decided to organize a protest in Port Huron, the group replied that Port Huron voted overwhelmingly in favor of Trump, and so it is important to combat and stand against the racist and fascist types who support Trump. Michigan is leading in hate crime as it is, and so they feel Michigan is one of the places that needs to hear their criticism the most.
Local political activist Alexander Smedley attended the protest. Smedley said that Trump was a byproduct of capitalism and the embodiment of fascism in the United States.
Another protester and SC4 student, Chelsey Kielbas, said that protests are one of the only ways for a citizen to get his or her voice out. Making a statement was both protesters’ main reason for attending. Smedley ended by saying, “Fascism is the absolute enemy of all working people.”
The Michigan People’s Defense Network values the solidarity and equality of all people, but they feel uniting alone is not enough.
With enough organization and effort, the group hopes to completely eradicate sexism, fascism and racism together with anti-migrant, anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic attacks.
A member of the Michigan People’s Defense Network calling himself Mond helped organize the event and is also a student at SC4. Mond said, “Capitalism is at a dead end; a revolutionary resistance is necessary. We stand for the liberation of oppressed people worldwide.”

SC4 professor offers solutions to national quandary Democrats, Republicans: None of the Above gives political perspective

Therese MajeskiFront Cover (2)
Copy Editor

Kraig Archer, a professor of sociology here at SC4, has written a book that he believes has timely application to our current political state and that he hopes will motivate readers to pursue alternatives to the current two-party system.
“I would like my book to lead to a new political movement,” Archer said.
Insightful and refreshingly free of party bias, Archer’s book, Democrats, Republicans: None of the Above, offers perspective to our polarized political climate, asserting that as presidential elections draw near it is critical for voters to reassess national issues beyond the labels and conflicts of the Republican and Democratic parties.
Archer’s book examines an extensive range of much-debated governmental issues, covering topics such as the nation’s educational system, immigration, environmental concerns and international relations. In discussing these issues, Archer gives a judicious assessment of the national challenges that he feels the contentious government system is not properly addressing and suggests several practical solutions to national issues, both political and social.
“We all have a future in this country…these type of issues affect the type of future our kids are going to have,” Archer said.
Weighing in at 51 pages, None of the Above is, however, short for its densely packed subject matter, failing to fully clarify several key concepts.
Kraig Archer instructor high resThis lack of explanation could lessen the book’s impact for some readers; at times readers would need specialized political and sociological knowledge to fully understand the subject matter.
When, for example, Archer presents his views on flaws in the structure of the Supreme Court, he cites several cases in order to demonstrate a trend of decisions that he thinks lack foundation in proper constitutional interpretation. The problem here is a lack of elaboration; while Archer’s reasoning is very sound, he does not mention the issues under discussion in each case, slightly undercutting his argument for readers without a knowledge of judicial history.
Nevertheless, these structural imperfections are not entirely negative in their effects, making None of the Above a brief, accessible read, particularly for students and others whose busy schedules make finding time for political study difficult. This brevity makes the book a good entry point into a political education exploring a more balanced, better-informed political worldview.
Archer hopes that after readers finish None of the Above they will be inspired to take action by establishing a third political party to combat the problem of divisions in our present system.
The third political party that Archer proposes would be called the Faith Reform Party and would be founded both on Christian moral principles and on a desire to uphold America as an ever-improving nation.
Ultimately, None of the Above, while lacking in length and definition of terms, is a well-reasoned, skillfully argued and easily read a book that can serve as a stepping stone into a style of independent, intelligent political thought that is unencumbered by excess party polarization.
Archer’s book is available through Amazon.com in both print and e-book format.

SC4 and Northwood sign three 3+1 articulation agreements

Northwood University President Keith A. Pretty and St. Clair County Community College President Deborah Snyder shake hands after signing three articulation agreements between SC4 and Northwood Tuesday, Dec. 6, on SC4’s Port Huron campus. (courtesy of SC4 Admissions Department)
Northwood University President Keith A. Pretty and St. Clair County Community College President Deborah Snyder shake hands after signing three articulation agreements between SC4 and Northwood Tuesday, Dec. 6, on SC4’s Port Huron campus. (courtesy of SC4 Admissions Department)

St. Clair County Community College and Northwood University signed agreements Tuesday, Dec. 6, for three new 3+1 programs which will allow students to earn a bachelor’s degree from Northwood while enjoying the cost and comfort of SC4 for their first three years.

Bachelor of business administration degrees from Northwood in management, marketing and computer information management will be available to students under the new agreements.

Students can complete 90 credit hours in marketing or 92 credit hours in management and computer information management at SC4 which will transfer to Northwood, where they can complete the final year of the bachelor program. A pathway to the degree will be provided.

“This offers students another option with a guided pathway where they can maximize the amount of credits they can take at their home college, SC4, where they can experience lower costs and can stay with professors they are comfortable with,” SC4 Dean of Occupational Studies Julie Armstrong said. “Then they will have this pathway that takes them elsewhere to finish.”

Located in Midland, Michigan, Northwood is a private university that specializes in business, and has alumni in 120 different countries.

For more information, contact SC4 Director of Advising and Articulation Scott Watson at (810) 989-5824. Visit www.sc4.edu/articulation for information on all of SC4’s articulation agreements.

 

Letter from President Snyder

SC4 President Deborah Snyder. (courtesy of SC4)
SC4 President Deborah Snyder. (courtesy of SC4)
The weather is finally starting to feel like winter and another semester at SC4 is coming to a close. I hope your classes have gone well this fall and you’ve taken a few more steps toward your educational goals.

The end of the semester has many of you looking forward to a few weeks away from classes and homework. Before beginning your well-deserved break, please don’t forget to set yourself up for success by reviewing your academic plan and registering for winter semester classes.

Building a schedule that fits with work and family commitments is challenging at any time but waiting until the last minute to register may make it especially tough. Keep in mind that you can register using the WAVE system, get help in the Self-Service Room at the SC4 Welcome Center, or make an appointment with an advisor to finalize your schedule.

SC4’s faculty and staff are ready to help you finish the fall semester strong. Tutoring in the Achievement Center and assistance in the Math Center and Writing Center can make all the difference for end-of-semester papers, homework assignments, and final exam preparations. Be sure to take advantage of all the extra assistance that’s available to you.

Thank you for choosing SC4 as your educational home. We take that trust very seriously.

Whether you’re traveling during the upcoming break or staying at home, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

Sincerely,

Dr. Deborah Snyder, President

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!

2016 SC4 Career Fair offers employment opportunities

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Local companies looking for new workforce members
Dennis Embo
Guest Writer
“We’re hiring!”
That message came through loud and clear to the job-seeking throngs who answered the call to come out to SC4’s annual Career Fair on April 20, held at SC4’s College Center. Over 60 companies and public service organizations, representing career fields as varied as manufacturing, health care, finance and law enforcement, made a showing at the Fair.
“Employers are seeking potential employees that are a good ‘fit’ for their workplace and team,” said Julie Ruiz, a Career and Employment Specialist at SC4.
“They are looking for candidates that are flexible and open to learning and change, and also a willingness to take on additional responsibilities as the workplace gets leaner,” said Ruiz. “Manufacturing and health care continue to have strong recruitment, as well as business,” she added.
A steady stream of almost 300 determined job-seekers, many with updated resumes in hand, testified to the growing popularity of this annual SC4 event sponsored by SC4’s Career and Employment Services.
As to who comprised the list of job-seekers who attended the Fair, Ruiz commented, “Graduates looking for professional opportunities, students looking for seasonal positions or part-time work while they are in school, retirees looking for supplemental income or a second career with meaning and purpose for them, career changers due to labor market trends, and more.”
Scott Worden of Worden Insurance expressed a sentiment shared by a number of employers at this year’s Career Fair, “We’re here to cultivate a relationship with SC4. We’re local and we’re looking a way to open opportunities for SC4 students and alumni.”
For those SC4 students and alumni not able to attend the Career Fair, Career and Employment Services at SC4 provides free employment assistance which includes such services as resume and cover letter development, job search strategies, portfolio creation, as well as an up-to-date list of job postings.
For more information, go online at www.sc4.edu/jobconnect or call (810) 989-5515 to speak with an SC4 Career and Employment Services specialist.

Furry friends educate families

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Earth Fair 2016 a hoot
Mel Buskirk
Copy Editor
Earth Fair took place this past Friday and Saturday, April 29 and 30, at Goodells County Park. Hundreds of people attended each day to learn about the environment, local ecosystems, and techniques to be more eco-friendly.
Attractions included beekeepers, a show on birds of prey, petting zoo animals, horses, family-friendly workshops, and venders of organic and “green” products.
For more information on the events that took place, participating in next year’s Earth Fair, or to donate to the Earth Fair, go to earthdayfair.com.

Award winners announced

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Patterns 58th edition available now
Emily Mainguy
Editor-in-Chief
On Thursday, April 28 the 58th Edition of Patterns was debuted to the public during an award ceremony in the Fine Arts Theatre.
This year the magazine was created by Jason Grill, Emily Mainguy and Blair Spear.
“Overall I think it was a great experience. Prior to patterns I hadn’t gotten to do much production work outside of product photography. I also enjoyed getting the chance to learn more about the processes involved in making a full scale publication,” explained Blair Spear.
During the award ceremony they announced winners of first, second, and third place awards in categories such as, Short Story, Essay, Poetry, and Visual arts. Along with the special section awards; such as, the Richard Colwell, Kathy Nickerson, and Blanche Redman award.
Patterns is also used to present the Patrick Bourke and the Eleanor Mathews Award. According to this year’s edition, the Patrick Bourke and Eleanor Mathews Awards recognize students who have done exceptional work in a more general sense.

Below is a list of the awards and the winners:

Richard Colwell Award – Jason Justice
Second Place in Short Story – Matthew Vallee
Third Place in Short Story – Shane Brockett
Kathy Nickerson Award – Therese Majeski
Second Place in Essay – Lydia Nicholas
Third Place in Essay – Madison Magness
Blanche Redman Award – Jennifer Rostoni
Second Place in Poetry – Marcus Taylor
Third Place in Poetry – Lindsey Wiseman
First and Second Place in Visual Arts – Rachel Henion
Third Place in Visual Arts – Joanna Ingles
Eleanor Mathews Award – Kathleen McGowan
Patrick Bourke Award – Emily Mainguy

To see and read the winning pieces you can pick up a copy of this year’s edition in the Fine Arts galleries.
Next year’s Patterns submission forms can be found in the Fine Arts building and applications are due in December.

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