Category Archives: Editorial

Politicians Debate Climate Change, Citizens left with the Blame…. Story by Davey Breakey

The Idaho senate has recently approved new K-12 science standards with the notable absence of key references to human caused climate change. Our state has had trouble agreeing on public science standards for the past three years. References to global warming and the origin of the universe were not accepted by the state in recent years because the “language did not offer alternative views.” However, this does not mean climate change cannot be taught in schools, standards are simply a minimum of what students are expected to know. To be clear, climate change is something that has been happening for millions of years, and we know this. Pollution and climate change due to human activity is a more closely related subject than one might think.

More than 97% of peer reviewed scientists say that humans are having an impact on the environment and we need to change our ways to prevent further harm to our Earth, but whose fault is it really? Is it us, the consumer, or the corporations?

Climate Change Graphed… Nasa shares data on the unnatural rise of carbon in our atmosphere
Climate Change Graphed… NASA shares data on the unnatural rise of carbon in our atmosphere

Blame for climate change and human pollution goes to the average person, but is it really our fault? The huge majority of modern manufacturers are using the cheapest material possible in order to produce the cheapest product possible without giving any care as to the impact it has on our environment. It is possible to seek out and only use products manufactured with clean energy and materials, however it is very difficult to do so in today’s society. The truth is that most people just don’t have time to do the research and are not willing to pay a higher price for a comparable product. The big corporate powers are only concerned with profit and will do whatever it takes to deceive consumers in order to sell more of their products. So, in all reality, it’s the major corporations of today’s society that need to make a change. But how will this change ever happen when these companies would never make any changes that could possibly reduce profits in any way? What we need is a nationwide policy that will give major corporations incentive to move to renewable energy.

There have been many attempts over the past few decades to bring attention to climate change and the detrimental effects it’s having on our Earth, just last week there was a nation-wide climate march where tens of thousands of people showed up in D.C. alone to show their concern for the future of our planet. While these events are great for bringing attention to the issue of climate change, something needs to be done, and quickly too. One organization that’s gaining traction across the U.S. is the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) and their compelling solution to the problem.

Concerned citizens… sandpoint locals participate in the nationwide march for a livable planet
Concerned citizens… Sandpoint locals participate in the nationwide march for a livable planet

The CCL is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change. Their goal is to educate the public about climate change and take action across the nation, encouraging members to contact and influence their elected officials in the federal government. The CCL has equal support from conservatives and liberals alike. Keeping the organization non-partisan is very important to them because a livable planet is something people on both sides are concerned about and can only be achieved with combined efforts.

Their answer to reversing climate change is called the Carbon Fee and Dividend policy (CF&D). This policy would implement a rising fee on carbon emissions generated by major corporations throughout the nation. The revenue generated from this fee would be returned to American households as a dividend. This policy would create millions of jobs due to increased renewable energy useage and as a result would also boost our economy. If you want to learn about CCL and exactly how CF&D policy would work, you can check out their website here: https://citizensclimatelobby.org/. A local chapter for CCL has been formulated right here in sandpoint  recently and there will be a free presentation on Saturday, May 20th from 4:00 – 5:00 pm at the Forrest Bird Charter High School. CCL’s regional Northwest coordinator, Tim Dec, will be speaking on CCLs Balanced Climate Solution.

 

What’s New with Bird Eye News?… Story by Isaac Solly

This last year has seen quite a lot of growth with our schools Bird Eye News, and as with any evolving group we have seen some major changes of late. Last trimester, our former editor Lauren Stidham left Forrest Bird. We have taken this vacuum to try and coordinate our editor services better and produce a higher amount of content for the last trimester.

The role of story editor has been split into two co-editors working independently with their own group, Jada Giddings and myself, Isaac Solly. Because of our aforementioned growth, Bird Eye News now hosts fifteen students—too much for a single person to manage at weekly publications.

Bird Eye News on Youtube… Our channel now features comedy, news, and student pieces
Bird Eye News on Youtube… Our channel now features comedy, news, and student pieces

We also hope to show off some new features on our website this trimester, including more involvement from the student body in the Bird Eye News. A new editorial page will be shown in the near future where we open up issues and articles to student responses. This page will also include opinionated pieces from the journalism class meant to spark a friendly debate. Short stories and student work from classes (including art) will be showcased here—another reason to get involved and read the Bird Eye News.

As well our story teams, Bird Eye News has revamped our respective YouTube channel. Our video department was created last year and has grown from the Harrison report into a large variety of featured shows, all of which can be found on our channel. To help us manage this, Leah Roth has become our video editor along with an expanded group of video makers who hope to increase our content stream on the site.

Hard at work… The film crew prepares for next week’s publication
Hard at work… The film crew prepares for next week’s publicationgroup of video makers who hope to increase our content stream on the site.

 

Bird Eye News is also open to sharing student hobbies and creations on our YouTube page. For example, Bill Morton’s “The Upside Films” videos (which many students are involved with) will have a playlist on the channel. We welcome FBCS students with any other videos that they would like to share with more publicity to approach the journalism class, so we can discuss featuring them.

 

The journalism class is extremely happy that so many people have been watching our videos or reading articles on the site, and we look forward to showcasing even more student work and having a higher quality and supply of pieces to come.

How not to ask someone out to Prom

The top five things not to do when asking someone out to prom. This helpful guide should help students to navigate through the mostly arbitrary event of prom, which has in recent years been trivialized and its image tainted by popular mass media. Bird Eye News takes a stand against the big corporations through comedy.

Script and Video by Lauren and Leah Roth, respectively.

 

Premier: Life with Harry Smith

Harry Smith is an average man bored with life and seeking comfort from his television.  Living on the edge of habitual boredom, his life is forever transformed when he decides to develop a friendship with his last french fry.

A metaphorical jaunt into the constant cliches students face every day in which they have been chillingly desensitized.

Rogue One Success and Failures; FBCHS Students Call It with Harrison Hertzberg

FBCHS Students Leah Roth & Ty Olsen discuss Rogue One with Harrison
Rebels… FBCHS Students Leah Roth & Ty Olsen discuss Rogue One with Harrison Photo by

The Bird Eye News with Harrison Hertzberg allows students to share their views of the last Star Wars movie Rogue One.

Here is a bonus comedy sketch, concerning the conspiracy theory that Jar Jar Binks is actually a Sith lord.

 

 

Hillary ‘Colludes’ with DOJ… Story by Florence Bates

As its likely well-known by now, Hillary Clinton has previously deleted over thirty-thousand emails from her private server. Last Tuesday, the Trump campaign called out the Department of Justice discharge all of Clinton’s communications between her and her supporters to prove the investigation an overboard situation.

A picture shot during James Comey and Loretta Lynch spoke about Hillary Clinton’s emails, making it obvious that Clinton has been being given a special treatment.
A picture shot during James Comey and Loretta Lynch spoke about Hillary Clinton’s emails, making it obvious that Clinton has been being given a special treatment.

After this took place, WikiLeaks hacked and leaked out recent messages. In these hacked emails, DOJ spokesman, Brian Fallon, was found updating processes relating to the investigation relating to Hillary’s emails. “DOJ folks inform me there is a status hearing in this case this morning, so we could have a window into the judge’s thinking about this proposed production schedule as quickly as today,” Brian Fallon sent to Hillary Clinton on May 19th of 2015. Later the same day of the release, Donald Trump’s communication advisor, Jason Miller, said, “Today’s report that Clinton’s campaign was in communication with the Obama Department of Justice on the email investigation shows a level of collusion which calls into question the entire investigation into her private server.”

For having access to Clinton’s emails, the State Department was sued and the litigation soon was in process to determine a date to release the messages. Another matter on hand was the Justice Department putting a criminal probe within Hillary Clinton’s classified materials was irrelevant to the case.

– A photo of Hillary Clinton claiming the situation between the DOJ and the leaked videos was ‘colluded
– A photo of Hillary Clinton claiming the situation between the DOJ and the leaked videos was ‘colluded

After the charges from the Trump campaign had been given, James Comey, a director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Loretta Lynch on the behalf of the Department of Justice, had made it obvious that Hillary was being given a ‘special treatment’ considering the two directors of the DOJ continued to spin their story. People below these directors from the Department of Justice now know that Hillary is getting these sudden privileges. By managing to exploit this, James Comey from the FBI is said to have permanently ruined the reputation of the bureau. This has been stated by veteran agents of the FBI. They have also claimed James Comey to be ‘cowardly’ due to neglect to the investigation and mishandlings of evidence through the use private servers.

After the situation, Comey argued that at was a mass of FBI agents’ fault, those of whom were under Comey himself. He stated, “So if I blew it, they blew it too.” This showed that he took no responsibility for his actions. Though, agents claim that Comey basically ‘forced’ the agents into agreeing to basic rules and demands from lawyers that are defending Hillary Clinton as well as her aids. Dennis V. Hughes, a first chief of the computer investigations unit of the FBI, claimed, “In my 25 years with the bureau, I never had any ground rules in my interviews.” This event has shown how the FBI and DOJ are really corrupt and that Hillary is above the law in a sense. Could Hillary Clinton still be a ‘great’ candidate for president even with so much lies and fraud stirring up the country?

Rated M for Marketing… Story by L.B. Van Dine

: Rated M by the ESRB… this is what people will see on the cases to games that are recommended to 17+ players
Rated M by the ESRB… this is what people will see on the cases to games that are recommended to 17+ players

It’s incredibly noticeable that the standard of what is and what isn’t safe for children to view is changing. When you look at a game rated “T” for teen what do you think most teenagers think? Apparently most don’t find these games appealing considering that these games are becoming more incredibly scarce as more games are being produced. This is the exact same thing that happened to the G-Rating concerning movies. There are no longer movies being released with the rating as “G” because that causes immediate judgement and the film will not receive nearly as much profit as Rated R Dead Pool for example.

Halo 5 sold less than all of its previous games in the franchise. This could all be due to a poorly made game, but the Halo series is one of the most iconic series’ on the Xbox, why didn’t it get the same sales as its predecessors? Could it be the fact that Halo 5 has been rated-T and the moment kids saw that rating in the corner it lost its appeal?

The most mainstream games are rated M for mature matters such as blood and gore, drugs, sexual content, inappropriate language, and graphic violence. However, just because they are rated M it doesn’t mean that it’s only interesting to a mature audience. According to a survey by The Pew Research Center reported “in 2008 that 97% of youths ages 12 to 17 played some type of video game, and that two-thirds of them played action and adventure games that tend to contain violent content.” Just because something isn’t recommended to children doesn’t mean it isn’t marketed towards them.

Various games… that are popular with many people and a large amount of the interest is with children photo by dailymail.co.uk
Various games… that are popular with many people and a large amount of the interest is with children photo by dailymail.co.uk

Today, many kids are constantly lining up to buy big titles games such as Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Grand Theft Auto.  Many voices heard online are the voices of children online, probably no older than eleven years of age. It shows that a rating holds no meaning it is merely a regulated recommendation, but it’s pretty noticeable that people often ignore these recommendations.

Some of these games seem like they can make the cut and be considered games rated for Teens, but there are many on the internet who feel that game industries add extra blood, gore, and profanity only to get the game to reach rated M on the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s scale. One hundred percent of students asked at FBCHS believe that the gaming industries would purposely rate these games as mature to market and make it seem more appealing to children.

 

Editorial: Students sue the U.S. Government over Climate Change… Story K

Students protest the government's failure to respond to climate change
Students protest the government’s failure to respond to climate change

It is surprising to see that a judge in Oregon did not dismiss a lawsuit filed against the federal government for its failure to take action against fossil fuel emissions. Usually the issue of the future of our planet is ignored because the corporations that are poisoning our planet control our government. The so-called “representatives” are wealthy elites working in the interest of big business.

The future of our planet is in our hands
The future of our planet is in our hands.

What makes this case especially interesting is the fact that these are children who are trying to make a case against the government. Will government act in its own interest or in the interest of future generations? If we were in their position, I think a lot of Americans would side with the children. Different sources have different views on how much of America believes in global warming. Thinkprogress.org says 70% of Americans believe in global warming. Wikipedia says 67% believe it is a threat.

Graph of climate change - provided by NASA
Graph of climate change – provided by NASA

The case being made is that by failing to take action against climate change, the U.S. government is denying them their constitutional right to life. If we are not following the constitution, then we are no longer a constitutional republic. If most of America believes in global warming and think it is a threat, then how can the politicians do nothing about it and claim they act in our interest?

I think the most important question here is: what kind of world do we want to make for our future generations? How do we want our society to be remembered? If we start asking those questions, then it could make a difference.

For more info visit Democracy Now!

Standardized: The testing industry’s cutthroat profit margin… By Mack Jastle

As the shuffle of test booklets and the scratching of #2 pencils echoes through the halls, one thing is made clear.  It’s testing season.  that means  students all across the country will be taking standardized tests that will directly affect their lives moving forward.  Well, at least the companies paid to create these tests care about the students….right?

It’s not quite that simple.  The testing industry is literally a billion-dollar industry, raking in total profits of close to two billion dollars annually.  Millions of dollars are spent every year lobbying federal and state officials to support policies that enforce standardized testing.  In some cases, these officials are even hired by these companies.

You may be wondering which companies are being mentioned here.  This brings us to the four titans of the testing industry, these being McGraw-Hill, ETS, Houghton Mifflin, and Pearson Education.  These are the kinds of names that you see on most tests and, coincidentally, the textbooks to study for them.  These four control the bulk of the lucrative testing industry, and thus control a large amount of the American educational system.

Lucrative…..The testing industry’s profits total in the billions annually, and that number only rises as more students enter the system. Photo-by: Politico
Lucrative… The testing industry’s profits total in the billions annually, and that number only rises as more students enter the system. Photo-by: Politico

In addition to cornering the testing market, they also make a fortune providing textbooks for college and K-12 students to study from.  And, as anyone who has ever had to foot the bill for one of those books knows, they are very expensive.  Those expensive books make those four companies a lot of money, in addition to the profit they make from the tests themselves.

Today, our education is more of a testocracy than ever.  The average American student has to take a total of 112 mandated standardized tests before graduation.  By contrast, most countries currently outperforming the US in education test their students three times during their K-12 education.

Seems a little suspicious, right?  Those statistics mean that even though American students take thirty-seven times more standardized the tests than the leading nations, we are still far behind.  This brings up a good point; why have so many standardized tests if they aren’t improving our nation’s intelligence?

To answer that question, we’re going to have to dig deeper, and ask a lot more questions.  (Counter-intuitive, I know).

How did standardized tests become so deeply embedded in our education?  What caused this dependence on standardized testing that we currently have now?  The answers to these questions lie hidden in the history of Standardized Tests’ Past, we must first look at America’s history of educational reform.

Educational reform was seriously batted around near the end of the twentieth century, when worldwide surveys concluded that America was falling far behind in its’ educational standards.

The response from legislators and policymakers was decisive.

Standardized testing was pushed as the be-all end all to improve our standings in the world.  While testing was pushed forward, it wasn’t until 2001 that the testing industry really began to pick up steam, when President Bush unveiled the No Child Left Behind Act.

The NCLB massively increased the number of standardized tests taken by American schoolchildren, and severely penalized schools that either failed to give these tests or consistently scored poorly on them.

Ever since, American students have learned to fear the testing season.  But for the testing companies themselves, testing season is met with considerably more excitement.

Is it healthy to have our intelligence benchmark measured entirely by standardized testing?  Is it worth it for us to spend this much money and put our faith into testing?

Standard…..Standardized tests have become the primary method for state and national measure of academic achievement. Photo-by: morecaucusnyc.org
Standard… Standardized tests have become the primary method for state and national measure of academic achievement. Photo-by: morecaucusnyc.org

The answer is murky at best.  While standardized testing does give us statistics to base improvements on, it can lead to teachers teaching to the test, and to students with less resources being unfairly prejudiced against.  The educational value of the questions is also dubious…are these questions really helping our children improve, or just conditioning them to agree with the testmakers?  Evaluating a student’s intelligence based on how they did on one particular day is fundamentally flawed, and we have to figure out a better way.

We have to seriously evaluate just how much we want to go into standardized testing, and whether or not we want continue funneling money to these companies.

America has a decision to make.  Despite all of this increased testing, we are still far down on the education totem pole.  We must decide whether or not our current level of standardized testing is needed, or if we should cut back.

America, get your No. 2 pencils out, because you’re being put to the test.