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Merit pay

I read about the story by Alexandra Toumanoff on "What can be done about bad teachers?" I thought it was horrible that a student had a lazy teacher who didn’t even bother to look at students’ work. If I had a teacher like that, I would totally react toward it, because I wouldn’t want to go to college unprepared.
—Julie Hoang, 16, Verdugo Hills HS

The solution is to not hire bad teachers. Teachers should get checked out before they are allowed to teach and see if they are even qualified to teach. Merit pay is a bad idea, because paying teachers on how students perform on tests isn’t fair. If students do poorly on tests, it’s not fully the teacher’s fault. I think the solution is to send away the bad teachers and students to their own school of not learning, and to pay teachers more who are doing their job.
—Tawny Weston, Crenshaw Learn Charter HS

Graduation speech

I read the article by Suzana Sburlan called "Reality Bites." When I read the article, I was very impressed on how well-written it was. Finally someone wrote a graduation speech that was truthful. Normally graduation speeches include the traditional "I will remember my days at high school." It’s nice to have something that’s not corny, but actually had an impact on people.
—Jennifer Lombardo, 17, Verdugo Hills HS


In response to the article "The Trouble with Napster," I have a serious problem with the fact that there are people who think $15-20 is too expensive for a CD. What makes it worse is that those same people even know about the costs of studios, publicity and all the work put into a CD and they still feel that $15-20 is too much. I have a solution for people who think CDs are too expensive: Don’t buy them. If these artists are wrong for being greedy, then what makes you people any better when you steal from them. I guess because Robin Hood, I mean Napster, is stealing from the rich and giving to anyone makes the situation better.
—Leroy Williams, Crenshaw Charter Learn HS

Mumia Abu-Jamal

The "Me and Mumia" article by Matt Jones story really inspired me to look more into Mumia Abu-Jamal. I didn’t know a lot about Mumia, but your article was informative. I totally think that Mumia is innocent, because of the fact that police have a tendency to have misconduct in their department. We as a society need to realize that the court system and police sometimes treat minorities badly. Racism exists mostly everywhere and we need to bring the issue to light. I don’t respect anyone that dislikes someone because of his/her skin color.
—Derrick Baizar, Crenshaw Charter Learn HS

Students at Verdugo Hills High responded to the L.A. Youth article "Starving for answers" by Liesel Haskell about what she went through when her friend became anorexic.

I liked the article, because it’s a reality that many teen girls go through. Many girls that I know in my school are concerned about their weight. To me, it’s not right to starve yourself to please others. You are what you are and should be grateful. The last thing one should do is starve themselves. The best thing to do is exercise. The teen years in one’s life are the hardest years nowadays.
—Gonzalo Portileo, 17, Verdugo Hills HS

Today I read in the L.A. Youth newspaper about a girl who was overweight and then stopped eating. She got so skinny that her best friend got worried about her. In my case, it’s the opposite. I’m skinny now and it doesn’t look right. I want more fat everywhere. I eat a lot but never gain a pound.
—Miranda Lonsdale, 14, Verdugo Hills HS

I am writing to you today about the article about eating disorders. The story went into great detail to describe the horrible factors this disease causes. The way Isabel’s friend acted is of a typical teenage manner, but she matured in time to help Isabel before it was too late. She made me realize that time is precious, and that if at anytime you see someone in trouble, help them before it’s too late.
—Oscar Portillo, Verdugo Hills HS

I’m glad I got to read the article "Starving for Answers: Our friendship was changed by an eating disorder." It hit very close to home.
See, I have a friend who’s closer to me than my own sister. The thing is, she’s bulimic. She is nowhere near fat. She doesn’t see that though. When she looks in the mirror, all she sees is an enormously fat person, and I don’t know why.
Your article has helped me to find ways to help her. I need to just listen to her and help her, instead of telling her it’s wrong and criticizing her. That way I can help her instead of making her do it more.
—Jennifer Navarro, 14, Verdugo Hills HS

I was amazed to hear about someone struggling with such a horrible disease at such a young age. Reading this article made me stop and think of some of my friends that could be hiding something very serious.
—Maria Fuson, 17, Verdugo Hills HS