Although a vast majority of American middle school students say they plan on attending college after high school, only one-third of them are aware of what it will take to get there, according to a recent nationwide survey.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals and educational association Phi Delta Kappa International collaborated to interview more than 1,800 seventh- and eighth-grade students about their college plans, discovering that an overwhelming 92 percent said they planned on pursuing a college degree. However, 83 percent of those same students knew close to nothing about the classes it would take to graduate - a number that teachers and school administrators nationwide are calling alarming.
Ninety-three percent of surveyed students were optimistic about their chances of success, saying that there was ""no chance"" they would drop out of high school before graduation. However, of the students who said they could not discount the possibility of dropping out, 40 percent cited poor grades and difficulty keeping up with coursework as reasons to discontinue their schooling. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2006 that only 66 percent of students who believe they are college-bound will actually enroll.
""Ninth grade is where a lot of students start running into problems academically,"" PDK Director of Marketing and Communications Delaine McCullough said. ""It's important to organize efforts to help students with that difficult transition between middle and high school.""
During that transition period, students are expected to understand such concepts as the course credit system, which may be confusing and overwhelming, the study said.
Eleanor Roosevelt College junior David Polakoski said that he would not have been adequately informed about the college process without the knowledge and help of his older sister.
""I went to a private elementary school for kindergarten through eighth grade, and I don't think they did very much to prepare me for college,"" Polakoski said. ""I don't think I started getting a taste of what college would require until I began attending high school.""
Alternatively, Monta Vista High School English teacher Andrea Kanda said she believes that students in her area are not only prepared for college by the end of middle school, but that the stress of these expectations can have negative consequences for students.
""[Students] come into high school with the idea they need to take the AP and honors courses, with colleges becoming more and more picky,"" she said.
The survey suggests that while some middle schools do offer guidance for pursuing higher education, it is not always adequate.Revelle College freshman Spencer Nguyen agreed that he was exposed to almost none of the expectations for high school achievement while he was in middle school.
""Middle school really didn't help with much of anything for me, especially in terms of deciding what was going to be my academic future,"" he said. ""The counselors seemed as though they had no sound advice to give, or they were just apathetic. I sat with my middle school counselor for 15 minutes only two weeks before my eighth-grade graduation to pick my classes for freshman year.""
Study researchers, collecting data as part of the nationwide pro-college KnowHow2Go campaign, also analyzed the role that teachers play in preparing their students for future success, and arrived at mixed conclusions.
Although they highlighted the ability to provide detailed explanations as a necessary trait of a good teacher, 8 percent of students said that their teachers did not give them an adequate chance to learn specific subject material. Similarly, 72 percent of students indicated that only one to five of their teachers had ever been helpful in improving their educations.
However, PDK Executive Director Bill Bushaw said he believes the issue is more complicated than simply the effectiveness of the teachers themselves.
""We are an increasingly information-oriented and innovative society,"" Bushaw said. ""Some level of college is now required for many jobs. Therefore, some schools are making changes; curriculum is changing; better assessment approaches are being developed. I think what's unfortunate is that these things aren't [being done] as quickly as they should.""
More and more high schools in California, however, have demonstrated awareness of the disparity in college preparedness and have implemented programs to ease the transition between middle and high school.
In recent years, programs such as Link Crew, which pairs high school student volunteers with middle school students in a mentoring capacity, have appeared at various high schools around the country.
Kanda, who is also a Link Crew adviser, said that the changing environment for middle school students often worsens the already difficult transition process.
""It is a whole new thing to them in terms of the big school, the student population size, having to be more responsible for themselves academically and having an open campus,"" she said. ""Being responsible is one big step they have to take.""
Both Bushaw and McCullough said they support any program or initiative that aims to reduce the percentage of students that are unprepared for higher education.
The men's club lacrosse team fell 16-5 to Sonoma State University on Feb. 22 at Warren Field. The Tritons found themselves with a 3-0 deficit early in the first quarter but were able to keep the game close in the second, trailing the Seawolves 4-2. However, UCSD was unable to match Sonoma State's pace late in the game, eventually taking the one-sided loss. The Tritons return to action on March 1 against the University of Arizona on Warren Field at noon.
The debut album from My Brightest Diamond is a dark and bittersweet martini. At first, it’s hard to swallow, burning the throat with a concoction of wailing vocals and seductive instrumentals. Give it a chance, sip some more and you’ll enter a world that, as vocalist Shara Worden puts it, is “so beautiful and terrible.”
This drink doesn’t delay its desired effects. Hints of Bjork-twisted, fuller Amy Lee come through on Worden’s dangerous, half-wailed gothic poetry. Her voice, ranging from soothing whispers to powerful operatics, has earned her indie merit and recent collaborations with Sufjan Stevens and Jedi Mind Tricks.
“I think we should jump on the piano / No one’s looking, we could tear his heart out,” she sings on “FILL.” Eerie instrumentals serve as a chaser for such strong words, composed by Worden’s classically trained hand. The cello and violin put power to the pain with elongated, wailing strings and vibraphones add a creepy twist, forming beats that complement the vocals without overpowering them.
But after the euphoric buzz comes an inevitable drunk. The songs are rich and, after a while, bring on overwhelming dehydration, consumed and overtaken by Worden’s delirious moan. It’s not a drink for lightweights, but those who can hold down a whole keg of pseudo-opera vocals and dramatic, surging melodies might appreciate what Worden has to offer.
Men With Breast Cancer Risk Relapse
According to scientists at UC Irvine's Genetic Epidemiology Research Institute, men who have been treated for breast cancer run a significant risk of developing a second primary cancer.
A study of data collected by the California Cancer Registry suggests that men diagnosed with primary breast cancer have a 16 percent higher risk of developing a second kind of cancer than men who have never had the disease.
More than 10 percent of the 1,926 men diagnosed with breast cancer surveyed went on to develop a second kind of cancer at least two months later.
The risk is especially high in men diagnosed at a young age, UC Irvine Chief of Epidemiology Hoda Anton-Culver said. Over the 15-year span of the study, researchers saw an increase in high levels of other cancers — primarily colorectal, stomach, bladder, skin and a relapse of breast cancer — prompting researchers to conclude that closer monitoring is necessary to prevent future illness in these patients.
""These findings indicate that male breast cancer patients need to be primary candidates for active cancer screening, early detection and cancer prevention counseling,"" Anton-Culver stated.
Swapped: UCSD Staff Members Trade Wives
Two UCSD staff members will be featured on an episode of Fox Network's reality show ""Trading Spouses,"" airing on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9.
UCSD Director of Special Events and Protocol Judy Lane swapped places with Julie Chase, a saddlemaker from Oregon, and spent a week with Chase's husband, Charlie, and two teenage daughters.
Chase was sent to live with Lane's same-sex partner, Pepper Lane, coordinator of regional and constituent programs for UCSD's Alumni Association, and their children Cory and Shea. The program's premise allows the participants to see what it is like to live in each other's shoes, and pays $50,000 to each participating family.
According to Pepper Lane, the experience with Chase — who frequently made prejudiced comments in front of her — was difficult. However, it made her and her partner more appreciative of their own family and the accepting atmosphere they have created.
""To me, the grass is the perfect color green at home,"" Pepper Lane stated in a press release.
If given the chance, they would not go through the experience again, the couple stated. However, they are hopeful that the broadcast will edit them favorably.
""I hope nothing will embarrass my children,"" Judy Lane stated. ""As long as that goes well, I don't care. Nothing is going to embarrass me at this point.""
Med Center Employee Delivers 1,000th Baby
UCSD Medical Center nurse midwife Hope Renn has reached a milestone — after 10 years, she has delivered her 1,000th baby.
Renn, a self-described ""birth junkie,"" helped Ana Torres deliver her son, Jesus Alexis, after a quick labor at the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest.
Renn has been a nurse midwife at the medical center since 1999, and has delivered more than 800 babies at UCSD.
""I think the midwife program is a wonderful option for low-risk women giving birth in San Diego,"" Director of Women and Infant Services Linda Levy, a registered nurse, stated in a press release. ""It gives women a great deal of control over their birthing experiences.""
Renn, who was first exposed to her trade while working in a Vietnamese refugee camp in the Philippines, and says that the experience led her to pursue midwifery as a career.
""I am so honored to be able to walk with women and their families on their journey through pregnancy, labor, birth and into parenthood,"" Renn stated.
Midwives at the medical center assist physicians in the hospital's department of reproductive medicine, and all UCSD midwives are registered nurses with advanced Certified Nurse Midwife degrees.
When the College Republicans hit the streets with sweets, it’s not your mother’s regular neighborhood PTA bake sale; it’s a political protest.
And so it was last spring, when the club held its “Affirmative Action Bake Sale” on Library Walk — charging customers rates determined by their race, with whites paying the most. The other side of the political spectrum, of course, has had its fun too, with a plethora of student groups offering everything from movies condemning human rights violations abroad to pamphlets urging a communist revolution at home.
Yet this fierce partisan split enjoys no analogous equivalent in the other facet of campus politics: student government. According to many past and present student government leaders, this strange separation between campus issues and larger political questions is not accidental.
“Democrat and Republican doesn’t matter one iota in student government, because they’re not going to declare war on Iraq,” said Earl Warren College senior Daniel Watts, former chairman of UCSD’s College Republicans and a spring 2005 candidate for A.S. president.
After all, attempting to pigeonhole student issues under partisan labels is difficult. Do civil libertarians oppose the school’s ascension into NCAA Division I athletics? And do environmentalists pick different student representatives for the Transportation Policy Committee, which oversees parking issues, than religious fundamentalists?
When ideology does collide with campus issues, the results are sometimes surprising. For example, Sixth College Senior Senator Matt Corrales, who often extols progressive politics on his blog, is also one of the loudest advocates of fiscal responsibility on the A.S. Council, voting against almost every attempt to increase various parts of the student government’s budget.
Watts himself is emblematic of this melting pot: Despite his role in the College Republicans, Watts insists he’s actually a libertarian, though he also attends a meeting of the College Democrats now and then. In 2003, he competed in the state’s gubernatorial recall election — as a Green Party candidate.
“The most important thing is that politics makes strange bedfellows, especially at UCSD,” said Bryan Barton, a UCSD graduate who’s running for the 53rd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican.
Barton earned his conservative credentials the hard way, in the trenches. He made national headlines last April when federal immigration officials detained him in Arizona — at the time, Barton was a volunteer with the Minutemen Project — on the suspicion of abusing a Mexican immigrant. The immigrant said that, shortly after sneaking into the country, he was stopped by Barton and asked to pose for a photo on a shirt with the words “Bryan Barton caught me crossing the border and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.” The matter was finally ruled a misunderstanding and Barton was set free.
At UCSD, Barton did not hunt illegal immigrants (though he did try to run for student government president). In his campus agitation, including his recent attacks against the A.S. Council for its role in the Student-Run Television porn fiasco, Barton has often partnered with alumnus Steve York, a Green Party supporter.
In addition to both acting as editors of the Koala, Barton said the two men were “staunch allies,” though “in the grand scheme of politics, we have very differing [political] opinions.”
Part of the explanation for the unusual alliances is the way campus elections work.
“Your platform is almost entirely irrelevant — in fact, the vaguer the platform, the better,” said Watts, whose foes acknowledge his brilliance when it comes to campus political strategy. “If you have absolutely no concrete goals you can achieve, you’ll have a better chance of winning.”
Most winning candidates compete on coalitions known as “slates,” the campus equivalent of political parties. And most slates draw their support from specific clubs, with cultural organizations being the most important players, though endorsements from the Greeks and the Triton Athletic Council help as well, according to Watts.
Instead of forming slates with like-minded people, winning teams reach out to the broadest coalition possible, to tap into a larger pool of would-be-voter “friends,” a process Watts says is analogous to tentacles of an octopus reaching out in different directions.
“If you have five people on your slate, you want each person on your slate to be the president of a different organization,” Watts said.
Political ideology can come into play, too.
“We are a progressive slate, unapologizing progressives, and we’re damn proud of it,” UCSD alumnus Harish Nandagopal screamed at a rally in 2004.
At the time, Nandagopal was competing to become A.S. president on the Students First! slate; he lost to a candidate that did not mention ideological politics on the campaign stump.
“The mistake I made is that — well, it wasn’t quite a mistake — I made very clear what my views were,” Nandagopal recalls now.
A large majority of the campus’ students lean to the left, as a Guardian exit poll at the 2004 presidential election showed, and so do the majority of the students elected to the A.S. Council. However, this left-of-center majority breaks down further into “progressives” and more moderate “liberals,” with the two groups butting heads in campus elections.
In 2002, the College Republicans ran their own New Wave slate, only to see it routed, without a single candidate winning a seat on the A.S. Council. The mistake, according to Barton, is that the slate was not diverse enough, because “the College Republicans don’t have the power to take over UCSD alone.”
“If the Republicans start running a slate, they would just lose,” Nandagopal said. “The most they have been able to do is disrupt elections.”
That is exactly what happened three years ago, when several College Republicans members devised what UCSD graduate Phil Palisoul once called the “biggest anti-campaign the world had ever seen.” The plan, created by Palisoul, alumnus Ryan Darby and others, resulted in the disqualification of the entire Student First! slate. Both and Palisoul and Darby now serve on the executive committee of the California College Republicans, although the damning video that led to the disqualification was filmed by Green Party supporter York.
Barton attempted to take control of student government in another way: a “coup.” In spring of 2004, he marched into an A.S. Council meeting with masked troops armed with water guns, water balloons — and a goat. He warned that if the council did not give up power voluntarily to Barton and the goat, who would serve as co-dictators of the new student government, it would be overthrown. The coup failed, and the stunt earned Barton a one-year suspension from campus.
What the College Republicans have lacked in campus political success, though, they have made up on the national scale. Their national umbrella organization controls a $17-million budget, a goliath when compared to the resources of its Democratic counterpart.
At Berkeley, a campus known for its liberal slant, College Republicans are one of the largest student groups on campus.
After the recent wave of federal campaign finance reform, the national College Republicans organization has reinvented itself as a “527” — a group similar to MoveOn.org and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, allowed to collect an unlimited amount in campaign contributions, which are used to support Republican candidates in national races.
Last summer, Michael Davidson, a UC Berkeley graduate and former chairman of the California College Republicans, spent $200,000 trying to capture the group’s national chairmanship, though he fell just short (possibly because of unscrupulous campaigning by his opponent), despite endorsements from Ann Coulter and the son of former President Ronald Reagan.
The job is an important one: Past chairmen include President George W. Bush’s top adviser Karl Rove and lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who shook the Washington establishment last week by pleading guilty to a slew of criminal charges. College Democrats have no equivalent.
At UCSD, though, that sort of politics seems far, far away. By tradition, second week of winter quarter marks the start of UCSD’s election season. This year, Watts predicts a presidential contest between A.S. Vice President Finance Greg Murphy, Vice President of Academic Affairs Harry Khanna and Revelle College Senior Senator Rachel Corell.
If the prediction pans out, the competition will be fierce, though probably not ideological: All three candidates enjoy similar records on A.S. positions and all three have strong ties to the Greek community. And Watts says he’ll throw his hat into the ring, too; he’ll even stay a sixth year, if he gets elected.
However, Watts doesn’t say if he’ll follow his own campaign advice and run on a platform that is “almost entirely irrelevant.”
Monday, Jan. 15
6:45 p.m.: A student reported the theft of a cellular phone from Geisel Library. Loss: $150.
7:04 p.m.: A student reported the theft of a green Trek B21 bicycle from the Price Center behind Round Table Pizza. Loss: $300.
7:14 p.m.: A student reported the theft of a vehicle license plate from Lot 406. No loss.
9:23 p.m.: A student reported the theft of bicycle parts from the east side of Pacific Hall. Loss: $210.
Tuesday, Jan. 16
9:48 a.m.: A 46-year-old female staff member complained of chest pain at the Bursar's office. Transported to Thornton by paramedics.
10 a.m.: Officers towed a green '95 Volkswagen Jetta from Matthews Lane near the Center for Magnetic Recording Research for having registration expired for over six months. Stored at Star Towing.
10:56 a.m.: A staff member reported vandalism at Voigt Drive and Justice Lane. No loss.
11:10 a.m.: A student reported burglary to a gray '96 Ford Ranger in the Black's Beach lot. Loss: $10.
3:20 p.m.: A student reported burglary to a red '92 GMC suburban from Lot 102. Loss: $600.
4:15 p.m.: A student reported the theft of a UCSD identification card from RIMAC. No loss.
Wednesday, Jan. 17
12:18 a.m.: A 57-year-old male nonaffiliate was ordered off campus for seven days after creating a disturbance at the Price Center Theater.
3:53 p.m.: A student reported vandalism to a bicycle at RIMAC Arena. Loss: $50.
6:35 p.m.: A 50-year-old faculty member suffered a head injury after falling at Outback Climbing Center. Transported to Scripps Memorial Hospital by paramedics.
Friday, Jan. 19
1:54 a.m.: Officers arrested a 43-year-old male nonaffiliate for driving under the influence of alcohol. Transported to Central Jail.
1:06 a.m.: Officers detained a 22-year-old male student near Canyon Vista for being drunk in public.
9:05 a.m.: Units and paramedics responded to a 51-year-old female staff member having difficulty breathing at the Mesa Daycare Center. Transported to Thornton by paramedics.
1:58 p.m.: A staff member reported the theft of a parking meter from the North Torrey Pines parking structure. Loss: $260.
9:10 p.m.: Officers detained a 21-year-old male student at the Porter's Pub for being drunk in public. Transported to detox.
""Urban Explosion,"" an event demonstrating key aspects of hip-hop subculture, will be held this Saturday, March 2, in front of Earl's Place in Earl Warren College.
The event, sponsored by Warren College Residential Life, will examine the four elements of hip-hop: break dancing, tag art, disc jockeys and MCs. Local music and dance performers will be on hand for the event, which will also feature interactive activities for the public. Free food and prizes will be provided.
The event starts at 1 p.m. and admission is free. For more information call the Warren Residential Life Office at (858) 658-9490.
Biologists report environmental dangers caused by ants
According to research conducted by environmental biologists, the presence of the Argentine ant in California's coastal region has caused detrimental effects to the surrounding ecosystem.
The Argentine ant has displaced a significant number of native ants in the Southwest United States. In turn, the population of the horned lizards that inhabit the areas invaded by the Argentine ant have declined by more than 50 percent due to the lizard's preference for the larger size of native ants.
The significance of the phenomenon is largely evident through the indirect effects of like-species competition within the food web of the ecosystem and how biodiversity works to stabilize such ecosystems.
Two reports were yielded from the research performed by Andrew V. Suarez, who carried out the study alongside a graduate student at UCSD. The papers appear in the February issue of Conservation Biology and Ecological Issues, and both are co-authored by Ted J. Case, a UCSD biology professor.
Women of Color Conference open for registration
The University of California Student Association of Women of Color Conference will be held April 5 through April 7 at UCSD. Representatives from campuses across the UC system are expected to attend.
""Breaking Chains and Creating Links"" will be the theme for this year's event, which will serve as an open forum for discussion between minority women on topics such as interracial relationships, activism through art, the prison-industrial complex and recreational activities.
The event is open to the public. Early registration is due before March 9 and is $15 per person. Standard registration is $22 and must be made before March 23. Checks should be made payable to the UCSA and should be turned into the A.S. External office on the third floor of the Price Center.
Book-collecting contest open to UCSD students
Prizes of $500, $300 and $200 will be awarded to UCSD students who submit winning entries to the San Diego Booksellers Association/Friends of the UCSD Libraries Book Collection Competition of 2002.
Qualifying collections must consist of at least 25 books that are owned by the student entrant. The collection should follow a consistent theme, whether it features a specific author or subject or a common physical trait, such as fine binding or autographs of the authors. Modern textbooks are discouraged from being entered.
Each contestant must submit a brief 500- to 1,500-word essay describing the nature of the collection, when it was started, how and why it was assembled and future plans for its development. A bibliography of the collection's contents must accompany the essay, referencing author, title, publisher, location and date of publication. Commentary on the significance of individual pieces should be made and documented, along with any extraordinary characteristics.
Past winners have drawn on the ranging themes of African explorers, baseball, whales and dolphins, Edward Gorey and mountaineers.
For ISS EarthKAM, the aftermath of the Feb. 1 space shuttle Columbia disaster could mean the end for the UCSD-based, NASA-affiliated program that operates unnoticed by most students.
ISS EarthKAM began in 1995 as the project of Sally Ride, the first American woman in space and a physics professor at UCSD. Her vision was to collaborate with NASA to mount a high-resolution digital camera on shuttles and allow middle school students to request pictures of specific locations on Earth.
Officials at NASA liked the idea and mounted the first camera on the space shuttle Endeavour in 1996. The interim time was spent acquiring the necessary materials to build a mission operations center in the Science and Engineering Research Facility building at UCSD. Intel, Sun and IBM made contributions along with a host of other companies.
Three years and four shuttle missions later, program directors sought a more stable placement for the camera in the new International Space Station. Ride again approached NASA officials, who moved the camera aboard the International Space Station, where it currently remains.
Following the move to the ISS, the program directors focused their efforts on programming a functional and intuitive Web site while also recruiting more schools to participate.
""We're looking to get more schools in the San Diego area involved,"" said Karen Flammer, one of the program coordinators. ""But already, we have a lot of international schools taking part: Japan, Germany, Mexico and others.""
Yet things might be changing for this young program. If NASA chooses to temporarily ground all manned space flights, there would no American astronauts in the space station to initialize the camera and make the connections to the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Though it might be possible to collaborate with the Russian cosmonauts on the ISS, such a project seems unlikely when so many other agendas encroach on NASA's resources.
In the short run, it seems that the ISS EarthKAM program may get additional opportunities to use its equipment while the existing crew of the ISS seeks to use its additional time on the station to conduct as much research as possible. The American astronauts, due to the suspension of all shuttle missions for the coming months, will stay longer than initially planned and have made an additional ISS EarthKAM window available to UCSD.
Students involved with ISS EarthKAM said the program involves them in the business of flight and shows them a perspective of this planet they might never have otherwise seen.
""[One of] the biggest personal benefits I get from the program is hearing the success stories of teachers whose students went from disinterest to enthusiasm about learning,"" said Emily Ashbaugh, a senior at Earl Warren College majoring in physics.
Thirty students from the sciences, engineering and humanities work together to maintain and improve this Internet-based project. Computer scientists write programs to check the input of the middle school students for errors. They call it ""making sure the student gets a picture of what he or she wanted.""
The time between when a student requests a picture and receives it can be as little as four hours.
Others students analyze and annotate the images once they are received and learn a little about the Earth sciences in the process. ERTH 101, an introductory earth science course at UCSD, uses the ISS EarthKAM images to study geology, geography and see human impact on landscapes around the globe.
For the middle school students, TERC, an educational group in Massachusetts, and Texas A&M University have developed curricula to help teachers integrate the hands-on learning of ISS EarthKAM with standard subjects like math, science and even art. Program coordinators hope that as the number of participating schools increases, they will see more resources developed for teachers.
""You can see the gratitude of the schools when you make it [the Web site] more user-friendly,"" said Chris West, a senior at John Muir College majoring in computer science. ""That's really gratifying.""
Over 10,000 students participated in the last mission.
Worse than smooth jazz, there is smooth rock. And Platinum Weird, the collaboration product of Dave Stewart and Kara DioGuardi, is so smooth it’s glossy — shiny, gleaming, sickeningly glossy.
The group dates back to 1974, when Stewart and original muse Erin Grace debuted at Mick Jagger’s birthday party, where they quickly enjoyed cult status and slowly slithered into London’s rock scene. They signed on immediately to Elton John’s Rocket label and began to lay down album tracks. Then Grace disappeared — and the magic stopped.
But not for Stewart. He found famous muse number two, Annie Lennox, and created the brilliant Eurythmics. Now the story gets complicated, and intriguingly marketable. One day, in a fit of nostalgia, Stewart strummed a measure from an old Platinum Weird song. DioGuardi walked in and began to sing exactly the lyrics penned by Stewart and Grace over three decades ago! Was this a reincarnated Grace?
No, only a young girl whose dreams of musical fame were flamed by an older, wiser woman from New York, who — as logic and really good luck would have it — was Grace. She reappeared in the annals of rock history, and thus humanity is now terribly burdened by PW’s re-released album, Make Believe. Their bizarrely coincidental, supremely marketable history does not stir the skeptic in me so much as knock it off its arse.
History aside, Stewart and DioGuardi make music like they make stories: pulling hearts with painful cliches, easy-listening rock sets and belches of sentimentality of such caliber that Hallmark could take lessons.