-John Mere

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The Importance of Intellectual Freedom By John Mere

We often enjoy our lives, rarely contemplating the important freedoms that make it so enjoyable. The one I would like to remind you all of is your intellectual freedoms. First we must ask ourselves, what is intellectual freedom? This is our right to speak and receive intellectual information from anywhere on any topic. Basically this is our right to learn or discuss whatever we choose, almost like a specific form of freedom of speech. “Why is this so important?” you may ask. It may be a freedom we overlook but we must realize how important it really is. Without intellectual freedoms we wouldn’t be allowed to pursue any knowledge we may want. In some other countries this is nonexistent and leads to murders over religious ideas. So if you’re sitting at home, reading this paper, and drinking a cup of coffee, think about how lucky we are to have such freedoms.

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Dear John Column

Dear John,

I’m writing this letter because I don’t know what to do. My children were behaving very poorly and I use to sit them in timeout when they miss-behaved. Well this was not working at all so I read some literature and looked into alternative methods of parenting and discipline. After a lot of research I found a great idea, or so I thought…. I decided I would start rewarding my children when they did things I considered correct or polite. The issue is that now when they do things like open a door, they expect a piece of candy. I’m concerned that they are doing things not because they are the right things to do, but because they want a treat! What should I do John?! HELP!


Parent taking the easy way out

Dear Parent taking the easy way out,

What a great topic to write about! I’m sure there are many parents out there who have the same issues! Being a parent of 24 wonderful kids all between the ages of 2 and 16, I have a lot of experience in the parenting category. First of all, verbal praise is the best way to reward a child in my opinion. I don’t give strangers a piece of candy every time they open the door for me and they won’t give your children a piece either. When it comes to punishment what I found works best is taking away the things they find most entertaining. It sounds terribly harsh but don’t be afraid to take those electronics away. I know how tough this may be because many of you parents use the electronics as a babysitter. Now your child will be driving you crazy, wanting their stuff back and being “bored”. Good this means you did something right, encourage them to go outside and play. I hope this advice helps!

Good luck,



Our favorite bakery is at it again! Bake Er E has made what they are claiming is “the best tasting cake ever created.” If this cake is anything like their Greatest Cupcake Ever then it sure to be fantastic! Here is the issue, they don’t know who should eat it? They want to treat everyone interested in eating this cake fairly but they don’t know how to go about this. Every customer seems to have his or her own opinion on what they think would be considered fair. I interviewed some of the customers and this is what they had to say.

Stanley said, “Honestly I feel I should get to have the whole cake, I offered to buy it for the most money. It just seems fair to me because I have the most money, which means I clearly work the hardest, so I deserve it.”

Paul said, “I deserve the cake, or at least a piece of it, I was given the award for doing the most community service over a years time. I think it’s time I get something back in return.”

During one of my interviews a man took my notepad from me and said “Yo, Paul, I’m really happy for you, I’ma let you finish, but Beyonce deserves the cake more than you.”

Diana said, “I don’t have any possessions or any money at all, so I think it would be fair if I got the cake because everyone has stuff but I don’t have anything.”

After many interviews I realized, there was never going to be a way to even divide the cake, so that everyone received a fair share, because everyone has a different idea of what is fair.

The Susan Bowles Letter, My Thoughts

We printed a letter written by Susan Bowles, a kindergarten teacher from Florida in our last issue. She makes a lot of great points for why she refuses to give the standardized tests. Now I would like to speak about the ethics of this decision. Let's analyze her decision first. From a consequentialists point of view she is trying to benefit the most people, or benefit maximization as it's referred to commonly. By not giving these tests, the students have more time to learn the material they need to learn instead of wasting weeks on standardized tests. She understands she is responsible for the well being of the entire class so she is looking at it with n ethical care point of view, the development of her class is key and these tests do not aid in any development they just slow it down.

I also looked at this from a non-consequentialists view. Seeing it from this aspect is probably the way many of you might see it from if you didn't think about it like a consequentialist. These people view rules as rules, she was told to give her class these tests and she signed a contract with the school when she was employed. By not doing what she is told to do then she is breaking her contract, leading to her termination. It is the golden rule to treat others how you wish to be treated. Would you want to have to deal with a rogue employee? This doesn't just effect a teacher and her job, it effects the entire education community and her employers who look bad because they hired someone who refueses to do her job.

So I ask you, what do you think about this ethical dilemma? Would you do what is best for your students and risk your job, or would you tow the line and do what you're told just like everyone else who signed very similar contracts?

What Makes A Great Teacher? By John Mere

We always wonder what makes a great teacher. We think about all of our favorite teachers in our past and many times it's tough to put our finger on what made them so great. In the Ripley reading, one of the most meaningful things said is about a great teacher being someone who is constantly reevaluating the things they are doing. Never being satisfied with what they are doing, that constant reevaluation is what makes the best teachers so great.

In my quest of finding what makes a great teacher, I asked some of the children at the elementary school I worked at, here are some of the things they had to say.

"A great teacher is nice, and fun, and happy."

"Someone who doesn't give homework."

"I want a teacher who gives me more time on the computers."

"My teacher is already great, she has a bet turtle."

"I think that would be someone who is really good at teaching me math."

I'm sure you read those and wondered if they had any actual importance to this piece. My point is that everyone has their own opinion of what makes a great teacher. We will never know exactly what makes a great teacher, just memories of ones we thought were great and a lot of opinions of what a great teacher is.

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Movie Reviews!

A lot of great movies in the box office this week about education!

Au Revoir Les Enfantes

I know what you're thinking "french title this movie must be boring." You're absolutely right! This movie was a foreign school film that will leave you with a headache. If you have them, make sure you wear your reading glasses because that's all you'll be doing for an hour and forty minutes, reading subtitles. This movie had a sad ending and very little thrill, which fit the theme of foreign school films. Even if you do want to watch it, good luck finding it! To watch you either need to stream it illegally or pay to get a hulu plus membership to watch it. It isn't even in the university library system. I give this film 1 of 5 stars.

Lean On Me

Morgan Freeman stars as a no-nonsense principal who isn't afraid to chain the school closed to make it a better place. He humiliates people publicly and holds everyone to the highest standard. It takes the community and the school board a while to see things his way, but this film won't leave you disappointed or bored. It is an urban school film where the hero is the male main character, the principal. I give this film 4 of 5 stars.

The Breakfast Club

An unlikely group of teens learn more about each other and themselves, becoming an unlikely group of friends while stuck in Saturday school. This suburban school film 's hero's end up being a jock, a nerd, a rich girl, a punk, and a weirdo. They hangout in Saturday School while trying to avoid the no good principal and the stereotypes of society. You won't be sad you spent time or money on this film!!! I give it 5 of 5 stars.

Finding Forrester

Sean Connery and his insanely impressive acting and beautiful Scottish accent carry us through this lovely film about a boy who is stereotyped by society as a jock and nothing more. Connery helps the boy clean up his writing while the boy helps him step back into society. This urban private school film's hero ends up to be the boy that no one believes in academically. What a heartwarming story of friendship and problems with stereotyping in society. I give this film 3 of 5 stars.

Dead Poet's Society

Robin Williams brings joy and delight to audiences everywhere with this fantastic film of a class that looks beyond rules and books, and finds themselves and what they want from life. This private school film will make you laugh, smile, and even cry like a small baby as Williams helps lead a class in some unlikely lessons. I give this film 4 of 5 stars.

Local Cripple Boy Saved!!!

While on a deep sea fishing adventure, Clarence Terrence of Columbus, Ohio was saved by a male criminal. Charged with murder, he was the man capable of navigating the boat they were on. The boat began to capsize in the Gulf of Mexico when the man grabbed Clarence, swimming with him on his back until they were rescued by a passing fishing boat. The man, who asked to remain nameless said "what was I supposed to do? When put in that situation of if I deserved to live or die trying to save the boy, I chose the boy." He also stated that "any sane person would put the boy's life first and that only a monster would let anything happen to him."