Oregon Makes High Schoolers Apply to College to Get a Diploma

But is this actually going to help anyone (other than the politicians)?

This week the Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill that will deny graduating seniors their diplomas until they “showed proof of application to college, the U.S. armed forces or into an apprenticeship program." One the bill's sponsors, Rep. Tobias Read, says the bill isn't "about telling someone what is right for them but helping them make sure they're considering the choices and taking a step towards an option that's right for them." In other words, students are required to start planning for life after graduation. That can't be so bad, right?

Well, I'm not sold. Just because you make a student apply to college doesn't mean she'll be able to put together a good application—or that she'll actually decide to attend if she gets in. The bill doesn't put into place any structure—like a college and career exploratory program—that school districts will have to follow to help kids understand why college is a good idea and guide them through the application process. Without that help, kids who weren't thinking of college before this bill will only be going through the motions after it.

According to the latest data, a full third of Oregon students don't even graduate on time. The focus should be on helping struggling students get through high school successfully, not forcing them to go through an application process that they don't understand and aren't invested in. Oregon would be better off instituting intervention programs that actually help students that exhibit the known signs of dropping out.

Unfortunately, solutions like this—and last week's Minnesota decision to deny high school dropouts driver's licenses—make for good "we're getting tough on kids" soundbites for politicians. And, doing something real will cost money. Oregon's legislators were proud to point out that this non-solution won't cost the state a dime.

photo (cc) via Flickr user daveparker

via National Nurses United/Twitter

An estimated eight million people in the U.S. have started a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for their own or a member of their household's healthcare costs, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The poll, which was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, also found that in addition to the millions who have launched crowdfunding efforts for themselves or a member of their household, at least 12 million more Americans have started crowdfunding efforts for someone else.

Keep Reading
via Library of Congress

In the months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the military to move Japanese-Americans into internment camps to defend the West Coast from spies.

From 1942 to 1946, an estimated 120,000 Japanese Americans, of which a vast majority were second- and third-generation citizens, were taken from their homes and forced to live in camps surrounded by armed military and barbed wire.

After the war, the decision was seen as a cruel act of racist paranoia by the American government against its own citizens.

The internment caused most of the Japanese-Americans to lose their money and homes.

Keep Reading

Step by step. 8 million steps actually. That is how recent college graduate and 22-year-old Sam Bencheghib approached his historic run across the United States. That is also how he believes we can all individually and together make a big impact on ridding the world of plastic waste.

Keep Reading
The Planet