This week, students took on some challenging topics via our writing prompts, including the debate over the border wall, sexual abuse allegations against R. Kelly, and the relationship between the news media and the president.
As always, we were impressed with their thoughtfulness, humility and sharp analyses. But what really impressed us was how many students took the time to read and reply to each other’s comments with both disagreement and approval. Most readers offered substantial and civil rebuttals, responses we know are not always easy to give to issues as complicated and emotional as these.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best of the comments on two of these topics, along with some more lighthearted teenage musings about dream travel destinations.
We’re so happy to welcome new classes from Downers Grove, Ill.; Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy in Chicago; and Tallahassee, Fla. this week — and we want also to give a special shout out to the students at the Julia R. Masterman School in Philadelphia, who wrote excellent comments across all our prompts this week.
Please note: All student comments have been lightly edited for length, but otherwise appear exactly as they were originally submitted.
__________Does the President’s Goal to Build a Border Wall Merit a Government Shutdown?
The government shutdown and debate over a border wall have dominated headlines for the past few weeks. Following President Trump’s prime-time address to the nation on Jan. 8, we asked students what they thought about the standoff between Mr. Trump and Congress and how they hoped it would be resolved.
The majority of students took issue with the impasse, but a few defended Mr. Trump’s steadfastness. Others suggested ways the deadlock could be resolved and how the .7 billion Mr. Trump wants for the border wall could be better spent. We highlight some of the best-argued and most interesting ideas in our roundup below.
Weighing the costs and benefits of a government shutdown
In the midst of the government shutdown, there is a looming humanitarian crisis. However, it is not a scourge of illegal immigrants entering the US and committing unspeakable atrocities, but the roughly 800,000 federal employees who are not reviving paychecks as a consequence of government shutdown. Each day it stretches on, their situation grows more perilous as they are forced to draw from financial savings that should be utilized for retirement or sending their children to college. It is absolutely abhorrent that almost one million people are having their livelihoods put on hold because the president does not want to negotiate.
The wall is perhaps the most ridiculous and controversial border control proposition created in the last fifteen years. In its full form, it would cost American taxpayers upwards of 50 billion dollars, and it has no guarantees of effectiveness. There is no denying that the US-Mexico border has an issue with illegal immigrants, but this is no way of solving the issue, a multifaceted, extremely complex problem that has continually defied resolution. A simple wall will not remedy the conundrum faced by both US and Mexican authorities. In summary, the cost for the border wall, in both monetary and humanitarian terms, is far too high to justify its creation. Instead, it would be exponentially more useful to explore alternate, less belligerent methods of border control that can be more universally agreed upon and implemented.
— Jake Hession, Hoggard High School, Wilmington, N.C.
Robert Frost once wrote, “Good fences makes good neighbors,” so do good walls … The United States government does not need the added work of taking care of all of these illegal immigrants, who sneaked here to flea danger in their country. Not only is it fair to the U.S. government, but it is also unfair to the many people trying to enter the country legally, who have been waiting for years only to have to wait longer because of these illegal immigrants. Many people are making the argument that government workers are not being paid for their work, however, these workers do get backpay as compensation for the money they lost during that time. This one bit of information makes that argument almost completely irrelevant.
— Jonah A., Masterman School
In all honesty, I am a supporter of the border wall. However, the recent actions and behavior Mr. Trump has displayed in order to fund the wall is absolutely not justified. A leader is supposed to unify the hoi polloi, not divide us even further, but Mr. Trump has failed to do this. Instead of offering himself to the United States, Mr. Trump has decided to offer the United States for his own desires. This is wrong, and it’s not okay. 800,000 Americans are struggling to survive without a paycheck because of one man’s selfishness. Some of these citizens also have families to feed, many with young children.
— G Jap, Masterman School, Philadelphia, Penn.
I agree with the president in this matter. I understand that a lot of people are not being paid for their work, but sometimes that just has to happen for the greater good. The border will decrease a lot of illegal immigration, which should be our priority … The government shutdown provided a lot of the fund to build/reinforce the border already, and I’m not saying it’s a good thing, but all of the funds are essential to a safe border. The Democrats have a false sense of security, thinking that we are already protected well enough from illegal immigration. But that is false. Hundreds or even thousands of people cross the border every passing day, and they are not doing anything to stop it … The border needs its funds in order to keep doing its job
— David W. the great, the great land of earth
Government spending and the wall
Donald Trump’s prime-time address did not sway my opinion at all. I still believe the wall is unnecessary money to take from America that could be used to help the people in Flint, Michigan or a year’s worth of housing for every homeless person in the US. There are much more urgent and important matters that the president has sidelined to focus on his wall.
— Angela Xhori, Julia R. Masterman, Philadelphia
I believe that yes our border needs protection just not keeping everyone out with a huge wall. What I feel would be more warranted would be background and weapon checks on those coming into the USA to ensure the safety of the country.
— Reza Chity-Guevara, Masterman, Philadelphia, Penn.
I believe that the wall is a terrible idea. With the money the government would be spending on the wall, 1.4 million people could get health care, double funding for mental health, and double funding for environmental causes. This wall won’t fix anything, it will just prove America avoids their problems and builds barriers. New problems would arise with the wall. For example, people could destroy parts of the wall or dig under it. This is basically throwing money out of the window.
— Molly Flaxman, Masterman School, Philadelphia
Why isn’t 5 billion dollars being spent in the cities that suffer from a drug epidemic. Why not 5 billion dollars to the homeless, orphanages, hospitals, schools, medicine, and more. Spend the money on what you really need to help this country. What does the wall benefit. Not schools, not research centers, not even care centers … That money can be used to make places for those immigrants who have crucial reasons to be leaving their own home … Spend money on the violence of our cities. Young teens killing each other … spend money on educating the young people who will become our caretakers in the future. If you really want to make america better that’s how you make “america great again”. Not with a wall.
— Jenesis Moreno, Masterman, Philadelphia, Penn.
Democrats and Republicans need to work together
I think putting a wall on the border is not going to solve all the problems. I also think as a country, we should put our differences aside and work together. America has a greater destiny and purpose and should be an example for future generations. If we act as we do now, the future leaders will act worse seeing our behavior and political thinking. Even though political views have split the country tremendously over the past 3 years, our main goal is to keep this country the best and running. Now the Republicans and Democrats are wasting every precious second and because of this, many families are suffering and the national parks are slowly getting destroyed.
— Eleena John, Masterman, Philly, Penn.
Trump is not willing to negotiate, but neither is Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer. They are saying that they do not want the wall under any circumstance. All three of them are resisting each other and the U.S. citizens are paying for it (or not getting payed. Whatever floats your boat). I hope this will end by the Republicans giving in, and the loads of money will be spent on different issues like global warming, while still not letting all the illegal immigrants in.
— Arjun Ahya, Masterman School, Philadelphia, Penn.
__________Where Do You Want to Travel?
Last week, the Times Travel section published its annual “52 Places to Go” piece and announced the travel writer who would travel to and write about all 52 spots. In this Student Opinion question, we asked students which of these destinations they’d most like to visit and whether they would want the job of the 52 Places Traveler.
Of the “52 Places to Go in 2019,” students were most excited about visiting the Setouchi Islands in Japan. Other top spots included: Puerto Rico; the Islands of Tahiti; the Ontario Ice Caves; and Panama. They also recommended several places not on the list, including Ghent, Belgium; the Galápagos Islands; Pittsburgh; and the Great Wall of China. Below, they tell us why.
Where students want to visit and why
Every single place in the list provided looked absolutely breathtaking and incredible, and while there were so many choices, I found myself stopping to take a closer look at Aberdeen, in Scotland. While it may not have been as beautiful or exotic as some of the other destinations on the list, I have always found myself to be fascinated with all things Scottish. I love how the Scottish accent flows, and I have always been amazed by the landscapes and “lochs” in Scotland. What made this location appear even more impressive to me was the old fashion trains, which combine two things I love: old fashioned vehicles and overnight train rides!
— Lily Chancey, Philadelphia, Masterman
If I could travel to one of the places on the list, I would prefer to go to the Setouchi Islands in Japan. Before I even went through the list, I already had a passion to go to Japan for a trip. I wanted to see Japan’s beautiful nature and try some of their traditional foods. Setouchi Triennale 2019, a major art fair interests me considering it will be held at Teshima and Honjima which are less frequented to create a balance between the nature and the art. There are so many different places to go, some focusing on the natural beauty of Japan like cycling on trails with citrus trees and olive groves. I would love to ride a sea plane with Setouchi Sea Planes to take scenic flights to small and larger islands. The food that I could try on the trip also inticesme considering I could try authentic Japanese food. Japan seems like an ideal place for me to travel and relax to have a fun time in a calm place.
— Janey L., Julia R. Masterman, Philadephia
In my lifetime, I have visited five of the seven continents. Travelling has always lead me blindly into the most thrilling and unique experiences. I will take any chance I get to pack my bag and experience a new lifestyle, and I am constantly searching for ways to broaden my cultural horizon. There was one destination included in the article that sounded very rare and intriguing: Isla Palenque, Panama. When reading the description, the part that caught my attention was “the resort grows some of its own food, has furniture made from fallen trees and maintains a no-plastics policy, including subbing papaya shoots for straws.” It would be a totally new experience for me to “live off the land”, and get away from all of the sounds overpopulation.
— Haven Habrat, Hoggard High School, Wilmington, N.C.
My biggest dream is to travel. Having never left the country, I rely on the internet and experiences from friends to tell me about the world outside of the US. Last year I got to know two foreign exchange students that had come to the US for a year and it only fueled my passion for travel. It amazes me how different cultures are and I want to learn about them all.
The Tatra Mountains in Slovakia caught my attention. I live in a port city, right by a beach community so it’s always fairly warm. It would be interesting to go to a place that has snow and it’s sweltering hot for 75% of the year. Also there are many outdoor activities that I have never tried before (due to lack of snow) like snowboarding, skiing, snow tubing, etc.
— Paige Phillips, Hoggard High School, Wilmington, N.C.
I am your average student, stressed from the amount of homework and the constant pressure I’m always under. I will live in my little bubble for most of the year forgetting that there is an entire world out there to explore. After reading the fifty two recommended places I found The Islands of Tahiti to be one of the places I want to explore. I have always wanted to live on the water and be able to experience something that I could not find anywhere. What made it stand out was “Tahiti’s clear, warm waters offer views of more than 1,000 species of marine life.” This would be something you would only receive once in a lifetime and living on the water while seeing more than a thousand species of marine life is something extraordinary.
— Talia Porzio, Hoggard High School, Wilmington, N.C.
Traveling is one of the best ways to learn. You are exposed to different cultures, as well as encounter the history embedded to the place. One of the proven best ways to learn is to experience what is being taught. Personally, I would love to visit the Setouchi islands in Japan, Thailand, or Danang in Vietnam. My mom was born in Vietnam but was raised in America, a result of being forced to flee during the war. It would be so nice to go and revisit some of the few memories she has as well as enrich my knowledge in the culture.
— Hope A, Masterman, Philly
On being the 52 Places Traveler
Having a job as the 52 place traveler sounds phenomenal because you would get to take a break and visit places that your heart desires. In addition, all you have to do is write about your experiences. Everything is taken care of, and it would just be a extremely long vacation. Although this job sounds great, there are also downfalls. You may have to be away from your family and friends, and that can always make you feel lonely. Though there are downfalls, this job still sounds great. Sometimes you have to sacrifice things in life, so that you can get another.
— Sophia, Masterman
It might be fun to go 52 different places, but if you even spend 3 days there, plus a day for flying there, that’s four days. Multiplied by 52 is 208 days - almost 2/3 of the year. I don’t think I would want to spend that much time away from home because there are a lot of aspects of my home that I really enjoy. In conclusion, I probably wouldn’t want to travel somewhere for more than 1.5 months. And only up to 1.5 months if it’s really fun.
— Samuel, Masterman
I would absolutely love to have a job that travels 52 places, that is like a dream job! You have the opportunity to experience the world and do things others dream to do. The only challenging thing about this job might be leaving your family for long periods of time, however what you gain from traveling the world is absolutely worth it.
— Elodie Poussard, Massachusetts
I would be absolutely ecstatic about being the 52 Places traveler. That opportunity to connect with people different from you, and learn something new is once in a lifetime. It would be so fun to meet people, visit historic places, eat new foods, and really learn about a new culture. I think the challenging part would be a language barrier, but that would never stop me from enjoying myself. I’m sure I can communicate well enough with hand jesters and google translate.
— Bailey Dyer, Florida High School, Tallahassee, Fla.
__________What Is This Image Saying?
In our most popular Picture Prompt of the week, “Tight Rope,” we asked students to study the image above and interpret it in light of current events.
They came up with a variety of nuanced explanations, but all seemed immediately to grasp the theme of the Frank Bruni column that inspired our prompt: the relationship between President Trump and the news media. Of the many wonderful comments we got, we chose those that were grounded in the illustration’s visual evidence and drew clear connections to specific events or issues — especially because, having just judged our own Student Editorial Cartoon Contest, we know it is this kind of thinking that results in sophisticated winning work like this.
Here is what students came up with:
Walking a fine line
I believe that this picture is commenting on the difficult job of our press. In America, the press has to try so hard to stay neutral, not supporting one side over the other… I know that newspapers and magazines have to walk a fine line (or tightrope) when it comes to publishing. It is either exposing the truth or risking large scale retaliation from the readers and people in power.
— Sam Doyle, Philly Philly
I think that this image is trying to represent how on edge the news feels today. President Trump has repeatedly said that today’s new is the enemy of the people, and whenever he doesn’t like something on the news he calls it fake news. It shows how careful the reporters have to be. In the image they have to be careful to stay on balance and not fall, but in real life they have to make sure they say the right things so they don’t get President Trump mad. It must feel like walking on eggshells around him … Reporters today have to balance on a tightrope to get to talk to Trump without him calling them fake news or the enemy of the people, and that’s not how things are supposed to be in a Democratic country.
— Ami S, Masterman, Philadelphia
I assume the guy with the tanned face and blonde hair is President Trump so I feel like the picture is showing the dangers of news outlets reporting on President Trump. It’s almost like a “tight rope” that you are crossing when it comes to him and the controversy your news outlet can start. I feel like the people on the other side of the tightrope are news reporters that are passed all the controversy with Trump and some of them may even support him. This may be the reason why he is depicted talking to them, when in other situations he is ignoring the reporters that confront him. This picture shows the other news reporters on the rope who may be in the controversy and their news outlet may be undergoing some type of drama with Trump and have to record him from a distance.
— Abdoul Diallo, Julia R. Masterman, Philadelphia
I believe that this picture prompt represents how difficult it is for reporters and journalist just to talk to President Trump. A reporter’s job is to get information from a person, but when the person is not cooperative then this cold be a rather hard job. We all know that Trump is not easy to interview because he cuts people off and sometimes turns questions around. I can recall he even kicked a journalist out of a news conference for asking a question about a topic Trump was very strict on (Immigration). So when a reporter is trying to ask the President something its like they are walking on a tightrope because you never know how he could possibly lash out.
— Jack Dunphy, Philadelphia
Seeking the truth
I think that this image is saying how maybe Donald Trump is keeping the truth away from us. He is making reporters and other people who are trying to figure out what s going on work very hard to get it. I feel this picture saying that he is hiding what he is doing and only a few people who are determined will continue to try to get to it. My opinion on what I think is this messages is why not tell them what is happening you are the president but it is still our lives, your people should know what is going on.
— Sierra McKinley, Philadelphia, Penn.
In this illustration, Donald Trump is on one side while reporter are trying to get to him on a tightrope. I think the tightrope represents how hard reporters try to figure out what is happening in the Trump presidency. There are so many secrets and things that we don’t know especially in the Trump presidency because of all of the things that have happened during his term and all of the lies he has told. We need to know the truth, and it’s these reporter’s jobs to tell us what’s going on.
— Maia Keenan, Masterman, Philadelphia
We think this image depicts reporters trying to ask questions and will risk everything to know the truth and reality. The reporter holding the microphone is asking risky questions, especially because all of the other reporters could fall if he asks something that Donald Trump finds offensive. Finally, everyone in the image can only move forward because if they go back everyone falls but Trump is isolated.
— Hall MS EL Masters, Corte Madera, Calif.
The media circus
When I look at this picture it reminds me of the media image in America, and how it is so focused on Donald Trump. Since the presidential election all that has been in the news is Donald Trump, has been the on the headline of the news so many times that I can’t even keep track anymore. We have been so focused on what he is doing that we are missing out on all the other stuff that is happening in America like all the mass shooting that are constantly happing in America or the mass population homeless people that we have on our streets. They say that he is digging this country into a deeper hole but what they don’t say is that the media is there with him helping him dig this ever-growing hole.
— Niara Hughes, Masterman, Philadelphia, Penn.
… The image shows how Donald Trump is trying to get attention, even if people are risking their lives at the same time (for example, the government shutdown). He thinks his wall is more important than the people of America.
— Maya Kowal, Masterman School, Philadelphia, Penn.B:
东方心经118图库【直】【到】【两】【孩】【子】【要】【上】【学】，【路】【一】【南】【才】【带】【着】【母】【女】【三】【人】【回】【到】【早】【早】【装】【修】【好】【的】【新】【房】。 【看】【着】【两】【小】【孩】【穿】【着】【同】【样】【的】【衣】【服】【在】【家】【里】【跑】【来】【跑】【去】，【唐】【昱】【有】【点】【头】【大】。 “【哇】，【哇】，”【姐】【姐】【突】【然】【哭】【了】【起】【来】。 【妹】【妹】【站】【在】【一】【旁】【手】【足】【无】【措】。 【唐】【昱】【坐】【在】【餐】【桌】【前】【冷】【眼】【观】【看】。 【姐】【姐】【性】【格】【温】【柔】，【妹】【妹】【活】【脱】【脱】【一】【个】【假】【小】【子】，【所】【以】，【经】【常】【是】【姐】【姐】【哭】，【妹】【妹】【笑】。
【最】【后】，【火】【门】【也】【臣】【服】【了】。 【至】【此】，【楚】【千】【月】【的】【任】【务】【也】【算】【是】【完】【成】【了】。 【她】【去】【找】【桃】【夭】。 “【四】【国】【那】【边】，【我】【已】【经】【把】【他】【们】【收】【服】【了】，【接】【下】【来】【要】【怎】【么】【做】？”【楚】【千】【月】【看】【着】【桃】【夭】【问】。 “【等】。” “【等】【什】【么】？” 【万】【事】【俱】【备】，【还】【要】【等】【毛】【线】【呀】【等】。 【桃】【夭】【瞅】【了】【她】【一】【眼】，【直】【白】【的】【道】：“【当】【然】【是】【等】【你】……【修】【炼】【到】【神】【玄】……” “【你】【不】
【回】【程】【的】【路】【上】，【风】【雪】【不】【见】【来】【路】。 【月】【华】【静】【默】【无】【语】【好】【像】【在】【想】【着】【些】【什】【么】。 【想】【想】【今】【天】【月】【华】【的】【表】【现】，【一】【边】【的】【晏】【琼】【不】【由】【的】【沉】【默】【了】【起】【来】，【好】【像】【有】【什】【么】【东】【西】【不】【一】【样】【了】。 【月】【华】【感】【觉】【到】【了】【晏】【琼】【的】【视】【线】，【抬】【头】【淡】【淡】【的】【看】【向】【了】【他】。 【晏】【琼】【这】【是】【不】【甚】【在】【意】【的】【继】【续】【盯】【着】【他】【瞧】：“【月】【华】，【我】【感】【觉】【你】【好】【像】【有】【什】【么】【地】【方】【不】【一】【样】【了】” 【月】【华】【淡】【淡】【的】东方心经118图库【听】【到】【塞】【莉】【话】【后】【的】【露】，【也】【是】【笑】【着】【摇】【起】【了】【头】。 “【小】【说】【里】【和】【幻】【想】【里】【的】【世】【界】，【恐】【怕】【是】【真】【的】【不】【存】【在】，【而】【且】【这】【个】【世】【界】【对】【比】【我】【们】【的】【那】【个】【世】【界】【而】【言】，【可】【要】【有】【趣】【的】【太】【多】【了】，【虽】【说】【我】【的】【时】【代】【恐】【怕】【没】【有】【人】【想】【要】【来】【这】【里】，【来】【了】【也】【多】【半】【会】【饿】【死】【街】【头】，【又】【或】【者】【死】【于】【魔】【兽】【的】【利】【爪】【下】，【侥】【幸】【活】【了】【下】【来】，【恐】【怕】【也】【会】【因】【为】【战】【争】【创】【伤】，【而】【孤】【独】【一】【世】。” “【露】
“【轰】【隆】！” 【河】【水】【上】【水】【波】【狂】【涌】，【无】【数】【浪】【涛】【融】【入】【黑】【水】【之】【中】，【化】【作】【千】【万】【道】【利】【箭】【向】【林】【羽】【攒】【射】。【站】【在】【这】【护】【城】【河】【上】，【陈】【玄】【松】【的】【武】【道】【凭】【空】【增】【长】【三】【分】，【似】【乎】【触】【摸】【到】【了】【天】【人】【境】【的】【境】【界】，【可】【以】【短】【暂】【的】【操】【纵】【小】【范】【围】【的】【天】【地】【元】【气】。【可】【惜】【他】【终】【究】【不】【如】【林】【羽】。 “【斩】！” 【林】【羽】【大】【喝】【一】【声】，【刀】【气】【将】【漫】【天】【黑】【浪】【统】【统】【斩】【开】，【连】【天】【地】【仿】【佛】【都】【被】【劈】【成】【两】【截】
【纠】【结】【中】，【季】【禹】【希】【的】【声】【音】【再】【次】【传】【来】，【他】【说】：“【如】【果】【有】【也】【没】【关】【系】【的】，【我】【会】【祝】【福】【你】，【真】【的】。” 【话】【语】【中】，【是】【要】【她】【承】【认】【的】【意】【思】【吗】？ 【张】【了】【张】【口】，【夏】【歆】【童】【想】【跟】【他】【解】【释】【来】【着】，【想】【告】【诉】【他】，【自】【己】【并】【没】【心】【仪】【的】【对】【象】，【只】【是】【话】【到】【嘴】【边】，【才】【发】【现】【喉】【咙】【里】【仿】【佛】【像】【是】【被】【什】【么】【东】【西】【给】【卡】【住】，【使】【得】【她】【压】【根】【发】【不】【出】【声】【音】。 【这】【一】【刻】，【夏】【歆】【童】【看】【向】【他】【的】
【不】【过】【到】【了】【后】【来】，【也】【不】【知】【道】【是】【不】【是】【因】【为】【永】【昌】【帝】【坏】【事】【做】【的】【太】【多】。 【那】【么】【多】【儿】【子】【里】，【竟】【然】【没】【有】【一】【个】【是】【堪】【当】【大】【任】【的】。 【而】【这】【个】【时】【候】，【沈】【念】【出】【现】【了】。 【他】【的】【惊】【才】【艳】【艳】，【不】【仅】【迷】【倒】【了】【京】【都】【少】【女】，【也】【得】【到】【了】【永】【昌】【帝】【的】【重】【视】。 【他】【入】【朝】【为】【官】，【给】【几】【个】【皇】【子】【教】【书】，【处】【处】【都】【透】【露】【着】【不】【平】【凡】。 【在】【民】【间】【的】【声】【名】，【更】【是】【响】【亮】【的】【比】【之】【永】【昌】【帝】