Colleges Earn An ‘F’ in Minority Support

Jesse Hernandez
Staff Writer

A recent USA Today report states that as of 2013, 64 percent of white college students graduated while only 50 percent of underrepresented minorities such as African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanic students graduated in over 255 of the California colleges. The push by the state and federal government in integrating minorities into higher education has been successful in increasing admittance rates; however, new procedures must be in place to increase graduation rates.

The same report argues that nearly one-third of the colleges and universities that improved graduation rates overall actually saw graduation rates for African American students remain flat or decline. 27 of the 255 schools the USA Today report analyzed had declining graduation rates for their African American students.
The policy of affirmative action (AA) passed in 1965 pushed public colleges into prioritizing the admittance of minorities in order to avoid a federal fine. The policy was ended in 1997 under Proposition 209, which aimed to reduce preferential treatment by the government. The end of affirmative Action brought a decrease in admittance rates, but simultaneously graduation rates for minorities increased. Colleges set limits on the percentage of Asian minorities omitted, while prioritizing a few ethnicities above others into higher education. Affirmative action was detrimental in the long run because it was not an appropriate solution to the graduation gap in universities across the United States.

Federal legislation through affirmative action has failed to close the gap in graduation, therefore, Colleges and high schools must attend to why minority students lack in attendance. Colleges should push initiatives that connect more low-income minority students to campuses where they will succeed and encourage graduation once they arrive, increase preparation for college, reduce inequalities in college advising and test preparation, and establish remedial education.

Having affordable college, not just providing loans to students, will go a long way toward helping to close the achievement gap as high tuition discourage minorities from higher education. Often, initiatives like providing the first two years of community college for free to qualifying students is one of many ways that graduation can become more accessible to minority, first-generation migrants and other at-risk students. As of last year, Tennessee’s newly launched statewide program for free community college had nearly 60,000 students apply, and the state expects that ultimately 15,000 students will enroll as part of the program. In the last eight months, five states and communities have created free community college programs. Similar results would be expected if the same model was applied to public universities.

A greater educated public means a stronger economy, greater industrial development, and an overall better quality of life. All colleges hold diversity plans that need to be re-analyzed to see if they truly are doing enough to close the country’s graduation gap. Continued individual guidance throughout the college process, improved recruiting, and affordable college are a few ways that higher education can support greater equality.

Moor vs. Moor: Teacher Tenure

Staff Writer

Teachers hold the valuable position of expanding the knowledge of students nationwide. In order to keep this position, tenure laws exists. The tenure policy is the shield granted to teachers after a certain amount of probation time, preventing them from being fired.

With the recent Vergara vs. California case (ending with favor towards educators) that reached the Supreme Court, tenure and the efficiency of teachers are being questioned. Teachers need stable protection against the possibility of being laid off. Statistics from the Federal Reserve Economic Data database shows a sharp decline in teachers being hired, with over 300,000 teachers laid off within a range of three years. Much of these dismissals were done without proper evaluation as well. This relays the message that educators may be hanging by a thread at any time, and may be cut down from their jobs at any moment.

Tenure is the extra padding that is needed to survive within a public sector career. Job protection is a constitutional, basic right all workers deserve. Without it, a biased and obstinate claim could easily spell the end of a career. However, even tenures have its loopholes; it cannot grant total immunity. Teachers with tenure proven of inefficiency, incapacity, or just cause may ultimately be fired. Bad teachers will not be so easily defended by tenure, but those who actually prove competent will.
Teachers must turn their focus on educating students rather than to the potential threatening dismissal note hanging over their heads. If an educator is truly abusing his or her privilege, thorough evaluation of quality of teaching and students’ academic succession should be the first step. Complete erasure from the start is not. A chance to see the true value a teacher holds always remains absolute, and tenure is that exact chance.

Opinions Editor

According to Education, the average amount of years required to obtain tenure is three years. However, this is simply not an adequate amount of time to assess an educator’s full potential. Even if a teacher performs satisfactory during the time of assessment, he or she may fail to reach certain teaching requirements after granted tenure. This results in teacher who do not take their jobs seriously and responsibly to be exempt from consequences.

Furthermore, the current process of tenure makes the termination of an educator extremely difficult. According to the Huffington Post, it is purposely difficult to fire a tenured professor. The probationary period averages three years for community colleges and seven years at four-year colleges. A study by the New Teacher Project found that over 86 percent of school administrators did not pursue dismissal of teachers due to the cost and the money. This causes poor performing teachers to stay in their jobs simply because the cost of terminating such teachers is far too complicated, which ends up compromising a student’s education. In a time where the educational preparedness of America is of high value, this is something that should not be taken lightly.


Automation Invasion


Can You Dig It-


Opinions Editor

Computer-driven automation, the technology that runs self-checkout registers and automated customer service lines, appeal to the average consumer because of its ability to quickly complete traditionally manned tasks. A majority of today’s labor intensive industries are almost fully automatic. Agricultural, mining and manufacturing companies, for example, rely on the science behind robotics to truly drive productivity in their large volume operations. By drastically reducing manual labor and production costs, the rise of robots in the workforce promises a more efficient and successful future.

According to Business Insider, Andy Puzder, the CEO of Carl’s Jr., is considering opening an employee-free, completely automated restaurant. Puzder believes investing money in automation far outweighs investing in paying employees high salaries, especially when the cost of minimum wage is rising in the U.S. Unlike humans, robots do not get tired, lazy, sick or come late to work, making them “perfect employees.” Envisioning an entirely robotic restaurant is a testament to how tech-dependent we have become. Robots performing human tasks are no longer something we dream or read about; robots are already here, and automation is in full swing. Machines taking over the work force is both a distressing and fascinating thought: at this rate, will this technological emphasis on efficiency and perfection cause the need for human labor and interaction to disappear completely? As efficient as automation is, I do not dig the potential prospect of being surrounded by inanimate and programmed objects more than our own living, human race. Automation has certainly reshaped our economy and means of productivity, but it should not affect quintessential social skills.

The next time you go shopping and find yourself choosing between using a self checkout system or approaching a human cashier, it might be worth your while to pick the one-on-one interaction with a physical being. After all, the rise of robots is no longer science fiction.

Liabilities and Losses: $15 Minimum Wage Increase

Staff Writer

On March 28, California Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he had reached a deal with lawmakers and labor unions to raise the minimum wage from $10 per hour to $15 per hour by 2022. The law, known as SB-3, would essentially allow the governor to delay minimum wage hikes during an economic decline. Proponents argue that the legislation would benefit workers, leading to greater work efficiency, lower rates at which businesses lose staff, and greater gross domestic product. Labor unions had initially started a $15 minimum wage initiative called the Fair Wage Act of 2016 that was certified for the Nov. 8, 2016 ballot but due to the passing of Senate Bill 3, the act will most likely be withdrawn.

According to the Los Angeles Times, there are also several problems that will accompany the enaction of this legislation. When the minimum wage rises, the cost of goods and products will also rise. This ultimately results in inflation when the rise in prices leads to the lessening ability of customers to buy goods and services. Contrary to the belief that raising the minimum wage would lead to lower turnover for businesses, this piece of legislation would actually lead to greater loss of staff for employers since these business owners would have to pay more money to their employees. While some employees may be making slightly more money, others will inevitably be left unemployed. It’s essentially an ineffective tool to combat unemployment as business owners would eventually consider replacing workers with robots or computers. The result will be a huge burden on businesses and consumers alike.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 could also present various challenges for parents. Since the cost of services will rise, so will the cost of day cares which is already high enough as it is. Parents would have trouble searching for day cares they can afford, and child care programs may also start going out of business. As such, students with younger siblings may realize that a higher minimum wage results in negative effects such as less allowance and greater difficulty for parents to support their children’s college tuitions. The idea of raising the minimum wage to $15 is supposed to create a “living wage” instead of creating more poverty and inequality.
Although SB-3 comes with certain advantages, the reality is that a $15 minimum wage would simply be a tax on everyone. The point of raising a minimum wage is to provide a “living wage.”

Choose for You, No One Else

Staff Writer

April: the month where most seniors are scrambling to choose the college of their choice and deciding where they will go for the next four years. For many seniors, it is not what they want but what their parents want. Some will choose a college based on how highly ranked the college is only because they want to give their parents bragging rights. This mentality that our parents have should not affect the process that a student has got through when deciding where they will go with their own life for the next four years.

So many students focus on what their parents want or what people think of them that they may end up choosing a college that they might not particularly enjoy. College decisions should be based on whether or not one can envision themselves prospering and excelling there. Decisions should not rely on how other people perceive a certain college because the opinions and ideas of others may not match your own. One might be afraid that if they choose a “low ranking” college they will receive comments about that certain college, but those opinions must be ignored. At the end of the day, this is your own life and you will succeed if you work hard. However, that is only possible if you are enjoying your time and not regretting going to the college that you thought your parents would like the most.

New UC Prompts Prompt Creativity and New Ideas


Staff Writer

After ten years, the University of California (UC) system is changing their two personal statement prompts to eight new short answer questions for their Fall 2017 undergraduate freshman application. Students have the choice to choose four out of the eight prompts provided with each response limited to a maximum of 350 words.

The new changes allow for greater flexibility for the application and lets applicants write essays that are more creative and meaningful. Regarded as “powerful insight questions” by the UC administrators, the new questions give students a chance to write on topics that may seem more personally relevant to them. Allowing students the ability to pick and choose which prompt to write about provides originality. It gives the opportunity for students to create a more meaningful response to topics that they are more passionate about.

Furthermore, the questions are no longer generic in comparison to the previous questions asking about the world one comes from and to describe their personal quality or accomplishment. The new questions now cover an array of topics including community involvement, creativity, leadership and taking advantage of educational opportunities. By providing more specific chances, it reduces the chance that applicants have to use similar generic prompt essays they may have used for class or other universities’ application for the UC application. Beccause of this, it motivates the applicants to become more creative and develop new ideas and claims in order to effectively answer the prompts provided.

The new criteria also gives the students more of an idea of the qualities and topics that admission officers are interested in. With each question associated with at least one of the fourteen comprehensive review criterias that the UC uses to assess their applicants, students are able to highlight the attributes that they feel best express them all the while appealing to the admissions officers.

The new changes that the UC system is to implement encourage applicants to use their unique voices and express who they really are in a way that the previous prompts did not focus as strongly on. It leads to a win-win situation for the the applicants and the admission officers as it permits students to write about topics they feel more passionately toward and gives admissions officers the chance to easily highlight important qualities.
The new UC prompts are well on their way to allowing the students the ability to deliver essays that are both unique and perceptive.

Thespians’ ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Consumes Your Attention

Play Collage

On April 14, Alhambra Thespians premiered “Little Shop of Horrors,” a play showcasing personal hardship, lost love and human greed.


Staff Writers

Three months of hard work and practice became apparent on April 14 as the Thespians Honors Society kicked off their annual spring production. This year, Thespians presented the horror comedy “Little Shop of Horrors” under the direction of adviser and drama teacher Rachel Snow-Fornari.

“Little Shop of Horrors” takes place during the 1960’s in poverty-stricken Skid Row. The musical is centered around a compliant flower shop assistant, Seymour Krelborn. Seymour discovers an unusual plant, which he names Audrey II after his long-lived crush, Audrey. As Audrey II continues to grow, the mysterious plant persistently demands a fresh supply of human flesh. By the end of the musical, Seymour finally realizes the plant’s true origins and its desire for world domination.

In this year’s musical, several Thespians are particularly noteworthy for their outstanding performances. Senior William Martinez, who took the role as the male lead, was unforgettable for his passionate delivery. His various solos kept the audience hooked throughout the entire musical. In addition, senior Elaizza Salazar, who played the female lead Audrey, also displayed exceptional showmanship. Her melodious vocals combined with her spirited acting truly touches the audience’s hearts.

The plant, voiced by junior Asha Lew and puppeteered by junior Adrian Martinez, represents the main anatagonist. Because the plant was a puppet, it would have been difficult to exhibit human chracteristics and emotions. Yet, Lew was able to showcase various emotions ranging from cynicism to frustration through her booming voice. Alongside Lew, Martinez was able to skillfully syncronize the plant’s movement to the voice.

Furthermore, each musical number within the play was extremely enticing and mellifluous with the support of junior Stevie Maynez-Inuza, freshman Shirly Magee and freshman Mimi Caballero as the chorus girls. Directed by AHS’ Visual and Performing Arts Director Mark Trulson, the musical’s live pit orchestra was able to set up the atmosphere of the horror scenes exquisitely. One noteworthy song was “The Meek Shall Inherit,” which created a contradicting atmosphere of anger and tenderness showing the talent of not only the actors and orchestra, but also the stage crew as they effectively used spotlights to establish the desired ambience.

One noticeable blemish that affected the Thespians was the outdated audio system that the auditorium is currently equipped with, making some parts of the dialogue difficult to listen to.
Nonetheless, the Thespians’ hard work and strenuous effort during their months of rehearsals has definitely paid off. The animated acting and fervent singing weaved cleverly into a heart-touching plotline, ultimately bringing the audience a feast at the “Little Shop of Horrors.”

The Thespians will continue to present “Little Shop of Horrors” on April 21 and 22 at 7 p.m.

Justice for Peter Liang: Accident, Not Crime


Staff Writer

2015 saw an increase in understanding and recognizing social inequality, as evidenced by the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement. This movement, among others, serve as potential gateways for other minorities to rally against unequal treatment, something various Chinese Americans have begun to do for New York Police Department officer Peter Liang.

On Nov. 20 2014, Liang was patrolling with his partner when he pulled out his gun and accidentally shot a bullet as he opened the door leading to a stairway of an apartment floor. The bullet then ricocheted off a wall, ultimately hitting and killing Akai Gurley. Liang was convicted of murder on Jan. 20. According to the New York Times, questions arose about why Liang, a rookie police officer, was assigned to patrol a neighborhood with high crime rates. It seems as though Liang’s convinction was a result of the various calls for justice in other cases wherein African Americans were shot.

One such case, according to the Huffington Post, was Eric Garner, a 43-year-old black man who was killed by a New York police officer who had a chokehold on him for 13-15 seconds; the police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, was not indicted by the jury. Similarly, 22-year-old Amadou Diallo was shot 44 times by four police officers who thought he had a gun when in reality it was just his wallet. In both instances, the police officers were white and acquitted. These are only two of the many incidents where white police officers have killed African Americans on duty and did not receive legal consequences. While Peter Liang’s case was an accident, he was convicted. For Liang to be indicted for a mishap while white police officers involved in more serious crimes are allowed to walk free shows how much we still have to do to achieve equal rights for all races. Our society still has a long way to go in terms of becoming advocates of a more just society and ensuring that no one is subject to cruel and unusual punishment.

What happened to Gurley was indeed a tragedy and Liang should still be penalized, but the previous police officers who have acted in a similar fashion should also recieve a form of punishment. Those past officers should have faced their own punishments and be fined and incarcerated. The voices of minorities need to be heard and justice to be received equally for everyone no matter what ethnicity they fall under. Ultimately, it is evident that America still has a long way to go before equality is achieved for everyone and Liang’s case could have served as the first step towards progress.


On College Yield Projections



Editor In Chief

With most college admissions out, it’s pretty easy to get frustrated if a school you expected to get into (otherwise known as a safety school) has chosen to reject you instead. In some cases, this is a result of a practice known as yield projection, in which schools try to yield a higher number of attendees in relation to the students they accept. Basically, schools try to accept students who are more likely to attend their school over those who are not, even if they are more qualified.

Now this is not the case for every rejection letter — oftentimes, admissions officers might not think that you would be a good fit at their school. But if you’re feeling a bit down about getting rejected from a safety school, don’t fret. Be honest with yourself: it was a safety school because it wasn’t your top choice. Sure, it’s nice to have it there for security, but with this practice, spots go to people more likely to attend the school than you are. There’s little to no sense in a school accepting you if you do not want to entertain the notion of prioritizing it as one of your top choices.

Naturally, there are those who genuinely want to attend a school they were rejected from. Luckily for you, appeals exist for a reason. It’s important that, during this period of finally hearing back from schools, everyone keeps in mind that whatever happens is not the end of the world: if you didn’t get into the schools you wanted, there is no harm in attending another school or transferring from a community college. While it might seem like our futures are in someone else’s hands now, just remember that it’s up to you to control what you do with your life.

New Facebook Reactions: Don’t Just ‘Like’ It

Staff Writer

fb emoticons

On Feb. 24, Facebook launched five new ‘reaction’ buttons: love, haha, wow, sad, and angry. According to Facebook Newsroom, the corporation had conducted global research to determine which kinds of reactions people would most want to use and they came up with these five reactions. Initially, this new feature was launched in 2015 only in specific countries, including Ireland, for testing but it was officially released in other countries after gaining positive feedback. Facebook users can now access this novel feature on their phones and computers by holding down on the thumbs up symbol to view the reactions.

Those who have had Facebook accounts for several years may find that this new and sudden change devalues the traditional ‘like’ button that Facebook is known for. However, this new extension allows users to become more expressive with how they feel about certain posts. Someone can now respond to any post on Facebook with the traditional thumbs-up for “like,” a heart for “love,” a laughing face for “haha,” a surprised, gaping face for “wow,” a frown accompanied by a tear for “sad,” or a glaring, reddening face for “angry.”

Facebookers no longer have to react to a post using the ever so ambiguous ‘like’ button. These individual reactions are extremely beneficial for people who wish to express themselves appropriately in inappropriate situations. Facebookers can use the ‘love’ button to react to a friend’s post about getting accepted into an exceptional college. The angry button acts as a ‘dislike’ button for the posts that leave Facebook users feeling annoyed or indignant. The ‘haha’ button is helpful in communicating just how funny a post may be, helping to divide the line between the posts that elicit little chuckles and the ones that make people laugh out loud. But the ‘sad’ button in particular is most handy. Now people on Facebook don’t have to feel guilty over ‘liking’ a friend’s post about her recently deceased turtle.


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