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The Student News Site of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

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The Student News Site of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

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Suzanna Barna

Gov. Rick Scott releases a proposal after Parkland shooting

The floor of the Florida House of Representatives is prepared for MSD students to arrive. Photo by Suzanna Barna

On Feb. 23, ten days after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida Gov. Rick Scott released a Major Action Plan to address the demands of the hundreds of MSD students who have been calling for the government to make real policy change in light of this tragedy. The plan contains three parts of legislation: gun safety, school safety and mental health reform.

On Tuesday, Feb. 20, a group of students from across South Florida ventured on a trip to Tallahassee, organized by Sen. Gary Farmer, to speak with legislators. On Wednesday, Feb. 21, students from MSD went to Tallahassee on a trip planned by Sen. Lauren Book and MSD Junior Class President Jaclyn Corin.

Both groups of students spoke to various Florida state legislators in the House of Representatives and Senate about their personal experiences in the MSD shooting and their proposals for legislative change. Discussions centered on gun reform and safety, although the topics of school safety and mental health were also addressed.

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Reactions to the proposal from Gov. Scott vary, but the general consensus seems to indicate that it is a small step towards change out of much that needs to be altered.

“Although there are a few nice ideas, it is like trying to put a bandaid on a stab wound; it is missing the bigger picture,” senior Sofie Whitney said.

The plan does not cover all aspects of change that the students of MSD have brought to the nation’s attention, but it addresses many areas of what went wrong in the case of the MSD shooting. Some aspects not addressed include waiting periods, universal background checks, arming teachers, banning assault weapons or preventative construction of future schools.

“While we have to start somewhere and I believe this bill is, in fact, a step towards the right direction, this is not nearly enough. Some of the ideas are great such as the ban of bump stocks and raising the age to purchase a firearm to 21. However, I still believe no one should be allowed to own an AR-15 for any reason, and that is not mentioned anywhere in this proposal,” senior Ashley Mcfarlane said.  

If the ideas in the proposal by Gov. Scott is approved and passed by the Florida legislator, MSD will prove that a better and safer society is a realistic hope for future generations.

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  • S

    Sigrid WilshinskyMar 25, 2018 at 4:15 am

    I am so proud of all of you. Compared to you I am a fossil, age 75, but I remember marching in Berlin Germany when Hungary tried to get rid of the communistic Russian occupation. What you do does matter! And when the Berlin Wall was installed.

  • C

    Clayton BurnsMar 4, 2018 at 8:14 am

    American College Admissions Curricula, Grades 9-12, South Florida High Schools:

    American incoherence in information management is manifesting severely in the FBI and the Navy. These are just two dramatic examples of a deeply ingrained American pathology.

    America needs to set up extensive systems of scholarships for schools, classes, and students so as to inculcate curricula for leadership.

    The exact curricula for English and History I have developed over 50,000 hours of testing. They are geared towards the best understanding of information cohesion and coherence if the phenomena are foregrounded in the teaching of the books.

    It is disgraceful that we have no literary grammar with a full chapter on cohesion in the texts on these lists.

    High school English curricula for college and university admissions:

    A. Emily Dickinson Cycle of Shorter Literary Works.

    To be read out loud in grades 9-12 in small groups. This is a graduated curriculum, so the sequence is important. Students in grades nine and ten should study English in the Collins COBUILD Intermediate English Grammar and the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary app.

    An excellent introduction to English grammar can be found in Units 59-61, 63, 74-78, and 96 in the COBUILD Intermediate: the past system. The idea is to engage in continual grammar writing of original sentences to absorb these foundational units. For example, how do we employ present perfect progressive?

    I have been waiting here for an hour. Where is the bus? (complaint)

    I have been waiting all morning to see you! (anticipation and satisfaction)

    Gwendolyn must know because she has been studying astronomy for four years. (answer to our need)

    Has someone been tampering with my computer?

    Who has been eating out of my porridge bowl?

    The goal is to achieve deep understanding and the “grammar of production” (writing and speaking) rather than merely going over the material and passing multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blanks tests.

    Grade Nine:
    1.The Scarlet Letter
    2.The Great Gatsby
    3.Pride and Prejudice
    4.Doubt (Shanley)

    Grade Ten:
    6.The Turn of the Screw
    7.Heart of Darkness
    8.Wuthering Heights

    Grade Eleven:
    10.Mrs. Dalloway
    11.The Picture of Dorian Gray
    12.Paradise Lost Book IX

    Grade Twelve:
    15.Vendler’s Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries
    16.A Streetcar Named Desire

    COBUILD English Grammar
    Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary app
    MLA Handbook

    1-3, 6-8, 11. Oxford World’s Classics
    5. Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition
    9, 14. Arden

    B. Clarissa Cycle of Longer Fiction.

    Also to be read out loud (as much as possible) in grades 9-12, by honours students. Levels are flexible as to grade. Students will need to make use of all twelve months of each year to complete this program. Scholarships should be offered to allow students to buy the books and hire reading tutors if necessary. A great novel for which a high quality reader’s text needs to be produced is Clarissa, certainly one of the best half dozen novels ever. The Penguin text is marred by typos and the failure to modernize quotation marks.

    Level One:
    1.Jane Eyre
    2.Great Expectations
    3.Crime and Punishment
    4.David Copperfield

    Level Two:
    6.Madame Bovary
    7.The Charterhouse of Parma
    8.The Karamazov Brothers

    Level Three:
    9.Les Misérables
    12.War and Peace

    Level Four:
    13.Anna Karenina
    14.The Portrait of a Lady
    15.The Wings of the Dove

    1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10-15. Oxford World’s Classics
    3. Penguin, Ready
    6. Penguin, Davis
    9.Penguin, Donougher; background chapters mostly read silently)
    16. Penguin, Annotated Student Edition

    C. Intelligence Reading List:

    (The last five American Presidents attended Ivy League institutions. The current one would make gains from studying these books. They should also be required for Fulbright applicants. We do not hear of Ivy League ambitions to create better Presidents than George W. Bush of Yale and Harvard):

    1.Beloved. Morrison
    2.The Black Banners. Ali Soufan
    3.Citizen Emperor. Philip Dwyer
    4.COBUILD English Grammar
    5.Cognitive Psychology. Bruce Goldstein
    6.Command and Control. Eric Schlosser
    7.The Curve of Binding Energy. John McPhee
    8.Dark Sun. Richard Rhodes
    9.The Eleventh Day. Summers and Swan
    10.Embers of War. Fredrik Logevall
    11.Encounters with the Archdruid. John McPhee
    12.The Feast of the Goat. Vargas Llosa
    13.Gettysburg. Allen C. Guelzo
    14.Hadji Murat. Leo Tolstoy (Pevear)
    15.Hitler. Ian Kershaw (one volume)
    16.KL. Nikolaus Wachsmann
    17.La Débâcle. Zola (Dorday)
    18.Liberty or Death. Peter McPhee
    19.My Lai. Howard Jones
    20.Napoleon the Great. Andrew Roberts
    21.Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dict. app
    22.Pakistan: A Hard Country. Lieven
    23.Persuasion. Robert H. Gass
    24.The Power of Critical Thinking. Oxford
    25.Revolutionary Iran. Michael Axworthy
    26.The Second World Wars. Hanson
    27.Strategy. Lawrence Freedman
    28.Surprise Attack. Larry Hancock
    29.The Third Reich in Power. Evans
    30.To Hell and Back. Ian Kershaw
    31.The Trial. Franz Kafka (Idris Parry)
    32.The Triple Agent. Joby Warrick

    D. Teaching Critical Thinking:

    An absolute minimum in teaching critical thinking would be to have a two year mandatory power course in grades 11 and 12 in reasoning, employing and integrating the relevant texts (not too difficult for high school):

    Oxford’s The Power of Critical Thinking
    Goldstein’s Cognitive Psychology
    COBUILD English Grammar
    Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary app

    For those who think grammar has nothing to do with critical thinking: the ability to absorb the grammatical systems of English and explain them means making major cognitive gains that can be applied to all practical problems.

    How do I know? Because I have tested potential books over 50,000 hours over 25 years. The world is getting more complex and less forgiving. We need to cluster tools and accelerate learning. At a younger age.

    The official English language and critical thinking tools for all initiatives:

    The COBUILD grammar system, including its Intermediate English Grammar as an introductory text. The COBUILD English Grammar for grades 10-12 and undergraduate studies. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, print and app versions. The app features excellent spoken American sentences.

    A very readable introduction to critical thinking for high school and undergraduate students is Oxford’s The Power of Critical Thinking. There will be a new edition in August 2018. Lewis Vaughn’s shorter version—The Concise Guide to Critical Thinking—is ideal for summer courses.

    Bruce Goldstein’s Cognitive Psychology is an essential high school text as well as being invaluable for professional development. There should be courses in these texts for high school students as options to AP Psychology.

    The resources in this curriculum would form a superb corpus for a grammar of literature and history. A literary grammar would be invaluable for teaching cohesion and clause clusters. The Scarlet Letter is outstanding for clusters of result and manner clauses.

    E. Recommended New Books:

    1.The Secret Garden: North American English
    2.Critical and Reader’s Editions: Clarissa
    3.English Literary Grammar
    4.Bradley Headstone novella
    5.Gwendolen Harleth novella
    6.Merged Critical Edition: The Turn of the Screw, The Beast in the Jungle, The Jolly Corner, The Friends of the Friends
    7.Critical Edition: The Wings of the Dove: to replace the extremely textually corrupt Norton Critical Edition
    8.Word Spectra (e.g. alienated-adjusted-infatuated)
    9.International Edition: MacBeth (+phonetics, phonology, sound symbolism)
    10.Lancelot-Grail Student Edition

    Clayton Burns PhD
    [email protected]
    604 272 3455