by Emi F '09

Editorial: Response to last month’s “The Rapid Rise and Fall of BSGE”

“Rise and Fall of BSGE:”  Five words that have created a buzz among BSGE’ers; teach­ers, students, secretaries, school aides- even the nurse has had a say on this article. But people agree and disagree all the time, it’s no big deal! Why then, has the previous Op-Ed by a fellow BACCrag writer Daniel Fridman provoked so much rage? Why have his sophisticated prose been the basis of so much controversy? He was only sharing his opinion. “Well,” an anonymous source explains, “Op-ed pieces are opinion articles, but with FACTUAL basis. I mean, where is he getting his facts?”

(Click here to read last month’s editorial: “The Rapid Rise and Fall of BSGE”)

This previous Op-Ed piece was one that attempted to describe BSGE in its purest forms, noticing trends and pat­terns that make BSGE an idiosyncracy compared to other schools. However, after lauding the school’s great characteristics, fac­ulty, students, and families were exposed to a myriad of ostensible truths which in the end, turned out to have no factual basis.

“The Rise and the Fall of BSGE,” asserts many points as reasons for why the school is falling, focusing on three main points.  First, the school no longer allows students to be themselves and gives the example of not being allowed to listen to their music. Though this may have some truth to it, if any of the faculty is asked why this rule has been so strongly enforced in recent years, they will tell you that they are just follow­ing the rules. While rules regarding portable music devices and their use had been generally enforced, it can be verified-by popular opinion and the principal herself, that the rules are now being drilled into our skulls; annoying teachers, lunch aides and security guards are taking their job extremely serious. Why all this fuss? A technician at our school recounts how sometime in the past three years a group of authorita­tive men from the Board of Ed had come to check on the school and were not pleased by the number of children freely roaming the halls with their ipods on. Their opinions were backed up by those of the chancellor who later imposed certain rules on the schools; those which every school must follow.  So while students criticize stricter enforcement, it is helpful to realize that maybe without headphones so comfortably sitting in our ears we would be more willing to lend an ear and hear why the changes are happening and not only pay attention to how and when they are happening.

Second, is that the incoming BSGE students are stupid. It is indirectly stated in the trenchant statement “The level of competence and flat out intelligence of the students has completely fallen through the floor…” The absurdity of this statement is in the fact that it is based on nothing but observation, a judgmental characteristic that renders the valid­ity of this quote to a very low standard if the proper measures were taken to assemble a statistical basis. A member of the faculty, who wishes to remain anonymous, said “Why does he think the students are not as intelligent as be­fore?” However, it should be noticed that there was one logical explanation for this stated in the article: easier admission tests. The idea that incoming students are not as smart as those more senior must have to do with admissions tests…right? Wrong. Speaking to Melissa Hinson about the process of admissions tests exposed the truth behind admission tests and what they mean to our school. She stated that admission tests’ level of difficulty is generally the same every year. She mentioned that “if changed at all, they have gotten harder not easier.” Furthermore, the admissions process for BSGE is just one of the aspects of accept­ing students. Melissa has said that when choosing students the school does not choose only those with the highest grades. People with strengths in different categories are added to the list of those accepted.  This is to add greater variety to our school population. In the end, using admissions tests to support such an assertion is inadequate and unconvincing.

The third and final reason was the social aspect of the “fall.” This includes the idea that the present students disrupt the nature of properly composed students that once existed. Also, the idea that kids no longer enjoy staying after school in the “new” BSGE environ­ment. In reference to the first idea, a comment was made by one of the faculty members that I thought was extremely sufficient in expressing the irony of this statement.  She said “A school had noise before, a school has noise now.” This is a statement that many will agree with. It is a high school and it is supposed to be loud- this cannot and should not be a determining factor as to why an entire school, should be going down or ‘falling’ as the title implies. In regards to the more students rushing out of the school, it is imperative for us to note two things: for safety reasons it is incon­venient to have so many students outside a school. The potential for fights, injuries and other serious matters are greater in the presence of larger crowds. Second, many of the students who are rushing out of the schools are those who live far away. Also, the newcommers to BSGE, are young and it is logi­cal that they would leave school as early as possible so as to stay safe in the light of day. Thus, it is to the benefit of the school that fewer children be hanging around the school. As a BaccRag commentor said “if the author of this article (‘The Rise and Fall of BSGE’) were in a court case, he would have lost his case.”

The purpose of this article is not to chastise, criticize, nor rain on anyone’s parade, it is simply to abolish vagueness and unsup­ported statements that leave our knowledgeable readers frustrated and misinformed. Here is what an avid BaccRag reader recently told me, “The caption is misleading…there is little to support his testimony. It’s not really about the rise and fall.” As the school newspaper, it is our job to stand against making unsubstantiated claims and give our audi­ence sophisticated, factual writing which is that the readers deserve.

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