Category Archives: Opinion

Super Bowl: Are Super Bowl commercials starting to become over-the-top inappropriate?

By Victoria Leitch
Design Editor

Records were broken. History was made. Champions were named. Commercials? Well they fell short of the greatness. Every February, millions of Americans tune into the annual Super Bowl football game. Some for the game itself, others just for the highly anticipated half-time show, but almost everyone loves to see what clever commercials that brands have developed. Some of the most popular Super Bowl commercials come from companies such as Doritos, Mountain Dew and Coca-Cola, but not one of these companies put out a new commercial during the LI Super Bowl. Instead, Skittles, KIA and T-Mobile came in with the touchdown. These new competitors changed the television game completely.

During my childhood, I remember watching the Super Bowl commercials and laughing at them continuously. The commercials used to be fun for everyone, but during the LI Super Bowl, the jokes were shockingly more mature than usual and not appropriate for the younger crowds. These puns poked fun at mature topics including “50 Shades of Grey,” drug use and inappropriate references to human anatomy. T-Mobile was a big contributor to these shady advertisements. Their two main commercials included a skit with Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg that revolved around drug nicknames, as well as a “50 Shades of Grey” parody.

At the age of eighteen, I think these commercials are fairly comical, but younger kids are unable to find these commercials funny because of the high maturity levels. I firmly believe that commercials should be more innocent and the comedy should be light in nature. When my four-year-old brother watches television, I want him to be able to laugh at commercials without getting the bad influences along with it. Television is changing, and I don’t believe it is a good or necessary change.

Dual credit needs higher benchmarks

By Chloe Anderson
Photo Editor

Mattoon High School offers a total of 53 dual credit hours to students. Dual Credit classes allow students to earn college credits while still in high school, which can usually then be transferred to other colleges. This gives students a chance to get a head start on their higher education at a lower cost.

Because of these benefits, the number of students in dual credit classes has increased steadily over the past several years. While initially this increase may appear positive, it may actually reveal a flaw in the system. In my opinion, the increase in class sizes is because of inadequate requirements for enrollment, which negatively affects the overall learning experience.

There are some benchmarks students must meet to enroll in dual credit classes. Examples of these requirements include passing grades in prerequisite courses and specific ACT score such as a score of 22 in Math. While it is important that students meet these preexisting requirements, it is not enough. Students need to excel in the area in which they desire to take dual credit in, which could be measured with past grades the ACT, or an aptitude test. Nearly half of all MHS seniors are currently enrolled in dual credit courses. This indicates that half of the MHS student population obtains the necessary ACT score and previous letter grades to be in a college level course. While they may meet the requirements on paper, many of these students may not actually be ready for the quick-paced learning that happens in such a class. Students being unprepared to take this more difficult course work leads to two main issues. The first problem is students scoring poorly in the classes and needing to drop the college portion. The second problem is the negative effects of increased enrollment on the class content.

Many students take dual credit classes only because they meet requirements, regardless of whether or not they are prepared. The reason these students dive into the more difficult course work is often solely based on the hopes of acquiring college credits; however, their purpose is lost when they are forced to drop the Lake Land College portion of their grade because of unsatisfactory grades. They may have been more successful in a traditional high school class, but because they met the requirements, they end up setting themselves up for failure.

These unprepared students not only hurt themselves by enrolling in dual credit courses, but also hurt their peers. Teachers want to help students pass and succeed in their class, but when multiple students are doing poorly, the class tends to slow down to allow them to catch up. This common side effect takes away from the learning experience and challenging course work some students may be ready for. For some students, the class that was meant to challenge them becomes easy or boring. This is not the teachers fault nor the students, but rather a flaw in the system.

The negative effects of the lack of strict requirements are not only felt by the individual student, but also by the class as a whole. By making the requiring higher grades in prerequisite courses or supplying additional aptitude tests that must be taken, students may be able to learn more and the rates at which students must drop the college portion would decrease. In my opinion, if enrollment in dual credit classes continues to increase, these problems will only worsen. A revision of requirements may be necessary to continue making dual credit classes the challenge they are meant to be.

Physical education courses should be optional

By Victoria Leitch
Design Editor

Physical education has been a required course in Illinois public schools since the 1957 legislation was put into effect. This law requires that all enrolled students participate in a physical education class unless they are excused for religious reasons or have an athletic exemption. Although physical education is an important part of curriculum for some ages, at a certain point, the course becomes redundant and unnecessary. Physical education courses should not be required at the high school level because they take away from academics, do not provide new information and do not use time effectively.

When students have required courses, such as P.E., they are limited to the additional courses they can take in order to better prepare for college. Although many required courses are important and beneficial, P.E. is not an academic class, making it less of a way to prepare for college. In a regular P.E. class, one might be found doing basic line drills to warm up, followed by a game of some sort. The class does not provide any academic challenge, and the only form of academic work is the test given at the end of each unit about a particular sport. The tests consist of short paragraphs and questions that are directly answered in the text. When students are required to take P.E., their academic achievement and opportunity to learn and grow is being thrown away. Students at the high school level should have the choice of whether or not they want to enroll in P.E. or an academic class.

One of the main issues with this law is that it is still in effect when students get to high school. By this time, students should have already been taught the importance of a healthy diet and exercise, and they should be responsible for maintaining them on their own. Schools cannot force students to exercise thinking it will teach them to do it outside of school as well. Students at this age have most likely created their own habits and, though they can always be changed, a required P.E. class is not going to greatly influence that decision. This is especially true when no new information is presented within the curriculum during a student’s high school career. This means freshman through senior year students will learn the same units and take the same multiple choice tests every year. Taking time to learn the same material over and over for years does not seem effective or useful.

However, supporters of this law will insist that students need to get exercise each day, so schools need to ensure this to create healthy habits. These habits will carry with a student for the rest of their lives, so instilling these important behaviors early will make a massive difference in the lives of these students.
The problem with the opposing logic is that by the time a student reaches the high school level, they should no longer need to be instructed on healthy habits. If elementary schools do their jobs correctly, these habits should be recognized by students much before high school. Repeating the same information over and over only makes the class seem redundant and like an ineffective use of time.

Some P.E. classes allow students to walk the entire hour following the warm up activity. If students have the choice to opt out of the class activity they do not wish to participate in, why can it not be replaced by a mentally stimulating activity? High school students usually have very full schedules, so when a student spends an entire class period walking, it is a major misuse of time. The student could instead be working on assignments, or taking a class that he or she might need to further their academic career.

Physical education promotes healthy behaviors and sets good lifestyle examples. However, students in high school should not be forced to participate in P.E. when other academic opportunities exist. The state of Illinois should recognize that high school students do not need to be incessantly retaught the same basic ideas of physical fitness, but instead should have the opportunity to make the best use of the time given in order to better prepare themselves for the future.