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Afternoon announcements: October 9, 2012

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October 09, 2012 04:08 pm

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My ninth-grade gifted civics teacher engaged us in a mock trial on a fictional, but realistic, affirmative action case. I scored the role of lead litigator for the prosecution and argued that my client, a black student, had been denied admission to a university based on the color of his skin.

Coincidentally, my best friend played the lead defense attorney. During the “trial,” he argued that affirmative action is reverse discrimination. His ethos was in being an academically talented white student who would inevitably struggle to gain acceptance to his college of choice because of affirmative action. I remember rolling my eyes, thinking it a farfetched argument.

Fast forward to 2012. What’s happening at the Supreme Court tomorrow? They’re hearing a case from a white student alleging discrimination in a college admission’s decision. I guess my friend’s argument wasn’t farfetched at all. The New York Times gives an overview of the case. Can affirmative action be a form of ‘reverse discrimination? What are your thoughts on the case?

Have you seen the new pro-Obama PAC ad? It claims a Romney administration would make giant cuts to education funding and is getting huge air time and a lot of buzz on the internet today. Education Week says it’s “tough to say” whether the claims in it are true; if Romney were to adopt his running mate’s budget plan, it could be.

Keeping with the political, Politifact grades Obama on education reform. They list promises he has made when it comes to education policy and looks at those he has broken and kept.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) conducted a national survey on school violence. Given the horrible school shootings this year and number of bomb threats that have made the news, the results may surprise you: school violence is down. Is the disconnect between what we would expect and the survey’s found reality a result of disproportionate media attention on violent incidents, or is the survey off? The Pew Center on the States has more.

I don’t know about you, but I’m one of the majority of college graduates with overwhelming student debt. Students entering the University of Texas-Austin next year may find freedom from some of my (our) pain. The school announced a pilot program that will offer partial forgiveness of “significant portions of the most expensive loans they take out” if they graduate within a set timeframe, the Huffington Post reports. I’m envious of those students but also so excited at the thought of students who will be able to better afford their college education. I hope more schools embrace programs like this!

I know you’re dying to know who won that mock trial in ninth-grade. If I remember correctly, our teacher wouldn’t pick a specific winner to the case. The best part is that even if she did, I don’t remember, but I remember the exercise and what I learned from it.

Have a great Tuesday afternoon!

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