High Life : A WEEKLY FORUM FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS : Who Gets Blame for School Problems?

Responses gathered by Karen Shelley (Buena Park), Jennifer Leuer (Esperanza), Trisha Ginsburg (Los Alamitos), Gail Altman (Marina), Brooke Lyons (St. Margaret's) and Stefanie Johnson (Sonora)

Every candidate for public office stresses the importance of education to the country's future. And although our educational system is among the world's best, it is also among the world's most maligned--and not without reason.

Hot Topics asks, "What's the biggest problem in the school system today?"

"Unfortunately, the role of teachers is not taken very seriously in today's job market. Teachers need to be paid more. With increased salaries and by abandoning the no-fire (tenure) rule, the teachers would hopefully be more dedicated and motivated." Adrienne Dortch, 18, senior, Los Alamitos

"Lack of discipline." Patricia Dionaldo, 17, senior, Esperanza

"Teachers don't pay enough attention to teaching the students who really need the help. It seems as though they get lazy and don't want to go over the material again." Albert Granadas, 15, sophomore, Buena Park

"The biggest problem in the school system today is drugs. We have a dangerous problem we should fix quickly." Kay Buthsombhe, 17, senior, Sonora

"Lack of money." Maggie Iskander, 15, sophomore, St. Margaret's

"The ubiquitous existence of boredom." Alex Chang, 18, senior, Marina

"The school is too segregated by class, sports, grades and social hierarchy. Integration and acceptance of everybody, despite those common bonds listed above, will unite the school and make for a healthier atmosphere." David Michaels, 17, junior, Los Alamitos

"Bad teachers; they don't care about anything." Greg Cota, 15, sophomore, Esperanza

"The counselors and teachers don't pay enough attention to the individual student. They worry about the overall consensus that benefits the school, but not the individual." Tammy Roberts, 16, junior, Buena Park

"Lack of communication between students and teachers." Michael Wright, 15, freshman, St. Margaret's

"The state isn't providing enough money for the school to teach properly. This is the time we need schools the most, with so many people homeless and so many students dropping out. If the President wants to see a change in the United States, he'll have to find a way to get money to the schools." George North, 14, freshman, Sonora

"No respect for teachers." Matthew Winters, 16, sophomore, Marina

"Teachers are the backbone of our generation's future. What we learn and accomplish in school is due to the teachers' attitudes and working us to our fullest potential. They are greatly underpaid and should receive acknowledgment and praise by everyone." Kristen Pagenkopp, 17, junior, Los Alamitos

"The budget, because there isn't enough money to teach good." Amber Howle, 17, senior, Esperanza

"Schools seem to be preoccupied with little unimportant things rather than very important things concerning students' safety. They don't put enough emphasis on gang control, for example. They do dumb things like stopping everyone from wearing hats of any kind. It is not going to prevent gang violence." Ana Mocone, 18, senior, Buena Park

"There are too many students and not enough teachers. We should start to think about the future in teaching." Maria Rubio, 16, freshman, Sonora

"Teacher indifference." Andre Lear, 17, senior, St. Margaret's

"Probably the lack of money." Brandie Sedillo, 15, freshman, Marina

"The system gets so caught up with policing and all the problems instead of educating." Michelle Johnston, 17, junior, Los Alamitos

"The cutbacks or the drugs." Diana Guy, 15, sophomore, Esperanza

"Many times the counselors do not prepare the students good enough for college. They help the students for a little bit but they need to explain to the students everything they need to know for a beneficial future education." Chenea Balliere, 17, senior, Buena Park

"The lack of drug control in some schools." Olivia Badillo, 15, freshman, Sonora


Zach Oliger, 17, senior, St. Margaret's

"The staff has no control whatsoever over the students. They have a rule of no wearing hats on campus. But you see students with hats. Why don't they just make up a rule that hats are allowed at school, just not gang-related ones? I think the situation is ridiculous." Karen Soriano, 15, freshman, Buena Park

"Incompetent teachers; they can't relate to the students." Thai Nguyen, 18, senior, Marina

"Teachers are underpaid and need more respect from everyone, students and parents." Lynn Endow, 17, junior, Los Alamitos

"School is too long and you have to use your brain." Michael Cardoza, 15, freshman, St. Margaret's

Next Week's Hot Topic: If you could repeat this last school year, what would you do differently?

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