Posts Tagged ‘ editorial ’

The Infinite Ladder: Elite College Admissions

By Amanda Bertsch

This essay was originally written for a Tri-City Prep class. It represents only the views of the author and not necessarily those of the editorial board, Denobis staff, or Tri-City Prep. The Study Spot column, published bimonthly, aims to shine a light on issues surrounding education and offer assistance to students.

This spring, colleges across the country will be notifying high school seniors about their admissions decisions. Students will rejoice, eagerly accepting offers to their top choice schools or poring over generous financial aid statements. Those lucky few that receive acceptances from the most renown schools in the country will be especially grateful. These students are part of the 10-15% of high school graduates competing for spots at the most selective of schools, typically those that admit less than 30% of applicants (Deresiewicz 40). In the game that is college admissions, and by extension high school, these students have “won.” They earn bragging rights, not only for themselves, but for their parents and schools and communities as well. Applying to highly competitive schools has become a rite of passage for college-bound seniors, a tradition followed religiously by many, but it is hardly one without downfalls.

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No laughing matter: why “triggered!” jokes are not and will never be funny

By Amanda Bertsch

Opinion articles reflect only the views of the author and not necessarily the views of the editorial board, the Denobis staff, or Tri-City College Prep. 


The word “triggered” has a number of useful functions. In its most simple definition, it is an expression of causation: the dog’s hair triggered an allergic reaction. Recently, it has also taken on a medical meaning. Leading mental health website Psych Central defines a trigger as something that elicits a strong memory or flashback of a past trauma. Someone who is triggered forcibly relieves a traumatic experience in their mind; such experiences are commonly sexual assault, memories from war, or other violent events. Content warnings, sometimes referred to as “trigger warnings,” are often used to warn people of possibly triggering content.

This brings the story to today, when the word “triggered” has become the newest internet darling and crept into the casual conversations of many high school students as well. Some people exclaim “triggered!” at every slight offense, from water spilling to someone correcting a grammar error. Jokes about triggering also extend to trigger warnings, with some jokingly putting warnings for “words,” “humanity,” or “opinions,” among others, on their online content.

Proponents of using this word jokingly often argue that words are “just words,” that they are simply joking around, or that restriction of the use of a word is a violation of their 1st Amendment rights. All three of these claims have a fundamental error that lies in an understanding of words. Continue reading

Is there Any Merit to the AzMERIT?

By Amanda Bertsch

Note: the opinions expressed in this article are not those of Denobis staff, Tri-City College Prep, or any other body except the author.


On April fourth to the seventh, more than three quarters of Tri-City’s students will be taking the new AzMERIT. Why? No one seems to know.

Nearly everyone agrees that last year’s limited AzMERIT testing was an unmitigated disaster, paralleled only by Common Core’s PARCC test. Students complained that the test was far too easy but strangely worded, with questions that didn’t make sense and answers that, well, didn’t answer the questions. Teachers fretted about the time adapting to a new test would take away from lessons.

The result? We now have the AzMERIT here to stay, and teachers took time away from their classes in the past week to administer practice tests. Yet the time needed to adjust to an entirely new test would be worthwhile if the test actually improved on the hated AIMS. Different, however, does not equate to better.

The AzMERIT’s high school tests are End-Of-Course (EOC) assessments. This means that instead of taking the test once or twice to test benchmarks, a separate test is taken at the end of each language arts and math course (through 11th grade English and algebra 2). Now, comparing scores from year to year will no longer be a valid way to see if students are improving overall. A high score in geometry, for instance, does not mean the student understands algebra.

A brief pop quiz: What will the EOC exams be used for? A), graduation requirements; B), a way to award funding to schools with high-achieving students; C), students with failing scores will have to repeat the course; or D) absolutely nothing.

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