Media love to cover institution rankings


The general public frequently read articles ranking the top 10 colleges, airlines, cities, restaurants, school systems and so much more.  Typically, when reading the article the readers accept the ordered rankings.

Following this, Facebook users post these articles to “prove” their favorite college, airline, city, restaurant, etc., is the highest ranked.

What are these rankings based on?  And who is coming up with the rankings?

The specific articles written usually do not explain the criteria and reasoning for the ranked items.  They simply just list it and provide a little information on each topic.

Where does the general public find out more about the criteria and rankings?

If the reader is curious, unconventionally, they need to go to the “criteria article” which is separate from the rankings.

CNN released an article with the rankings of the top U.S. carrier.  The comments on the lowest ranked airline, Sprint states “The Airline Quality Rating, released Monday, rates the United States’ 13 largest airlines.  No. 13 overall, Spirit had the worst on-time performance and the highest complaint rate.”

Their highest ranked airline is Virgin Airlines.  The ranking qualifications for Virgin is “Virgin Airlines has the lowest mishandled luggage complaints.”

Although both state useful information, they are not judging the airline on the same criteria.  The article does not state how the individual criteria is measured as well.

Similarly, the college ranking new released an article listing the 2016 top undergraduate university and college rankings.

For number one on the list, Princeton, the criteria ranges from endowment, to the tuition, to the enrollment, to size, to stating which famous people graduated from the university.

The lowest ranked university on the list is Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  Although their criteria also includes the tuition, endowment and a list of the famous people who graduated from the university, their criteria is focused more on the student involvement.

The rankings that are most specific, constant, and reliable seem to be the restaurant rankings.

The restaurant criteria is the same for all restaurants.  Yes, the articles comment on different highlights of the restaurants, but states clear ranking criteria.  You can view Zagat’s rankings and ranking criteria here

Palestinian teacher wins $1 million


An elementary teacher has won a $1 million prize recognizing the “outstanding contribution” she has made to her profession.

Hanan Al Hroub, from Bethlehem in the West Bank, was awarded the Global Teacher Prize at a ceremony in Dubai Sunday.

Hroub became a teacher after her husband and her children were shot on the way home from school. “It transformed my children’s behaviors, personalities and academics,” she says in a video broadcast on CNN. “I felt that I was alone in getting my children through this. No teachers had helped us get my children back on track.”

Hroub and her family decided to take matters into her own hand. They created games amongst themselves and invited the neighborhood children to play.

Over time, the children’s behavior and grades began to improve. She took those skills and began teaching to help children reject violence.

“I tell all the teachers, whether they are Palestinian or around the world: ‘Our job is humane, its goals are noble,” says Hroub. “We must teach our children that our only weapon is knowledge and education.”

Pope Francis announced the award to Hroub via video conference. “I would like to congratulate the teacher Hanan Al Hroub for winning this prestigious prize due to the importance that she gave to the role of play in a child’s education,” Francis said.

It is moments like this that the media should focus in on every detail. A story like this could boost the overall moral in the country and across the globe. Instead the media likes to focus presidential hopefuls who say very disturbing things and agitate the public.

In order for the country and the world to move forward and accept one another of different faiths, race and beliefs, we need stories like this. Stories of people that invest in children and the betterment of the world around us.

I saw this article earlier this week and it only came up once in my newsfeed, but I saw plenty of stories on the negatives of life. I understand that the news gives people what they want but how about giving the people what they need? An uplifting story like this one shouldn’t be so hard to locate on a news website or hear it in front of a television.

News should consider giving an outlet to uplifting news.

So what happened to MDC?


At the end of last month, Miami’s Dade Medical College closed the doors of its six campuses that ran from South Florida all the way to Jacksonville, leaving thousands of students with anger and questions. However, the only answers that were given to students was that the school was struggling financially and with the poor performance of the students on the certification exams. Really?

Management of the college stated: “Today it is with great sadness that I must announce that Dade Medical College and the University of Southernmost Florida will be closing effective October 30, 2015, across all of our campuses and our corporate offices.

“So my friends, I want to thank each and every one of you for believing in us every time we may have faltered and for being a part of this journey.” (Source: MSNBC).

So what do the students do now? How do they get their transcripts? What is DMC or the Department of Education doing now? Did everyone forget about the students who threw time, money and dreams away?

Well, on Thursday a town hall-style meeting was held at Shenandoah Middle School in Miami to give answers to the students regarding their education and their future. However, according to The Miami Herald report, it seems like the students left with more questions and no hope.

But first, let’s talk about why did it close in the first place? Well, according to an investigation conducted by The Herald, it was revealed how DMC was using political connections to fuel its growth through for-profit strategies.

Ernesto Perez, the owner and a high school drop out, was the very own guilty person behind this horrendous business. He pleaded guilty Monday for making illegal campaign contributions. The contributions won’t hurt his pocket and reputation, but have damaged many students’ dreams because, unfortunately, Dade Medical College doesn’t fulfill all academic requirements to transfer to other universities.

Missouri students vs. President Wolfe


Student and faculty protests have come to an end after University of Missouri’s President Timothy Wolfe resigned on Monday.

The school’s distress over how the president has responded to racist incidents on campus has caused Wolfe to step down. Protesters say there have been a series of bias events that the president did not take seriously.

For example, in early October, at the Homecoming Parade, Wolfe avoided the student group, Legion of Black Collegians. Activists say he was dismissive to them regarding the homecoming rehearsal, when a white man interrupted their meeting and used racial slurs. Later that month, another incident occurred, someone used human feces to create a swastika on a wall in one of the residence halls.

Recently, graduate student, Jonathan Butler, held a publicized hunger strike, saying that he would not eat until Wolfe was out of office. On Saturday the school’s football team, with the coach’s approval, announced that they refused to play until Jonathan Butler ended his hunger strike. The football boycott drew national attention, as forfeiting the team’s game would cost the university $1 million.

On Monday, amid escalating protests over the school’s racism and after the Missouri Students Association called for Wolfe’s removal, Wolfe resigned.

The Missouri athletic director, Mack Rhoades, and head football coach, Gary Pinkel, said that all football activities would resume Tuesday.

Click here for a timeline of University of Missouri’s protests.

The weight on students’ shoulders


As students progress through school, a common complaint is that of the weight on their shoulders- both physically and metaphorically. School can be very difficult, but so is carrying a 15-pound book bag.

CNN recently published a health article about students from elementary to high school and the weight of their backpacks causing back problems and pain.

CNN asked students in Atlanta to open their book bags, revealing books, folders, binders, pens and pencils, gym clothes, and other items that are not always used, but there for “emergencies,” such as a flashlight.

Not every book bag was overtly heavy, but some were obscenely overweight. Such is the book bag of Allie Jeffay, an 11th grader, whose backpack weighs 23.5 pounds. However, heavy backpacks are not strictly tied to high schoolers, as one fourth-grader, Jaia Alli, carries an 11 pound book bag on the daily basis. The astounding weights hold students back, as they complain about headaches, shoulder aches and back pain. A doctor quoted in the article recommends that a book bag be no more than 10 percent of a child’s weight in order to avoid back pain.

The media holds a strong voice in public health awareness. Not only does the article provide real examples from actual students, but it also teaches the reader how to properly pack a backpack with the heaviest item against one’s back to avoid strain, and which one to buy to prevent back problems like one with fully padded back and shoulder straps to cushion the weight. With the actual weights and contents of children’s backpacks and their commentary, the support is relative enough to illicit parental action, or for schools to allow for more locker accessibility.

The bottom line is that children are suffering from an issue that many often overlook. With this article, CNN shared multiple children’s perspectives about a daily issue that their parents might otherwise not have known, thus helping children from unnecessary suffering and providing a solution.

Humans of The White House


Humans of New York

If you have not heard of it before today, you will know about it soon. Brandon Stanton, the creator of the Facebook pages known as HONY, has forever changed the life of Vidal Chastanet, a young boy from a Brooklyn Middle School.

What was an extremely popular photo series blog created by Stanton, turned into a vehicle for change. Just by sharing a few kind words about a very important person in Vidal’s life, the lives of Vidal and those around him have changed forever.

Stanton’s blog shows ordinary people and gives insight into their extraordinary lives, and that is exactly what this story has become, extraordinary. After Vidal expressed his sentiments for his middle school principle Nadia Lopez on Stanton’s site, the photo went viral, and the viewers of HONY did what they do best which was to offer all they could to assist in the aims of Vidal’s principal, Lopez. With Stanton heading the fundraiser, the school managed to raise $1.2 million — far exceeding their initial aims.

One boy’s kind words helped raise $1.2 million, helped provide the additional support his principal needed to continue fighting for what she believed in and got him to where he was this past Thursday, The White House.

In perhaps the most important of Stanton’s photo stories, he captures President Barack Obama’s words “You don’t do things alone. Nobody does things alone. Everybody always needs support. For a young man like you, you should never be too afraid or too shy to look for people who can encourage you or mentor you,” Obama said. “There are a lot of people out there who want to provide advice and support to people who are trying to do the right thing. So you’ll have a lot of people helping you. Just always remember to be open to help. Never think that you know everything. And always be ready to listen.”

President Obama’s words could not be closer to the truth and Vidal’s story is proof of just that.

Bring pay for play to campus


Shabazz Napier is at the top of the sports world right now. After being named All-American, NCAA tournament MVP and leading the University of Connecticut to a national championship, he is having celebrities such as LeBron James tweeting about his game. This, however, does not prevent him from going to bed “starving” some nights.

In an interview prior to the Monday night’s NCAA championship game, Napier was quoted saying “there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I’m starving”.

After the win, Napier will get a few free t-shirts and even his jersey retired, but not any money.

Connecticut Coach Kevin Ollie will almost certainly get a significant raise from his $1.2 million salary he earned this year, leaving the players as the only ones not profiting from this multi-million dollar event.

Many players agree with Napier’s sentiments about “when you see your jersey getting sold and things like that, you feel like you want something in return.”

The fact that college athletes do not make money is “obscene,” said Connecticut Rep. Matthew Lesser. Coaches, presidents and schools reap the benefits of these individuals’ talents, yet those who are actually producing on the court, field or track do not see any.

Recently Northwestern University’s football team has been discussing a union among its players similar to the NFL’s players union. This would allow them to be involved in discussions that have a direct affect on the team’s football decisions.

Coaches and presidents alike are urging the team against unionization, as it takes money out of their pockets. It has come to the point where enough is enough. NCAA student-athletes deserve fair treatment.

The media must continue to push the NCAA to usher changes in how they run their business.

Players do not always have the luxury of speaking out their opinion on this specific matter. Certain coaches monitor and discontinue social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook, ensuring their players do not speak against their university.

It is time to open your eyes, NCAA President Mark Emmert. Help the players who generate the income and, ultimately, your $1.7 million salary.


The need for a college degree


College is, to put it lightly, expensive.

According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2013–14 school year was $30,094 at private colleges, $8,893 for state residents at public colleges and $22,203 for out-of-state residents attending public universities; and this is not including the loss of salary from four plus years out of the work force.

Looking at these prices, it’s no wonder we’ve all heard the horror stories of the debt some students rack up while going to school. It is even worse for those who pay to graduate with a degree in one field, but choose a career in another, making their college degree somewhat insignificant.

Because of the risk we take in paying for a college education, deciding whether or not to attend college can be daunting. However, seeing as I am one of the students taking an economic leap of faith by investing in my college education, I am determined to prove I am not wasting my time and money.

Although the horror stories of wasted money do exist, for the most part college will help you economically. Huffington Post reports college graduates earn approximately 84 percent more than those whom only graduate high school. NPR reports that people who graduate from college are more likely to stay in the work force longer, due to their jobs typically being less physically demanding.

Being able to stay in the work force longer means a better and more stable retirement plan. NPR says, “If you have a postgraduate degree, you will make — just in your retirement years – three to five times what a worker with only a high school education or less will earn at age 65 going forward”.

While college may seem like a lot, you are only paying and sacrificing your time for four years and the economic benefits you reap from a degree last a lifetime.

Still for students majoring in journalism, using to ‘find a better job’ as a reason to attend college may fall flat. A career in journalism without a degree — while hard to attain — is possible. So why pay for college to land a job where it isn’t necessary?

Well, in addition to helping you get a job, a college degree can give you what is needed to advance within the workforce. While you may start out with the same career, as someone with a lesser education, when employers are looking at their workers a college degree may be the extra push you need to land the promotion.

Looking beyond economics, college also gives many students the opportunity to explore fields of study they otherwise wouldn’t, it expands our horizons and can either help you find a passion for a study you didn’t think you had or confirm that you’re in the field you are meant to be in.

The last benefit I want to emphasize is that college makes you happier! Pew Research Center show that 42 percent of people with a college degree said they were “very happy,” whereas only 30 percent of people without a degree said the same.

It’s not clear exactly why this is especially because each person’s experience is unique to them. But college can enrich our lives on so many levels, whether it is the validation of intelligence, a mental push and stimulation, or the friendships we make while attending school.

College for these reasons can be worth more than the price tag we assign it. Perhaps what I’m trying to say might be best summed up in the style of MasterCard’s “Priceless” campaign. Tuition: $30,094, textbook: $124, coffee: $4.50, the feeling after graduation: priceless.