Students Respond to Media Coverage of Romney’s “47 Percent” Comment

It’s no question that political figures make mistakes. We’ve seen it happen again and again, most recently with the recorded comments made by Mitt Romney at a private fundraiser. The real question is, how should we react? The 24-hour news cycle has taken over in the past decade, magnifying everything people do and allowing others to share how they feel about it. But where should we draw the line? How much coverage should one story get, and how should a public figure’s mistake be covered?

On May 17th, at private equity manager Marc Leder’s house, Romney videotaped saying, “47 percent” of the American public is “dependent on government.”

I asked some Hofstra students how they felt about the media coverage of Romney’s comments and was surprised by some of their responses.

“I feel like the comment was a bit stupid and the media is going after him for it, but essentially he was right,” said Michelle Lafiura, a sophomore, “He could have worded it differently but as a country we need to be more self-sufficient.”

Some may not agree with Michelle’s views but it is undeniable that this story got a lot of media attention. That’s something that makes Brianna Borresen frustrated.

“People are just waiting to rip any candidate apart and this was a perfect opportunity. Technically, Romney wasn’t wrong,” said Borresen, a Hofstra sophomore.

I must say I didn’t expect to these reactions. I thought many students would be infuriated about the comment and not pay much attention to the way the media covered it.  I was expecting something more along the lines of what Dan Nelson said.

Nelson, a sophomore thought the coverage was right.

“The media coverage was fair because it wasn’t just an everyday gaff,” Nelson said, “The fact that he said it is not my job to care about 47% of the country is insulting. Especially coming from someone who wants to lead the nation. It was definitely newsworthy.”

After hearing what these students had to say I started to think more about how I felt and I think the whole thing has been blown out of proportion. It’s no secret that candidates know who their supporters are. Romney was speaking with his supporters at a private event. Why not be honest with them?

The media spends so much time criticizing candidates that a lot of us lose sight of what this election is really about. So Romney said something he probably shouldn’t have. Lets move on.

Nashua School District Applies for $30 Million Grant

Imagine what thirty million dollars could do for a school. The Nashua, New Hampshire school district can only imagine.

 

The Nashua school district is applying for a federal grant through the Race to the Top competition in hopes of qualifying for thirty million dollars. The organization will award 15-20 grants to schools with 2,000 students, 40% of which qualify for free or reduced lunch. If awarded the money, the district would work to personalize learning and narrow achievement gaps that exist among students.

 

Bob Sherman, president of the Nashua Teacher Union says, “Over 40% of the Nashua students are scoring below proficient on tests though 80% are graduating.” He hopes the grant will encourage more personalized learning techniques, which he describes as, “teaching a lesson to the learning strengths of an individualized student: a hands on approach vs. lecture to keep the idea simple.”

 

He also sees this grant as a solution to the achievement gaps among students in the district which. He attributes part of this problem to the academic leveled classes; “In middle and high school classes are homogeneously grouped. Students find it difficult to change academic levels once they are placed in an academic level. This needs to be examined.”

 

Lynne Roe, a middle school science teacher is hopeful this opportunity will mean upgraded technology and training for teachers. “We have so much technology in this country but the schools are always the last to receive updates!” said Roe.

 

Roe was fortunate enough to receive a grant previously that provided I-Pads for her classroom. She raves about her experience saying, “My experience with my class set of I-Pads and the technology in my room this year is incredible. Others need that experience to help our children compete in this world.”

 

She described how successful the technology in the classroom was and moving forward how training for teachers about the new technology would be extremely helpful. She sees the grant as something that has the power to make these positive changes in the classroom and is looking forward to hearing if her district will be awarded the money.

 

If awarded the money, the scenario seems picture perfect. With that in mind, many wonder about possible strings attached to such a seemingly perfect deal. Some worry that with federally funded money there is a hidden agenda. However that does not seem to be the case. A recent article in the Nashua Telegraph confirmed that the Board OK’d the plans to win grant funds. It seems that in this case, the possible positive results greatly outweigh the risks.

Remembering 9/11

Mara, Lindsay, and Christine were all in third grade when the devastating attacks of 9/11 took place. At only eight years old, they lived through one of the country’s most tragic times, and they didn’t even know yet.

“I didn’t realize the severity of if until years later,” said Mara, a 19 year old from Los Angeles whose mom woke her to break the news. “She didn’t want me hearing about it at school,” Mara said. “I just knew there were bad people out there and it scared me.”

One thing Mara noticed afterward was how the Pledge of Allegiance was taken more seriously in school.

Lindsay, a 19-year-old from Aspen, Colorado remembers September 11, 2001, “like it was yesterday.”

“My mom came to pick me up and I thought I was in trouble because I hadn’t done my homework from the night before and I thought she knew somehow,” Lindsay said.

As the car ride continued, Lindsay soon sensed that the silence meant something bad. Her fears were confirmed when she got home and saw her dad, who had left work early, on the couch cursing at the TV.

“My mom wouldn’t let me see the TV but I caught glimpses and it freaked me out. That night, anytime I heard something in the sky I was scared.”

Now that Lindsay is older, the 9/11 attacks, “Make me appreciate New York and the people much more for overcoming such a horrific experience. I love this city and I couldn’t be happier to be going to school here.”

Christine, a 19-year-old from New Hampshire, remembers coming home from school and bursting into tears because she knew her dad was on business in Washington D.C. Earlier in the day, she had watched the Twin Towers collapse on TV with her fellow classmates at school.

She says, “I always had a different feeling about it because I know my dad was so close.”

Now, when Christine looks back on September 11, 2001 she remembers how thankful she is to have her loved ones.

“9/11 has affected my life a lot because it was such a scary time in our nation and I remember thinking that day I could have lost my dad but I am so lucky to still have everyone in my family who is close to me from that terrible time.”

Three different girls, three different parts of the country, and three different stories with the same ending; one day changed their lives and generation forever.

A Brief Interview with Hofstra’s Rachel O’Neill

Rachel O’Neill has to be the most cultured 19 year old I have ever met. At a time when her peers at college are moving away from home for the first time, she is a seasoned professional. O’Neill lived in eight different countries before coming to Hofstra University and says the constant moving never really phased her. Rachel would travel to a new place every two to three years with her parents who are civilians working with the military. It became clear to me that Rachel isn’t scared of an adventure as she recalled that she really enjoyed moving around. She described how she tends to get bored easily so her lifestyle was a perfect fit for her. After seeing the world, Rachel’s favorite place to live was Italy.

Her experiences as a kid were certainly diverse which led her to New York where she is now studying broadcast journalism. At Hofstra, Rachel is involved in many different aspects of campus. She is a staff member at WRHU, the school’s radio station, the volleyball club, and the Newman Catholic Club. So what does a 19 year-old that has already had more experiences than most grandparents want to do with her life? Well….travel some more. After graduation Rachel hopes to stay in New York City because she is passionate about the culture the city has to offer but wants a job where she can keep exploring the world. Her dream is to become an international news reporter, partially because, “Who doesn’t want your company to pay for business class flights?”

Right on, Rachel.