Opinion

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ABOLISH ANTI-VAX

By: Ella Fino

Flu prevention poster with tips and tricks on combating the contraction of the flu and other illnesses

Photo courtesy of: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Imagine living in a world where life-saving antibiotics existed. Imagine living in a world where modern medicine had completely abolished deadly diseases that were once incurable. People, wake up! This is our reality, and new discoveries continue to be made every single day.

How can we be so ignorant as to ignore these astonishing medical advances? By exempting children from vaccinations—which are created to combat lethal diseases—we are going back in time to the year 1346. Throughout the 14th century, the Black Plague blighted 60 percent of Europe’s entire population because these societies lacked the means for treating diseases. 

Now, we have the means to treat diseases and infections that once inevitably led to death. Today, these are easily-preventable diseases that are treated with medically-tested and approved vaccinations. 

I understand that there are counterarguments to my point: ‘What about the individuals whose health is threatened by vaccines?’ Individuals with HIV, newborns, and chemotherapy patients are just a few of the individuals whose health would be severely compromised if they were to receive vaccinations. While these are exceptions, they give us even more reason to continue to get vaccinated due to herd immunity, which protects the most fragile: those who are unable to receive vaccinations. If herd immunity is achieved, those with compromised immune systems will be less likely to suffer from medical complications due to widespread immunity in a population. 

Another counterargument I must address is the “religion” argument. According to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, several religious denominations object vaccinations. The National Conference of State Legislatures states that California, Mississippi, and West Virginia are the only three states that oppose religious exemption from vaccines. 

Here’s my take: religious freedom is completely valid, but as soon as you are putting someone else in harm’s way “for the sake of your religion,” you are crossing the line. A prime example of this is the religious exemption from vaccines. I am by no means saying you should not continue to practice your religion. Everyone is entitled to their own religious preferences. What I am saying though, is that others should not be negatively affected by the practice of your religion. 

All in all, the idea of religious exemption is one that I feel I am not qualified-enough to speak on. I do, however, feel qualified-enough to voice my opinion on opting out of immunization for personal or philosophical reasons. This is where we need to draw the line. 

One of the most infuriating arguments brought forth by anti-vaccination parents is the “vaccines cause autism” stance. 

According to Autism Speaks, several cases of autism that occur in children result from several environmental risk factors such as “advanced parent age,” “pregnancy and birth complications (e.g. extreme prematurity [before 26 weeks], low birth rate,” “pregnancies spaced less than one year apart.” In other words, vaccines do not cause autism. Often times, autism diagnoses may correspond with timing of vaccinations, which leads parents to falsely assume that the two are related. After years of extensive research, scientists have been able to confirm that vaccines do not, in fact, cause autism.

I could go on and on about all the counterarguments to my opinion, but at a certain point, you can’t argue against facts. 

Vaccines create herd immunity. If you are resisting vaccinations because you believe essential oil treatments will suffice, you are living under a rock. If essential oils cured cancer, wouldn’t we all be hopping on the bandwagon?

UPCOMING ACT TEST CHANGES ARE DETRIMENTAL TO STUDENTS

By: Nathan Gee

A student working on his ACT practice test sheet.

Photo By: Nathan Gee

The ACT is one of two national tests that many colleges use to judge a student’s readiness for college. The recent announcement of new changes might just change that.

The ACT recently announced that it will make considerable changes to its already well-formatted and intuitive test. The first change is computerized testing, which can give students their scores faster as well as a writing portion that requires a student to type instead of write. The next change is Superscoring, in which the ACT will permit them to combine their best scores on the subtests across all administrations, rather than the scores from just one sitting.  Superscoring allows students to report a higher rating as opposed to reporting scores from only one session. The last change is the ACT Section retaking, which I believe will be more detrimental than beneficial for future ACT test-takers.

In the fall of 2020, students will be able to retake certain subject areas of the ACT where they did poorly, for a fee. Students must take the test in full at least once before they can retake individual sections. Currently, and in the past, students would have to retake the entire exam if they wanted to improve their scores. This change is dramatic in the way that future test takers wouldn't have to retake the entire test, but instead, pay a fee to retake a single section of the ACT.

Mary Michael Pontzer, a vice president at ACT says, "The changes are meant to serve students better and spare them unnecessary time taking tests,” in an interview with USA TODAY.

This change raises many questions, as the ACT has always been designed to be a marathon rather than sprints. The physical and mental ordeal of spending three to four hours testing has always been part of the game. Colleges know this, and many high-level institutes require standardized testing as part of the application process. If students earn higher scores from being able to retest a single section, do those scores become less meaningful? Do wealthier students who can benefit from tutoring have an advantage? And what happens to students who don't have the means to retest?

The advent of these changes will benefit the wealthy even more than ever before. They are allowing those who already spent thousands on standardized tutoring and prep to pay another fee to retake subject areas where they scored lower. This change is a massive disadvantage to low-income students who may not be able to afford tutoring as well as the fees of retaking a section. I believe that this change is ridiculous, as although it seems to be supporting students, it isn't an equitable change that benefits all students.

The new changes could also have the effect of inflating test scores. When students are allowed to retake certain parts of the test, average test scores will inevitably get higher. A high score is increasingly necessary for admission at highly selective colleges. When these changes allow students to get high scores easier, colleges will see these scores as more common, and thus non-distinguishable.

During the admission process, there are more qualities than just test scores to determine the college readiness of a student. Colleges and testing programs should change how they interpret test scores. We all know that a student's test scores have context as no one takes the test with the same conditions. For example, If you and I have identical ACT scores, but my family has spent hundreds of dollars for test preparation while you took the test with limited a limited prep period, those scores don't mean the same thing.

I feel that standardized test programs shouldn't change their testing style, but to look more in-depth at a student's test score, and recognize the background and context of the student taking the test.

BIASED LANGUAGE POLICY CIRCULATES THROUGH LINCOLN

By: Nicole Chan

Art By: Andrea Zhang, Yuqing Qiu, Sage Leverman, and Nicole Chan

Abraham Lincoln High School is populated with a vast diversity of students. Students from various backgrounds are usually treated with respect and given equal support, especially by teachers. However, this is not always the case, especially regarding non-native English speakers.

There has been a rumor that has been circulating at Lincoln that some teachers have different attitudes towards particular languages and will not allow their students to speak certain languages inside their classrooms, but instead, allow other languages to be spoken. This is not only a form of discrimination but it is also extremely immoral. It is not acceptable for some teachers to be discriminatory towards students. Teachers should treat all students with respect regardless of what languages they speak.

Language is used to communicate with other people and is what makes each language very important to their culture. Language also serves as a way to express feelings and creativity; especially in a classroom setting. There are many ways teachers can have a better viewpoint or understanding of students who mostly speak their native language.

Allowing students to speak their native language in a classroom environment would make them feel more comfortable. Students whose primary language is not English would feel less anxious when talking with friends or other students. This will also be beneficial to them because they would have a better understanding of what is being taught. Not only will this allow students to have an easier time communicating, but it would also increase the chance of them communicating with new people.

Different languages brings diversity to Lincoln and it shows that we have equality amongst people at Lincoln. It also shows that teachers value the languages and cultures students bring into the classroom.

EDITORIAL 

By: Lincoln Log Staff

When one thinks of school lunch, they think of unwanted food consumed for the sake of survival and survival only. For years we’ve complained and complained about the bland taste, unappealing appearance and small portions. The San Francisco Unified School District has made changes to address these complaints and now our calls have been answered… at least for some students. 

Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) and Academy High School has recently opened up McAteer Culinary Center to provide students with a higher quality school meal. Their first chef, Josh Davidson, is poised to lead the new program. 

Davidson has actually been working for the school district for quite some time now. According to the Director of Student Nutrition Services, Jennifer Lebarre, “[Davidson] has been cooking food for the District’s Early Education Program for over 10 years.”

While SOTA and Academy are enjoying their new exquisite options like, Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches and Barbeque chicken with Macaroni and Cheese, we at Lincoln remain stuck choosing between the inferior options at Lincoln, like the all-beef hot dog, and the somewhat-pricey, not-as-healthy alternatives outside of the school. While the all-beef hot dog may sound to some as a decent option, those with experience eating school lunch know that the hot dog is far too small to fill up even the smallest of high schoolers. 

Lincoln High School should follow suit and open their own center to improve food quality for their students. We should provide larger portions, focus more on food quality then distribution efficiency and use less plastic for packaging.

SOTA and Academy’s new option draws more students to school-provided, healthier lunch options at a greater convenience given that it is available on campus.

SOTA and Academy’s move also comes with environmental improvement. Their meals are placed on reusable plates that are washed rather than thrown away. By using reusable plates, SOTA is immensely reducing the amount of waste from their premises.

Currently, SOTA and Academy’s station is a pilot, and with the buzz that it has gotten from students, it seems that many schools are fortunately likely to follow. Hopefully, SFUSD will see the positive effects that the McAteer Culinary Center has on SOTA and Academy and decide to approve the development of like centers for other high schools during the summer.

 

 

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