From November 19-20th, nearly 400 high school students from all across the Midwest traveled to Madison, Wisconsin to participate in the annual JSA Fall State convention. Following the difficult, divisive election cycle, the convention was appropriately titled From Promises to Policy: Unifying the Nation. In the morning, students had the privilege of hearing from keynote speaker Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, a local legislator, politician, and City Council member in Dane County, Wisconsin. Bidar’s speech highlighted unity and students had the opportunity to ask Bidar a variety of questions. Following Bidar’s speech, delegates participated in a multitude of debates, written and developed by the Midwest Cabinet, that ranged from feminism to EU geopolitics to parenting techniques. On Saturday evening, attendees interacted with a variety of legislators in roundtable discussion and engaged in activism activities for a variety of causes. Special JSA merchandise, like JSA pom-pom beanies and sweatpants, were sold over the course of the night. Come Sunday morning, debates resumed, including a Mock Supreme Court Case trial and a RISK-styled debate activity. Fall State opened and closed with a great deal of success, and political activity, thought, and education ran deep throughout the course of the convention.
On one side of the world, humans are rabbits. Many of these rabbits live in run down shacks where each individual survives on scraps of food and drips of water. But what makes rabbits truly rabbits? They multiply a bit too much. Currently, the population in just Asia is over two trillion people with more than fifty percent living in poverty, and these numbers continue to grow. These poor humans are under the impression that the more people in the family, the more there are to work, and the more there are to work, the more money they make! This is what happens when you have uneducated rabbits. What happens when there are more people? The food demand increases. Silly rabbits. On the other side of the world, people are no longer rabbits. Now, they are civilized and know what will bring humanity forward! “Space exploration is the solution to the world’s problems!” they claim, “Even the poor will prosper!” NASA spends more than one trillion dollars on improving the world’s problems, approximately the same amount of people who are impoverished on the other side of the world. So far, others have failed to grasp this American logic. However, I have found the justification for this logic that has yet to be publicized! Continue reading
Currently, the way that we are approaching the process of placing young students into higher levels of education in prosperous school districts is ineffective. In already extremely advanced school districts, it is not necessary to separate young students, starting at the age of 8, into different classes and is hurtful to many other kids in these district. The platform of higher education in elementary and middle schools must be reformed to include more kids and be available at more schools. In many districts, especially in middle class suburbs, including District 203, District 204 in Illinois to districts in places such as Washington: Kennewick School District, have a program that includes their top 2%. These programs are considered two years ahead of the “normal track,” however, this exclusive 2% must be expanded to include at least the top 10%. Some may say expanding the program will make it less elite and will not suite the students who are bored in the honors track, however, the difficulty will not be lowered, and the opportunity to learn at this level should not be elite. Additionally, kids that are bored at this level of education must receive supplemental material at home. To conclude, in the middle school and elementary school years, colleges are not looking at students’ distinguishments, so why are school districts giving such an inherent advantage to those who subsequently score well on standardized tests, giving them a 2 year advantage when starting high school in subjects such as math and already exposing them to advanced and rigorous coursework. Continue reading
On October 29th, 2016 Morton West’s had their Chapter Conference titled Candy Court Con. Opening session included a skype call where JSA-ers were allowed to ask Estela Naula questions, which was Morton West’s guest speaker. They were also able to donate to her, and she received eighty nine dollars from generous contributions. Candy Court Con consisted of each block having Supreme Court Cases. Supreme Court Cases that were debated are Miranda v. Arizona and Roe v. Wade. Candy Court Con also had a Mock Trial which was based on the United States v. Texas court case. To conclude the chapter conference, JSA-ers participated in Chapter Olympics. Chapter Olympics had events such as apple bobbing and relay races.
~ Bianca Montoya
On Saturday, October 8th, Midwest JSA held its second ever Fall One Day at the Chicago Union League Club. Midwest Governor Janani Kalyan welcomed delegates to the first Midwest convention of the year, and State Senator Omar Aquino served as the keynote speaker. Senator Aquino talked about his own involvement in politics and encouraged JSA-ers to get involved in politics whether on a local, state, or national level. Afterwards, the delegates dispersed to several rounds of debates ranging from topics such as the War on Poverty and the impact of Andrew Jackson’s presidency. After a break for lunch, the delegates reconvened for further debates. Shortly after, Midwest JSA held a Mock Presidential Debate, featuring the current presidential candidates as well as several others such as the Roosevelts and Harambe; the Mock Presidential Debate proved to be one of the highlights of the convention. At the same time, other delegates competed head-to-head in a Kahoot about the current presidential candidates. The convention concluded with a DEFCON and a vote on who the delegates would vote for in the upcoming election if they could. The vote was overwhelmingly for Clinton. Afterwards, the delegates said their goodbyes and left the Union League Club, all the more ready for Fall State.
It is an almost unarguable fact that the United States is one of the most powerful countries in the world. It tries to provide a moral baseline, is a diplomatic center, and sometimes acts as the world police. As the U.S attempts to fulfill all of these roles, the power of its president accordingly increases, making him or her one of the most powerful individuals in the world. However, over time, the mentality and positions of the people coming to the office of presidency have been changing. Continue reading
On Saturday, September 24th, the Midwest held our first ever Chapter Leadership Conference at Lake Forest High School. Eleven chapters attended with the goal of becoming stronger and increasing their meeting quality. The day was filled with ice breakers, workshops, and helpful advice from the Midwest Directors. Workshops included Fundraiser and Activism Project Planning, Elevator Pitches and how to expand the Midwest, publicizing chapter activities, and how to handle internal chapter mechanics. Afterwards, chapters collaborated to plan mock chap-cons, and newer chapters learned the ins and outs of ChapCon Planning. Throughout the entire day, Chapter Presidents shared experiences, worries, and ideas with each other to help strengthen other chapters as well as their own.
On September 17th 2016, Naperville North held the first chapter conference of the year. IntroCON consisted of people debating resolutions such as affirmative action should be abolished,ifsocial disobedience is justified in a democracy, and if the Black Lives Matter is a positive movement. Abhay ended the Pokémon GO rap battle with his thunder bolt pikachu during the CONfirmed Fun block. Best speakers were awarded very cute cupcakes with miniture chocolate gavels on top.
~ Bianca Montoya
On November 25, Ted Cruz said in an interview on George’s Candidate Conversations 2016 talk show for the Catholic network EWTN that he believes that abortions ought to be criminalized and that “with the Pope’s long standing, and prior Popes before him long standing call to protect every human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.” This far right wing politician has found a loophole where he would not need a constitutional amendment to overturn the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade which legalized abortions. Instead, he precariously suggested that Congress could just strictly maintain the “personhood” language and use the 14th Amendment to its advantage.
Obama is a muslim, climate change isn’t real, and every police officer is evil.
Although these statements have little-to-no basis in reality, they don’t seem entirely ludicrous after listening to American political rhetoric. Why is that?
Outlandish ideas like these are able to exist because American politics isn’t centered around logic and reason. It’s centered around anger. For many republican voters, this anger is directed at illegal immigrants; for many democratic voters, this anger is directed at the wealthy.
In both of these cases, however, the outrage is not entirely justified. Continue reading