Things That Matter

How My Teacher’s Discouragement Didn’t Stop Me From Getting to UCLA

I never imagined myself avoiding science classrooms…I loved science. But nowadays, unless I’m giving a campus tour, you won’t see me at UCLA’s Court of Sciences. My dreams changed. Today, I want to make sure students aren’t shunned away from their dreams by their teachers like I was.

My first year in high school was tough. I found myself struggling to grasp math and science as easily as I did in middle school. I never left a classroom understanding the lesson I had listened to for the past hour. I didn’t give up. Instead, I pushed out of my comfort zone to work even harder. I studied hard and asked friends to tutor me. My efforts paid off, I managed to keep my grades at an A each semester.

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Credit: Bernardette Pinetta

My struggle didn’t go unnoticed by teachers. When I mentioned how I wanted to do something in science and math because I really liked both subjects one of them responded, “It’s one thing to like math and another thing to be good at it.” My heart sank.

For the first time, I stopped trying. I stopped looking to my teachers for help. I waited until the last minute to study. It didn’t make sense to me to give something my full effort if I wasn’t being supported. My math grade dropped a D…and my parents blamed it on having a boyfriend.

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Credit: Bernardette Pinetta

The disappointment in their eyes and voice reminded me of why I had worked so hard before. I remember the sacrifices they made and the physical and mental suffering they endured to give my sister and me a better chance. I had to do something.

I retook tests and started studying again. By the end of the year, I got A+ both semesters. This made me look forward to college and the opportunity to study math and science there…but I could still hear that teachers words in my mind.

College wasn’t better.

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Credit: Bernardette Pinetta

Professors would begin their introductions by saying two-thirds of us would fail. Each time I struggled I thought, “Maybe he was right; maybe I’m just not good enough. Maybe I’m part of those two-thirds.”

I changed my major to political science after barely passing a chemistry class. I also focused on mentoring high school students. That, along with my love for increasing access to higher education for marginalized students and improving the quality of education received in low-income areas, drove me to pick up an Education Minor.

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Credit: Bernardette Pinetta

When I learned about the systematic oppression that keeps students from going into STEM fields, my experience finally made sense. I saw myself in the students I worked with through UCLA’s Early Academic Outreach Program, students with such high potential being told that they wouldn’t amount to much because of the stigma attached to their background.

It ends with me. I’m here. I will provide motivation…and the biggest surprise, is it’s a two-way street. These high school students give me inspiration to not give up, regardless of the obstacles placed in my way.

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Credit: Bernardette Pinetta

The need for education advocates in communities like mine keeps me focused on my studies. For the students I work with who wish to go to STEM fields, I tell them that it will be difficult, but if they are passionate and have that desire to be in those careers, there’s no way they won’t make it.

I never went back to my science major, not because of the discouragement I received, but because I have a newfound passion in education. I’m also happy to say that the last science class I took at UCLA I earned an A, because this time I didn’t give up.

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A Judge Has Ruled That The University of California System Can No Longer Use SAT And ACT Tests For Admissions And It’s A Huge Win For The Underprivileged

Things That Matter

A Judge Has Ruled That The University of California System Can No Longer Use SAT And ACT Tests For Admissions And It’s A Huge Win For The Underprivileged

Kevork Djansezian / Getty

Advocates against the use of standardized tests for college admissions have long argued that the use of such exams sets back students from underprivileged backgrounds and those who have disabilities. Aware of the leg up it gives to privileged and non-disabled students an advantage in the admittance process, they’ve rallied for schools to end such practices.

And it looks like they’ve just won their argument.

A judge has ruled that the University of California system can no longer use ACT and SAT tests as part of their admissions process.

Brad Seligman is the Alameda County Superior Court Judge who issued the preliminary injunction in the case of Kawika Smith v. Regents of the University of California on Tuesday. The plaintiffs in Kawika Smith v. Regents of the University of California include five students and six organizations College Access Plan, Little Manila Rising, Dolores Huerta Foundation, College Seekers, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and Community Coalition.

In his decision, Judge Seligman underlined that the UC system’s “test-optional” policy on UC campuses has long given privileged and non-disabled students a chance at a “second look” in the admissions process. According to Seligman, this “second look” denies such opportunities to students who are unable to access the tests.

The decision is a major victory for students with disabilities and from underprivileged backgrounds.

News of the decision comes on the heels of the university system’s ruling to waive the standardized testing requirements until 2024.

In May, a news release asserted that if a new form of a standardized test had not been developed by 2025, the system would have to put an end to the testing requirement for California students. On Monday, the judge’s ruling took things further by banning the consideration of scores from students who submit them all together.

“The current COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in restrictions in the availability of test sites,” Seligman wrote in his ruling. “While test-taking opportunities for all students have been limited, for persons with disabilities, the ability to obtain accommodations or even to locate suitable test locations for the test is ‘almost nil.'”

A spokesperson for the University of California said the university “respectfully disagrees with the Court’s ruling.”

“An injunction may interfere with the University’s efforts to implement an appropriate and comprehensive admissions policies and its ability to attract and enroll students of diverse backgrounds and experiences,” the spokesperson said. According to the spokesperson, the UC system is considering further legal action in the case. The system said that its testing has allowed for an increase in admission of low-income and first-generation-to-college-students for the fall of 2020.

With UC being the largest university system in the country, Seligman’s ruling is a massive deal. Students and advocates have long fought for the elimination of these standardized tests arguing that they do not accurately reflect a student’s academic ability.

“Research has repeatedly proved that students from wealthy families score higher on the SAT and ACT, compared to students from low-income families,” reports CNN. It’s important to note that the analysis by Inside Higher Ed revealed that the “lowest average scores for each part of the SAT came from students with less than $20,000 in family income. The highest scores came from those with more than $200,000 in family income.”

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Sofia Vergara Finally Breaks Silence About When Ellen DeGeneres Disrespected Her Accent

Entertainment

Sofia Vergara Finally Breaks Silence About When Ellen DeGeneres Disrespected Her Accent

Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Updated August 24, 2020.

Given the recent string of allegations against Ellen DeGeneres, many of her fans are taking inventory of her jokes and viewing them in a new light. Weighing and measuring the jokes DeGeneres has made in the past, fans are finding the comedian guilty of mean-spiritedness. Particularly when it comes to her treatment of her frequent show guest Sofia Vergara over the years.

Over the last decade, DeGeneres has had time to host Vergara on her talk show various times. Whether Vergara was herself or when she was sitting alongside the rest of the cast of her old show “Modern Family.” And despite the very many things DeGeneres could have talked to or celebrated Vergara for while hosting her, the Colombian actress was often subject to some of the worst jokes by DeGeneres.

All because of her thick accent.

Recently fans compiled clips of DeGeneres’s interviews with Vergara and it’s pretty not great.

In clips circulating on Twitter, DeGeneres can be seen jeering Vergara for her accent. During one interview, DeGeneres remarks hat Vergara’s “English has gotten worse, not better,” over the course of her time on “Modern Family.” Users on Twitter were quick to point out that DeGeneres often made jokes about Vergara’s English and often tried to make games out of her English-speaking abilities. In several incidents during the interviews, it seems pretty evident that Vergara might have been hurt by DeGeneres’ jokes.

Recently, Vergara addressed claims that DeGeneres was being racist towards her.

In response to allegations that DeGeneres was being racist, Vergara commented “Two comedians having fun with each other to entertain,” in a tweet going on to say “I was never a victim guys, I was always in on the joke.”

In response to Vergara’s message fans have pointed out that whether done with the intention of being racist towards Vergara specifically, DeGeneres’ jokes at the time were still hurtful to others.

“My parents, who have heavy spanish accents, didn’t have the option to be in on the joke.’ Instead, they were the butt of jokes,” one user wrote. “And as a child of immigrants, I was always picked on because of that. Your ‘entertainment’ may lead to some to think they have a free pass to ridicule.”

“Me too, my poor mom took classes to try to reduce her accent despite being perfectly understandable. The discrimination was even worse in the 80s but Ellen keeps it alive,” another Twitter user commented. “It’s the lowest form of humor, the put down towards the other person. It’s non funny peoples humor.”

DeGeneres has yet to comment on the clips that have resurfaced.

But they’re pretty damning.

Tons of people are commenting on the clips being shared of the actresses time together.

And it’s pretty heartbreaking how hurtful DeGeneres’ comments are.

And of course, you might remember this terrible offense.

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