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Trump poses dangers to country

Now that the Mueller report is out, it has been confirmed that Trump knew that his friends the Russians were helping him during the primaries by attacking Hillary Clinton with negative ads.

You may recall that as the candidate running against Hillary, he used to say that if he lost to her, it was because the election was "rigged." Yes, of course he was right, because he knew it was rigged, but against Clinton because the ads and social media presented her in very inaccurate negative ways which frankly, were more of a portrait of Trump. We have for the past two unfortunate years had to live with his childish comportment, constant lying and dishonesty — just a few of the large number of his non-presidential traits.

The impression that our foreign allies have of Trump is negative. This is the stature that Trump has created for himself internationally where he has displayed his pomposity, poor manners, lack of intellect and dictator-like attitude. He has become the object of derision, such as when he recently suggested to the French people that the Notre Dame cathedral fire should be put out using water tankards. The French fire chief responded that it was risible (laughable) advice by Trump, and to quote the chief, he also said, "Your president est tres stupide." Tell us something we don't know?

We can go back to the greatness of our country before Trump by going to the polls. His fan base needs to only check how many of his close ties are now languishing in jail for having lied to the Mueller investigation and their involvement with Trump. Also, how many of his staff have been either fired or resigned, how many cabinet members have been fired for financially abusing their position? I don't think taxpayers can continue paying for Trump's golf jaunts and his extravagant decisions like building a wall. Just think if he were to do something worse than separating children from their parents. He might, with his warped brain.

Martha Hight

Santa Maria

SM High School needs to realign graduation requirements

Two decades ago, there was an uproar over graduation rates, specifically among youth of color. Latino/a and black youth had lower graduation rates as compared to their white counterparts, which created a significant racial achievement gap.

Although there has been a tremendous effort to close the high school graduation gap (Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, or SMJUHSD, proudly graduates 88.7% of all students), there is still a significant gap among students accessing college preparatory courses known as the A-G requirements.

The A-G courses are an integral part of a student’s high school coursework and a requirement for four-year public institution (UC/CSU) applicants. Students who do not take these courses are not eligible to apply to a four-year public university. Currently at SMJUHSD, students who graduate are not required to complete A-G requirements. The latest district data shows that while 88.7% of all students graduated, only 20.2% completed the A-G courses. That means that 79.8% of our students are not even eligible to apply for a four year school at the time they graduate high school.

So why aren’t students taking these A-G courses? Some are barred, while others are told they are not ready to take these courses. This systemic exclusion prevents low-income youth (primarily youth of color) from accessing courses necessary for a college application.

To close this opportunity gap, other districts have aligned graduation requirements with the A-G coursework so that all graduating seniors are eligible to apply to UCs and CSUs. Los Angeles Unified School District did this in 2006, and Oxnard Union High School District did this in 2018.

We propose that SMJUHSD follow suit and align the A-G university admission requirements with the high school graduation requirements so that all youth have an opportunity to succeed and realize their full potential. The implications of not resolving this issue are too dire to ignore. We need to set higher educational standards that will uplift our community instead of perpetuating inequities that prevent our youth from succeeding academically.

Eder Gaona-Macedo

Santa Maria

Executive director, Future Leaders of America

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