“Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men -- the balance-wheel of the social machinery.”

-- Horace Mann

In a society that has seen a major advancement in technology, education has become so important that even people with college educations find it difficult to get their dream jobs -- not to mention people with only high school diplomas. Education, they say, is the key to success and the equalizer of social classes, giving all the same opportunity to pursue their dreams. But how does education level the playing field when a good percentage of Americans cannot afford a college education and the rich get the best shot at going to the best schools? How does education even things up if it involves money, the same thing that divides people into different social classes in the first place? Education has always separated people, from the time of segregation until now. Unlike whites, black people in the South did not have access to quality learning. The same kind of thing is happening now. Some states perform higher than others because of the money invested in their educational systems. Students in some schools do not have the same access to technology -- like laptops -- that others do. Education can never be the equalizer until a high school senior from a low-income family will not be stopped from going to his or her desired college because of the amount of money involved. Furthermore, college has become a business to some academic institutions. They don’t care if low-income families can afford it or not, as long as they make their profit. Education is not the great equalizer. Having the determination, ambition, and will to succeed is what balances the social machinery.
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Are some people born smarter than others? How you answer this question makes a big difference in your motivation. As Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck has stated, those who feel that you either have intelligence or you don’t tend to avoid challenges and don’t rebound well from failure. Others believe that they can develop their abilities and rise to the test. They learn from mistakes and keep the faith. I find that things are easier if you force yourself to confront them. Passion and perseverance are important traits. Failure does not have to be a permanent condition. Dweck recommends teaching children how to generate strategies when faced with setbacks. This way, she said, they will maintain self-esteem as they take on new demands.
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Samantha Lopez, 18, from Boston Community Leadership Academy, calls her best friend her diary because they talk every day. “I don’t have a physical diary, so she’s my verbal diary that holds my secrets,” says Lopez. Some teen girls call their best friends bestie, or BFF, or their “ride or die.” These days, many are adding “diary” to the list of nicknames. Calling your best friend your diary means that you can tell her everything -- your darkest secrets, the craziest moments, anything. “I love my diary because she is a trustworthy friend who I can tell anything and not worry that she would tell anyone,” says Sorrybinta Bah, 14, from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science. “When she tells me things, I won’t tell anyone.” Mariangely Rodriguez, 17, from BCLA, says that she checks in with her diary every day. She is not a backstabber, Rodriguez says. “I trust my diary enough to tell her everything,” says Rodriguez, “because I know for sure that whatever I tell her will stay between us.”
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Shaniel Walker, 15, from Tech Boston Academy, speaks genuinely about her best friend, saying that she always puts a smile on her face. She makes it clear that a best friend should be someone who is always there for you when no one else is. Depending on the individuals and the things that are important to them, a best friend can have a range of qualities. Some define a best friend as the one you’ve known the longest. Others say it’s that special someone who likes the same things as you. Cephas Doughlin, 18, from Tech Boston Academy, decribes hers as: “Trustworthy, like a personal journal. Anything I say stays between us two.” Many believe that best friends possess the same basic traits. Nephthalie Dejeanlouis, 16, from Boston Latin Academy, says, “I define a best friend as someone honest and loyal.”
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All of my friends complain about being grounded, but not me. My mother has tried so many different ways to discipline me, but they really didn’t phase me. When I was little, my punishment was to go to bed at eight. That didn’t bother me at all. I would just enjoy my beauty sleep. Then my mom tried to take away the TV . Prior to that, we hadn’t had cable for a couple of years, so I had already grown accustomed to not watching television. My mother decided to force me to read books. At the time, I didn’t read much, but she made the mistake of bringing me intriguing selections. I didn’t stop until I was finished with them all. Next, she had me do chores. Another course of action that failed. I already did chores every day. In fact, I was the only one of her kids who didn’t fight it. She didn’t make it hard, either, because she would talk to me while I did a chore and play loud music. My mom pretty much kept me entertained. Overall, the reason my mother cannot ground me is because I do not get as miserable as I am supposed to. I let everything run its course and don’t let things affect me. There are a limited number of options my mother has if she wants to punish me, which are basically no options at all, because I am unpunishable.
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