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Produced by Grace Higgins and Djibril Conte at WriteBoston's Teens in Print Summer Journalism Institute.
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Cover Story
Not enough life skills to prepare us for the future
Cover photo // Alyssa Vaughn
The closer teens get to adulthood, the more intimidating it becomes. Even though excitement fills the air, being an adult brings a lot of unwanted responsibilities like paying bills, dealing with insurance and buying a house or car. When it comes to managing money or knowing how to cook, not every teen feels prepared for life after high school. 
This has not always been the case. In the early and mid-20th century, home economics courses were an essential part of American high school and college education. In the late 1950’s, half of American high school females were taught how to cook and manage money, according to the Boston Globe. Then during the Cold War, the U.S. decided to put a greater emphasis on science and math courses. This meant more public education funding went to advancing those subjects, which left home economics in the dark. 
High schools should still offer life skills as required courses because it benefits students after they graduate. Life skills courses, such as financial literacy and home economics, are important because not every teen has someone to teach them these skills outside of school. Learning them in school will allow students to feel more confident facing adulthood.
Elebetel Assefa, a senior at John D. O’Bryant High School, said, “I would be open to classes on necessary life skills because I have zero knowledge when it comes to general finance.” Assefa views life skills courses as a stepping stone for adulthood. “After high school, most students are adults and need to know certain things, because no one is going to be holding their hand anymore,” she said. 
Rayven Frierson, a senior at O’Bryant High School, believes life skills courses would make her life much easier. “I feel it would help us in the future. I would go into the world a lot more prepared,” she said. Frierson thinks life skills courses should be required because she wishes to know more about managing her finances.
Dalena Thai, a graduate from the University of Massachusetts Boston, reflected on how her lack of knowledge about personal finances affected her transition to college. “Life in college was a struggle because you had to pay for everything on your own, like tuition, life expenses, etc. I learned how to pay bills when I was a freshman in college.” Thai looked for guidance from older students.
Thai views life skills courses as an important factor in a student’s life after graduating because it would help them make quality choices. “If I was taught all the life skills that needed for me when I was out in the real world, I would not have struggled to learn these skills on my own,” she said. 
The problem goes back to teens not feeling prepared for adulthood, so we should be taught and exposed to topics like financial literacy and home economics in high school. If teens know the basics, we’ll be prepared in the future to be more financially stable and ready for success. 
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AFH Photo // Janna Mach
El pasado de millones es el pasado de una nación. El pasado de una nación es la historia de un continente. Las herencias de un continente es nuestro mundo. Todo aquel que no aprenda de su pasado estará condenado a repetirlo.

Día a día, las personas de Venezuela se ven unas a las otras, unos con remordimiento y otros con esperanza. Diferente situaciones, perspectivas y experiencias, todas conectadas en una realidad -- la crisis económica y política de Venezuela.

En los último meses, Caracas, la capital de Venezuela, ha visto protestas casi diarias, algunas que se han vuelto violentas. Los problemas comenzaron con la rapida caída de los precios mundiales del petróleo en el 2014. El petróleo representa aproximadamente el 95% de los ingresos de exportación de Venezuela y se utilizó para financiar algunos de los generosos programas sociales del gobierno. La caída del precio de petróleo también causo escasez de alimentos y medicinas y una inflación desmesurada.

Para mejor entender la crisis, primero hay que entender el pasado. 

El presidente Nicolás Maduro anuncia medidas para combatir la crisis económica, inclyendo la devaluación de los precios de la gasolina en 20 años.

Cientos de miles de personas protestan en Caracas pidiendo la eliminación del presidente Maduro, acusándolo de responsabilidad por la crisis económica. 

Varias personas murieron en enfrentamientos con las fuerzas de seguridad durante protestas masivas que exigían elecciones presidenciales anticipadas y la revocación de una asamblea constituyente planeada para reeplazar a la Asamblea Nacional.

JULIO 2017:
La oposición celebra un referéndum no oficial en el que siete millones de personas rechazaron la propuesta del presidente Maduro de convocar una nueva asamblea constituyente.

- Mas de 125 personas han muerto en protestas. 
- La inflación del dólar y la devaluación del bolivar venezolano es un gran contribuyente a esta crisis. De acuerdo a CNN Money, en el 2013, $20 americanos era igualado a un estimado de $629 bolívares. Ahora en 2017, $20 americanos son igualado a un estimado $195,755 bolívares. 
- La escasez de comida y medicamentos, los altos precios, la inestabilidad política y la violencia han forzado miles de venezolanos a huir del país.
- De acuerdo a CNBC, el 74.3 porciento de habitantes Venezolanos han perdido 19 libras porque casi no hay comida y están comiendo dos o menos veces al día. 
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AFH Photo // Adriana Daliee
The 2014 NBA MVP and lead scorer, the first-ever unanimous MVP, the 2016 3-point champion and the defensive player of the year all in a starting lineup—doesn’t seem too fair.  With the NBA season only a month away, the Warriors are getting ready to once again destroy the league. 
 There’s no doubt the Warriors are the dominant franchise right now, and the talk of being the GOAT is just getting stronger. After a disappointing 3-1 loss in the 2016 finals, the Warriors knew they had to come back better than ever. When Kevin Durant announced he would sign with the Warriors on The Players’ Tribune last year,the entire NBA was in awe. The Warriors had won 73 games that season, setting the NBA record, and adding a player of Durant's caliber seemed like it would certainly be a huge step forward. 
 However, even with Durant on the team, the Warriors lost their first game of the 2017 season by 29 points. Fans started doubting the Warriors, thinking adding Durant had hurt the team. That was not the case. The Warriors eventually overwhelmed the NBA, winning 67 games and clobbering all competition. But they weren’t done there. The Warriors took the league by storm, sweeping team after team through the playoffs and only losing one game in the Finals. Durant won Finals MVP and the team was once again at the top of the league.
The Warriors dominated the league, making it unfair for the rest. But what does this mean? With the Warriors only getting better this off-season thanks to the new additions of Nick Young and Omri Casspi, the team is going to be unstoppable. This nuclear bomb of a team is going to break the NBA.
An expansion draft is nothing new to the NBA; it has expanded ever since it first started. An expansion draft, in professional sports, occurs when a sports league decides to create one or more new expansion teams or franchises. Each existing team is told it can "protect" a certain number of its existing contracted players by furnishing their names to the league office on or before a certain date. With the Warriors dominating the idea isn’t too far from reality.
“I don't want to put a precise timeline on it," said commissioner Adam Silver. “But it's inevitable at some point we'll start looking at growth of franchises.”
The NBA is being broken by a single team, to the point where the league is going to have to step in and take action. While with an expansion draft the Warriors will still keep their core, the loss of critical players could disrupt the team’s chemistry.
While an expansion draft is currently nothing but an idea, the Warriors are still going to dominate regardless. With their own style of play, the Warriors chug threes every night, entertaining fans night after night. Although this style of play is entertaining, it’s affecting all the players in the game. 
17-year-old basketball player Oscar Sanchez plays basketball everyday in different gyms around Boston. “It seem like every younger kid I play against wants to be like Curry, and just throw up threes,” Sanchez said. Sanchez feels as if the team’s style of play is really rubbing off on the youth as they try to be like the Warriors.
“You’ll be surprised by how many games were ruined by a flashy pass or a long distance three pointer,” he said. 
The Warriors are affecting every aspect of the basketball world—and the team’s style of play is clearly rubbing off on the youth. 
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AFH Photo // Tim Hicks
Epistemology is the study of the nature of knowledge, justification and the rationality of belief. We will discuss Western epistemology, or Western knowledge, as what we think of as “normal truth” or “common sense.” It can be seen in our language, thinking and real life. The system of education in the U.S. is built on Western epistemology and it trains us to become productive subjects for the capitalist economy. 
After a number of revolutions in the Americas, the language was a deceptive but needed decision to connect many languages through one official one. In South America, Simon Bolivar chose Spanish as the main spoken language among thousands of native tongues. On the other hand, in the United States, (men of European descent) chose for everybody and solidified the language through a constitution that excluded women, native people and Africans. That was the beginning of U.S. imperialism. Santiago Rivas, a 17-year-old graduate of the Boston Public Schools, said, “I prefer math as a language over that of these Europeans.”
The colonization of settlers led not only to a genocide of  native tribes and African people, but also set the stage for the brainwashing of future generations. Settlers set up boarding schools and public schools around the country that stripped language and culture from Africans and indigenous peoples, with the purpose of “separating the savage to save the human.”
Today, schools only teach us European languages,  not indigenous languages or African languages because these are not popular in our reality. Rivas took two years of Spanish in high school, but learned just basic stuff and thought the material was not useful in real life. Students are not being taught in school to feel proud of being African or of indigenous descent, because we are copies of the white man’s culture. Not beliefs, not culture, not past, we are just the now. 
Western epistemology erased cultures and languages. It is one main cause of many non-Western cultural genocides. The language structure that we use now is composed by Western epistemology. One example is when somebody uses the terms “America” or “American,” and people interpret it as something or someone from the United States. However, using this term contributes to Western epistemology. The reality is that America is the name of the large land that holds 36 countries. Anyone born in one of those territories can be named American. We do not realize it, because we have been taught for many generations that America is the U.S. and that American is the white man born in the U.S. 
Similarly, the different definitions of “black” include: the darkest color, sadness, evil, wicked, dishonor. This is how the white man taught everybody to use it. If you look at the definition of “white” you see the opposite. Even though we know this dirty vocabulary is wrong, our minds naturally use it. This is how Western epistemology is present in our lives as the invisible natural truth. This is the kind of knowledge that we receive from our parents when we are children. They think that it is normal and even good, because they were also taught like that. This is how we come to possess colonized minds.
Since we were children, our parents and guardians raised us to be good people, or to be “civilized” people. But the question here is: What does it mean to be “civilized?”
Those who held control in past times “educated” others, forcing those of different cultures to become “civilized.” In other words, their “education” aimed to eliminate other cultures, beliefs and languages to transform them into copies of the white man. Boarding schools were the epicenter for colonizers to civilize the “savages.”
Primary and secondary education is very important to form kids’ identities. Schools and parents make decisions for students, and often, students don’t start to make their own decisions until after they finish high school. Schools teach conformity in a way that prevents students from judging what they learn, because it is the only thing that they are exposed to. We think that all schools teach “truth.”  
One of the biggest everyday struggles for teachers is balancing the requirements of what they have to do and what they know they should be doing. Ms. Castillejo, a Charlestown High School history and English teacher, said, “You see a classroom full of 20 kids and you can only present one thing at a time, so how do you decide what should be present? It is a political decision. What you choose to put in front of the kids honors maybe five in the class, and the other 15 are lost or not honored or ignored.” 
The history department gives the curriculum to the teachers, but in Castillejo’s school, the institution permits it to be more flexible. However, she said, “There are certain set things that you need to explain to the students, but that is very white-central still, very Euro-central still, and very male-central. So how are you honoring any of the kids that are in front on you when the curriculum that you’re supposed to be following… looks like one of your students, if you’re lucky?” Charlestown High School is an institution where the majority of students are students of color; there is just a small percentage of white students, even though the school is located in a mostly white neighborhood. 
In many schools, kids whose educational background focused on minority perspectives are more likely to fail. In the U.S., students’ first contact with history and language is almost all about what the white man has done. Then, kids adopt the attitudes and beliefs of their superiors (parents and teachers) because it is the “truth.” 
Those who do not do well at school are considered losers and they won't be recognized as valuable to the system. This education structure is a tool to subjugate students. Students are encouraged to follow the “normal” path of life, but in actuality, this means kids can only follow one path: be a good student, get into college (if you can), then make your own decisions and find your own place in this society in order to survive. But the question is, what is after survival? 
Rivas’ perspective about the education system is that the curriculum was too slow for him. When he was in 8th grade, his peers took pre-algebra classes but Rivas was learning geometry and advanced algebra by himself. He said, “I am a bad student with good grades.” 
Those students that refuse to do what they are told in school, such as homework and tests, are pushed back by the system, and they are treated as “trouble kids” or “lost kids.” They receive bad grades, are suspended, and become less valuable to the institution than their peers that follow the orders. This is the nature of many teenagers’ questions: What is our purpose here? Why should we go to school? And why should we follow the rules?
Teachers also have their own opinions. “I see students in class who really understand something, and we put a test in front of them, whether it is a state test or one of my own, and they shut down completely,” Castillejosaid. “And a kid who can talk years and years about what he is really passionate about and not have it show in a test is really frustrating for them, and I guess that I'm also frustrated because I know that they learned something… It is a rough experience.” 
Castillejo believes that much of standardized testing does not prepare students at all for college and beyond. “When you get to college, you do not write the way that you write in the MCAS. As a teacher, I need to teach that stupid formula that is against everything that I learned as good writer.”
No Child Left Behind, high-stakes testing and the school-to-prison pipeline are outcomes of Western epistemology. These are forms that control students’ decisions and successes. If students obey these systems, they become a part of the capitalist economy.
It is true that capitalism permits us to advance into a “modern” society, but is it fair to dehumanize ourselves in order to advance our capitalist economy? Is it fair that we prefer a commodity economy over our natural environment? The purpose of education is to create in a person the ability to look at him(her)self and make his(her) own decisions. But does America’s mediocre educational system really help us experience different perspectives or find ourselves? Is it fair that people know that we are on stolen land, that people have been dehumanized, and we do not do a thing about it? It is not fair seeing our kids grow up without a cultural past and without identities. It is hard to see generation after generation chained in the now, trapped by distractions that denied them of knowing the history of their ancestors. Do you think that it is fair that our reality is full of ignorant distractions that deny our cultures? Do you really trust what you know? And who really are you? 

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