animal watch
applied academics with annie
arts & culture
book talk
bridging the achievement gap
editorial
education
energy/environment
financial literacy
geography
health
history
news
our favorite quotes
science
science and technology
space science
special features
sports
stories from the south side
where in dane county?
wisconsin museums
our student bios
animal watch
energy/environment
geography
health
history
news
poems
science and technology
science
space science
sports
animal watch
book talk
energy and the environment
geography
health
history
news
science
space science
ciencia
educación financiera
historia
noticias
salud
zoología
our student bios
animal watch
book talk
energy and the environment
geography
science
sports
subscribe
advertise
sponsor
join the red rack express club!
become a friend of the Free Press
Friends List
SSFP in the News
Newsletters
Leadership
Letters from Editors
Testimonials

editorial

When I was five my mother took me to an introductory rehearsal of The Tempest at the Young Shakespeare Players theater. My mom talked to the directors and read pamphlets; she was scoping out the program to see if it was something I’d like to do in a few years. But when she decided it was time for us to leave, she found me, of all places, on stage introducing myself and saying I wanted to be in the play. Richard DiPrima, the founder and director of Young Shakespeare Players (YSP), told my mother, “The readiness is all,” a quote from Hamlet. Even though the age minimum to perform was seven, he encouraged me to join. I recently completed my 11th production, Will & Sid Ride Again, and am about to start on my 12th. [read more...]
A recent Simpson Street Free Press editorial regarding student achievement and teachers’ expectations prompted a rebuttal from La Follette’s school newspaper, The Lance. In examining the arguments presented by both sides, I thought they merited further discussion. [read more...]
Graduating college is a significant milestone in life. In most cases it marks the end of an age; scholastic education is over and a professional career begins. While many students find it exciting to be on the cusp of “adulthood,” a good portion are burdened by debt. And now, after graduation, they also face the stress that comes with debt. [read more...]
A few years ago I attended a school that lacked diversity. I tended to stick with a group of other Hispanic students. We didn’t feel like our school had a place for us. Members of our group didn’t get the experience of being in sports or clubs, and many of my Hispanic friends were not very engaged with their academics. [read more...]
The achievement gap is very prevalent in my school on a day-to-day basis. From the lack of minority students taking honors classes, to the over abundance of minority students occupying the hallways during valuable class time, the continuously nagging minority achievement gap prevails. [read more...]
At a recent Simpson Street Free Press event, David Maraniss, associate-editor of the Washington Post distilled the attitudes of the Obama administration toward a free press in a single word: “chilling.” [read more...]
Memorial High School provides many unique and innovative art and music classes. Most students at my school have the opportunity to learn how to use a glass torch, handle a throwing wheel, create animations, sing in a choir, and play an instrument. Not only do these arts programs teach fine art and music, many studies have shown that arts education helps with overall academic achievement. [read more...]
As a recent graduate, I spent much time this past summer reminiscing about my four years of high school. Thousands of Madison-area high school seniors, like myself, eagerly walked across the stage in order to receive high school diplomas. We were filled with joy to be finished with an important chapter in our education. [read more...]
I am disappointed to hear some local leaders suggest we search other cities for solutions to our achievement gaps. Locally driven solutions are often best. There are many excellent examples here in southern Wisconsin. The AVID/TOPS college preparatory program shows real promise. This innovative school-community partnership is gaining national attention. [read more...]
In 2006, 49 percent of Wisconsin’s African-American seniors graduated from high school. That figure is 32 percentage points below the state average for all students. Numbers like those are saddening and make me realize that the achievement gap is still very wide, and a lot of work needs to be done. [read more...]
So it started out like this. I got a phone call from my husband as I was driving home from work that day. He said, “I am NOT kidding and I never kid with you about something like this…(pause). Ichiro just got traded to the Yankees…(pause). Just come home.” [read more...]
Nichelle Nichols is a graduate of Madison’s public schools. She is also raising four sons who are attending Madison schools. As part of her professional career, she is active in the schools working for the Urban League to coordinate the Schools of Hope tutoring program. Now, Nichelle Nichols is running for Seat 1 on the Madison school board. [read more...]
“Education should be the top priority in our city.” This statement was made to us during a recent interview with Madison school board candidate Mary Burke. [read more...]
The Madison School District is facing more budget cuts than ever and music programs will be among the first to go. Just in the last few years, one entire orchestra was cut from the Madison Memorial music program and more cuts will follow. For example, the music department is in need of important items such as instruments and stands, but no funds are available from the school district. [read more...]
Every year, wild snakes, lizards, scorpions, and other animals make long journeys from their homes to the U.S. to feed consumers’ cravings for exotic pets. If these foreign animals happen to escape, they migrate to places with conditions similar to their native habitats. When they find a suitable place, they invade. [read more...]
Everyone is their own person. Everyone has unique and special qualities about them, yet we try so hard to follow the crowd. We are all guilty of committing this crime, but we all have had moments when we’ve tried to go against the grain. [read more...]
Do you remember the “Golden Rule?” This is a common name for the belief that you should treat others the way you want to be treated. For many it is the number one rule to live by. [read more...]
The editors of the Simpson Street Free Press strongly support the Urban League of Greater Madison’s proposal for a new charter school in south Madison. [read more...]
By now, many of you have read or heard about Amy Chua’s controversial essay titled “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.” This opinion piece ran in the Wall Street Journal’s editorial section recently. Many people, including me, were in utter shock after reading about her military-like way of raising children. I was appalled, angry, and indignant at Chua’s words. [read more...]
“We need to be the change that we want to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi [read more...]
Every student loves a half-day. Especially in high school, we really appreciate a break. But there is a downside to half days: getting hungry in the class that’s usually just before lunch, regardless of the time. [read more...]
During recent political unrest in Egypt, the Egyptian government attempted to suppress the uprisings by cutting off all access to the Internet and text messaging. For six months, Egyptians had been organizing demonstrations against their government. By January, the government was losing control over its citizens, and revolution was imminent. [read more...]
In editorials and columns printed in this newspaper and other publications, Free Press writers have worked hard to address academic achievement gaps. In tough economic times, budgets should be carefully scrutinized. It stands to reason that during these tough times, youth programs that achieve the best results and non-profit organizations that spend charitable dollars and tax dollars most efficiently should be priorities. [read more...]
The other day, as I do almost everyday, I walked into my calculus class. A student wrote on the whiteboard “What is the plural of octopus?” Immediately, the whole class discussed this noisily. “It’s octopi, definitely,” or “it might be octopuses, but octopi sounds right” could be heard. [read more...]
Five years ago Harvard University President, Larry Somers sparked a nation-wide controversy when he said that women and girls may not have the same aptitude for math and science as their male counterparts. Part of what made these comments so controversial is that Somers is a well-known national figure. He currently serves as a Senior Economic Advisor with the Obama Administration. [read more...]
Picture this: you're shopping in a store and passing by the giant display of toys from the latest kids movie and casually glance at it. Suddenly a little boy and his father pass by the same display, but instead of glancing briefly over it and moving on, they stop in front of it, though certainly not by the father's insistence. [read more...]
Veteran Simpson Street Free Press columnist and reporter Adaeze Okoli was recently named Senior Teen Editor of our paper. Adaeze is a junior at Middleton High School and has been a Free Press staff writer for more than four years. [read more...]
Historically, Madison West High School has not had a spotless record regarding race relations. Before and during the 1990’s, the school was accused by some of segregation. Most white students had their lockers on the second floor, while most minority students used lockers on the ground floor. [read more...]
American history is steeped in war. We’ve fought the British, the Germans, the Native Americans, and even each other. As our enemies changed, so did our reasons for fighting. We fought first for our freedom, then for the land, and later for our rights. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers have lived and died for America. [read more...]
Those of us who worked on and discussed this editorial piece are teenagers. We do know something about this subject. [read more...]
Word games such as Scrabble, Text Twist, Bookworm, Hangman, and Wheel of Fortune all contribute to vocabulary skills. [read more...]
Breakthroughs in technology allow all of us to be more connected today than ever. People can transfer songs, games, messages and pictures from cell phone to cell phone. However, with all the capabilities that technology offers, it is very easy for private things to be made public. [read more...]
Social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook are popular ways to keep in touch with friends and family. Although it may be fun to share your information on a social networking page, it is very easy to share too much. Thousands of people will be able to and may end up seeing the information you post. If you are not careful, a perfect stranger can get a hold of your personal information. Here are some tips that you can use to avoid dangerous situations. [read more...]
Significant reductions in arts education funding is a sore point for many education officials. It is for me, too. A recent survey shows that arts education is decreasing in American schools. More and more seemingly inevitable budget cuts make this a problem that will not go away soon. [read more...]
It’s Saturday night. Red and blue plastic cups are scattered across the floor. You are wasted. You stand up and attempt to walk, but you struggle with each step. [read more...]
“The end is near” can be seen painted across posters in many apocalyptic movies such as The Road. You might think that seeing such an announcement in the real world would be a rarity. However, doomsday ideas have a long history and seem to be in constant circulation all around the world. [read more...]
Recently Madison Metropolitan School District Superintendent Dan Nerad paid a visit to the Simpson Street Free Press newsroom. We based our discussion on Nerad’s recent speech at Wright Middle School, talking about the current state of the Madison School District and what needs to happen for students to be successful in a diverse and global society. [read more...]
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” [read more...]
I am lucky. I have been playing the violin since I was in the fourth grade. I was exposed to music at an early age and music has helped me gain skills that have enhanced my school career. Through music, I learned self-confidence, self-discipline, time management, cooperation, and study skills. [read more...]