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April 01, 1978 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1978-04-01

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Page 4-Saturday, April 1, 1978-The Michigan Daily

4je thtj ana
Eighty-Eight Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Vol. LXXXVIII, No. 144 News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
Age should not a retiree make

E ACH YEAR, new figures are
released showing the average
American life expectancy on the rise.
More people are able to maintain
productive lives - their physical and
mental capabilities remaining sharp
well into their 70s.
Congress recognized this fact only
recently, when it passed a bill raising
the federal mandatory retirement age
from the present 65 years to 70 years.
President Carter is expected to sign
the bill into law.
Washington legislators are moving
in the right direction, but the truth is
that-a mandatory retirement bill - at
any age - infringes on the rights of
citizefls to enter and exit the work for-
ce at will. Discrimination by age is just
as illegitimate as any other kind of
discrimination. Despite Congress'
slight liberalization of the retirement
age bill, individuals are still to be
thrust out of work at the behest of a
number. That number may not
necessarily reflect their real age,
however, or how productive that per-
son still is.k
Federal lawmakers should "have
followed the lead of the Michigan
House. There, legislation was passed
by an overwhelming margin which
eliminates mandatory retirement by
age altogether. The state Senate is now
considering the bill.
Should such a bill be put into effect in
Michigan, pressure on employees and
employers to end an individual's
career at an arbitrary age would be

greatly reduced. Employers would be
obliged to judge an elderly employee
by criteria other than numerical age
alone.
There is a fear among some that the
state's work force will become overrun
by senile, incompetent oldsters should
they be allowed to work beyond 70
years of age. This fear is unfounded.
Systems of employee evaluation
already exist in many industries to test
competency, and there is no reason,
why older workers' productivity can-
not be judged by a similar process.
Besides, statistics show that people
will many times retire at their own
bidding more often than an em-.
ployer's.
Some University professors ate un-
der the impression that eliminating a
set retirement age would result in an
older faculty and would prevent the in-
fusion of "fresh blood," that is,
younger professors, into the system.
These fears, too, seem unfounded in
light of the fact that under the Univer-
sity's own current retirement age of 70,
professors leave their jobs voluntarily
on the average of age 67.5. The Univer-
sity already allows its faculty to teach
beyond the age of 70 - with a yearly
competency evaluation - but very few
professors take advantage of this. I
All human beings deserve a fair
chance to work as long as they like
before retiring. Many young em-
ployees may have gripes against such
an idea now, but give them some
years, and they will change their min-
ds.

From a
Here is the latest roundup of
events from my stable of high-
placed sources all over the
world:1
* * *
WASHINGTON - President
Carter had launched an intense,
behind-the-scenes lobbying cam-
paign to ensure passage of the
second half of the Panama Canal
Treaty by the U.S. Senate. Where
as in the past the President has
attempted to trade votes with op-
ponents of the treaty, "this
time," said Press Secretary Jody
Powell, "we're pulling out all the
stops."-
One example of White House
tactics was an offer of a 1978
Cutlass .Supreme to Michigan
Senator Robert Griffin. Griffin
angrily rejected Carter's bid
saying that he would continue to
oppose the treaty.
When askedabout the cause for
his rejection of the offer, Griffin
said, "the car had -a white in-
terior. Now you know as well as I
do that no matter what one does,
it's damn near impossible to keep
a white interior clean."
* * *
NEW YORK-Parker Brothers,
Inc. announced today that May 1
will be the release date for their
newest Watergate box game.
Called "The Bookends of
Power," the game will sell for

By Rod Kosann

held a press conference in Brazil
on Thursday, and once again fell
victim to translator troubles
similar to those which plagued
him on his January trip to
Poland.

$19.95. Players will have the op-
portunity to advance from the
Oval Office to a number of
Brushes with the Law. Any
player convicted of an offense
must spend three turns in a
square marked "San Clemente,"
but no contestant can win the
game until his memoirs are ac-
cepted by a major New York
publisher.
* * *
BEIRUT-Reports of sporadic
fighting between Israeli and
P.L.O. forces continue to emerge
from southern Lebanon.
United Nations peacekeeping
forces have occasionally been
caught in the crossfire, and high
officials for both sides in the con-
flict have stated that it is difficult
to distinguish between the U.N.
contingent and the enemy.
When asked how the confusion
might be dealt with, United:
States Ambassador to the U.N.
Andrew Young offered no
solution, but insisted that Cuban
troops be invited in to "stabilize"
the area.
Secretary General Kurt Wald-
heim, on the other hand, respon-
ded that the General Assembly
was working on a system to
alleviate the problem of mistaken

identity. Asked what that system
was, he told reporters, "shirts
and skins."
* * *
PARIS-Baron de Barrone III,
renowned European in-
dustrialist, was the target of yet
another terrorist kidnapping at-
tempt yesterday.;
The daring pre-dawn raid oc-
curred on the outskirts of Paris,
in the elite suburb of Le 'Grosse
Pointe.
According to observers, four
men,,whose heads were covered
by Leggs pantyhose, gunned
down Barrone's forty-six
bodyguards before they even had
a chance to draw their guns.
The industrialist was then
dragged from his car unharmed,
and left dazed in the middle of a
suburban street as his assailants
drove off in his automobile.
The incident has caused fear
among many Parisians and has
prompted some to keep their cars
at home.
Barrone has not yet received
any ransom demands, but one
spokesman for the terrorists did
say that the car will receive a
"people's trial."
* * *
BRASILIA--President Carter

While Carter told Brazilian
newsmen, "In a society as diver-
se as yours, it is important for me
to meet with as many leaders as
possible," the translator relayed
it as, "In a society as diverse as
yours, it is impossible to tell what
tinhorn dictator might win the
next coup."
The gravest faux pas occurred,
however, when Carter told his
audience, "There has been great
progress in your country." This
statement was translated as
"You haven't done too badly for a
banana republic."
Embarrassed administration
officials were at a loss to explain
the incident, but one State Depar
tment official said that the tran-
slator, an elderly Georgian whose
name was not available, ap-
parently learned his Portuguese
with Teddy Roosevelt's Rough
Riders.
Rod Kosann-and his high-
placed sources-are regular
contributors to the Daily's
Editorial page.

4

White

Horse souse

'Judicious' deprivation of rights-

T N 1971, AN Indiana state judge ap-
proved a mother's petition to have
her 15-year-old daughter surgically
,steriized. The girl had no say in the,
matter, but was instead informed
when she entered the hospital that she
was there for an appendectomy.
The girl never did find out until she
was married that she could not have
children. As a result, Linda Spitler
brought suit against her mother, her
mother's attorney, the hospital, the
doctors and the state judge, alleging
violations of her constitutional rights.
The United States Supreme Court
this week ruled that Indiana Judge
Harold Stump is completely immune
from the woman's damage suit
because of the wording of a4 Court
decision made in 1872. That ruling has
provided absolute immunity to judges
for any suits resulting from "judicial
acts."
"A judge will not be deprived of im-
munity because the action he took was
in error, was done maliciously or was
in excess of his authority," the Court's
latest ruling stated.
One wonders, after reading this, just
what a judge is not immune from. This
is not to say that immunity is a totally
unwarranted concept; it is necessary
in many cases to protect judges from
suffering unfairly from an honest
human error.

But the Supreme Court's broadening
of this concept to include malicious in-
tent and abuse of authority is highly
questionable.
The immunity ruling, the justices
said, is broad enough to cover "grave
judicial errors," but should such
errors include a judge's intentional
deprivation of an individual's con-
stitutional rights?
In the Court's own words, a judge is
subject to liability in suits only when he
has acted in the "clear absence of all
jurisdiction." Where was Judge
Stump's jurisdiction to order the
mutilation of a 15-year-old girl; does a
mother's request signify adequate
jurisdiction?
The judge's actions are far from
classification as "judicious.acts."
What Judge Stump did, in fact, was
deprive Linda Spitler of her right to
due process of law. The Supreme
Court, remarkably, affirms this fact,
yet goes on to say that he cannot be
held responsible for doing so.
A precedent such as this one sends
chills down rational spines. It could
very well open the way to frivolous and'
malicious use of immunity privileges.
The Supreme Court ruling may
adhere to the "laws" of many other
countries on this earth, but it does not
befit ours.

The illiteracy myth
By Debra Goodman
Declining literacy in the U.S. is a myth. Un-
fortunately, many American journalists per-
petuate this myth and, as a result, attack the
performance of educators without any real
basis.
A Michigan Daily editorial said Wednesday
that elementary and secondary educators are
responsible for growing "educational
deficiencies" among students. The article
said this has "resulted in a general reduction
in the quality of higher education." This
couldn't be more wrong.
MOST INFORMATION educators have
today points to a growth in literacy, not a
decline. Publishers are selling more books,
'q magazines and newspapers all the time. A
larger number of students than ever before are
qualifying and graduating from this nation's
universities, and many courses have had to be
reviewed because of the increase in knowledge
of incoming freshpersons.
Even if we accepted testing as an accurate
description of the rate of literacy or
achievement in this country; recent research
does not support the notion of a general
decline in achievement over the years.
In 1976, the National Assessment of
Educational Progress reported results of a
study on reading tests administered to
children in 1971 and 1975.
This study reported that: (1) Nine year olds
appear to be reading significantly better than
the nine year olds four years earlier. (2)
Black nine year olds appear to have improved
more than nine year olds as a whole. (3) The
k reading abilities of thirteen and seventeen
year olds appear to have changed little over
the four years of assessment.
IN 1974, Roger Farr, J. Tuinman, and M.
Rowls, all experts in the area of testing and
reading, examined trends in reading
achievements.
"We are now convinced that anyone who
says he knows that literacy is decreasing is a
very unsure person. Such a person is at best
unscholarly and at worst dishonest," they
conclude.
Wednesday's editorial uses two "statistics"
to support allegations that "over the past
decade, achievement scores have steadily
declined on all grade levels."
The article states that "Scholastic Aptitude
Test (SAT) scores of incoming freshpersons
have also been on a steep decline for nearly
fifteen years." Although not stated, perhaps
their source originates in the widely-

misquoted study on declining college board'
exams done by a comnittee of educators for
HEW.
THE BOARD concluded that there may be.
a number of reasons for the gradual decline in
scores, among them a wider group of students
taking these tests, and generally outdated test'
items. There was no conclusive evidence that*
declining scores are the result of any decline
in general achievement of high school studen--
ts.
The editorial also reports that state officials
released statistics showing that less than half
Michigan's 7th graders received "accep-
table" math scores, and many children were
not "proficient" in reading skills.
The editorial does not tell us what the
scores were on the last state assessment. The
information provided is no evidence of any
decline in school test scores.
But there are basic problems with standar-
dized reading and math tests in the first
place.
MOST STANDARDIZED tests tend to
reflect the middle-class white experience and
language, disregarding the different cultures
of minority and lower income children.
E. Brooks Smith, et al., in Language and
Thinking in School contend: , "Young
divergent speakers are at a distinct disadvanz
tage when they are judged on the basis of
tests that are based on the assumption that
all children have common experience and
language . .. The child who has seen and ex-
perienced but has not learned is not at all the
same as the child who has not seen or ex-
perienced. But the tests show them the
same."
The Daily editorial suggests a program of
more rigorous testing so that "skills of every
student can be watched carefully and
bolstered when necessary:" This would'not be
the-outcome of an extensive testing program.
Extensive testing wastes much time and
money that could be spent working directly
with children.
We see this from the elementary level
through college, where we are not so much in-
terested in what the instructor has to say but
in whether it will be on a test.
Literacy is not declining in this country. But
it's true that many of our children may not be
reaching their fullest potential as readers and
writers. The answer to this problem is not
more testing.
Rather, let's try t~o establish for kids the
kind of exciting stimulating environment that
allows them the joy of reading a good book,
the thrill of writing something in their own
words. Then we will know we are successful
teachers. "
Debra Goodman has worked on several
reading research projects and is a sub-
stitute teacher in Detroit. She is a 1976
Residential College graduate.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

DO YOU KNOW ONE OF THE MAJOR
CAUSES OF STROKES AND HEART 7
ATTACKS? /
0,0\ Q

Your vote can

To The Daily:
On Monday, April 3rd the
citizens of Ann Arbor will go to
the polls and electtheir civic
leaders. Few will vote while most
will remain uninterested,
assured that they have little con-
trol over the development of the
society which we are all creating.
Yet, if past city elections have
taught us anything, it is that one
vote does make a difference in
the election itself.
The results of Monday's elec-
tion will determine the type of
policies which the city will pur-
sue. A vote for Mayor Wheeler
and the Democrats is a vote for
human services and people orien-
ted concerns. Mayor Wheeler has
always addressed himself to the

propositions. The first would
assure that illegal clauses are
prohibited while the second
provides that tenants be infor-
med of their rights in a tenants
rights booklet. Both of these
proposals have earned a vote of
'yes' as they continue the line of
struggle for better rental housing
in the city. We have worked hard
in the past yet we need to do more
in the future is this goal is ever to
be achieved.
The choice is clear. One vote
has and perhaps will make a dif-
ference in the direction which
Ann Arbor will move. Therefore,
it is essential that all registered
voters get out on Monday and
assert their priorities through the
.-_ f- hnln k--

spell
presenting stud
and the Ann Arbo
the March 16,
meeting all sp
divestment of U.N.
with interests in S
WHEREAS the is
vestments was su
together various
dividuals to dem
divestment, ni
proximately 200 p
WHEREAS the
vestments relate
invested in, the R
to maintain cap
which has abolis
the press, humai
vast majority of
educational syst
nvfmote Pmalit

the difference
ents, faculty, Student Government opposes the
r community at action-taken by the Regents in
1978 Regents their March 16,1978 meeting, that
oke for total LS&A Student Government-con-
I. funds in firms siders total divestiture to be the
outh Africa; only action necessary to support
ssue of U.M in- democracy in South Africa; and
ifficient to bring BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED
groups and in- that LS&A Student Government
onstrate for full send a copy of this resolution to
umbering ap- each Regent and to President
eople;
question of in- Fleming.
s to the society -Bob Setchuk and Rachel
legents decision Rosenthal, on behalf of LSA-
ital in a nation SG
;hed freedom of
n rights for the-
its citizens, an 'broad education'
em designed to To The Daily:
v the Regents It strikes me as being strange

THE MILWAUKEE JOURNAL oIsT FIELDNEWSPAPERSYNDICATE,1977
THE HIGH COST OF INSURANCE
AND HOSPITALIZATION?

v

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