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June 30, 1979 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-06-30

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Page 6-Saturday, June 30, 1979-The Michigan Daily
Black English plaintiffs rest case

A school that fails to teach a child
under any but the most extraordinary
circumstances is ineffective and cannot
be forgiven, according to a former
director of human relations for Ann Ar-
bor Public Schools who testified in the
Black English case yesterday.
Harvard faculty member Ronald
Edmans was the last witness for the
plaintiffs. The case, Which is being tried
in federal District Court in Detroit, in-
volves 11 students from Ann Arbor's
Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary
School. Lawyers for the children
charge that the school failed to consider
the children's black dialect in teaching
them and therefore the children have
not received an adequate education.
WHEN ASKED to consider a
hypothetical child who is a consistently
poor achiever, Edmans replied, "The
difficulty for that child is not derived
from whether or not he was tested. It
was derived from the school's response.
We'd have to call it an ineffective
school because it isn't fulfilling the
standard of education to the population

that it serves."
Edmans said a school is required only
to teach all its students math and lear-
ning skills. "It is acceptable for some
groups to do better than others. What is
unacceptable is that there are in-
dividuals who fail to meet the minimum
prerequisite to fulfilling the standard."
Presented with another hypothetical
situaiton in which a school with a small
group that consistently performed
poorly in school, Edmans again said the
school was ineffective. "It is ineffective
on the premise that it was incumbent on
a public school to deliver its basics to
all students,"
KENNETH HASKINS, president of
Roxbury Community College, testified
that "the major problem I've found was
the attitude that the staff and faculty
have toward Black English. They ap-
proach students as if they are trying to
speak regular English . . . (they)
haven'trlearned, rather than giving
them credit for speaking their
language. It takes as much intelligence
to learn one language as another."
Children may be characterized ac-

cording to what family they come from
and what learning skills they bring to
school, Haskins said. "I've found that
schools value certain things that
children bring to school and those
children get favored treatment,"
Haskins said.
For instance, one child having a tem-
per tantrum may be called strong-
willed, Haskins explained. A child from
a different type of family who has a
temper tantrum may be considered
over-aggressive and sent out of the
classroom, he continued.
HASKINS SAID he believes Black
English has a place in the classroom. "I
feel that if a person intends to be
- Diggs to Pot
kiekbaek r
(Continued from Page 3)
session, but carries no penalties. If he is
censured, Diggs would be the first
House member so punished since 1921
when Texas Democrat Thomas Blanton
was censured for putting foul language
in the House record.
The one allegation to which Diggs
admitted, was that he violated House
rules by inflating the salary of one em-
ployee, Jean Stultz, so she could pay
$11,646.64 "of my personal expenses."
To that allegation, Diggs wrote: "I
admit that I am guilty."
DIGGS AGREED to make restitution
through a promissory note to the U.S.
Treasury with repayment and interest
to be deducted from his congressional
salary at the rate of $500 a month.
He said he volunteered to pay the
money "in order to finally put to rest

e $word's Out on cmlus.. .
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educated, then the more things they can
learn, the better. And to appreciate and
see some value in the way anotner
group of people express themselves
would be in order."
Kenneth Lewis, an attorney
representing the children, clarified
their position. "If exposure to Black
English would aid that student to learn
to read without stigmatizing the
language, that would be integration.
The school should accommodate
students from all backgrounds."
The plaintiffs rested their case
yesterday and attorneys for the Ann
Arbor school district expect to ask for a
dismissal Tuesday.
iy baek
any doubts about my past use of my
clerk-hire allowance."
Diggs also promised that for the rest
of the congressional session, staff
members will sign statements they are
being paid in compliance with House
IN ACCEPTING the deal, the com-
mittee dropped charges that Diggs also
padded salaries to compensate em-
ployees for paying some of his official
Diggs said later in a statement, "I
sincerely regret that this controversy
has taken place."
Diggs testified in U.S. District Court
in Washington last October the em-
ployees voluntarily contributed parts of
their salaries to help him meet an
overwhelming burden of personal deb-
HE SAID he personally benefited
from $12,015.30 worth of work Jeralee
Richmond performed in his Detroit
funeral home, and also received
$15,615.04 from George Johnson, $560
from Ofield Dukes and $194.68 from
Felix Matlock, while all four were on
his congressional payroll. Diggs had
claimed earlier the committee lacked
jurisdiction to consider conduct during
previous sessions of Congress since his
constituents had reelected him with full
knowledge of the case.
"If this proceeding accomplishes
nothing else it overrules the apparent
precedents which indicate that
Congress will not inquire into acts
committed prior to a member's last
reelection," Rep. F. James Sensen-
brenner (R-Wis.), said.
chairman in Diggs' district, said the
veteran House member still has full
support of local party officers.
"It's not too difficult to violate House
rules," Atkins said. "But I haven't seen
the specifics. I don't think this is the fir-
st time. I'm sure every member of the
House committee can be found to have
violated House rules at some time.
Diggs had sought in vain during
preliminary hearings to persuade the
committee to defer the case until his
court appeal is completed, so publicity
of a hearing would not interfere with his
right to a fair trial if he wins a new one.
Though nominally Christian, people
of the Malagasy Republic cling to an-
cient beliefs, holding that ancestors dic-
tate health, wealth, and fertility of
descendants: .-. '. -'- -

Execue Produce ROBERT DALEY yScreenpy
Musc by)ERRY FIELDING -"Produced and Directe(

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