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May 03, 1979 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1979-05-03

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Page 4-Thursday, May 3, 1979-The Michigan Daily
Get r o graaes
Michigan Daiy
Eighty-nine Years of Editorial Freedom 10 B p nd earning

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Ml. 48109
Vol. LXXXIX, No. 2-S News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
Return of draft
not necessary
M ONDAY A HOUSE Armed Services sub-
committee approved a proposal to reinstate
military registration for 18-year-old men after the
1980 elections, and rejected another motion to
draft up to 200,000 men per year for the federal
reserves. Both registration and drafting of young
Americans are unacceptable methods of
bolstering our armed forces at this time.
We acknowledge the growing weakness of con-
ventional U.S. defense capabilities, and recognize
our allies' declining confidence in them due to
Soviet buildup of forces in Eastern Europe, Africa
and East Asia. But the U.S. is presently at peace
and the threat of war is not imminent. Inter-
national security and stability form the foun-
dation of our present foreign policy. These cir-
cumstances do not warrant such drastic methods
of conscription or even the draft's precursor:
registration.
The volunteer method of raising troops has not
met success since the Vietnam War. Draftees re-
sisted and deserted due to the loss of civil liberties
as well as the cause for which they were forced to
fight, during that confrontation. But we feel young
men are no more prepared to forfeit their service
and lives against their will at this time. Indeed, to
conscript an army of conscientious objectors
would improve perceptions of American military
strength no more than the present Soviet advan-
tage in troop and tank reserves.
Already, the average individual can expect to
give up three to four years' income during his
lifetime to the arms race. The expense of rein-
stituting a draft would most likely be borne by
taxpayers who largely disagree with it. The
Defense Department would be better off tackling
gross waste on present operations and make the
volunteer forces more efficient and financially
appealing, instead of embarking on this program.
Reinforced conventional forces which meet the
Soviet display of strength would not only fill in
gaps in our defense, but would also be a more ef-
fective deterrent to armed conflict than the
nuclear hardware on which we now rely. Conven-
tional capabilities might also check escalation if a
violent outbreak does occur. Nevertheless, the
status of international security does not justify the
registration or drafting of American citizens at
this time.
SPRING EDITORIAL STAFF
ELIZABETH SLOWIK
Editor-in-Chief
JUDY RAKOWSY
Editorial Director
JOSHUA PECK
ArtsDirector
MAUREENO'MALLEY
LISA UDELSON
Photographers
STAFF WRITERS: Sara Anspach, Amy Diamond, Julie Engebrefht, John Goyer,
Patricia Hagen, Vicki Henderson, Adrienne Lyons, Beth Persky, John Sink-
evics, TimYagie

By Richard Meisler
The function of grades is
revealed by using a little
imagination. Imagine that the
grading system was abolished
today. If you are a teacher, are
you sure the students would come
to class, laugh at your jokes and
treat you with respect? If you are
a student, would you do what
your teachers want?
I recently talked about
education with a group of college
students. They felt that the
pressures of term papers and
txaminatiots left them no timeto
really absorb their subjects or
even to think about them. There
was no exception. He was a young
Vietnam veteran who had been
badly injured in combat. He
recieved a government disability
pension. He lived frugally, and
his pension met his forseeably
financial needs.
THE VETERAN handled
college very differently from the
other students. He concentrated
on the classes from which he
learned and didn't worry about
the others. He got some low
grades, but didn't let them bother
him. He went to school to learn,
not to receive good grades.
The other students in the group
wished that they could follow his
example. None of them dared.

They feared that low grades
might damage their future em-
ployment possibilities. I have
never seen a better illustration of
the nature of grading, which has
to do more with money and.
power, than with learning.
The grading system gives
power to teachers over students.
The main function of grades is to
punish students for not doing
what their teachers want them to.
Students and parents are
terrorized by the way a teacher
can harm a student's future
prospects.
GRADES TEACH people to
rely on the judgements of others
about their learning. Students fo
not learn to evaluate their own
learning, a skill they will need in
most anything they do. Students
are taught by the grading system
to obey instead of learning to
learn. Years later they find that
they don't know where to begin
the process of learning something
new unless there is a teacher to
tell them.
Teachers believe that grades
are necessary to help students
learn. Grades tell students how
well or poorly they are doing. If
this is their function, why do they
have to be recorded on per-
manent records where they can
cause so much damage? Most
students, however, will tell you

that their grades really don't
reflect their learning. Students
receive good grades when they
give teachers what they want,
which means they usually learn
less.
Learning needs to be evaluated
in many settings and for many
purposes. Graduate and
professional schools need to
assess a student's previous lear-
ning. Employers and licensing
agencies need to do the same. Let
them do it. It is not necessary
that the lower-level schools god
the teachers do it for them. Let
somebody else do the judging.
For when teachers judge instead
of teach, a wedge of power is
driven between the teacher and
the student. They are no longer
on the same side. That has been
there for most of us for so long we
dot even notice it. The pursuit
ofi learning has been replaced by
the pursuit of grades. The
solution is simply to end grades.
Dr. Richard Meist/er has
been an educator and ad-
Ministrator at several si/oo s
qf higher learning since the
ear/' sitles.

LETTERS TO THE DAIL Y.
Nukes threaten life

To the Daily:
When the explosive energy of
atomic fission was demonstrated,
Albert Einstein said,
"Everything has changed but
your mode of thinking. We drift
toward unparalleled
catatstrophe." This year to the
centennial of his birth. He died in
1955. One wonders what this
pacifist would think if he could
see the nuclear arms and nuclear
power situations today.
The United States has 30,000
nuclear bombs and the Soviet
Union about 20,000. Nuclear
weapons in England, France and
China would add several
thousand more. We are
producing nuclear warheads at
the rate of three per day. Some of
today's bombs are a thousand
times more destructive than the
one dropped on Hiroshima. One
Trident submarine can hit 408
cities with three to five times the
destruction of Hiroshima. The
Stockholm International Peace
Research Institute estimates that
within ten years 35 nations will
have the potential, through the
nuclear power plant fuel cycle,
for producing these bombs.
An all out nuclear war between
Russia and the United States
would cost us 140 million lives
and the Soviets 113 million.
George Kistiakowsky, former
presidentital science advisor
says, "Either we have to learn to
live with the Russians or we and
the Russians will die about the
same time."

It doesn't apear that we are
drifting toward catastrophe any
longer, but that we are being
propelled by the arms race and
by the worldwide promotion of
nuclear power.
Shortly before Margaret Mead
dies. on November 15, 1978, she
was asked what her hopes were
for humankind as of the year
2000. She answered in the
following way. "It is my profound

coming these extreme dangers
and other dangers related to the
use of imperfectly understotod
and poorly controlled scien-
tifically based technologies, I
have no doubt that mankind will
continue to develop in ways as yet
undreamed of."
Albert Schweitzer. theologian,
philospher, physician, musician
and African missionary once
said, "Man has lost his ability to
forsee and forestall. He will end
by destroying the earth."
What substance or substances he
was-talking about is not-clear.
But if one were to be picked, cer-
tainly plutonium could be it. For
this reason a good many concer-
ned people are convinced that the
time is here when any nation
possessing a nuclear weapon sh-
ould be considered guilty of a
crime against humanity. The
same might well be said of
nuclear power. First, because
technically and politically the
nuclear fuel cycle appears in-
separable from weapons
proliferation. Secondly, the
record for accidents, leaks and
spills from nuclear facilities is
such that if it continues, the extra
burden of radiation may create
increases in cancer and genetic
defects which are passed on
forever. An'd, third, to phase out
nuclear power is the only way to
stop the production of lethal,
long-lived radioactive wastes
which no one really knows what
to do with.
TGfra-t A. Drake. NJ.

hope that a sufficient number of
people with a high tradition of
literacy, learning and concern for
other human beings may survive
to keep alive the human ex-
periment. Our chances of sur-
vival are becoming fewer
everyday that we allow nuclear
weabonry and an economy based
on the use of plutonium as a fuel
to proliferate around the world.
But if we do succeed in over-

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