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June 04, 1975 - Image 6

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1975-06-04

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Poge Six

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Wednesday, June 4, 1975

Board candidates debate student issues

(Continued from Page 3)
the discipline policy by noting
that the penalty for truancy, or
non-attendance in the schools,
is often suspension. "Does that
make sense?" asks Maxine Hen-
son. "I think it's a waste of
time to suspend students for
non-bodily-harm offenses and
non-disruptive offenses," she
adds.
HENSON, who has taught
school for six years in Mich-
igan and New York, says she
is concerned about "students
going through the educational
system . . seeming to come
out with very little."
Student participation in deci-
sion-making, at least at the
board level, is currently limited
to a non-voting advisory panel.
At least one board hopeful,
George Wright, would like to
see the situation kept that way.
"I don't think that students at
this age are mature enough to
think in depth of all facets be-
fore they make a decision," he
says.
"They make hasty decisions,"
Wright adds, "that's part of

their learning process. And
that's fine as long as their mis-
takes only involve themselves."
But at the board level, accord-
ing to Wright, "they're involv-
ing a lot of other people, too."
JEROME EPSTEIN, an op-
thomologist who teaches classes
at the University and at East-
ern Michigan, says one of his
teachers once advised him to
become a truck driver. "I have
an empathy for the students,"
he says. "I have a feeling for
w h a t they're yelling about.
They're angry. They're angry
because .there's nothing in it
for them now, nobody is stimu-
lating them."
"We need a system that goes
far beyond reading, writing and
arithmetic," Epstein continues,
"and it's not that simple. We
need the elementary basics, ab-
solutely. But that's oversimpli-
fying it. t's much deeper than
that. You teach the basic prin-
cipals and neglect all the other
things that are necessary in the
school and you're going to have
the most chaotic school system
in the world."

Epstein favors at least some
degree of student involvement
in decision-making. "If we were
able to provide an environment
where they were interested in
what they were doing and could
have some input into it, then
the guidance of the adult might
be a predominating factor which
could be modified by student
input," he says.
BOARD incumbent Cecil War-
ner, who is seeking a third
term, wrote the schools' con-
troversial discipline policy and
considers it one of his finest
achievements. The fact that it
has remained in effect for
three years without being aban-
doned, he says, is testimony to
its favor.
But Warner feels the disci-
pline policy, in the category of
due process, "goes too far.
We'll probably change that."
Warner also thinks the school
system does not deal severely
enough with student use of nar-
cotics.
As the youngest candidate in
this year's race, the Human
Rights Party's Shelley Ettinger

says the schools are "all pretty
recent memory for me."
ACTIVELY involved with Ann
Arbor Youth Liberation, Ettin-
ger states, "T know the atti-
tudes of the administration and
most teachers and most parents
toward young people, which is
that they don't deserve any
rights, they're not capable of
choosing how they want to
learn and of deciding things
about their own education."
"We're opposed to compul-
sory attendance," says Ettinger,
"which puts young people in
the category= with prisoners and
mental patients."
Another candidate, Charles
Moody, Sr., finds fault with the
school system for being "fail-
ure-oriented." "We ought to be
trying to turn the schools into
success - oriented k i n d s of
things," he says.
RACIAL FLAREUPS in recent
years, especially at the high
schools, Moody feels, stemmed
from "a feeling that nobody
really cared. Students have to
feel that people really care."
But he adds that "caring doesn't
mean that you don't expect any-
thing of them."
Voicing a slightly different
attitude toward disruption, can-
didate Bernice Sobin feels that
parents should expect discipline
in the classroom. "I think that
if they really expect it," she
says, "that message will get
through to the child and you
won't have the disruptive chil-
dren that we have today."
Sobin says "we sort of de-
lude ourselves into thinking that
(students) should think that
they're going to school for fun,
which they're not. They behave
worse than they would if they

weren't given this illusion of a
free atmosphere, and they get
punished for it."
JOHN HEALD feels the pres-
ent discipline policy "has pro-
vided much improvement over
where we were three, four or
five years ago." But he adds
that he is concerned over "the
frequent lack of consistent ap-
plication."
On another subject, Heald
says "it's appropriate for stu-
dents to be able to have an
opportunity for input, to be able
to express their opinions."
B o a r d President Clarence
Dukes echoes Heald's view on
student power, but asks "how
do you make a system more
empathetic toward the young
people it's supposed to serve?"
Dukes adds, "I think the
board to a man or woman would
say 'we want to be understand-
ing, we want to give asdmuch
latitude as possible.' And yet,
when you get down to the actual
administering of that board in-
tent, it may come out some
other way."
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