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December 12, 1981 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-12-12

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OPINION

Page 4

Saturday, December 12, 1981

The Michigan Daily

New Trier: A

public school

that works

Michigan's publicr g h is have teen going
through some very r--uigl times lately. Vote;rs
in several districts have voted down tax in-
creases that administrators say are necessary
to keep the kids in school.
In places like Alpena, where schools actually
shut down for more than a month because
voters rejected a millage increase, and Taylor,
where voters last week averted a similar fate
by passing a millage increase (after having
defeated one last month), voters are obviously
getting tired of deficit spending gnd overall
lac> of responsible management.
THE PROBLEM is rot Michigan's alone.'
Many other public school systems are facing
ibe same financial crunch and rrany are also
facing dramatic declines in enrollment. But
there are schools that are surviving, and ser-
iving quite well.
One of those schools is New Trier Township
iligh School, located in Chicago's wealthy Nor-
th Shore suburbs.
: Certainly, the problems facing New Trier are
Oot identical to the problems in schools
elsewhere. Tax structures are different in dif-
ferent states as are enrollment patterns.
(Illinois' tax ceiling for education is actuallyi
lower than Michigan's.) But what is important
is to know that there are public schools that are
successfully dealing with the problems that
comfort them and giving their studnts quality
educations.
NEW TRIER, WITH its two campuses
located just a few miles apart, has for years
been considered one of the finest public high
schools in the country.
Money Magazine listed New Trier as one of
the top 12 public high schools in the nation in its
September, 1981 issue, mainly on the strength
of its outstanding and diverse curriculum
which includes classes in film-making,

business-law, and internships in local gover-
nment.
But despite the North Shore's affluence and
-New Trier's academic excellence the school
system has been and continues to face very
serious enrollment and financial problems.
OVER THE past seven years New Trier's
enrollment has dropped from a high of 6,400
students in 1974-75 to 4,606 this year. And that,
trend is projected to continue at least through
1990-91 when the district may have only 3,000
students of high school age.
So what is New Trier doing to survive?
Two years ago, at the end of 22 months of
debate and research, the seven-member New
Trier Board of Education, voted 5-2 to con-
solidate the two existing high schools (East and
West) into one as soon as enrollment dropped
low enough to accommodate all the students in
one campus. In the interim period, the Board's
vote also moved all the freshpersons into the
East campus, creating what they called a 1-3
alignment (one high school with separate cam-
puses, one housing just freshpersons, the other
housing the older'classes).
"WE WANTED TO offer the same quality
education at a cost less than two, four-year
high schools," said John Patzwald, assistant
superintendent.
Joan Levy, the president of the School Board,
said, "We were convinced something had to be
done to ensure a comparable experience for
West students." West's enrollment was always
about 1,000 students fewer than East's, and was
1,893 last year.
"Our nationwide reputation had always been
based an a large size school and the diversity of
the program because of that size," said Levy,
whose five children attended West.
SO, BASED ON a huge amount of data and
long-range projections that extended to as far

By David Spak
as 1990, the Board voted to move New Trier into
a new organizational pattern, effective at the
beginning of this school year.
The reorganization wasn't just designed to
save New Trier's academic program, it was
also designed to save money. While the final
figures for the first year aren't available, and
won't be for some time, Superintendent
Roderick Bickert said the district saved almost
$625,000 in faculty, maintenance, and other
staff rediuctions alone.
That savings and savings from other areas
such as maintenance costs, stipends (faculty
bonuses for coaching, activity sponsorships,
and department chairmanships), and utilities
(heating, cooling, and electricity saved by
closing down a portion of the West campus)
should help move New Trier into the black for
the second year in a row after several years of,
deficit spending, according to Board Secretary
Charles Klingsporn.
"WE ARE FINANCIALLY better off now
than we have been in several years," Bickert
said.
And the reorganization has also given the ex-
tra-curricular activities program a boost,
especially at the freshperson school. According
to Bickert and Patzwald, over 60 percent of the
freshpersons are involved in some kind of ac-
tivity, either a sport, the radio station, the
drama department, or even the newly-created
freshperson newspaper.
Participation in programs at the-upper
school has also shown an increase, though not
as dramatic as at the freshperson school.
"THE PROGRAM HAS started to hum,"
Bickert said. "And all of, or at least a great
deal of our success is due tow long-range plan-
Weasel

ning and preparation.
"We've made a commitment to make this
thing go," he added, "and the students of New
Trier have put themselves into making this a
success."
And that goes a long way towards quieting
many parents who were initially adamently
opposed to the Board's decision. As Patzwald
said, "If the kids are happy, the parents are
happy."
NEW TRIER'S FACULTY, though, has had
to make the adjustment of merging from two
staffs into one. And that has been more difficult
for the teachers that moved from the West
campus, which is set up more like a small
college with six separate buildings, to the East
Campus, which is a more traditional, older,
and much larger structure.
"The environment (at the East campus) en-
courages a more traditional style of teaching,"
James Marran, the chairman of the social
studies department and former West teacher,
said. "There is not here the flexibility of space
that we enjoyed at West. But that is not to say
that one is better or worse than the other, just
different." ,
But Marran does see some benefit from the
reorganization. "The curriculum is in really
good shape. We were able to bring together two
good curricula."
SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER Dolly Skobel
agrees. "Academically I see nothing but good,
although I don't like to see the freshmen
isolated like that."
At the freshperson campus there have been
other benefits to the reorganization. "The
freshpersons have another year to mature and
gain confidence before they have to cope with
the older students," said David Cox, principal
at the West campus. "We've had a fine ex-
perience so far, but I'll reserve judgment

because we don't know yet."
Jane McNamara, a physical education
teacher at the West campus agrees. "We have
maybe offered too much. Next year it might
prove to be a disservice (to have offered so
many opportunities for the freshpersons)."
BUT McNAMARA ALSO said the first year
of the new system is "going great. We have
been able to do a lot of skill work in class that
wasn't possible before and we have really good
kids to work with."
Said Levy: "We've retained the academic
excellence aid diversity that we were losing.
What we had was superior.
"What we have to do now is look beyond the
current year to the problems ahead for most all
high school districts. The dilemma of a public
high school is to look for ways to improve."
IN THE MIDST of all their problems, New
Trier is doing just that.
"The staff has made a commitment,"
Marron said. "We're going to make this thing
work or die trying."
.Nona Cox, also a social studies teacher tran-
splanted from West to East, said, "Our pride is
such that we wouldn't let it not work. We get an
'A' for effort and we're going to get an + A' for
the end product."
The lesson of New Trier's success is not to be
learned from the particular methods the school
has chosen to solve its problems. The lesson is
that despite any problems it might face, New'
Trier's entire organization is completely
dedicated to educating young people.
Perhaps the failing of public schools all over
today is that not enough of them are getting
'A's for effort.
Spak is a Daily staff writer and a
graduate of New Trier West high school.

I-'"

lit, lilbCb4l*gttn + tttl 40

By Robert Lence

Edited and maraoged by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCIC, No, 77

* 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Progress on registration

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HE ANNOUNCEMENT was a rare
Tbit of good news from, the Reagan
administration: The Justice Depar-
tment said on Thursdy that it had
decided not to prosecute men for
failing to register for the draft-- at
least until President Reagan decides
whether to end registration.
But implicit even in this bit of good
news was a bit of gloom: The ad-
ministration apparently is not yet
ready to rescind formally the
registration program.
The government actually had little
choice in its decision not to prosecute
the men. As many as 800,000 men so far
have refused to sign up with the Selec-
ftive Servic.- 'akiug the resistance
effort one of the most successful in the
nation's history,--and it would have
been virtually impossible for the
government to prosecute, let along im-
prison, all of the violators,

of the most vocal opponents of
registration. But the Justice Depar-
tment announcement changes all that.
Now no one will be prosecuted, for the
time being, and the level of non-
registrants can be expected to in-
crease.
But while the Justice Department
announcement marks a significant
success for the movement, problems
remain with the administration ap-
proach to the registration law.
The law remains just that: law. The
Justice Department action merely
temporarily exempts those who
refused to register under a foolish law;
it does not reveal the foolish law itself.
The administration has indicated
that a decision on registration will be
forthcoming in the next few days. The
Justice Department announ-
cement-along with several statemen-
ts by members of the ad-
ministration-have shown that the

41

Four years in a loft

. The pressure to excel drove one Univer-
sity of Michigan student into hiding for
four years. This bizarre incident is
des?.ribed in the September 18, 1959
Daily.
Replay
By,
Will.McLean Greeley ,

the University from Albion College in 1952: He
was sponsored by the First Methodist Church
and received his first financial assistance
from various friends.
BY 1954 HIS academic ,record in
mathematics and physics had started to slip
and in 1955 he failed two courses. At the same
time his funds ran out and he decided not to
request more money from his friends.'
He did not enroll in the fall semester, threw
his identification in the Huron, River and
began living under the rafters of the
Methodist Church where he bad been a
janitor. He stayed there (from August 1955)
until August 31, (1959) when a night watch-
man heard footsteps.
Ann Arbor police were called and Lim's
hiding place was discovered when they sear-
ched the building. When found he was
wearing an old pair of swiumming trunks
with a homemade brimless skull cap on his
head.

LEFTOVER FOOD FROM the church kit-
chen provided his means of subsistencean
he got needed exercises by jumping rope i
the church lounge. Every night he filled a pit-
cher with water from the church washroom to
last for the next day.
During the days Limm had to remain very
still to prevent detection and would
sometimes lie on his mat all day. When he felt
close to a mental breakdown, he would go into
a downstairs closet with a heavy sound-
deadening door and shout and scream.
After his discovery, Lim was informed o
his father's death of cancer in February. His
mother is reportedly living in Hong Kong and
his brother, a University graduate, is now in
Canada. He also has a sister in Singapore.
Greeley's column appears every Satur-
day.

The level of resistance had become administration is inclin
clear even under the Carter ad- ding draft registration
ministration, and the government had should take the next ste
been planning to prosecute only a few law.
-
4 -
- l!- y p -

ed toward en-
in practice. It
'p and end it in

Student Attic-Dweller Returning to Classes
Cheng Guan Lim, the former engineering
student who spent four years in the attic of a
local church, will begin classes Monday.
Lim, a native of Singapore, transferred to
LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Censoring fine art at Power Center

all

To the Daily:
Censorship in a democratic
society is intolerable. But the
censorship of fine art by the of-
ficials of the University's Power
Center is scandalous.-
William Girard, Professor of
Art at the Detroit-based Center

for Creative Studies has been for-
ced to remove two of his pain-
tings from a recently opened
group show at the Power Center.
The two paintings, both figure
studies, have apparently been
labeled obscene. I am personally
incensed at the provincial at-

titude of, the responsible
authorities.
However, the definition of ob-
scenity is not the major question
raised by this arbitrary decision
on the part of University of-
ficials. Rather, it calls into
question the willingness of state
authorities to uphold and protect
our constitutional right to
freedom of expression.
It appears that an artist's
freedom of aesthetic expression
is being subverted by the very of-
ficials sworn to guarantee that
right on behalf of the people of the
state of Michigan. This is an in-

justice perpetrated on
Americans.

Broad-rnin ded faculty

Unfortunately, Bill Girard,
whom I know as a fine painter
and an even finer human being, is
not the first artist to suffer such
misguided critics. It is a matter
of record that Michelangelo's
Sistine Chapel nudes were
altered at the order of a pope in
order to protect innocent souls
from temptation.
"When with they ever
learn ... ?"
-Gleni Milchaels
Dec. 9

To the Daily:
Congratulations to those broad-
minded faculty members and
students who are able to tran-
scend the exigencies of their

Granted, a mere reading of
Chaucer's "Tales" or Plato's
"Republic" may be a bit elusive
to cure the myopia that currently
plagues many (not all) of the
engineering students.

i

A

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