Page 2 -The Michigan Daily-Friday, December 4, 1987
'U' study: American kids lack math skills
By JIM PONIEWOZIK
schoolchildren trail their
counterparts in China, Japan and
Taiwan in math skills, finds a Uni-
versity psychology department
Psychology Prof. Harold
Stevenson, who led the research
team, faulted parents and the
American educational system for
students' inability to perform up to
Stevenson said many Americans
have an attitude that "math isn't
that important," compared to such
subjects as reading comprehension.
The study involved 8,000 first
and fifth graders from the four
countries; all the American students
studied were in the Chicago school
Of the fifth graders studied,
Chinese students averaged a score of
70 to 80 percent correct on a math
computation test, while American
students averaged 50 to 70 percent.
The Japanese and Taiwanese
students scored slightly lower than
American fifth graders also
scored lower than the Asian
students on geometry and story
problems. As with math problems,
the study showed a similar gap
among first graders.
Part of the problem is that
American parents and teachers don't
realize their children aren't
challenged as much as Asian
students, Stevenson said. "The
American curriculum is relatively
easy, so the kids and parents think
they're doing well. So they think,
'Why try harder?"'
Stevenson criticized "tracking," a
system by which American schools
separate students into "fast" and
"slow" groups who are assigned
work of different levels of
difficulty. In Asian schools, slower
children are just expected to work
harder, he said.
"If you put a student on a slow
math track, it's pre-determining the
outcome for many children ... how
do we know if the child can do any
better?" he asked.
School of Education Prof. Art
Coxford wasn't surprised by the
study's results, but he placed more
blame on parents who pay too little
attention to their children's progress
than with the educational system.
"I don't think you're going to
make any progress until you get the
community at large to .value
education," Coxford said.
Ethnic culture is an important
factor, Coxford said. He cited a
1987 study of Hawaiian schools
which found that Japanese-
American students scored higher
than Caucasian students.
Stevenson, acknowledging the
importance of culture, said that
Oriental students in the American
schools participating in the study
generally scored higher than their
But he added that the Oriental
students scored lower than those in
the other three countries, indicating
that the educational systems do
make a difference.
' S ,iAD ; D -;aR .- -- -- -- 36iieA ? ipD ii iab tii A D 4a
Many State Street, South University,
Main Street and Kerrytown
area merchants will be open
until midnight tonight.
Check our special Midnight Madness
pages in today's Daily for
special sales items and
wiinwia;Wwsime amniawa e~atsa a in~atm-
South Koreans fear
sabotage at '88 games
SEOUL (AP) - The suspected
bombing of a South Korean airline
has stirred new fears that communist
North Korea may attempt to
sabotagethe 1988 Seoul Olympics.
South Korean leaders have
charged that their archrival was
behind the disappearance of the
Korean Air plane and threatened to
end all talks with the north on
ensuring the success of the Seoul
"It is a plain fact that North
Korea has intensified its provocative
moves," President Chun Doo-hwan
told a special cabinet meeting on the
Officials in Seoul say the
disappearance of the KAL Boeing
707 on Nov. 29 somewhere near
Burma had all the hallmarks of a
North Korean attack.
They believe a bomb hidden on
the plane tore it apart in midair with
the loss of all 115 people on board,
and point to a long string of North
Koreanattacks on the south since
the end of the Korean War.
The two Koreas, divided since
1945, technically are still at war
since a peace treaty was never signed
at the end of the Korean War in
1953, in which millions were killed
and wounded. North Korea has said it
is determined to "liberate" the south.
A peer counseling table will
be available outside of CRISP
to help you
Friday, Dec. 4th through
Friday, Dec. 11th
Sponsored by LSA Student Gov't.
and Students Counseling Office
MAC IN THE MORNING
MAC IN THE EVENING
MAC AROUND THE CLOCK
Compiled from Associated Press eports
House votes to end aid to Haiti
WASHINGTON -- The House voted without dissent yesterday to cut
off all U.S. aid to the government of Haiti until a civilian electoral
commission is reinstated and the impoverished nation is put back on the
road towards free elections.
The House action, on a voice vote, essentially ratified the earlier
suspension of nearly $64 milion in U.S. aid by the Reagan
administration, nd dded the legal requirement that the Provisional
Electoral Comm ssion b e re in ,ted in order for aid to be resumed.
While the move means revoking badly needed economic aid to Haiti,
the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, the measurer's sponsor,
Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), said it was the only way to express U.S.
outrage over the violence that canceled Sunday's elections.
Nicaraguan negotiations begin
SANTA DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Nicaragua's leftist
government and U.S.-backed rebels yesterday opened their first
negotiations on ending a 6-year-old war that has killed 40,000 people.
Police provided light security for the indirect negotiations, in which
the Roman Catholic archbishop of Managua, Cardinal Miguel Obando y
Bravo, is serving as a go-between.
Obando y Bravo met with the Contra rebel delegation at Catholic
church offices in Santo Domingo and said he would relay their proposals
to the Sandinista delegation at the Nicaraguan Embassy.
Church officials said they would try to persuade the delegations to
meet face to face, but Nicaraguan ambassador Daniel Martinez said that
was out of the question.
"That's very difficult for the time being," he said. "The Nicaraguan
government has told us (the dialogue) must be through a mediator."
Bill to reduce deficit nears
approval but risks veto
WASHINGTON - The House moved towards approval yesterday of a
massive $587 billion spending bill that would push Congress to meet its
deficit reduction goals but also risk a presidential veto because of a rash of
"This is the first step that I believe must be taken...to move against
the deficit and begin a coordinated effort by the two political parties," said
House Majority Leader Thomas Foley (D-Wash.).
But House Republican leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.) said beneath the
rhetoric was a package laden with special-interest spending, a bloated
monster created by Deniocrats acting "as a legislative Dr. Frankenstein.
"This is government by appetite and I'd respectfully suggest the
Democratic leadership put itself on a legislative diet," he said.
The spending bill would cover virtually all government operations in
fiscal 1988, which began Oct. 1. Military and domestic spending, which
under normal procedures is governed by 13 separate bills, was wrapped
into one single package.
Reagan foresees arms accord
WASHINGTON - President Reagan said yesterday there is a
reasonably good chance that the superpowers can agree in Moscow next
year to eliminate 58 percent of their strategic nuclear weapons.
He made the evaluation of prospects for such a far-reaching agreement
in a television interview four days before Soviet leader Mikhail
Gorbachev arrives for a summit and the signing of a treaty to ban
intermediate-range nuclear missiles, known as INF.
Gorbachev, in an interview earlier this week broadcast in the United
States and the Soviet Union, also offered an optimistic assessment for a
strategic arms accord next year.
What happens when it melts?
Ahh, the first big snowfall of winter. And what do we do? Play in the
snow, of course, making snow angels, snowballs, snowpeople - and
"We were going to build a snowman," said Mike Stewart, an LSA
sophomore and Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity member. "But then my friend
Craig Brown - he's slightly on the perverted side - decided to build a
huge snow, uh, phallic symbol."
"Then - and this was still Craig's idea - we decided to wrap Saran
Wrap around it, for a condom, you know," Stewartsaid.
Brown was unavailable for comment. But Stewart admitted the sign -
which read "Blue balls; safe sex" was his idea.
Though "a few people gave dirty looks," most people who saw the
snow penis on the corner of Hill and State didn't comment, Stewart said.
"But a couple thought a snow phallic symbol was a great idea," he
If you see news happen, call 76-DAILY.
0 he Michigan BMWl
Vol. XCVIII--No. 60
The Michigan Daily (ISSN 0745-967 X) published Monday through
Friday during the fall and winter terms. Subscription rates: September
through April-$25 in Ann Arbor; $35 outside the city. One term: $13 in
Ann Arbor; $20 outside the city.
The Michigan Daily is a member of The Associated Press and subscribes
to the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and the National Student News Ser-
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"SAVE THE HUMAN RECORD".
LIBRARY PRESERVATION AWARENESS WEEK
DECEMBER 7-11, 1987
SPONSORED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN LIBRARY
Activities include continuous public showings of the new
"Slow Fires" videotape and a hands-on Preservation exhibit
and demonstrations at the following locations:
Undergraduate Library: Videotape, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and 7- 10 p.m.,
and hands-on exhibit, 9 - 11 a.m., Monday, December 7
Videotape, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Tuesday, December 8
Editor in Chief..............................................ROB EARLE
Managing Editor......................................AMY MINDELL
News Editor ...................PHILIP I. LEVY
City Editor ...................MELISSA BIRKS
Features Editor............................MARTIN FRANK
University Editor .............KERY MURAKAMI
NEWS STAFF: Elizabeth Atkins, Francie Arenson,
Vicki Bauer, Eve Becker, Katherine Beitner, Steve
Blonder, Keith Brand, Jim Bray, Dov Cohen,
Hampton Dellinger, Kenneth Dintzer, Sheala Durant,
Heather Eurich, Stephen Gregory, Grace Hill, Jeff
Hughes, Steve Knopper, Carrie Loranger, Michael
Lustig, Alyssa Lustigman, Tom MacKinnon. Andrew
Mills, Peter Orner. Lisa Pollak, Jim Poniewozik,
Melissa Ramsdell, David Schwartz, Martha
Sevetson, Lauren Sinai, Rachel Stock, Steve Tuch,
Ryan Tutak, David Webster, Rose Mary Wummel.
Opinion Page Editors.........................PETER MOONEY
Assoc. Opinion Page Editor..CALE SOUTHWORTH
OPINION PAGE STAFF: Muzammil Ahmed,
Rosemary Chinnock, Noah Finkel, Jim Herron, Eric
L. Holt, Gayle Kirschenbaum, Josh Levin, I. Matthew
Miller, Jeffrey Rutherford, Steve Semenuk, Tony
Theatre .................JENNIFER KOHN
ARTS STAFF: V.J. Beauchamp, Scott Collins, Robert
Flaggert, Timothy Huet, Brian Jarvinen, Avra
Kouff man, David Peitz, Mike Rubin, Mark Shaiman,
Todd Shanker, Lauren Shapiro, Chuck Skarsaune,
Mark Swartz, Marc S. Taras.
Photo Editors.......................................SCOTT LITUCHY
PHOTO STAFF: Karen HandelmanH Ellen Levy.
Robin Loznak, David Lubliner, Dana Mendelssohn,
John Munson, Grace Tsai.
Weekend Editors...............REBECCA BLUMENSTEIN
CARTOONISTS: Aaron Chassy, Fred Zinn.
Sales Manager.........................................ANNE KUBEK
Assistant Sales Manager ..............KAREN BROWN
SALES STAFF: Gail Belenson, Sherri Blansky, Julie
Bowers, Valerie Breier, Pam Bullock, Stephanie
Burg, Milton Feld, Kim Feuerstein, Lisa George,
Michelle Gill, Missy Hpmbrick, Ginger Heyman, Matt
Lane, Jodi Manchik, Mindy Mendonsa, Eddy Meng,
Jie MLiller .uie arsell. Jennife~r Rowe.Jim
Taubman Medical Library: Videotape, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.,
and hands-on exhibit, 9 - 11 a.m., Thursday, December 10
Public Health Library: Hands-on exhibit. 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.,