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November 05, 1992 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-11-05

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily- Thursday, November 5, 1992

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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

Editor in Chief
Opinion Editors

Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan

Unsigned editorials represent a mjority of the Daily's Editorial Board.
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.
Education funding needs overhaul

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T he tremendous hope and optimism generated
by Bill Clinton's victory is tempered by a
sobering realization: the division between the
wealthy and the poor in this country has grown
drastically in the last twelve years. In no area is this
distinction more clear than in primary-level public
Clinton has correctly pointed out that in this
country, "what we earn depends on what we learn."
Unfortunately, the converse is also true: What we
learn depends on what we earn. Public schooling
is one of the primary driving forces behind class
divisions in the United States. Only through a
drastic overhaul of public education funding can
equality be acheived.
'Savage Inequalities'
That a vast gulf between schools in rich and
poor neighborhoods exists is no secret. As Jonathan
Kozol chronicled in "Savage Inequalities," wealthy
suburban students often enjoy an educational en-
vironment comparable or superior to many private
schools. Well-funded schools provide not only a
warm, clean, safe atmosphere, they also offer a
wide selection of academic studies as well as
music, art, sports, debate and a plethora of extra-
curiccular activities. Any student with proper
motivation will be overprepared to move on to
secondary education.
Rural and inner-city schools, on the other hand,
represent not a gateway to opportunity, but an
obstacle to success which only the most bright and
determined students can overcome. These schools
lack basic teaching materials. The buildings them-
selves are often uninhabitable.
This sickening contrast is due, obviously, to
large discrepancies in funding. Whilesome schools
have more than $10,000 to spend on each student,
others make due with less than $2500.
Conservatives often argue that "throwing money
at theproblem" is not a solution. But hiring enough
teachers to ensure a reasonable student-teacher
ratio or fixing a hole in the roof are necessities;
a'ddressing such basic concerns would yield a
thngible improvement. Besides, the argument that
rponey is irrelevant to permormance is belied by
the discrepancy between test scores at rich and
poor schools. It is often the parents of those chil-
dren who recieve the most costly education who
argue for the denial of funds to poor schools.
Self-perpetuating system
Clinton recognizes that the attainment offinan-
cial success today is education-driven. Parents
seek to live in a high-quality school district, so that
their children get a quality education and can
attend a prestigious university, so they can get a
high-paying job and live in a nice neighborhood
with good schools. Poor children suffer from the
dpposite cycle. Without a quality education, they
will have to take a low-paying job and live in a
poor neighborhood with bad schools for their

children. Becuase rich children receive better edu-
cations than poor ones, wealth and poverty are self-
perpetuating. This is the very definition of a class
The fall of communism has taught us that the
government cannot enforce equality of condition
for all citizens without drastically lowering the
standard of living for everybody. So differences of
condition will always exist under capitalism, and
this is a necesary evil.
However, the strength of the free market system
is that success is based on merit. What we live in
today is not a meritocracy; a meritocracy cannot
exist when wealth is passed from generation to
generation. Capitalism works when every child has
the chance to grow up and become well off, if they
so desire. To bring this about, all American children
must have access to equal educations.
Why Robin Hood fails
Currently, public schools are funded primarily
by local property taxes. Wealthy districts can af-
ford to pay higher millages, and poorer districts
usually must rely heavily on state funds. It is untrue
that well-off schools simply care more about edu-
cating their children - poorer districts often de-
vote a higher percentage of their income to educa-
Most schemes to reduce inequality between
school districts have worked within the property
tax system. The "Robin Hood" plan enacted in
Michigan a year ago simply diverted a small per-
centage of funds from wealthy to poor districts.
This is merely a stopgap measure. If forced to
subsidize other childrens' educations, parents will
cease approving millage increases. Overall school
quality will decline.
To replace this regressive system, we must stop
viewing primary education as a luxury which local
residents can fund at their discretion. Education is
a fundamental investment in our nation's future,
just as the military is the guardian of our nation's
physical safety. It would be preposterous if one
town, feeling that it was inadaquately defended by
the military, could raise local funds and build its
own tank division. It would also be preposterous if,
facing an invasion by a foreign power, the military
chose to defend those areas that paid more tax
dollars to the Pentagon and did not protect low-
income areas which contributed less in taxes.
Likewise, we should question why wealthier
citizens can choose to use the public schools to help
insure that their children have a brighter future than
other children.
If wealthier parents wish to support public
schools but send their children to private institu-
tions, this is their right. But public money should
not be spent to institutionalize class differences.
Given that education is vital to our nation's eco-
nomic security, state and federal governments must
take responsibility to ensure that no child is ne-

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i j M O
S7 L KE THE L, s " CA ov N ON TN E-
2 PEST DES r { L E EC~rf GvEAF

Know reasons
To The Daily:
I am truly fed-up with all of
the rhetoric concerning a
woman's "right" to choose
whether to abort her baby. The
Constitution does not grant
unlimited rights of choice. Even
though I vehemently despise
those who perform abortions, I
may not choose to kill them lest I
be tried for first degree murder.
"Anti-abortion" and "pro-choice"
are mutually-exclusive terms. A
vote for "pro-choice" is a vote to
allow abortions to continue.
I wish people would stop
kidding themselves when it comes
to debating this controversial
issue. Abortion boils down to
selfishness and convenience.
What gets lost in the prose and
discussions is the concept of
babies' rights and men's rights.
Yes, premature babies survive
with our advanced medical
technology. Yes, men are respon-

for opinions ...
sible for 50 percent of concep-
I'll be the first to admit that
women bear the burden of having
their lifestyles altered by carrying
their babies to term. That is
human nature, and cannot be
changed. Our attitudes regarding
the tremendous obligation to our
children can change. I, too,
support a woman's right to
choose - whether to consent to
have sexual intercourse is entirely
up to her.
All that I ask for is a little
more responsibility once that
choice has been made. Please
cease sugar coating the issue with
words like "mass of cells," or the
ever-popular bastions of democ-
racy: "right" and "choice."
Examine the true reasons for your
opinions, and own up to the facts.
Frank Foti
LSA senior

Religious values do not
belong in the Daily
To the Daily:
I would like to point out the
illogic of David Twede's letter
concerning the nude photo of
Madonna ("Madonna cover photo
tasteless," 10/29/92) . Twede
begins by criticizing the Daily for
its one-sided political agenda.
Though the editor's of the Daily
are free to express their opinions,
Twede is justified in requesting
that they be fair and unbiased in
their news coverage and should
consider both sides of the issue
when expressing opinions.
Nevertheless, Twede also
criticizes the Daily for its secular
perspectives and for encouraging
"the deterioration of fundamental
Judeo-Christian values." It seems
that, in actuality, Twede wants the
Daily to be one-sided in its
treatment of religious and moral
Twede, are you suggesting that
the Daily not print articles about
family-planning centers because
they might deteriorate Catholic
values on birth control? What
about articles regarding evolution
that deteriorate the fundamental
values held by fundamentalist
Christians? And what about the
values held by other religious
groups such as Hindus and
The University is a non-
sectarian institution, and the
student body represents a wide
spectrum of religious beliefs. The
only fair perspective the Daily
could express would be a secular
one. Certainly the students'
freedom of religion should be
respected. But, in order to practice
unbiased reporting, the Daily has
an obligation to avoid any
particular religious perspective.
William Walsh
Engineering sophomore

...Abortion is complex issue

To the Daily:
Over the years the abortion
issue has devolved into a not so
pleasant game of name calling.
Here are four often heard points:
America cannot afford to
"waste" anyone. This is true for
matters of prejudice on the basis
of individual heritage; is it not
also true of the approximately 1.5
million Americans who would be
born each year if not for abortion?
Pro-choice. An individual
should not be unduly restricted in
choosing what is in their best
interest; is this not also true of the
not-yet-born who are deprived of
all potential for choice through
It (the fetus) is (part of) my
body; or it (the fetus) is just a
mass of cells. It is reasonable to
believe that each individual

should have control over their
own body, the body being the
sum of an uncountable number of
cells that each carry the same
unique genetic map. Is it also
reasonable to think that the not-
yet-born, a "mass of cells" that is
also genetically unique and
distinct from the body carrying it,
can be equated with a mass of
cells having the mothers own
genetic map?
Regulation of abortion is
oppression of women. Would the
750,000 females who would be
born yearly in America if not for
abortion also feel this way?
Birth is an uncertain begin-
ning; abortion is a certain end.
Should the not-yet-born be given
a chance at life?
Tom Reed
Rackham graduate student


School choice for chosen few

Pressured by President George Bush - who
spoke of the merits of a school choice program
that would offer families vouchers to send their
children to public or private schools - President-
elect Bill Clinton chose a lesser evil during his
election bid: a public school choice policy. But as
a year-long Carnegie Foundation study has shown,
even pub-
lic school
do more.
harm than A h
good, and
a majority 2
of parents
do not sup-
port them.
election r
gave him a
mandate a
f o r
h angehow ever
this is one
change he
should not
The school choice program, which 13 states
have implemented so far, allows parents to choose
which public school their child will attend. The
assumption is that this would bring free market-
style competition to education, and would have
schools battling for students by improving the
nqualitv nfedication.

Detroit's schools. Moreover, students who transfer
to the better schools will take with them critical
government funding, further skewing the already
unbalanced system.
Though the schools are already sadly inad-
equate in less affluent communities, the Carnegie
Foundation study also shows that school choice
cause more
children of
b a c k -
A grounds and
the children
of working
or lower-
. class par-
ents. Well-
.parents are
more likely
to study
their child's
school op-
tions and
FILE PHOTO/Daily take advan-
tage of the
program. Additionally, many of these state pro-
grams do not provide transportationlocking poorer
students into neighborhood schools. Thus, school
choice is a luxury only to those parents who have
the time and resources to send their child to another
district. The cost of state funded busing in Clinton's
nronna l wouldonl v increase nre cenre on the state'

Why Anarchists take fewer showers

The one major accomplishment
of my housemates and me is that we
have completely repudiated anar-
chism as a system of government.
Every house with two or more
people has a system of government.
Greek houses are generally fascist:
the individual subordinates their
rights to those of the group, is pres-
sured to dress, act, talk and think
like the other members of the group,
and failure to comply with the
wishes of the leader can result in
severe punishment. Co-ops are ex-
actly the
same, ex-
cept the
clothing is "OAT hAN
uglier and
everything LiW A i
is done in
the name of
" t h e
My house of seven guys is anar-
chistic. We have no system whatso-
ever for making collective decisions.
Even the food is individualized.
I have suggested in the past that we
implement socialized orange juice,
because we end up with seven nearly
empty orange juice cartons taking
up all the space in the refrigerator.
My housemates have ejected even
this, fearing that it would lead to a

their share, which they don't. Fi-
nally, everybody ends up owing
each other hundreds of dollars, and
it all evens out in the end.
So anarchism works OK with
bills. The system breaks down, how-
ever, when it comes to cleaning.
There are two basic levels of
cleanliness for guys living away
from their mothers for the first time.
Most guys live in filth and squalor
because they cannot get motivated
to engage in cleaning until the house
is eligible for emergency federal-
disaster relief. I am one of these
The minority of guys also lives
in filth and squalor, but this is not
because of laziness, but rather an
actual preference for dirt. These
people will make a concerted effort
to import dirt and filth into their
living space.
I lived in the second situation
when I attended summer camp as
an adolescent. My cabin floor was
covered with a three-inch level of
trash at all times. When the camp
administration conducted inspec-
tions, my cabinmates would sweep
the floor, but after we passed the
inspection they would actually
empty the trash cans onto the floor.
My house, thankfully, belongs
in the first category. The major

their own dishes promptly, but also
does group one's dishes when they
reach a level of four feet high or
three's are, because we see them
clearing out the sink every week.
Even though all the other housemates
swear they are in group two, it's
impossible to tell. So every time the
group threes wash group one's
dishes, they hold a McCarthyite.
witch hunt to find out who is in
group one:
Group three Member. "Jon, we
think you're responsible for the
dishes in the sink."
Me: "What? It's a lie! I doallmy
"Then how would you explain.
THIS? (holding up dirty ice-cream
"It wasn't me! It was Adam! I
saw him leave it there!"
In this way, we are encouraged
to turn in our housemates as non-
dishwahers. It's a brutal system.
We also have no napkins, and
have had none since the beginning
of the year. So when we eat, we have
two major options: wiping our hands
on our clothing, or wiping our hands
on the sofa. In the beginning, we
generally opted for the sofa, be-
cause wiping our hands on our cloth-
:__ ...,... t .- U .,, _ A-I.,-

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