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March 14, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-03-14

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 14, 2005



Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor


After a while, you
just stop caring and
want it to be over."
- Sheryl Nagy, a junior at Burbank High
School in Burbank, California, comment-
ing on the new version of the SAT exam, as
reported yesterday by The Associated Press.

:, . And in +Wls (e ' er OPI)n tovi,

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1 r
r ' f r r


There are cats in America.
fter a tragedy it rewards those who work hard and demonstrate its promise of providing an uncommon education
destroys his merit at college, social status is a critical determi- to a common man?
home, and with nant of whether someone even gets a chance to The wage gap between those who have college
nothing left in his native attend college and compete. degrees and those who don't has widened signifi-
Russia, young Fievel With the advent of the "new economy," a col- cantly within our lifetimes, and the growing pres-
Mouskevitz - the cen- lege degree has become a prerequisite to suc- sures of a globalizing economy will only force
tral character in the 1986 cess. Unfortunately, the education system has greater inequality. The increasing costs of col-
movie "An American increasingly restricted itself to those who are lege, unfortunately, are making it harder for those
auat Tail" moves with his fam- already privileged. A University study revealed who have not already attended college to either
ily to America. Enamored that 55 percent of students attending come from themselves earn or enable their children to earn
with an image of the United States, Fievel's families making over $100,000 a year, and 13 a degree. While well over 70 percent of students
father hopes to build a better life for his family percent come from families that make over at America's best universities come from the top
in the West - "There are no cats in America, $250,000. At private universities, the situation quarter of the socioeconomic ladder, merely 3
and the streets are paved with cheese!" is worse: median family income at Harvard is percent come from the bottom (The Economist).
While most people haven't even heard of the around $150,000. That private universities are If the vast majority of those benefiting from high-
film - which came out when many University bastions of wealth is nothing new and not of sig- er education are those who already sit at the top of
students were barely out of diapers - everyone nificant concern. The growing inaccessibility of society, how much social mobility exists?
is familiar with the underlying theme: America is public universities, however, has grave implica- The American meritocracy, which hinges on
the fabled "land of opportunity." For generations, tions for the romantic notion of a merit-based, the belief that hard work can make dreams come
people have flocked here for jobs, money and a opportunity-filled society. true, is becoming more aristocratic; destiny is
better life. Unlike Europe, which was ruled by Tuition, which has been increasing at far faster not independent of birth. This goes beyond the
a landed aristocracy for centuries, America has rate than inflation, bars many from pursing higher impact of legacy admissions, which account for
always been the land of common-folk - the place education. In Michigan, a series of ill-conceived 10 to 15 percent of any given Ivy League graduat-
where democracy was revived and everyone can tax cuts during the last decade have coupled with ing class. This boils down to a fundamental ques-
climb the socioeconomic ladder. Even today, The a state constitutional amendment that requires tion of inherited privilege: were you born into an
Economist reports that only a mere 32 percent of the public to approve income tax increases to cre- economic class that permits you to afford and
Americans believe their destiny is controlled by ate an intractable structural budget deficit. Year attend college?
social factors out of their control. after year, Gov. Jennifer Granholm has moved Fievel's father has his preconceived notions
On one hand, America's top jobs are given to balance the budget by slashing spending for of America discredited almost immediately
away in a far more merit-based manner than ever higher education - despite a commission report after arriving: we have cats, and our streets
before. That college students must continually indicating that education must be at the core of are paved with stone. At what point will we,
struggle to find internships, get the right grades any plan to revive Michigan's ailing economy. as students lucky enough to attend one of the
and create a well-rounded resume indicates In response to sustained cuts, the University has top universities in the world, recognize that our
credentials - not connections - are the main reacted predictably - with tuition hikes. If com- homegrown notion - that America is the land
influence in hiring decisions. On the other hand, pared to the private institutions with which the of unfettered meritocracy and opportunity for
getting to college isn't based solely on hard work University aims to compete, the cost of attending all - is equally irrational?
- socioeconomic class prevents many Ameri- the University is still remarkably low. But when
cans from enrolling in a university. While Amer- an in-state student must spend around $10,000 a Momin can be reached
ica may be meritocratic and competitive in that year just on tuition and books, does it still fulfill at smomin@mich.edu
PIRGIM chapter would Varner herself conceded that, given this already prolonged process. The time has
stipulation, a PIRGIM chapter would in no come for the red tape to be cut and for PIR-
not endanger MSAs way endanger MSA's tax-exempt status. I GIM to start working for me and my fellow
tax-exempt status would appreciate it if she stated this pub- students.
licly instead of representing the issue as a Matthew Hollerba'ch
To THE DAILY: continuing problem.
I asdiapontd ose AsitntUnve- I also take issue with Varner's belief that The letter writer is an LSA senior and
I was disappointed to see Assistant Univer- Ia tmember of the Michigan Student Assembly.
sity General Counsel Donica Varner's mis- It would be much wiser if they did some-
leading comments about the Public Interest thing like fund a training retreat." This
Research Group In Michigan issue printed statement is no more than Varner's per-
in last Friday's Daily (Interest Group funding sonal opinion, yet she included it in a legal
issue still in deliberation, 03/12/2005). She memo to MSA. Varner of course has every
claims to be concerned about tax status right to hold this opinion and to share it JOIN THE DALY
issues with the pending Michigan Student with whomever she pleases, but to place it
isses wihtem ' e ing Mifhgan Studenit in the context of legal advice is inappropri- EDITORIAL BOARD.
Assembly'resolution to fund a PIRGIM pilot roi
chapter, which she claims may potentially ate and an obvious abuse of her position as
engage in lobbying activities. counsel to MSA. MENDAYS, THURDAY$ P
However, and let me emphasize this Colleges all over the country with stu- ...
point, Students for PIRGIM has been abun- dent governments that operate the same 420 MAYNARD ST.
dantly clear that it will in no way attempt way MSA does fund PIRG chapters with no
to "influence legislation" - the operative problems and, moreover, with incredibly
definition of "lobbying" in the current dis- successful results for students. I sincerely OPIAION@MICHIGANDAILY.COM
cussion. When meeting with MSA execu- hope that Varner's misleading comments
tives and Students for PIRGIM last week, do not prevent a hasty resolution to this
Getting in the middle of the Middle East


There is hope for the Middle East - or
at least we would like to think so. Being
that we plan to live in the warm region and
raise our kids with the values of peace and
prosperity, we have a large vested interest in
finding peace in the Middle East. There is
a solution to the conflict. In fact, people on
both sides have risked their lives for such a
solution: a democratic Palestinian state and
a democratic Jewish state. This solution will
be the end of the unnecessary violence, war
and its consequential bloodshed. It is the
only hope of bringing cooperation and peace
to the troubled region. While there are some
from both sides who believe that a "utopian"
one-state solution is the way to-go, most dis-
agree. Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian writer
and academic, claims that most Palestinians
living in the occupied territories would not
want to live with Jews, people they believe
anneoccm them Khalil SChiraiia rdistin.-

tinian flag, a Palestinian symbol, history and
heroes. This rich culture cannot be diluted
by converging it with a dichotomous one.
Many people believe today that a Jewish
state cannot be a democratic one and thus
should not exist. By basing their argument
on the religious base of the Jewish state they
fail to mention that there are many Arab and
Muslim countries. Moreover, they fail to
recognize that most of the.western world's
countries were built on a Christian basis.
The Jews, who have been persecuted since
they went into the diaspora some 2,000 years
ago, were butchered many times before the
Holocaust. Sadly, only after the genocide of
the 1940s would the world see the need of
giving Jews a safe place, a place they could
govern on their own.
Today, Israel is a leading country in tech-
nology, has more published academic articles
per capita than any other country in the world
and is a vibrant democracy with non-Jewish
minorities. Furthermore, one of the oldest lan-
auage in the world. the source of monothe-

a huge step toward creating a Palestin-
ian state. Also, the Israeli government and
Supreme Court have passed new decisions to
stop questionable practices in the territories,
including a ruling against further Palestin-
ian home demolitions. Meanwhile, the newly
elected Palestinian government has acted to
stop violent terror attacks on Israeli civil-
ians, recently seizing arms from Palestinians
in the West Bank for the first time in four
years. Control of a number of cities has been
moved from the Israeli Defense Force to the
Palestinian Authority slowly, with this plan
extending to other cities. There will be some
bumps along the way and both sides will
have to make painful concessions in order to
make this work, but the two state solution is
the best solution for all involved parties.
We urge you to support the two-state
solution, which we believe will lead toward
a just peace. You should celebrate the
recent achievements and help them move
forward. Unfortunately, there are extremists
on both sides who will try to stop us from



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