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January 24, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-01-24

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 24, 2006 O PINION
Editor in Chief SAM SINGER Managing Editor 4
Editorial Page Editors'' Thsm yn tb
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890 the end, but it is
420 MAYNARD STREET certainly the
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109 beginning the end
1. .1tothedaily@michigandaily.com of
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All of the automobile
other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their author. industry as we knew it." i -
W - Clark University professor of industrial rela-
tions Gary N. Chaison on recent layoffs from the
Big Three, as reported yesterday on nytimes.com. ri T H TEYF E u I V
p/add, pass/fail deadlines sneak up too or America goes wrong
student still debating wheth- taking the course for a grade or only
4 r -to stay inhis history class redit is more appropate" ....SAM SINGER SA M'S CLE
- the first exam is still A longstanding objection to
looming, the professor is dull and extending the drop/add deadline is
taking eighteen credits is strtingthe worry:that students ight add ouknowyou've rials and a 1,600-word New York Times feature, out Teach for America hatches superintendents
to sound like a bad idea - has only a class far too late i the term to grown too cyn- generated more than 17,000 applications. The and curriculum planners far more frequently
one more day~ tdede whether to catch up. De spite the ong tradition .gical for your corps is now one of the country's most coveted than it does teachers. If these numbers are on
drop the class, take it pass/fail or of a 'drop/add deadline," however, own good when you're post-graduate employers, a badge of social con- target, this isn't ateacher training corps - it's an
stick it out for a grade. Students' dropping and adding are not insep- 21 and already finding science on a bottom-line-driven generation. incubator for would-be deans and well-rounded
grace period to finalize their class- arable. To help students avoid the fault with an organiza- Among its biggest fans are deficit-weary law students. And who's surprised? The same
es runs out this Wednesday, leaving dreaded "W," the University should tion as distinguished lawmakers in Washington, many of whom see can-do qualities that made these applicants so
them unnecessarily rushed to final- extend the period in which a stu- as Teach for America. in TFA an inexpensive stopgap for the pricey, attractive to recruiters are the ones driving them
ize their academic schedules. dent can drop a class. In its brief 15 years of comprehensive education reform packages from the trenches, often toward high-pay, high-
The Coet politersatue ct i e, Als, isthecUriersit syl existence, the organi- that Congress has sidestepped for more than a visibility fields. We could address the country's
andte Ats to sd t hradd n ailal e refore teourae srai zation has blossomed decade. To these penny-pinchers, programs like nursing shortage by temporarily taking on Ivy
student isentite from a makeshift network of 500 wide-eyed TFA are cheap, bottom-up solutions to multi- League medical students, but my guess is that a
courses within the first threeweeks so that students can make more instructors into one of the nation's most inven- billion-dollar, top-down problems. A case in similar revolving-door dynamic would play out.
of the term without penalty. Should informed choices when registering tive and highly acclaimed nonprofit operations. point: U.S. Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.). Castle Public education has to offer more than $50,000
a student wish to drop a class later in for classes. If a mid-level course in Already, advocates are billing the program as envisions a bigger Teach for America, an active and a lifetime union membership before it can
the terhistilpays tuition, corn- fact entails the worklad ofa grad our generation's civil rights movement, a Peace corps that's twice the size and that operates hope to hold a candle to the Yale Laws and the
allee receiesar andthe Uni ve s tate inonre tdetsh ldkCorps of sorts for our ailing schools. - with the help of federal contributions - on a Morgan Stanleys.
t 1 epereceIveste Umrsty 's that n advanlce'.And yet, the organization's message never $100-million annual budget. There are support- Regrettably, instead of exploring ways to
mark of shame - the dreaded "W LSA has made some concessions sat well with me. The suggestion that a 22-year- ers like Castle on both sides of the aisle, many bring education up to par with other advance-
- on his transcript, to frustrated students seeking a lit- old with a sports jacket and a two-month crash of whom see room for TFA outposts in their skilled fields, the Teach for America approach
The LSA deadline for electing te guidance and more time to final~ course in classroom management could ever be own districts. undervalues it further. Any grandeur that pri-
a class pass/fail is currently set ize their schedules. Although LSA worthy of a room full of children seemed to me It's no secret that there is a human resource mary education had left was lost the moment
on the same day as the drop/add Advsing has teipoarily moved to cheapen the value of a meaningful education. crisis at the heart of our inequitable and by many we forced trained professionals to share fac-
deadline. Because feprofessors to a lonesome outpost on Liberty At a time when we should be bringing esteem standards failing public school system. A 2004 ulty lounges with unseasoned college grads,
have given tests or graded papers Street, it has opened quick-question back to a career in education; when we should report from the National Council on Teacher many of who finished their final semesters with
before the deadline, students often advising stations in 'Angell Hall be raising professional and financial bench- Quality concludes that aspiring teachers are blood-alcohol contents that rivaled their grade
must make the pass/fail sele ction to reach more students. LSA also marks for our teachers, TFA is shuttling legions consistently outperformed by their classmates point averages.
before they gain a true underst and- recently agreed to allow freshmen of rookies into some of the bleakest school dis- and are often pulled from the bottom of the Call me insincere, but none of this is to take
ing of the class's difficulty. Some to drop one "W" from their tran- tricts in the country. academic food chain. Weak salaries and a lack away from the program's laudable intentions,
students won't learn they're in over script - a victory for students, but But, like other critics, I bit my tongue. After of upward mobility are largely to blame for this its talented and dedicated corps of instructors
their heads until they bomb their one that shows that even the admin- all, TFA's surge to prominence has called atten- shortage of talent, which falls inexcusably hard and its 15-year record of diligent, devoted ser-
first bluebook - a realization that istration recognizes the drop/add tion to - and in many areas helped to bridge - on already struggling low-income districts. vice in our public schools. A piece three times
comes weeks too late. deadlne doesn't make sense. the outrageous achievement gaps that continue Proponents claim that little by little, Teach this length could be written about the practical
To avoid this potentially bleak With the option to drop a class to plague our public schools. Plus, it's not up to for America can change this. That by enlisting value of the corps, both for the instructors and
scenario, LSA should follow the or take it pass/fail gone only three Teach for America to address our education cri- only the academic elite - corps members carry the thousands of students they've helped. But
exampleof the University's Collegeweeksintothe semester, LSA'spoi- sis. TFA is a social-service project, its methods top-tier credentials, and studies show them to like many public service projects, the organi-
of Engineering, which sets its pass! icy is too unforgiving to students. A of limited concern to anyone outside the pro-. be more effective than permanent faculty at zation's value relies on its ability to operate on
fail deadline in the ninth week of the stidenIt who dops a class after the gram and its participating school districts. And participating schools - Teach for America is an appropriate scale and with limited scope. As
term -- a month and a half after the deadline already loses his tuitionĀ° " like the tree that falls softly in the woods, the cultivating a commitment to public service and TFA begins reaching a wider audience, its mes-
LSA deadline. This extension allows money and credit for the course. organization's unorthodox approach had until education among some of the brightest minds of sage must be considered with prudence. The
a student more time to gain adequate Adding a "W" is an unnecessary recently gone largely unnoticed, at least in the our generation. last thing they need in Washington is another
iformation before decidig whether added punishment. public policy sphere. But hold your applause: According to The excuse.
Ā« That all changed with last year's epic recruit- New York Times, of the trifle more than half of
ment drive that, along with a Los Angeles participants that actually remain in education, Singer can be reached
Times op/ed piece, two Washington Post edito- most do so in an administrative capacity. Turns atsingers@umich.edu.
Weeding out'radicals' threatens UCLAV
4 4 Carthyim" an cases.=Kikngfre pech1u
"witch hunt" are the of the lecture hall will inevitably p AMb a y e means
an lse.Kcigfe pehot Stop nn BAM""'"byan legalen
reactions of several diminish teaching quality at any " n
University of California of Los university. Students of all politi-
Angeles professors to the actions cal viewpoints will be left with a By REGGIE BROwN topic on its merits, during a Dec. 14 meeting "Are you with us?" they demanded to know.
of the Bruin Alumni Association, stripped-down education that side. of the State Board of Canvassers, the group I explained that I wasn't and tried to tell
a conservative alumni group, in steps any material that might be Every now and then, as students stroll through incited a riot. Prompted by Luke Massie and them why.
its attempts to expose p rofessors it considered controversial the Diag on the way to class or home, there is a Shanta Driver, national co-chairs of BAMN, "FAG!" The young student screamed, then

deems too liberal. Certainly, the lecture hail is no group on the steps of the Grad library spew- those in the room whom they had brought along proceeded to spit on me. Twice.
The newly founded alumni place for political indoctrination. ing rhetoric to children of all ages whom it (more Detroit-area students, of course) began to Well put. That discourse convinced me that
group is offering to pay up to $100 But to eliminate bias from the class.. has bussed in from Detroit-area schools to yell "They say Jim Crow, we say hell no!" The BAMN really means what it says on its web-
to any student who provides lec- room will be an equally undesir. push its agenda. BAMN, which stands for "By crowd then began climbing onto chairs before site, that "(It) will employ the methods of ...
ture tapes or notes that will help able extreme. Professors who carry Any Means Necessary," is a group that many surging toward the front of the room and a table mass education and action, of democratic dis-
to corroborate the group's claims, strong ideological beliefs, whether students know very little about, except that it set aside for visitor testimony, near where the cussion."In true Lincoln-Douglas-style debate,
The alumni group claims to be liberal or conservative, should not fights for affirmative action. But the story of board itself was seated. The crowd flipped the that young student was able to prove BAMN's
exposing radicals from both ends be censored because some students BAMN has sinister beginnings. As The Michi- table, nearly causing it to land on the court relevancy. In a letter to the editor published
of the political spectrum. But its disagree with their views. gan Review has reported, BAMN is a Marxist reporter. At this point, police entered the room in the Daily after that same rally (Civil rights
current "Dirty Thirty"Iist- the W ents are not sheep, but the group created under the Revolutionary Workers to restore order and arrested a 17-year-old stu- advocates lacked civility on Diag, 10/28/2005),
professors the group considers to concern that they will be unable to League, which aims to incite revolution to over- dent on a misdemeanor charge. This account is an Asian student revealed that BAMN protes-
be the most radical, ranke n a think for themselves depends upon turn capitalism in the United States. BAMN's available online at www.chetlyzarko.com/essays/ tors had yelled racial slurs at her, then threw
scale of zero to five "Power Fists" the assumption they are. Maintain. history is filled with riotous behavior and shows boc-12142005.html. soy sauce at her. How's that for racial sensitiv-
- includes only liberal professors, ing the classroom as an open forum a habit of supporting radicals. This is a history Not that this is new territory for BAMN. ity?
and the group's advisory board is for ideas will challenge studet I'm sure most University students know very Jessica Curtin, a BAMN member and Univer- BAMN will only screw up this campus as
entirely composed of conserva- to question, revise and strengthen little about. sity alum, was arrested in 1998 for rioting and long as it operates here. The problem is that
tive professors and other conser- their own beliefs; To find an example of BAMN supporting destruction of property right here in Ann Arbor. many people - I suspect even many students
vative individuals. These actiows t will be a disastrous trend if a radical, we need only to look back to 2002, During that same protest, Luke Massie (at it who are a part of BAMN - do not fully under-
may not be as severe or extremepolitical views were eradicated when an activist in the Detroit area named again) was also arrested for destruction of prop- stand what it is that the group stands for. Just
as the McCarthy hearings or the from university classes in order to Malik Shabazz was disrupting Detroit-area erty, as The Michigan Review reported. Things look at its name. "By Any Means Necessary"
infamous Salem witch trials. The protect students of any political per. school board meetings. The board took Shabazz also turned violent at a 2001 BAMN rally at the clearly implies violent intent, which has been
group's actions, however, arehigh- sasion from other points of view. to court, and BAMN came to his defense. Who University of California-Berkeley, where two confirmed by the various violent acts carried
ly inappropriate and undermine And yet, it seems in its quest to ban is Shabazz? He is a radical segregationist who bystanders were beaten before riot police were out by BAMN's members. Even those who
UCLA professors' abilities both to "radicalism" from classrooms, this told the Metro Times he hopes that we will see able to bring the situation under control. support affirmative action need to understand
teach and to exercise their right to alumni group is only working to "separate societies segregated on the basis of During one of the most recent BAMN rallies that BAMN only serves to hurt the cause it
free speech. sanitize lectures of anything poten-. skin color." For this to happen, he believes, the on the Diag, I had a chance to chat with a few tries to promote.
If professors in this country have tially challenging or offensive to "white capitalist power structures of the West of the youngsters who had been bussed in from
reason to believe that there are a student's ideolog ical beliefs. An must be eliminated," through armed revolt. Detroit. I asked them about the Michigan Civil Brown is an LSA junior and writing on
"moles" in their classes monitor- education insulated from opposing That doesn't fit well with the teachings of Dr. Rights Initiative, and they had no idea what I behalf of The Coalition to Stop BAMN, By Any
ing them for alleged bias, therejis vewpoitnts may be confort able in King, who BAMN claims to support. was talking about. I tried to explain it quickly Means Necessary. He is also a member of the
no doubt that professors will start the short term, but is ultimately In a display of BAMN's ability to debate a to them. Daily's Editorial Board.
restricting their own speech in incomplete.L TO H E
Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Andrew Bielak, Reggie Brown, Gabrielle M edia misses volunteers' other Hillel groups from around the coun- tops, we could survey the neighborhoods as
D'Angelo, John Davis, Whitney Dibo, Milly Dick, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, JaredmGulf try repairing the roofs of needy residents of we worked. I felt like everywhere I turned
Goldberg, Ashwin Jagannathan, Theresa Kennelly, Mark Kuehn, Will Kerridge, Frank Man- COmmitento Biloxi, an area of the Gulf Coast severely I saw countless other volunteer groups from
ley, Kirsty McNamara, Rajiv Prabhakar, Matt Rose, David Russell, Katherine Seid, Brian damaged by Hurricane Katrina. During my across the country who were giving weeks
Slade, John Stiglich, Imran Syed, Ben Taylor, Jessica Teng. To THE DAILY: week there, I found that the community did and even months of their time to help these

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