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November 30, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-11-30

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4 - Friday, November 30, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

C I 4 C 1 C4 lo a n 3 at*Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu
KARL STAMPFL IMRAN SYED JEFFREY BLOOMER
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
The Daily's public editor, PaulH. Johnson, acts as the readers' representative and takes a critical look at
coverage and content inevery section of the paper. Readers are encouraged to contact the public editor
with questions and comments. He can be reached at publiceditor@umich.edu.
MovingbeyondN
No Child Left Behind is ineffective and must be revamped
nly President Bush would endorse fighting the failure of
public schools with sanctions that beget more failure. The
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Bush's pet project, has
been doing just that for several years and is becoming more of a
menace to schools than the savior it was intended to be. Some states
have begun to simply let their schools cheat in order to feign meet-
ing NCLB standards. NCLB needs to be drastically overhauled if it
is to produce actual progress in the nation's schools.

I never understood that line. The point was
to inhale. That was the point."
- Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama admitting that he used marijuana and questioning former
President Bill Clinton's infamous denial, "I didn't inhale," as reported Tuesday at CNN.com.
Leudership in Iraq

I
I

As desensitizing as the continu-
ing war in Iraq has become,
the Bush administration can't
just sweep the
whole mess under
the carpet and"
hope it will go
away or be dealt
with by the next
president.
This is Presi-
dent Bush's mess,
and if he wants to KEVIN
salvage any kind of
a positive legacy, BUNKLEY
he has to fix it. So
much of the criticism.reverts back to
the president - as it should - but a
real, immediate solution has to begin
with a complete overhaul of his senior
staff so that different people are work-
ing on this problem and bring fresh
perspectives that can lead to solu-
tions.
Many of the high-level officials
who were directly involved with plan-
ning the invasion of Iraq, like Donald
Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, have
resigned or taken other jobs, and yet
nothing has changed. That's because
on the other end, the administration
of Iraq that the Pentagon put in place
had no idea how to run the country
(see: L. Paul Bremer).
This is an important concern that
goes unanswered because critics ofthe
war have spent too much time demon-
izing every neocon they can think of
instead of recognizing the severe dis-
connect between the levels of the U.
S. government. Bush has allowed the
Pentagon to assert too much power,
CHRIS KOSLOWSKI

and because of that he has severely
compromised the possibility that the
mission in Iraq can be completed any-
time soon.
At the most basic level, part of the
reason for such poor handling of Iraq's
security is that it was never part of
the military's objectives to secure the
country after the fall of Saddam Hus-
sein. The military's objectives were
to eliminate Hussein and disband the
terrorists. That was it. There was no
post-war plan.,
I understand the frustrations of
the people who were trying to get the
Pentagon to listen to other ways of
going about the invasion, but if they
knew a wrong decision was being
made, it was their duty to work to
counteract it.
Sometimes, it's more about just
finding some way to do what's
right rather than necessarily going
through the proper channels and
chains of command. All levels of the
government and armed forces share
the blame for what is happening
in Iraq now, because none of them
spoke up when it was necessary. No
one knew exactly how the invasion
would turn out: There should have
been a plan for every conceivable
contingency.
The State Department made one
outline for how it saw Iraq's post-
war future - "The Future of Postwar
Iraq." It was 13 volumes long, and
appears to have been ignored by the
people who matter in the Pentagon.
Had those people read it and consid-
er the consequences of their actions,
maybe Bremer wouldn't have been

allowed to disband the Iraqi Army,
which most experts say created the
very insurgency that the U.S. military
is now battling.
The most important component
of creating a secure Iraq are people
who belong there. But so many of
the qualified Iraqi politicians have
either been assassinated or -joined
the insurgency that it makes putting
the appropriate people in power a
difficult job. Baghdad should be pro-
Iraqi involvement
is key in righting
past mistakes.
tected by a defense force that knows
the streets and has the people's trust,
not one that is exempt from supervi-
sion and suspected of killing civilians
(Blackwater).
What should come now is a conces-
sion that the Pentagon did not plan
this correctly, and a long overdue
move to rectify that mistake.by let-
ting the appropriate people run their
country.
No one associated with the U.S.
Department of Defense can remain in
charge of Iraq because that will only
make things worse. Bush's legacy will
be that he either stopped or started
one thing: quagmire.
Kevin Bunkley can be reached
at kevrbunkgumich.edu.

4

President Bush originally created NCLB
after his campaign pledge in 2000 to rejuve-
nate K-12 schools. The plan was to make all
students proficient in math and reading by
2014 and to test this by implementing more
standardized testing. Regardless of the act's
sound intentions, several problems lie at the
heart of the law, including obvious loopholes
that reward cheaters and harsh punish-
ments for failing schools.
Recent examples of abuse of loopholes
in NCLB include Alabama's astronomical
improvement in just one year between 2005
and 2006. In 2005, the state ranked 22nd in
the nation in meeting educational standards,
but it miraculously jumped to fifth place in
2006. Had Alabama really found a secret
elixir? No. The state lowered its standards
from the previous year on the state-admin-
istered written test, allowing more students
to be considered proficient.
Another way states cheat to boost scores
is to exclude from the school's average the
scores of certain minority groups if those
schools don't have a minimum of 40 minor-
ity students of that group. If that arbitrary
quota seems to make zero sense, then you're
keeping up just fine. As a result of this base-

less fudging, about 90 percent of Alabama's
schools with Latino students were able to
avoid reporting scores for those students.
States and schools that do not take
advantage of such NCLB loopholes or are
deemed to be failing are much worse off
than they were prior to NCLB standards.
Today, schools that fail to meet "yearly
adequate progress" - such as a growth in
the number of students scoring at the pro-
ficient level - face severe reductions in
funding and layoffs. Some schools are thus
forced to shut down. Such crippling sanc-
tions defy all logic: How are schools sup-
posed to improve if they are continuously
penalized financially? '
while NCLB poses many problems,
there are many possible solutions. Under
no circumstances should failing schools
be punished financially: This only wors-
ens the problem. Instead, the government
should provide more funding and training
in these districts. Schools should not be held
to standards determined by test scores. If
the government is interested in improving
schools, it must monitor improvements on
the ground, not according to printouts and
number-crunching.

4

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did you vasen the MSA bookcampaign to elect a wccol itwould beto have
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6o 6

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Emad Ansari, Anindya Bhadra, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca, Jon Cohen, Milly Dick, Mike
Eber, Gary Graca, Emmarie Huetteman, Theresa Kennelly, Emily Michels, Kate Peabody,
Robert Soave, Jennifer Sussex, Neil Tambe, Matt Trecha, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van
Gilder, Rachel Wagner, Patrick Zabawa

I

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU

Campus deserves better
than MSA's shenanigans
TO THE DAILY:
Does it surprise anyone that as Michi-
gan Student Assembly elections get
underway, another scandal involving
the assembly has emerged (Pres. draws
fire for Facebook group, 11/28/2007)? The
news comes after yet another represen-
tative - who still serves on the assembly,
by the way - was charged with a felony
for tampering with another student
government party's campaign website
during the elections in March of 2006.
Those of us who have been students at
the University for a few years can still
remember the unexpected $20,000 bath
MSA took in bringing Ludacris to Ann
Arbor. In short, incidents such as these
bring disgrace to our student govern-
ment and, by extension, the University.
One might be tempted to wonder why
those poor kids standing out in the cold
Diag trying to hand out their campaign
flyers want to join this group. MSA may
do great things for students - though the
value of building miniature golf holes on
North Campus can be debated - but the
actions of a few can permanently dam-
age the organization's reputation and
mission. The University and its students
deserve much better than what we have
received from MSA, and we must demand
better leadership and more accountability
from our student government.
Robert Schanski
LSA senior
MSA president has
failed the student body
TO THE DAILY:
Zack Yost must resign from his post
as president of the Michigan Student
Assembly. As a student, it is completely
within my rights to expect those who
are representing me in MSA to do so in a
mature and respectful manner. Creating
a Facebook.com group to attack a fellow
assembly member is neither of these -
it's mean and spiteful. The thought that
the MSA president sank to such a low
level should have us all incensed.
Yost needs to resign because he has
proven he lacks the ability to lead MSA
in an adult matter. Petty attacks on fellow
assembly members are not acceptable,
and seeing such behavior will destroy the
faith that average students should hold in
those who represent them. It's time for
Yost to leave before he further degrades
the integrity of student government.
David Azzolini
LSA junior

Yost's ignorance is
appalling; he must quit
TO THE DAILY:
I do not want Zack Yost to be my
Michigan Student Assembly president
anymore. I remember his campaign viv-
idly and chose to vote for him. However,
now I feel he has betrayed my trust by
humiliating another member of the same
council that makes decisions for the ben-
efit of my education (Pres. draws fire for
Facebook group, 11/28/2007).
Tim Hull was elected in the same way
as the restofthe members of MSA, but for
some reason the president of the assem-
bly does not value his contributions. He
would rather be on Facebook than listen
to Hull's proposals. If Yost was so bold to
suggest a real solution to the volume of
Hull's code revisions, instead of attack-
ing him behind his back, we might not be
in this situation.
I will no longer support a man so eager
to deny another man's rights and aspira-
tions of trying to make a difference. I'm
asking that something be done to change
Yost's status as MSA president and that
there should be plenty of coverage about
it. Yost's remarks about disabilities ought
to be the main reason for him stepping
down. I urge him to look past whatever
predispositions he may have and learn a
little bit more about what he's saying.
Emmett DeLateur
LSA junior
Transgenderpeople must
make themselves heard
TO THE DAILY:
This is in response to a letter from
Cayden Mak regarding the Daily's failure
to do its part for awareness (Daily fails
to do its part for awareness, 11/26/2007).
This letter irritated me to no end. I'm
sorry Cayden that Transgender Day of
Remembrance was just not as big a deal to
other students as it was for you. It's great
that the day exists and that you are proud
to celebrate it. But being mad just because
the Daily didn't mention it sounds like a
desperate cry for attention.
It's not the Daily's job to get your mes-
sage out there: That's your job. Do you
think Veterans Day would be such a big
deal if veterans from across the country
didn't join together and spread the mes-
sage of their sacrifice? If you want Trans-
gender Day of Remembrance awareness,
get out there and spread the word and
don't get mad if others don't do it for you.
Mak said, "The lack of coverage sends
a clear message: The group's struggles
are just not important enough." That's
wrong; those struggles are important,

so get on the Diag like countless other
student groups and pass the informa-
tion along a couple days ahead of time. I
walk right through there every day,. and
I didn't see anything from people advo-
cating awareness of transgender issues.
The Daily is a college paper and has
limited space. Don't get mad because
it did not cover your issue. The real
problem is that you didn't raise enough
awareness to get your issues covered.
Ted Byrne
LSA sophomore
Statements about the
church are uncalledfor
TO THE DAILY:
When I opened this week's issue of The
Statement, I was dismayedto find outright
falsehoods regarding the Roman Catholic
Church (The editor's notebook with Gary
Graca, 11/ 28/2007). An item essentially
asserts that the Catholic Church opposes
all stem cell research, and U.S. Catholic
bishops issued a statement condemning
the achievement of reprogramming skin
cells to act akin to pluripotent stem cells.
Following this assertion, Graca pro-
ceeds to mock the viewpoint of the
church. In direct contrast to what was
printed, Cardinal Justin Rigali of the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a
press release saying "I am grateful today
for scientists who took up the challenge
of finding morally acceptable ways to pur-
sue stem cell research, and for govern-
ment leaders who have encouraged and
funded such avenues."
I understand that the nature of this
section of The Statement is satirical,
but I believe that this story is malicious
rather than funny. The Daily certainly
has not lived up to the commitment to
fairness that its editor in chief commit-
ted to in the public editor's column last
week (Daily's liberal bias?, 11/20/2007).
The Catholic Church has made repeated
statements supporting non-embryonic
stem cell research, and it certainly does
not believe that "cloned robot cell armies
(will) march to Heaven to kill God." I find
it tremendously disappointing that the
Daily would stoop to mockery and mis-
representation while revealing its own
ignorance of the church's position.
Michelle Harrison
LSA sophomore
Daily is sensationalizing
student assembly issue
TO THE DAILY:
The Daily was handed a ready-to-serve
controversy when Michigan Student

Assembly Rep. Kenneth Baker sound-
ed the alarm on an insulting Facebook
group created by MSA President Zack
Yost (Pres. draws fire for Facebook group,
11/28/2007). While the Facebook group is
reprehensible on many levels, it is an issue
between Yost and Tim Hull that must be
resolved behind closed doors.
There is a far bigger and more disturb-
ing issue here. In featuring this canned
controversy on the front page, the Daily
has reached a new low. In place of report-
ing relevant news that pertains to the
campus at large, the Daily resorted to out-
ingYostfor the sake of humiliation. Baker
used Hull as a pawn to attack Yost. This
was disgraceful and vindictive - a dis-
gusting game of politics that has no place
in MSA. The Daily has indirectly done the
same thing by giving this embarrassment
of a story center stage.
The Daily owes Yost, Hull, and the
campus at large an apology for its role in
this debacle.
Eric Rosenbloom
LSA junior
All viewpoints must be.
protected to further debate
TO THE DAILY:
It was the fundamental right of free
speech that allowed prominent Zionist
Theodore Herzl to advocate his contro-
versialview of a sovereign Jewish state as
a solution to anti-Semitism. If not for free
speech, Herzl would have been silenced
and his solution would never have gained
much support. Today, as the University
of Michigan Press continues to face criti-
cism for its distribution of the controver-
sial book "Overcoming Zionism" by Joel
Kovel, it has done the right thing in not
wavering and keeping its contract with
the book's publisher, Pluto Press.
The University Press's website states
that it "publish(es) books that contribute
to public understanding and dialogue
about contemporary 'political issues.' "
An "understanding" of the issue can have
many meanings to many people. There is
bias in every historical narrative due to
the selection and presentation of facts or
the connotation and word choice of the
author. Different viewpoints are inevi-
table and should not cause revocation
of the distribution contract. What we
accept as history is just the mainstream
point of view. For example, a popular
contemporary view casts Christopher
Columbus as bringing hardship to the
Native Americans rather than celebrat-
ing him as the discoverer of the Ameri-
cas. Kovel's view may be biased, but it is
not irrelevant.
Kovel's book also advances the sec-
ond goal of the University Press, which
is to contribute to the dialogue of issues.

There have been several positive and neg-
ative reactions to his book, but more than
discussing the right of free speech, Kovel
provokes arguments on his theory of a
single-state solution. The two-state solu-
tion is broadly accepted and may be the
most likely outcome of any peace process,
but challenging this majority viewpoint
can hblp with evaluating the strengths
and weaknesses of such a plan.
While I personally may object to Kov-
el's solution, I need to be open to other
views to develop a greater understanding
of their position. Only through greater
understanding can each side develop an
idea of the minimum conciliation needed
to forge a lasting peace. There are many
positive contributions this book makes to
the political discussion.
A legitimate concern is the anti-Semi-
tism that this book is said to contain and
promote. This is important to consider,
because the vast majority of readers may
not challenge Kovel's ideas or seek other
viewpoints on this subject. To overcome
this concern while ensuring the right of
free speech, the University Press should
distribute this book with an addendum
containing a disclaimer stating that the
neutrality of the book is questioned and
that the reader should also refer to other
sources to get the full story.
Tom Payne
LSA sophomore
More thoughtful debate
on stem cells is needed
TO THE DAILY:
In an editorial printed in Tuesday's
Daily, the editorial board contended that
Michigan should join in the stem cell
research industry (A moral imperative,
11/27/2007). But mostofthe editorial cen-
tered on the actual embryonic stem cell
debate. While I do advocate embryonic
stem cell research, I believe that the Dai-
ly's argument for it doesn't address the
issue appropriately.
To any reader who believes embryonic
stem cells are living entities, the editorial
is irrational. Using its logic, inmates on
death row, like embryos, should be exper-
imented on because, after all, they're
going to die anyway. Further, the Daily's
argument ignores the issue of whether or
not in-vitro fertilization (the process that
results in excess embryos)is moral itself.
Should scientists be playing God and cre-
ating excess embryos?
While I do agree with embryonic stem
cell research, I don't feel that the Daily's
argument is satisfactory or effective,
especially if used in a debate against pro-
life advocates.
Ian Rust
LSAfreshman

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