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January 04, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-01-04

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4 -Friday, January 4, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

The numbers tell us this was a debate between
change and experience, and change won."
-CNN political analyst Bill Schneider, speaking about presidential candidate Barack Obama's victory in the
Iowa Democratic caucus over third-place finisher Hillary Clinton, as reported yesterday by CNN.com



Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations representsolely the views of their authors.
The Daily's public editor, Paul H. Johnson, acts as the readers' representative and takes a critical look at
coverage and content in every section of the paper. Readers are encouraged to contact the public editor
withquestions andcomments. He can be reached at publiceditor@umich.edu.
A schedulingconflict
To fix short break, students and'U' must find compromise
T he season of giving is over, and apparently it left the Uni-
versity uninspired. With this semester beginning only
two days after New Year's Day, many out-of-state students
found themselves forced into a post-holiday rush just to get back
in time for classes. While crowded airports may dampen spirits,
inflated ticket prices are enough to crush holiday cheer. Creating
an academic calendar that accommodates everyone's interests may
be a Herculean task, but this semester's illogical start date makes
it clear that we need a little more creativity and a lot more student

A showdown out west

hile most of us were home
for winter break and set-
tling in for a long vacation
filled with binge cookie eating, radios
blaring Christ- -
mas music and
marathons of "The
Office," something
important and pro-
ing in California. M
Waxman (D-
Calif.), along with
his Democratic col- KATE
leagues in Congress TRUESDELL
announced Dec.
27 that they would
conduct an investigation into the Envi-
ronmental Protection Agency's refusal
to let California set its own statewide
standard for tailpipe emissions previ-
ouslyproposedin2004. Thestateneed-
ed a CleanAirActwaiver in orderto be
able to implement the standard. The
waiver was denied, California's first
such denial from the EPA in decades.
On Wednesday, the state of California
backed its representative, filing suit
against the EPA
EPA Administrator Stephen L.
Johnson, who argued that statewide
standards were unnecessary in light of
recent national reforms, led the EPA's
action. Waxman is demanding all doc-
uments used in the EPA's decision and
is accusing it of having "ignored the
evidence before the agency and the
requirements of the Clean Air Act".
Not surprisingly, when asked to
comment, President Bush sided with
the EPA, saying, "The question is how
to have an effective strategy. Is it more
effective to let each state make a deci-
sion as to how to proceed in curbing
greenhouse gases or is it more effec-

tive to have a national strategy?"
How much of this debate is actually
about environmentalism? With elec-
tions right around the corner, every
action must be looked at with a degree
of skepticism. However, because it.
is the holiday season, a time when
warm, fuzzy feelings floatbthroughthe
air like unavoidable bits of dust, I'll err
on the side of optimism.
The national legislation recently
signed by Bush requires that fuel effi-
ciency for cars, SUVs and small trucks
reach 35 miles per gallon by the year
2020. California's plan is structured
differently but could translate into
efficiency standards between 33.8
to 36.8 mpg by 2016. It also demands
immediate action in the form of cut-
backs for 2009 model lines.
My fingers are growing weary
of typing this phrase over and over
again: The administration's position is
ridiculous. In what way do state stan-
dards interfere with those created
by the federal government? So long
as state standards minimally comply
with national standards, thereis no
harm in setting more ambitious goals.
If the argument is that these stan-
dards are comparable, there is still
no reason for prohibiting tougher
state standards. Doubly enforced
standards would be, while at worst
a bit redundant, hardly a barrier to
Bush's "national strategy." If they
were enforced on both a state and
national level, it is twice as likely that
they might actually be effective. The
state could take up the government's
slack when it fails to follow through.
And that happens a lot. Far from being
a better way, Bush's position sim-
ply amounts to doing nothing unless
everyone can agree. It's also nothing

short of confused and nonsensical.
States that take the initiative to cre-
ate and implement higher standards
for environmental quality should not
be denied. This is in no way helpful to
mentorthecountryas awhole. Itmight
upset some auto manufacturers but it's
time that these gas-guzzling dinosaurs
realize that dawdling toward greener
vehicles without real progress will not
be tolerated. With this decision, the
only thingthe federal government suc-
ceeds in doing is impeding progress. It
has done enough of already.
Before fighting
carbon, California
must fight Bush.
The administration has failed to
provide good reasons for denying the
waiver. Waxman deserves praise for
steppingup and pointing out this irra-
tionality. It is somethingthat needs to
be done more often by politicians, the
media and citizens.
Don't get me wrong - Waxman is
not Hercules. He's not running into
the oval office and impeaching Bush
(agirlcan dream, can't she?). But right
now, Waxman gets the limelight for
having the balls to step up to a gov-
ernment that has consistently made
too many bad decisions with too little
Kate Truesdell can be reached
at ketrue@umich.edu.


input in scheduling decisions.
Last month, the Michigan Student Assem-
bly offered students one way to vent their
frustrations and launched an online peti-
tion to garner support for an academic cal-
endar overhaul. The proposed plan would
tack an extra week onto winter break, shift
spring break back one week and add an extra
week to the end of the winter semester. The
changes would attempt to prevent schedules
like the one this year, which forced students
into hefty transportation costs, a one-day
period to buy textbooks between New Year's
Day and the new semester and a stampede
back to the dorms on Tuesday.
While strong in spirit, the proposal is
weak in practicality.
The University's academic calendar uses
a trimester system that evenly divides the
year into three parts for the spring and sum-
mer semesters, the winter semester and
fall semester. This system makes sure that
students get the same amount of class days
per semester. It also gives students flexibil-
ity during the summer, whether that means
getting a head start in the job market, going
abroad to study or staying back in Ann Arbor
to take spring or summer classes. Wherever
days are adding to a semester, inevitably
they subtract days from another semester or
from the breaks between semesters
If enacted, the MSA proposal would tie
the University's hands in this fragile bal-
ancing act. While students might rejoice
at the prospect of an extra week of win-
ter break, they might not be as supportive
when they realize it could subtract a week

from their summer in Costa Rica.
Still, a happy medium between these two
camps is possible.
Although its petition doesn't reflect the
needed nuance, the MSA petition had the
right idea: Students must speak out when
the schedule is needlessly inconveniencing
them. At the same time, students must real-
ize that the schedule shouldn't be viewed
as week-by-week problem, but rather a day-
by-day problem. This means that students
may have to concede a study day, start a day
earlier or end a day later to get a day that is
more important.
Similarly, the University should be solic-
iting students for more input - some cre-
ativity wouldn't hurt either. The academic
calendar is prepared by the office of the
Provost and Executive Vice President for
Academic Affairs and is usually approved
two years in advance by the University
Board of Regents. At both levels, there
is ample opportunity for the University
to work with MSA and make the student
body aware of how the scheduling process
works and how they can have their ideas
heard. The University could also come up
with new ideas to save a day or two when
necessary. Why wouldn't it be possible for
the University to condense the final exam
schedule done to four days instead of five
by extending exam times later into the eve-
ning if an extra day is needed?
Two days shouldn't be too much to ask if
it keeps students out of snow-covered ter-
minals when it is most needed.



Emad Ansari, Anindya Bhadra, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca, Milly Dick, Mike Eber,
Gary Graca, Emmarie Huetteman, Theresa Kennelly, Emily Michels, Kate Peabody,
Robert Soave, Jennifer Sussex, Neil Tambe, Matt Trecha, Kate Truesdell,
Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Rachel Wagner, Patrick Zabawa.
An end to unfair testing

University lacked
honor in football
coaching search
I have heard over the past sev-
eral years that the University of
Michigan football-coaches want to
teach their players to have charac-
ter. The silent adjective here must
be "bad" not "good" character.
In searching for a new football
coach to replace Lloyd Carr, the
University of Michigan contacted
not one, but two coaches who were
scheduled to prepare their teams
for major Bowl Championship
Series bowl games: Les Miles and
Rich Rodriguez. In the latter case,
Michigan was successful in luring
Rodriguez away from West Vir-
ginia University two weeks prior
to the West Virginia's bowl game
against Oklahoma.
It may not be against the rules
for a university to recruit a coach
in this manner, but it certainly
shows a lack of honor.
Maggi Reiss
Colambus, Ohio
Physical therapy at
UHS needs work
The goal of a physical. therapy
facility is to rehabilitate a patient
as quickly and efficiently as pos-
sible. But the physical therapy pro-
gram at University Health Service
is inefficient, slow and timid. Not
only is there not enough gym space
available to meet patients' needs,
there is barely enough room for
more than two people to stretch
out or do agility exercises.

Before I came to the University,
I was enrolled in a physical therapy
facility with a rigorous two-and-a-
half hour workout program that
helped me immensely each week.
Once I enrolled in the Universi-
ty's physical therapy department,
though, my workout schedule was
reduced to one half-hour session
and I was forced to continue thera-
py by myself at the gym. Because I
had gone through physical therapy
for the same injury before, I knew
what I had to do to make a full
recovery. But what about other stu-
dents with injuries who don't know
how to rehabilitate themselves?
Although the staff is very like-
able and courteous, it needs. to
spend more time with its patients.
I only saw my physical therapist
once every two weeks and spent
most of my sessions with an assis-
tant, who didn't have the same
knowledge as a physical therapist.
Patients should see their therapists
with every visit to prop5erly facili-
tate a rehabilitation schedule that
meets patients' specific needs.
Just because students aren't
being charged for this University
service, it doesn't have to be sec-
ond rate.
Connie Huang
Carr's victory worthy
of Buckeye praise
I would like to congratulate
Michigan for its fantastic victory
over Florida in the Capital One
Citrus Bowl on Tuesday. It was
touching to see head coach Lloyd
Carr go out a winner. He deserved
it. I believe that Big Ten fans
should always pull for a Big Ten

Even though I am a lifetime
Buckeye, I was a Michigan fan on
New Year's Day.
Michael D'Amore
The letter writer is an Ohio State Uni-
versity alum.
Top 25 albums were
hardly winners
I may not be a music expert, but
I disagree with some of the albums
that were considered the best of
2007 (Listen to the best music of
2007,1/3/2008). The article argued
that 2007 was "a year littered with
best albums." I believe it was just
the opposite. Few of the best cur-
rent artists, like Death Cab for
Cutie or Sufjan Stevens, released
albums this past year. The bands
that did make up the list were rap
artists and elitist indie garbage
bands that no mainstream music
listener has ever heard of. Not
many music listeners can relate to
the list. If you asked 100 Universi-
ty students, I would guess that few
have listened to many of those 25
The article also left off several
of what I thought were the best
albums of the year, like Iron and
Wine's The Shepherd's Dog, Elliott
Smith's New Moon and Josh Rit-
ter's The Historical Conquests of
Josh Ritter. Enough with the crit-
ics' obsession with rap and non-
melodic indie music: This list may
be able to brainwash other readers,
but it couldn't convince me that
Animal Collective, Lil' Wayne or
T.I. recorded three of the top 50
albums in 2007, let alone the top
Steven Gornstein
LSA junior

The University of Michigan's use of stan-
dardized testing for admissions decisions
into its undergraduate and graduate level
programs is nothing new. Butnow it's time to
revisit the practice.
The problems with standardized testing are
numerous and well known. By many accounts,
standardized tests do not predict future suc-
cess nor do they measure the student's overall
body of work. Similarly, they are culturally
biased and seem to benefit only select groups,
especially companies who sell test preparation
materials like the Princeton Review, people
who charge exorbitant amounts of money to
prepare their students for standardized tests
and people who work in admissions depart-
ments but don't want to take the time to prop-
erly evaluate students.
Implicit in the use of standardized testing
is the creation of a glass ceiling for those stu-
dents who don't do well on these sorts of tests.
Although it is common to note this problem
for high school applicants applying to college,
the same problem exists within higher educa-
tion institutions as well. For example, students
interested in programs like the University's
masters in social work program do not have
their test scores considered for admissions
decisions. But those students pursuing the
doctoral counterpart in applied social science
do have their test scores taken into account.
This allows students, many of them people of
color and female, to gain some level of higher
education but does not provide them with the
opportunity to achieve the highest level, a doc-
torate degree.
It is time for the University as an innova-
tive and elite institution to begin considering
alternative methods for admitting both under-

graduate and graduate level students. On the
surface, the University can say that it already
uses standardized testing only for admissions.
But it is obvious that the effects of using stan-
dardized testing even at one level translates
into immense changes across all levels of high-
er education.
It is especially important for the University
to consider this change after the passage of
Michigan's constitutional amendment ban-
ning affirmative action in admissions deci-
sions. The university must be proactive with
its thinking about diversity and social justice.
Many people would point to the University's
diverse administrators, including Univer-
sity President Mary Sue Coleman - its first
female president - as examples of the school's
commitment to cultural diversity and equal-
ity. But this is exactly the point. As a univer-
sity community, shouldn't we begin working
on social justice in our own backyard while
concurrently advocating policy change on a
larger scale?
Instead of only pointing the finger at unfair
policies, we should be researching alterna-
tives like admissions portfolios, which provide
a more comprehensive view of a student. The
University, or the state of Michigan, could also
provide subsidized funding to high school stu-
dents and undergraduate students that would
enable them to afford expensive test prepara-
tion courses.
We must begin looking to the future of edu-
cation here in Ann Arbor in order to continue
our long legacy of fair and just education for
Shane Brady is a graduate student
in the School of Social Work.


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imyortance. immigrants.
GOP GOP 'Native
#1 ,12 American
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