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February 10, 2010 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-02-10

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4A - Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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

JACOB SMILOVITZ
EDITOR IN CHIEF

RACHEL VAN GILDER
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

MATT AARONSON
MANAGING EDITOR

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations representsolely the views of their authors.
Promises, promises
Granholm must ensure long-term funding for scholarship
We've heard promises from Gov. Jennifer Granholm
before. In her final State of the State address on Feb.
3, Granholm announced that Michigan's budget for
the 2011 fiscal year would include funding for the recently cut
Michigan Promise Scholarship. She didn't offer a specific plan,
but mentioned that "creative" funding would be incorporated into
the budget to account for the scholarship. However, considering
that original funding for the Promise was removed just two years
after the so-called "Promise" was made, it's difficult to believe
Granholm's assurance that the scholarship will be re-instated.
The governor and state legislature should adopt a sustainable
approach when formulating a new Promise Scholarship.

Our point was to draw attention to the
plight of Haitian orphans. We came here to help,
not to become the story."
- Nicole Lankford, one of the Americans held in Haiti for trying to smuggle out children
regarding her case, as reported yesterday by The New York Times.
CH RISTI+IA SU H E-MAIL CHRISTINA AT CHSUH@UMICH.EDU
Creo. in vsv 0owsr l ;s43&Cvrs**s
PoL%*s'ooi, F0- op iS easy! cu - Eat" .r peen wovA'i'irlsw'11don ctte
u 1 ~4b i5 ( om on foo+exn) can
more as ma r (ovtrrmted ..n s*00
, P ; (-) pEofk ionn y (I oved ome) wi
(mixrr rrlL, aiigj- Moki r l or do 0omc.-eint
Y'eDol cook')!

S

Mad Hatter's tea party

The Promise Scholarship was initially
established on Dec. 21, 2006. The merit-
based award provided $500 to $4,000 to stu-
dents who scored adequately on statewide
standardized tests and attended a two- or
four-year institution of higher learning. But
amid the state's $2.8 billion budget short-
fall, lawmakers cut the scholarship to save
approximately $140 million on Oct. 30,2009.
Though the scholarship was in the gover-
nor's initial budget proposal, she signed off
on the cut, saying, "Itis a budgetI don't agree
with and don't support," accordingto an Oct.
30 Detroit Free Press article.
Higher education is vital for Michigan to
pull itself out of the current recession. Mich-
igan's economy can't be supported by the
automotive industry anymore. It must shift
to a science- and technology-based economy.
To prepare the workforce for high-skill posi-
tions that technology businesses need to fill,
more students must attend institutions of
higher education. For that to happen, educa-
tion must be made accessible.
But despite its imprtance, education has
become less affordable. Here at the Pniver-
sity, tuition has increased by an alarming
52 percent since 2002, partially due to cuts
in state funding. Though the state is facing
serious deficit concerns, it shouldn't cut from

education funding. The rise in education
costs is made worse bythe struggling Michi-
gan economy, which has left many families
more dependent on scholarships. The Prom-
ise Scholarship is essential to students and
shouldn't have been cut in the first place.
The state has a projected 2011 deficit of
more than $1.6 billion, so a steady supply of
funding for the scholarship seems far from
assured. But if the state takes on the Prom-
ise Scholarship a second time, it would be
inexcusable to let it fail again, because for
some students, the difference could make
or break the viability of paying for college.
Reliable sources of funding must be secured
for the Promise so that it isn't cut soon after
its establishment, leaving thousands of stu-
dents without a resource that they count on.
Granholm's "creative," alternative funding
options should be explored to verify that
the new scholarship stays financially afloat
for more than a couple of years. Students
shouldn't be.guaranteed a significant schol-
arship only to have it taken away once again.
Granholm must back up her words with
decisive action to ensure that the legislature
passes a budget in 2011 that includes a realis-
tic plan to fund the Promise Scholarship. If
the state pledges funding for the scholarship
a second time, it must keep its Promise.

like parties, but hold the tea,
thank you.
Last week, the Tea Party
movement, a
series of far-right
protests oppos-
ing the agenda of
President Barack
Obama, gath-
ered in Nashville,
Tenn. for its first
national conven-
tion. You'd think
the convention TOMMASO
would promote PVN
"Limited Govern- PAVONE
ment, Free Speech,
the 2nd Amend-
ment, our Military,
Secure Borders and our Country," as
specified on the website of conven-
tion organizer Judson Phillips. But
that just wouldn't be radical enough,
would it?
The Tea Party Convention kicked
off with opening speaker Tom Tan-
credo, a former Republican con-
gressman from Colorado and 2008
presidential candidate. All was going
well... until Tancredo opened his
mouth. "People who could not even
spell the word 'vote' or say it in Eng-
lish put a committed socialist ideo-
logue in the White House," blasted
Tancredo. "His name is Barack Hus-
sein Obama."
Have you ever seen a better example
of ignorance, xenophobia and racism
all bound into one ugly package? And
perhaps more striking is the fact that
both of Tancredo's grandparents were
immigrants - I guess he must hate
them too. To top it off, Phillips pro-
ceeded to remark that "Tom Tancredo
gave a fantastic speech last night I
think he is an amazing politician."'
Phillips wasn't the only one who
endorsed Tancredo's hateful rhetoric

and the Tea Party's xenophobic mes-
sage. While delivering the keynote
speech at the convention, former
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin referred to
the Tea Party as a "beautiful move-
ment." When asked to comment fur-
ther, Palin said, "I believe there are
more of us than they (the media)
want us to believe." Isn't that a pleas-
ant thought?
In the end, it was beneficial for
voters to have Tancredo and Palin
speak so bluntly. Both speakers made
it clear that behind the Tea Party
movement's supposed love for "our
Country" is a hateful, xenophobic,
racist ideology unfit for American
democracy. The Tea Partiers love
America, just not the 12.5 percent of
the American population that recent
U.S. Census Bureau statistics say
is foreign-born. In the end, the Tea
Party movement is not a manifesta-
tion of American independence. It is
a disgrace.
We can't expect the Tea Partiers
to moderate their rhetoric - if they
do, how else could they remain real-
ly ignorant and angry? But what we
can, and should, expect is that our
Michigan politicians denounce the
movement, or at least refrain from
associating with it.
Yet many of our local representa-
tives seem to be doing the opposite.
On Sunday, Michigan Rep. Pete Hoek-
stra (R-Holland), who is running for
governor, attended a Tea Party gath-
ering and reported on his Twitter,
that it was a "great group." Michigan
Attorney General Mike Cox, also a.
Republican running for governor,
characterized the Tea Party move-
ment as "remarkable." Last, but cer-
tainly not least, is Oakland County
Sheriff Mike Bouchard, another
Republican contender for Michigan's
governorship, who recently attend-

ed a Tea Party protest outside Cobo
Expo Center in Detroit to "show his
solidarity," as the Detroit Free Press
reported on Jan.11.
Michigan leaders
shouldn't buy
into ignorance.
We shouldn't 'tolerate that our
local elected officials endorse the Tea
Party message. This is especially true
of those seeking our state's governor-
ship. If we truly believe in freedom,
human rights, civil rights and diver-
sity, then we have a moral obligation
to hold our representatives account-
able when they endorse contradicto-
ry principles. While we can't prevent
the Tea Party movement from diffus-
ing an ideology riddled with hatred,
we can certainly question our elected
officials if they endorse a xenophobic
movement. I can't imagine that most
Michiganders share the Tea Party's
radical message, and since Michi-
gan's politicians are supposed to rep-
resent our views, neither should they.
It's one thing to have differing
political views. It's quite another to
endorse a movement that reveres
Tancredo's Tea Party convention
speech. If Hoekstra, Cox and Boucha-
rd are unable to understand this prin-
ciple on their own, then perhaps we
should remind them. By writing let-
ters, perhaps. By calling their offices,
most certainly. By voting for them?
I'd have a cup of tea and think that
over first
- Tommaso Pavone can be
reached at tpavone@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be fewer than 300
words and must include the writer's full name and University affiliation. Letters are edited
for style, length, clarity and accuracy. All submissions become property of the Daily. We
do not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedoily@umich.edu.
SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU

Republicans will likely stall.
action on Citizen's United

vote in the Senate may not happen.
AndrewRabenstein
LSA senior

An education in race relations

TO THE DAILY:
Braden Burgess's recent letter to the edi- Daily ignored the interests of
tor ignored basic facts about procedural rules
and the basics of campaign finance law, even in Illinois nA conflict
light of the Citizens United v. Federal Election n carp
Commission case (Recent U.S. Supreme Court
decision protects free speech, 02/08/2010). Ideo- TO THE DAILY:
logically conservative Republicans have a ten- The Daily's editorial on Asian carp yesterday
dency to distrust math and science, since they're ignored half of the argument (Imminent Inva-
just "theory," so it's no surprise that according sion, 02/09/2010). I'm confounded by this, as
to their math, 60, not 51, is a majority of the Sen- some pertinent facts could have worked to the
ate's 100 votes. If 51 votes were required to pass argument's advantage.
a bill in the Senate, then the vast majority of leg- As the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and
islation would have been passed. other Illinois economic interest groups have
For an example you need to look no farther pointed out time and again, closing the water-
than Sen. Richard Shelby's (R-Ala.) blanket fil- ways could deal a hugeblow to the Illinois econ-
ibuster, an unprecedented move in the Senate, omy. This "huge blow" might be better spelled
where Shelby blocked every President Barack out in terms of $1.5 billion a year in shipping
Obama nominee waiting to be considered by costs and more than 400 jobs that would be
the Senate because Obama is limiting pork- affected by a closure. Then, consider how all of
barrel spending to Sen. Shelby's state. This the industries that rely upon these shipments
filibuster prevents a candidate from getting a for business might be seriously affected.
confirmation vote, which means the Republi- And don't forget Illinois farmers, who rely
cans now also have a responsibility to govern heavily on these waterways to distribute goods
and not just to obstruct. and would face higher shipping prices if an
Let's talk about how the Citizens United injunction was issued.
case is really awful. The U.S. Supreme Court's Having said this, these economic figures
decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election are dwarfed by the potential ramifications of a
Committee allows for unlimited independent destroyed Great Lakes fishing industry caused
expenditures on politics. What most people by an invasive species. This is a $7-billion
don't realize is that most American corpora- industry and a crucial one for the economic
tions are largely owned by pension funds. For health of a failing state of Michigan, with the
example, Exxon Mobil is 52-percent owned by highest unemployment rate in the country.
pension funds - a significant amount of which Tens of thousands of industry jobs - from fish-
is from federal, state and local governments. ermen to boat captains to storage and distribu-
So, when Exxon Mobil now spends freely to tion company employees - will be jeopardized
obstruct your favorite candidate or your opin- if the Asian carp is able to become a reproduc-
ion on an issue, they are actually spending your ing population in the Lakes.
tax dollars to do so. Isn't it also great, though, The bottom line is that policy critique
how under this ruling, a corporation that is pri- requires serious consideration of both sides of
marily foreign-owned can also spend unlimit- an issue.
ed amounts of money.
I would encourage Congress to act on this, Eitan Ingall
but something tells me that finding that 60th LSA senior
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Jordan Birnholtz, William Butler, Nicholas Clift, Michelle DeWitt,
Brian Flaherty, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee, Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga,
Alex Schiff, Asa Smith,Brittany Smith, Robert Soave, Radhika Upadhyaya, Laura Veith

This is my first semester as stu-
dent in the University's School
of Education. The plan is to
be a high school
English teacher
when this whole
college thing is
over. Like all first- ;
semester teacher '
candidates, I've
been placed in
the first teaching ,
practicum course,
which is basically RACHEL
pre-student teach-
ing. It's a course in VAN GILDER
observation dur -_______
ing which teacher
candidates watch certified teachers
in schools around Ann Arbor.
I've been placed at Southfield High
School, which is north of Detroit. So
far, as I expected it would be, the
observation has been educational and
informative. But one of the most valu-
able learning experiences I am hav-
ing isn't one that I expected. That's
because the student body of South-
field High School is overwhelmingly
African American. For the three
hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays
that I observe at Southfield High
School, I am in the minority. And
it's led to some startling realizations
about race issues.
Let me be entirely ,dear upfront:
I do not judge people on the color of
their skin. Race does not determine the
quality of a person. But race, like cul-
ture or ethnicity, is part of who a per-
son is, and it shouldn't be ignored. At
the same time, I've always experienced
race issues as a member of the majority.
I come from a place where diversity
is just a word. Almost without excep-
tion, the population of Webberville,
Michigan is white and Christian.
Even here at the University, I'm part
of the majority. And let's face it: It's

easy to be the same as everyone else,
because you never even think about
what being different means. And up
until this point in my life, I've never
been the only person in the room who
is different. I've never even really
been in a situation that I had to think
about what that must be like.
But during my observation days
at Southfield High School, I am
not the same as everyone else, and
that's a drastic departure from what
I'm accustomed to. The school is
about 97-percent African American,
according to this year's enrollment
numbers, and so some of the classes I
sit in on don't have any white students
in them. The teacher I'm observ-
ing is African American as well. It's
strange to.suddenly be the one person
in the room who is different. And, to
be completely honest, being differ-
ent made me a little uncomfortable
at first. The discomfort isn't because
the students are black and I'm white
- it's because they are one way, and
I am another. And being so notica-
bly different is something I've never
experienced before.
At first, I was extremely self-con-
scious. I was irrationally sure that the
kids were judging me every second.
Admittedly, some of this was because
I am in a new position of author-
ity as an almost-teacher when I still
don't consider myself a real adult.
It's a jarring transition. But some of
it was because I wondered what the
students thought of the white woman
sitting in the back of their classroom.
The whole thing was compounded by
the awkwardness of being an outside
observer, which is a strange position
to be in. This soon faded - thank
goodness - after I realized that I
was going to have to get over it or
spend the rest of the semester feeling
uncomfortable.
I don't want to imply that the

students have treated me poorly or
excluded me because of my race. In
fact, now that my initial paranoia has
passed, I'm fairly certain that they
haven't thought about it at all. But I
still feel the difference of being the
one on the outside of the cultural
bubble.
For the first time,
I was the one who
was different.
I'm not trying to say that this
experience has suddenly made me
completely understand what it's like
to be a minority in America. I don't.
My experience is only temporary. I
instantly become a member of the
majority group again as soon as I
leave Southfield High School after a
mere three hours a day, twice a week.
I don't know what it means to be a
racial minority, and I probably never
will. But the experience has given me
a little bit of perspective on an issue
with which I haven't had much first-
hand experience.
It's the variety of experience and
the perspective it brings that makes
the teaching practicum valuable,
especially for brand-new teacher
candidates like me. I'm not a minor-
ity, and I'll probably never fully
understand what it's like to be one.
But I have had a taste - albeit a small
taste - of what it's like, and hopefully
that will give me a little bit of empa-
thy in the future and help make me a
better teacher and person.
-Rachel Van Gilder is the Daily's
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at rachelvg@umich.edu.

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