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November 08, 2011 - Image 4

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U

4 - Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

f iiigan Batly
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
MICHELLE DEWITT
STEPHANIE STEINBERG and EMILY ORLEY NICK SPAR
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS 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.
Imran Syed is the public editor. He can be reached at publiceditor@michigandaily.com.
Head to the polls toda
Vote Lumm, Kunselman, Scheie and Anglin
T oday is Election Day. Though it isn't a presidential, guberna-
torial or a mayoral election, it's still important for students to
vote. Today's election for Ann Arbor City Council members is
contested in four of the city's five wards. Though most students don't
directly interact with City Council members, the members make deci-
sions that can impact students' lives. Council members enact ordi-
nances for Ann Arbor, address lighting issues in off-campus areas and
control funding for public safety. It is essential that all students go to
the polls today and cast their votes.

A failing grade for Cantor

magine that you're writing a
paper for a class - any class
at all. You're confident in your
mastery of the
course mate-
rial, and you
easily produce
a well-written
essay. But when
your professor
returns your "
paper one week
later marked DANIEL
with an F grade CHARDELL.
and a "see me"
scribbled below
it, you're bewildered. At office hours
you ask why you've done so poorly.
Your professor tells you that your
arguments were strong and your
thinking impressed her, but you
cited no evidence to support any of
your claims. Therefore, she couldn't
give you anythingbut afailinggrade.
Needless to say, that rarely (if
ever) happens at the University.
Heck, that wouldn't even happen
at most high schools. As students,
we re aware that an argument car-
ries no weight unless backed with
solid evidence. This goes for any
subject. In the face of evidence to
the contrary, or in the absence of any
evidence at all, outlandish claims
don't hold up.
Academic discourse doesn't
exist without evidence. That much
should be common sense. So why
did some on campus suddenly for-
get this basic tenet of academia the
moment Republican House Major-
ity Leader Eric Cantor came to Ann
Arbor last week?-
Case in point: a Michigan Daily
viewpoint titled Good work, Mr.
Leader written on behalf of the Col-
lege Republicans. Published on the
day of the House Majority Leader's
visit, the piece praises Cantor in a
spate of buzzword glorification a la
Fox News that would bring a patri-
otic tear to any Tea Partier's eye.
According to the viewpoint, Can-
tor has been busy this term "roll-
ing back job-killing regulations,"

"fighting tooth and nail to prevent
implementation of President Barack
Obama's unconstitutional health
care law" and making efforts "to
engage in dialogue, reach across the
aisle and find common sense, agree-
able solutions to our economic prob-
lems." After all, it's obvious that "the
only job Obama cares about saving is
his own," right? The term "job-kill-
ing" appears three times throughout
the viewpoint. What a rich adjective.
In their analysis, the College
Republicans cite no academic or pro-
fessional studies, no data, no polls,
no history, no specifies - nothing
even slightly resembling factual
evidence that might support their
broad, bold claims. I realize we're
working with limited space here
(around 750 words), but any scrap of
objective information would really
help me out. At the very least, men-
tion a credible report that we can
access on our own time. Buzzwords
like "job-killing" are sexy, but hol-
low. They get you great ratings on
cable news, but they accomplish
nothing in the real.world.
And then there was Cantor's
speech.
Before I go any further, let me
first say that I didn't appreciate the
protesters who, during the ques-
tion-and-answer session, thought it
useful to stand up and shout down
Cantor whenever they disliked
his answers. Yes, I .realize Cantor
evaded nearly every question he was
fielded. And yes, I realize how frus-
trating it was to watch. But making a
spectacle, no matter how well inten-
tioned, only undermines the integ-
rity of your cause.
To tell you the truth, Cantor's
speech was pretty boring. The only
part of his talk that I enjoyed, and
the only part with any real sub-
stance, was the bit about his family
history. Fleeing religious persecu-
tion during the turn of the century
in Eastern Europe, Cantor's grand-
mother immigrated to the United
States with nothing but the prom-
ise of the fabled American dream. I

found it touching - perhaps because
it was the first time I'd ever seen
Cantor appear remotely human.
In his speech, Cantor frequently
argued that government should give
struggling Americans a "hand up,"
not a "hand out." He never speci-
fied what exactly distinguishes one
from the other, but given his hostil-
ity toward Occupy Wall Street, I'd
assume hand ups don't include any
tax hikes for the wealthy. Cantor also
spoke about giving all Americans the
opportunity to "climb the ladder" of
success. "We should want all people
to move up and no one to be pulled
down," he said. That sounds nice,
right? His rhetoric was so devoid of
substance that I couldn't really agree
or disagree with any of it. His words
were just there, lifeless.
Leader's speech
was nothing but
empty rhetoric.

g
i

Students make up a large portion of the
Ann Arbor population, but historically don't.
turn up on Election Day. If students don't vote
and put the best representatives into office,
there is no guarantee that City Council mem-
bers will be invested in the needs of students.
In the Ward 2 race, incumbent Stephen
Rapundalo (D-Ward 2) is facing Independent
Jane Lumm. Rapundalo has an understand-
ing of the financial challenges Ann Arbor is
facing: He told The Michigan Daily he has a
strong desire to work on labor negotiations
and ensure laborers have fair benefits.
While Rapundalo would like to work on
important issues, Lumm appears to better
understand the needs of the city and stu-
dents. Her first priority is public safety. She
told the Daily she would like to reallocate
funds from the city budget for the police and
fire departments and would like to increase
lighting on Oxford Road. Luomm also had
some great ideas for better comunication
between council members and engaging
more residents in city budget discussions.
Because of bcr- committsr lto safety and
inclusion, the Daily endorses JANE LUMM
for City Council, Ward 2.
In the Ward 3 race, incumbent Stephen
Kunselman (D-Ward 3) is running against
Republican David Parker. Parker was
unavailable to meet with the Daily's editorial
board to discuss his plans for City Council.
Kunselman has a solid platform that
focuses on public health, safety and welfare.
He told the Daily that too much funding has
been cut from fire and police departments.
His objective to redistribute money to allow
more funding to be put toward safety is ideal.
Kunselman is also a strong proponent for
density downtown. He is a supporter of his-
toric preservation and wants to fight for citi-
zen concerns in neighborhoods. Kunselman
has the experience and the priorities tq push
ordinances that will benefit students and
Ann Arbor. The Daily endorses STEPHEN

KUNSELMAN for City Council, Ward 3.
The Ward 4 race pits incumbent Mar-
cia Higgins (D-Ward 4) against Republican
challenger Eric Scheie. While Higgins has
the experience of having served many years
on the City Council, her apparent apathy
toward the election and her voting record are
troubling. Higgins voted against Ann Arbor's
medical marijuana ordinance in June. She
didn't attend the League of Women Voters
debate last month and was unavailable to
meet with the Daily's editorial board to dis-
cuss the election. It's unclear if Higgins is
truly dedicated to the position.
Though Scheie is a Republican in the
typically liberal Ann Arbor government,
and therefore an unlikely contender, he
seems intent on combating complacency in
Ann Arbor government. He is dedicated to
revamping projects like the Georgetown
Mall a "brown field" on Packard Street
that has been polluting Ann Arbor for more
than a year - and freeing up money to deal
with cuts to the fire and police department
budgets. He also wants to increase benefits
for unions.
Higgins has experience, but that experi-
ence has seemed to make her complacent
in her position. Scheie has the potential to
bring a new perspective and attitude toward
city government. The Daily endorses ERIC
SCHEIE for City Council, Ward 4.
Both incumbent Mike Anglin (D-Ward
5) and challenger Republican Stuart Berry
were unable to meet with the Daily's edito-
rial board. However, Anglin spoke with the
Daily during the primaries in August and
talked about his desire to create more open-
ness within City Council. He wants to create
a committee that would include more public
opinion in council meetings and find ways to
incorporate more student issues into discus-
sions. Because of his commitment to trans-
parency, the Daily endorses MIKE ANGLIN
for City Council, Ward 5.

In reality, the House Majority
Leader promotes draconian policies
that run counter to the American
dream - a fairytale that is dying,
if not already dead. In a landmark
study last month, the nonpartisan
Congressional Budget Office found
that, between 1979 and 2007, income
grew by 275 percent for the top 1 per-
cent of households,65 percent for the
next 19 percent, about 40 percent for .
the next 60 percent, and 18 percent
for the bottom 20 percent. Accord-
ing to the CIA World Factbook, the
United States has more unequal
income distribution than countries
such as Iran, China, Egypt and Tuni-
sia. How would Cantor remedy these
issues? I have no idea. His speech
never really addressed them.
- Daniel Chardell can be
reached at chardell@umich.edu.

FOLLOW DAILY OPINION ON TWITTER
Keep up with columnists, read Daily editorials, view cartoons and join in the debate.
Check out @michdailyoped
to get updates on Daily opinion content throughout the day.
CAROLINE SYMS

4

'Live' school settings are important

JESSE KLEIN
Workshop in need of a remix

Everyone has had to go to many boring,
supposedly helpful, seminars or workshops.
I thought that once I graduated from high
school I would be free of infuriating work-
shops that were not only underprepared but
also useless. I thought going to college meant
that I would find myself in the "harsh real
world" my teachers always warned me about.
Instead of being treated like the adult I now
officially am, I feel like a middle school stu-
dent. The University seems to assume I have
no knowledge as to how the world works.
I knew that as a freshman the Univer-
sity would try to ease my transition into my
new life. College is an extreme adjustment,
and I don't fault the University for trying to
educate me about new experiences and situ-
ations I could be exposed to. While I hated
taking the alcohol education lesson online,
and while the acting in the freshman orien-
tation show was terrible, it was at least well
executed and did give me a few bits of infor-
mation I did not already know. This cannot be
said about the Relationship Remix workshop
- a new workshop implemented by SAPAC to
discuss sexual consent - I was required to
attend as a freshman.
This workshop was not interesting, useful,
funny or engaging. The leaders of the work-
shop read off pieces of paper. The questions
were obvious and basic about relationships -
things that anyone smart enough to get into
the University would already know. The lead-
ers proposed questions like "What is consent?"
and "How could you keep a friend from being
pressured to have sex?" After the leaders read
these questions word for word, they looked for

raised hands, but because no one in the group
of 50 bored freshmen was Hermione Granger,
hands remained at people's sides. After a min-
ute of silence one of two things would happen:
One nice freshman, who could not stand the
silence, usually me, would give the obvious
answer, or one of the leaders would read their
response off the papers.
Worse than that is the role-playing we were
forced to do with complete strangers. We had
to practice asking for consent, saying no and
graciously accepting it. When we were given
the three situations, most people took it as a
joke or did not do the activity at all. And who
can blame them? Sitting in a lounge pretending
to hit on a complete stranger is not onlyuncom-
fortable, but unrealistic and purposeless.
Most high school students have had the
experiences of being pursued by an unwanted
pursuer, and most have learned to deal with it.
'They did not need a workshop then, and I am
sure they don't need one now. This workshop
also comes almost three months into school.
Three months of parties have surely taught
students how to give and receive rejections.
And I'm sure most students have had "rela-
tionships" before coming to college.
If the University is going to make these.
events mandatory it should at least put in the
time to make them something that could at
least be somewhat helpful. The University
prides itself on being leaders, and as freshmen
we have been told that we are now part of that
group, so why does it continue to treat us like
naive children?
Jesse Klein is an LSA freshman.

"Time to rock 'n' roll! Hurry up or you'll miss the
school bus!" my mother would say to wake me up for
school each morning during my middle school years.
This seemingly natural phrase, however, may soon be
replaced by mothers yelling at their 10-year-old sons and
daughters to "Hurry up and turn on the computer for
school." These words leave many of us puzzled.
Legislation that would allow for the expansion of
cyber schools in the state of Michigan recently passed
in the Republican-led State Senate last week. The bill
contributes to the state's ongoing effort to expand public
education options. Michigan state law currently allows
for the operation of two cyber charter schools, which
have a total combined enrollment of 1,400 students.
The new legislation would lift the cap on the number of
cyber charter schools permitted, thereby encouraging
this second-rate education service to replace traditional
school models.
Many feel that increasing cyber schooling is a wise
decision. There are currently long waitlists to enroll in
cyber charter schools, which indicates that parents are
seeking more opportunities for their children to engage
in this type of educational experience.
As the -digital age sweeps through society, many
believe that cyber school education would allow Michi-
gan to keep up with the latest technological trends.and
advances that are responsible for reshaping society and
education. Proponents of the bill believe families should
have more choices and opportunities for how and where
they choose to engage in the public educational system.
In their eyes, cyber schooling provides a less expensive
means for delivering education to children and simulta-
neously serves those opposed to the traditional school-
ing model.
I, however, always imagined motherhood consisting
of me walking my children to the bus stop on their-first
day of kindergarten, and I wouldn't want this notion to
be replaced by a mere physical object. Expanding cyber
schools in Michigan would cause more harm than good
for students.
Is Michigan really going to push education forward
in a positive matter with an attempt to conform to the
digital age? I think it's shameful that so many individuals
are in favor of replacing real "live" school settings with
online-only courses for adolescents who are just begin-
ning to understand and learn about the world in which
they live. The physical interactions that occur each day

among teachers and students are vital to a child's suc-
cessful academic achievement. These communication
opportunities provide students the chance to enhance
their social skills while being able to effectively learn
and promptly ask questions each step of the way.
Furthermore, cyber charter schools provide little
financial and academic accountability. There is limited
evidence of their effectiveness, especially since there
are limited formal rules and minimal supervision that
occurs with online schooling. Students who are unable
to grasp the information quickly are at a disadvantage
since they don't receive constant attention from a teach-
er and can't ask for immediate clarification. It's ques-
tionable to say how successful children will be in the
long run if their knowledge is based solely from online
education. There is also concern regarding the funding
of these new cyber charter schools. Surely, the Michigan
government will have to tap into citizens' tax money to
improve online education. That just seems wasteful and
unnecessary. I
While we are all in agreement that society is chang-
ing and evolving in the 20th century with technological
advances, children and their education should not be
used for experimental purposes. Education is too valu-
able and crucial for survival in this generation, and it
should not be designed with the intention of having it
become more efficient, cheap and quick.
Perhaps providing a mix of online only and physical
school attendance is one solution. Children will still
receive face-to-face communication with their teach-
ers and be able to socially interact with fellow class-
mates. In addition, children will have the ability to learn
certain material on the Internet. It's important to put
constraints on what type of information can be taught
online since certain subjects may be better.taught in a
classroom setting.
Children should not be subjected to spending all day
"learning" in front of a computer screen. It's neces-
sary for them to experience learning in the traditional
school model to enhance their intellectual and social
capabilities. While it's important to acknowledge the
power of digitization in the 21st century, we shouldn't
allow technology to undermine the traditional forms of
education that have proven so successful for our nation
thus far.

a

Caroline Syms is an LSA sophomore.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer, Nirbhay Jam, Patrick Maillet,
Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Teddy Papes, Timothy Rabb,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Caroline Syms, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner

a

&

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