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May 06, 1984 - Image 6

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1984-05-06

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OPINION

Page 6
1E mtd I-n -UBIQ
Vol. XCIV, No. 2S
94 Years of Editorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by Students at
The University of Michigan-
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the
Daily Editorial Board
State should fix
own problems first
THE STATE senate's latest plan to pro-
vide merit-based scholarships is a futile
effort to fix a problem the legislature created.
The program would establish a $2.5 million
fund to be disbursed in $500 grants to Michigan
students who score well on the American
Testing exam. Supposedly, this will encourage
the better students to go to in-state univer-
sities.
But the problem is not that good students
are going to other states. The problem is that
for the past several years, the legislature has
been under-funding state universities. Though
periodic increases in funds have been ap-
proved, they are not nearly adequate to keep
up with earlier cuts and the inflation rate. As
such, the university has had to drastically in-
crease tuition and decrease aid to the truly
needy and minority students.
Last Friday, University President Harold
Shapiro appealed to the legislature on just
these grounds. Shapiro noted that the Univer-
sity has had to rely almost solely on tuition
hikes to keep up with the slowdown in state sp-
propriations.
If the legislature wants to help out college
students, it should cure the real problem and
increase its support to public universities.
Son of Fleetwood
T HAT ICON OF greasy spoons has re-
turned-the Fleetwood Diner finally
reopened its doors. Well, almost.
Fans of Ann Arbor's best late-night eatery
may be a tad disappointed to hear that the
Fleetwood, which closed last December due to
bankruptcy, has revised its hours of
operation. There will be no more late nights
for the Fleetwood.
New owners Bill Close and Chris Andrews
have decided that the post-midnight, after-bar
clientele isn't worth the hassle. Close said that
the 10 p.m. quitting time is necessary: "We
have to sleep sometime."
Well, that may be true, but how 'bout
sleeping during the day, leaving the nights
free for cooking up those famous Fleetwood
fries? After all, if you can't go to the Fleet-
wood at four in the morning, why go at all?

Sunday, May 6, 1984

The Michigan Daily

The cost of education

I

Stanley Kaplan is the foun-
der of Kaplan Educational
Centers, the nation's largest
test preparation organization.
Kaplan spoke to Daily staff
reporter Peter Williams April
19 on formal education today
and his methods of
preparation for standar-
dized tests such as the Medical
College Admissions test
(MCAT) and the un-
dergraduate Scholastic Ap-
titude Test (SA T).
Dialogue
Daily: What types of skills are
you trying to develop in students
in your test preparation courses?
Kaplan: It depends on the test.
The skills are basically verbal
skills and there are different
ways in which the verbal skills
can be tested. We do deal with
logical reasoning but also with in-
troductory approaches to the
kind of questions you will encoun-
ter on the test We style questions
in the lessons to elicit the kinds of
skills that you'll need for the test.
The important thing that should
be emphasized is that these skills
aren't skills unto themselves. The
reason why these skills are on
tests such as the LSAT is because
law schools feel these are the
skills you need in law school. So
the test is a more goal-oriented
test.
Daily: Students have told me
that because of the competitive
market for both professional and
undergraduate schools it has now
gotten to the point where in order
to do well on admissions tests a
student must spend extra time
and money to take a course such
as yours.
Kaplan: I think that is impor-
tant. The test is not something
unto itself. When you get a better
score it is because you know
more. You have better skills so,
you see, you are getting a better
student for the next stage of the
game. It wasn't just a waste. This
is a lot of the reason people go to
independent schools or better
schools such as the University of
Michigan. Not everyone can af-
ford to go to these schools. I don't
think it's a matter of saying, "I
had to do this and if everyone else
wasn't doing it I wouldn't be doing
it either." Most people feel they
should review and a more
organized review is a more ef-
ficient approach. If one chooses
to get some kind of improvement
thenone hasto make some sort of
investment.
Daily: I. know you offer
scholarships to some students.

How extensive are your scholar-
ship programs?
Kaplan: I don't want it ever
said that we don't offer the
students who cannot afford
it-who are usually the ones who
need it the most-the opportunity
to improve themselves. We are
not as good in terms of ferreting
out financial information as the
schools are. I'm sure the schools
do their homework and they don't
want to give away scholarships
that are not deserved. So if the
school will give out a 50 percent
scholarship, we'll do the same
thing. We readily agree that the
grade point average is the num-
ber one item and if the student
does not have a good healthy
grade point average there is
nothing a course can do about it.
Therefore if they document their
financial situation and have a.
reasonable grade point average
which gives them a chance at get-
ting in and they are financially
unable to pay, we'll be happy to
fill the gap. Up to about 10 per-
cent of our students usually
become involved with this.
Daily: How effective are the
books published for admissions
test preparation?
Kaplan: Different people get
different things out of a book. In
an ideal situation, the professor
gives out his notes and the tex-
tbook at the beginning of the year
and says, "Come see us in eight
months and I'll give you a final
exam." But there is something to
say about the interaction between
a student and a teacher. It's not
the same kind of commitment
with a book. These tests
especially are not just for infor-
mational knowledge. I can make
an open book test and can give
you all the books in the world but
the explanations as to how you
arrive at the answer are more
important than just the
knowledge itself, which most
people can memorize.
Daily: Do you think that stan-
dardized tests are culturally
biased?
Kaplan: I'd say yes-but no
more than the curriculum of the
schools and colleges are. I'll tell
you what the bias is. The bias is a
deficient education. It you've
never learned science or math,
you won't do well on the test. But
don't blame the test. The test is
simply a thermometer that
gauges your educational tem-

4

Kaplan
... teaching the basics
perature. If you don't like the
temperature you don't throw
out the thermometer. Many black
organizations say thattthese tests
are biased, but I think that
they're hiding behind
something-that it's just an ex-
cuse. I don't think an uneducated
population hashanything to be
ashamed of. They just haven't
had the opportunities. But I think
more and more is being done.
The average SAT scores for
blacks isgoing up whereas those
of whites have been going down.
Daily: How do you account for
the decline of SAT scores for
white students?
Kaplan: I alluded to some of
the reasons: families with both
parentstworking and no one to
guide the children, too much
television, no reading, a lack of
the basics, and too much per-
missiveness in the schools.
Daily: By basics, what do you
mean?
Kaplan: Reading, writing, and
arithmetic. Somewhere along the
line, somebody forgot the impor-
tant things and emphasized the
unimportant. Also we've found
that out in Hawaii, when students
become adolescents, their scores
go down. All of a sudden when
they are 14 or 15 years old and
with all the beautiful women out
in Hawaii, they go surfing instead
of going to school. They are not
thinking in terms of their future.
Dialogue is a regularffeature
of the Daily Opinion Page.

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1

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Unsigned editorials ap-
pearing on the left side
of this page represent a
majority opinion of the
Daily's Editorial Board.

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