4 - The Michigan Daily -- Monday, August 10, 1998
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
CHRIS FARAH DAVID WALLACE
+ Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the >inion of t
majority of the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters at
cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion oTe TeMichigan Da
B aring sirens during a period of bad
weather are a familiar sound in the
summertime. In recent months, concerns
have arisen over the health of Ann
Arbor's emergency warning system. In
response, the city has taken the proper
actions and put the system under review.
The city must not put off any needed
repairs and improvements to the system,
which is so vital to Ann Arbor residents
The system currently in place has 42
sirens that sound in the event of a torna-
do sighting in Washtenaw County. The
sirens also may sound in the event of
community emergencies or attacks on
the country. Ideally, the sirens should
cover all areas of the city and warn citi-
zens that they should take cover. But the
reality of the current system is that not
every siren works, and not every part of
Ann Arbor is covered by the sound.
The city needs to have an efficient
system, particularly given the propensity
for tornadoes to strike in Michigan.
City evaluates emergency warning system
While not in "Tornado Alley," which
largely encompasses the states of the
Great Plains, tornadoes are likely to
strike anywhere between the Rocky
Mountains and the Appalachian
As recent history bares out, violent
storms do hit the southeastern part of the
state fairly often. Just a few weeks ago
violent storms tore through Wayne and
Macomb counties - storms destructive
enough to cause President Bill Clinton
to declare the counties disaster areas eli-
gible for federal aid. And an urban set-
ting is no protection: those most recent
storms victimized cities including
Dearborn, and large cities such as
Nashville and Miami have seen torna-
does in recent months as well.
Of course, if a storm is going to hit, it
cannot be prevented. But injuries and
fatalities can largely be curbed. The con-
ditions that generate tornadoes are well
known, and tornadoes can even be spot-
ted with doppler radar. Once the storms
are sighted, citizens must be made aware
of the danger. The city has expressed
doubt that its current system can work
well enough to give a proper warning.
Once the city receives a thorough
evaluation of its emergency system, it
must not allow cost to become an issue.
The funding must be found to make Ann
Arbor's system efficient and safe --
whether repairs to the current system, or
the installation of a new, more reliable
one is needed.
The city should also look to make the
necessary improvements as early as pt
sible. Research has shown that tornado
are most likely to strike in the e
spring, although they do contif!
throughout theusummer and into the fa
By looking into the system's perft
mance now, a new system could be
place for the next season.
And once the city ensures that it ha
dependable system in place, the re
dents and visitors to the area have t
duty to heed the system's warning in t
event of a storm. Many weather-relat
injuries and deaths result when peo
do not obey warnings and use cone
sense when storms roll in.
The forces of nature can be extren
ly destructive, and the nation has seen
share of natural disasters in recent yea
The City of Ann Arbor shows a stro
commitment to its residents by maki
certain that public safety measur
remain up to par. Such commitment s
a fine precedent for future commun
Prop 227 ends bilingual education in California
hirty years after its institution, bilin- ing into California at levels unmatched in
gual education in California has been any other state. California currently offers
put to an end. To many California resi- bilingual instruction in 20 languages.
dents, the acceptance of Proposition 227 Eighty percent of limited-English children
- the article which mandates the replace- are Spanish speakers, and approximately
ment of bilingual education with monolin- 1.4 million of the state's 5 million public
gual methods - has come as a devastating school students have limited English profi-
stigma. The numerous immigrant factions ciency. Such statistics reflect the urgent
of California have been traumatized in par- need for bilingual instruction, because
ticular, and if the 1967 educational imple- California's population represents a diverse
mentation remains abolished, more than 1 assembly that must be appropriately
million students with limited English skills accommodated. Certainly, English is the
will be mainstreamed into general class- primary language of the country, and
rooms after one year of intensive English should be taught in those terms, but bilin-
instruction. They will be placed in learning gual tutelage is simply an aiding tool for
environments where teachers will be pro- those who lack a fluent English founda-
hibited from using a classroom language tion. Contrary to the opinion of supporters
other than English, and the students are of Prop 227, this method of tutoring is not
likely to lose out. Such an injunction meant to impede the teaching of English,
reflects a disregard for the state's non- but to stabilize the linguistic disequilibri-
English speaking minorities, and is a um caused by our assorted roots and back-
breach of their right to a favorable course grounds.
of education. Language is perhaps the most basic
Bilingual education is an instructional component of society. It is our use of com-
program for students with limited English munication that supplements our sense of
skills that teaches academic subjects in self, community and cultural identity.
their native language so they will be able to With the annulment of bilingual educa-
join English-only classes and keep up with tion, Prop 227 takes away from many stu-
their grade levels after a few years. In this dents their ties with their own cultures,
way, bilingual education provides for stu- compelling them to assimilate with the
dents with a linguistic disadvantage. The majority, even though pragmatic intercom-
debate over bilingual education in public munication is possible without this man-
schools has been one of the nation's most date. The U.S. is widely acknowledged for
divided issues, stemming from a social its traditional support of individuality and
backlash against affirmative action and diversity; "America" is synonymous with
immigration. Bilingual education is now the melding of many cultures and ideals,
under intense scrutiny from critics who but Prop 227 overshadows this ideology.
question whether it is an effective method The State of California should reconsider
of learning English. its stand on this issue, as abolishment does
For three decades, bilingual education not promise the high level of English edu-
programs have been racing to catch up cation some foresee and likely damages
with immigrants and their children flood- many students.
National campaign targets homosexuality
of long ago, an advertising campaign in licized dinner sponsored by the largest gay
several major newspapers - launched rights advocacy group, Human Right
by a coalition of 15 right-wing religious Campaign. The religious right clearly ha
groups - set out to advocate the conversion much to worry about if it hopes to succ
of homosexuals to a heterosexual lifestyle. fully portray homosexuality as deviant,
The campaign, called "Truth in Love" fea- American and not worthy of civil rights.
tures Anne Paulk, a self-described "wife, Even with "Truth in Love," the argume
mother, former lesbian" calling on other gays against the acceptance of homosexuality
and lesbians to follow her path in accepting full of holes. Exodus International, the n
heterosexuality as part of the Christian faith. work of some 85 Christian counseling ce
"Truth in Love" appears to demonstrate that ters advertised prominently in the campai
a major shift is occurring in the cultural war as a center for homosexual conversi
over sexual orientation. It is only one of many claims only a 40 percent success rate.
attempts by social conservatives to deny peo- addition, this figure represents not si
ple civil rights and respectability based sole- those who convert from homosexualit
ly on their sexual orientation, and the cam- monogamous heterosexuality, but simp
paign must not influence legislation on these individuals who achieve "marked change"
important issues. behavior and identity.
Indeed, where opponents of gay-rights in Apparently, the religious right
the past may have refused to publicly criticize unmoved by recent declarations from t
homosexuals for fear of appearing insensi- American Psychiatric Association, t
tive, today's religious right is stepping up to American Psychological Association and t
the plate, rearing to hit one out of the park. American Medical Association that attest
Never in history has homosexuality been the normalcy of homosexual behavior.
so publicly debated in cultural and political religious right also overlooks ma
spheres. As well, never has this debate been Protestant denominations and Jewish s
so receptive to the notion that homosexuali- gogues that willingly accept homosexuals
ty is a normal part of one's sexual identity. their faiths for who they are.
Many large-scale employers, including the In effect, the religious right seems to wa
University, have extended spousal privileges to claim God and the Bible for its own
to the domestic partners of employees, both row vision. "Truth in Love" is an example
gay and straight. how the religious right is refocusing its ta
Communities ranging from the more lib- tics to be more confrontational towards ho
eral New York City and San Francisco to the est, tax-paying, decent members of socie
more moderate Ypsilanti have recently who simply are not attracted to the opposi
passed legislation outlawing discrimination sex. The ad campaign perpetuates the
based on sexual orientation. Also, openly that homosexuals are inherently unhapp
gay men such as Rep. Barney Frank (D- cannot have a family and are not people
Mass.) and Rep. Jim Kolbe, (R-Ariz.) serve faith. The creation of just public polici
as members of Congress. And earlier this regarding sexual orientation should not
year, President Bill Clinton advocated gay- hindered due to skewed and inaccurate c
friendly legislation and spoke at a well-pub- paigns.