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May 05, 1998 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1998-05-05

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, May 5, 1998
Edited and managed by CHRIS FARAH DAviD WALLACE
students at the ,r Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor w
University of Michigan
Unless otherwise natr. itisi d htorials reflecthe ioio l to ofth
aajrlef he ~al ' ciurta ort. Alohr ril.Irai
420 Maynard Street majority of the Dail iitill bo a er articles. lettes and
K Ann Arbor, Ml{ 48109 cartoons do not necrssaxit rfl cci the opinion of The Aician Daily

T' oday, voters in Ypsilanti will go to the
polls to decide whether a controversial
ordinance banning discrimination should
be reinstated or repealed. The ordinance
became the subject of much debate
because it extends protection to those dis-
criminated against on the basis of their
sexual orientation. In a country still strug-
gling against intolerance, this ordinance is
critical to insuring that all residents have
the same rights and opportunities. Voters
in Ypsilanti should vote in favor of rein-
stating the ordinance.
The anti-discrimination ordinance first
came into being last December, when the
Ypsilanti City Council unanimously
approved the measure. The ordinance lists
14 specific characteristics which receive
statutory protection. The inclusion of sexu-
al orientation in the ordinance upset many
city residents, triggering a drive to bring
the ordinance to a referendum vote. The
drive succeeded in gathering the necessary
number of signatures, culminating in the
ordinance's suspension and today's vote.

Crucial referendum
Ypsilanti votes on discrimination ordinance
As election day grew nearer last week, Sexual orientation is a deeply personal
the ordinance, and specifically the issue of issue that should not adversely affect a per-
gay rights, took center stage. In a late effort son's ability to live a peaceful, productive
to sway the vote, groups opposing the ordi- life. Without this ordinance, people may
nance held a highly publicized rally in have their sexuality - an extremely private
which a number of celebrities, including issue - used as a weapon against them. An
football star Reggie White, spoke out employer could conceivably learn that a gay
against the ordinance. The glitter of nation- employee is on the payroll, and then fire the
al fame accompanying the celebrities only individual for only that reason, regardless of
served to obscure the issue. the employee's previous track record. That
Sadly, ordinances such as the one at the the employee's sexuality is not a matter for
heart of this controversy remain necessary the employer's concern would make no dif-
today. Most people will not deny that ference.
America still wears some vestiges of the When Ypsilanti voters go to the polls
prejudice that permeates its past. Yet some of today, they should consider the importance
these same people cannot see that sexual ori- of their own private matters, whatever they
entation requires the same protection as may be, and imagine having those matters
many other characteristics which serve as a meddled with by outside forces. This
basis for discrimination. hypothetical violation of one's personal

life is of the same principle, but lesser
magnitude, as the violation people feel
when discriminated against because of
sexual orientation.
Also, when casting their vote
Ypsilanti residents should not allow the
recent celebrity influence to cloud their
judgment. The presence of famous nonres-
idents only represented opinions which
have no vote in today's election. People
may see someone of Reggie White's
stature and follow his lead, all the while
blinded by his fame as an athlete. Voters
must look within themselves and vote as
they feel is right. Those who are part of life
in Ypsilanti need to take the lead on c(
troversial issues instead of letting others
direct the dialog. In the future, Ypsilanti
should rely on its own voices.
Today is an important day in the histo-
ry of Ypsilanti. Voters should cast their
ballots to reinstate the anti-discrimination
ordinance and provide those whose rights
need protection with the ability to live in
peace and security.

Three strikes
Engler forgets his support of term limits
L ast week, Gov. John Engler began his after Engler leaves office. Engler sup-
10-day, 39-city tour entitled ported the Constitution, so his rejection
"Michigan First in the 21st Century Bus of an issue he recently advocated is all
Tour." With this tour, Engler officially the more unsettling.
begins his campaign to become A lack of support for issues he loudly
Michigan's governor for a third term, champions is nothing new. Engler often
Engler's decision to seek the governor's remarks on education, speaking of his
position contradicts a promise he made desire for Michigan to develop the best
eight years ago to serve only two terms. schools in the country. While he talks
For a political figure to maintain his or her about helping schools, Engler demon-
integrity, it is important that he or she fol- strates a generally unfriendly attitude
low through on campaign commitments. toward Michigan's educational systems.
Engler's latest change of mind illustrates Schools not meeting expectations on
the lack of integrity that prevents him standardized tests do not rouse Engler's
from being a commendable governor. help, and have met with threats of
Knowing the distaste people have had decreased furfding. Such a response is
for third terms since the days of George baffling, as a faltering school would only
Washington, Engler's campaign looks be hurt more when faced with less
upon his third term as necessary to con- money.
tinue the reforms he brought about in his Engler's 1.5-percent increase in fund-
previous terms. Engler says he used his ing to the University also shows his poor
first term to get the state back on track support of education. This increase is
after the disarray left over from Gov. Jim way down from levels of previous years.
Blanchard's era in office. The campaign The result will be felt heavily by the
portrays Engler's second term as a period University, and will result in larger
of reform. increases in tuition than in past years.
In making his promise eight years Higher education is necessary to produce
ago; Engler must have felt that politi- the skilled workers needed in the 21st
cians lose some of their effectiveness Century. Engler's stingy distribution of
after serving two terms in office. funding, affecting other public universi-
Campaigns focusing on term limits are ties in addition to the University,
not uncommon, especially against demonstrates an inability to properly rec-
incumbents. But a politician claiming ognize the steps needed for the state to
that term limits are necessary for govern- be competitive with others across the
ment to function optimally should country. ,
believe in his or her own message. With Engler's fickleness on key issues
his newly inaugurated campaign, Engler demonstrates a lack of personal integri-
apparently does not. ty. One with integrity knows the values
The state Constitution, passed in for which he or she stands, and does not
1996, contains a provision limiting gov- waver from them. Engler does not pos-
ernprs to two terms. This provision, sess this quality, so crucial for public
appropriately enough, will take effect servants.

A arch for meaning
MEAP test loses support of students
he Michigan Education Assessment actually evaluate no more than a student's
Program test is a familiar hurdle for capacity to take a particular test on a par-
high school juniors on their way to gradu- ticular day. They cannot provide a wholly
ation. Recently, many juniors have opted accurate picture of a student.
out of the test, in the belief that this par- Standardized tests will continue 4
ticular assessment holds no real meaning determine the academic fates of studen
for students and can only hurt their acade- They provide the most efficient way to
mic reputations. The state should take gain some understanding of a student's
measures to evaluate questions regarding abilities. But these tests must make cer-
the test's usefulness and should determine tain that all detrimental influences and
whether the test can be revised to benefit any hint of bias are removed. Only then
student interests. do these types of test serve a productive
By the time they reach their junior year purpose.
of high school, Michigan students are well The state must address aspects of the
acquainted with the MEAP test. Students MEAP test to make it advantageous to st
take MEAP tests in the fourth, fifth, sev- dents. Most importantly, there must beA
enth, and eighth grades before they attend clear reason for students to take the test.
high school. The I11th grade exam, for- The SAT and ACT are already the tests of
merly known as the High School choice when universities consider applica-
Proficiency Test, has a troubled recent his- tions from prospective students.
tory. Last year, a large number of students Employers are not inclined to look at the
in three separate districts received exemp- results of the MEAP test when considering
tions from their parents. In response, the a student's job application. That the MEAP
state initiated a large revision last year that is a free, school-provided test is an advan-
removed unpopular sections from the test. tage that the state should explore.
Perhaps the state did not do enough to Reformatting the test to provide students
improve the test, given the most recent with a supplement for the SAT or A
numbers of exemptions. would give students an incentive to take
Standardized tests like the MEAP bring the test. Of course, this test should be vol-
with them certain dangers. These tests are untary, along the lines of the PSAT (the
a necessary evil of the educational system. optional warm-up test for the SAT), and
The questionable reputation of standard- could perhaps include opportunities for
ized tests stems from a number of flaws students to earn scholarships for their fur-
exposed over the years that make the tests ther education. A test of higher stature
unfair towards some students. A well- than the current MEAP might also draw
known problem with tests of this type is the attention of employers, giving students
that they often demonstrate a cultural bias a further advantage.
that impairs the performance of some stu- Standardized tests are meant to serve
dents. Another fact often lost in test results student interests and provide an accurate
is that tests such as the MEAP only pro- reading of academic skills. In its current
vide a very general representation of a stu- form, the MEAP test does not possess the
dent's abilities. Standardized tests may qualities necessary to benefit students..

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