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May 29, 2012 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2012-05-29
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4

Tuesday, May.29, 2012
The Michigan Daily -michigandaily.com

PAUL STROMBERG I
"FM" freedom

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

JACOB AXELRAD
EDITOR IN CHIEF

GIACOMO BOLOGNA
MANAGING EDITOR

ADRIENNE ROBERTS
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All othersigned articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Educate the governor
Snyder is making Michigan a dreary state for teachers
As students graduate from the University of Michigan School of
Education and look for teaching jobs here in Michigan, pros-
pects can seem dim. During his term as governor of Michigan,
Rick Snyder has increased funding for unregulated charter schools,
while reducing teachers' salaries and making teachers pay for their
pensions. The state of Michigan, and specifically Governor Snyder,
needs to seriously consider what they want from their school system in
order to encourage talented students to become teachers, as the quality
of public education in Michigan is at stake.

A few years ago, while watching
TV, a commercial came on for a car,
maybe a Chevy, although the car
itself isn't that important. About
halfway through the ad, without
really understanding what came
overume, I began to cry, an act not
too uncommon. Ask many of my
close friends and they'll tellyou just
how much pride I take in my crying
ability. What was unique about this
time, however, was not that I was
crying tears of joy over a commer-
cial, but that my overwhelming joy
had been stirred up by Ray Charles
singing "America the Beautiful."
How this car company obtained
the rights to Ray Charles's rendi-
tion I may never understand. But
what I do understand, after lots of
self-reflection, is from that moment
on I became a patriot.
I wasn't raised to be particularly
patriotic; in fact, a few of my fam-
ily members are very anti-Amer-
ican, or "anti-colonial," as my
grandmother liked to say. I have
no delusions about how perfect
our government is or how morally
superior our history has been. I
don't even think our country has
any superior qualities that set it
apart from any other country. I
just love America like a mother
loves a newborn child, uncondi-
tionally and withoutna necessarily
good reason. The annoying thing
about unconditional love is that
if there is something I don't like
about the U.S., I am either forced
to ignore it or change it, because I
sure as hell can't leave it. Because
of my obligation to our country I
decided to write this article, not to
shamelessly promote the best stu-
dent organization on campus, but
to fix this country in the only way
I know how.
Ask people what they love about
America and most would probably
say freedom or guns, but my opin-
ion on the latter wouldn't allow
me to talk about radio. If you're
wondering how freedom is related
to radio, it's probably because you
have never had the privilege of lis-
tening to WCBN-FM, Michigan's
local, student-run radio station.
If you stop reading here you may
feel deceived. "Hey, I thought you
said you were not going to shame-
lessly promote anything." Yes, you
caught me. I did say it wouldn't
be shameless, but by not doing my

part to promote WCBN, I would
be doing a great disservice to the
Michigan student body and all Ann
Arbor citizens who love freedom.
WCBN is the pinnacle of freedom
at Michigan. It's something that
results in probably the most eclectic
and interesting station in our entire
state, although this is not saying
much as Michigan radio is notori-
ously uninteresting. If you disagree,
it's likely you don't know what good
radio sounds like, or maybe your
idea of good radio is hearing the
same music on repeat. Most radio
stations are owned by media giants
that play just enough variety to keep
people listening. In fact, 80 percent
of radio playlists match. Does this
sound like freedom to you? What is
the point of having so many options
when most of these options are
indistinguishable from one anoth-
er? This is where WCBN comes in.
Few stations do what our station
does in terms of playlist originality
and the promotion of fledgling art-
ists.
Individuality in radio is at stake.
Without the few independent sta-
tions that still exist, like WCBN,
the musical landscape could quick-
ly turn stale. If you think your
favorite types of music are safe
from this, you would be wrong. All
artists start somewhere, and even
huge stars like Lady Gaga have to
be promoted by small venues and
independent stations before they
make it big. If stations like WCBN
disappear, the music world will be
overwhelmed with the same bad
Disney songs that have been haunt-
ing me since elementary school.
There is still hope. If you love
music like I do, you must support
WCBN-FM. Listen, call in to the
station and tell us how good we
sound, and come to the amazing
events we put on. Doing something
to show support will impact our
station because, unlike other stu-
dent organizations, we can be shut
down. That's right. The regents at
the University of Michigan have
the ability to sell our frequency -
88.3 - to make a quick buck, but
you can prevent all that. Help me
save my favorite country by pre-
venting the death of radio.
Paul Stromberg is a LSA junior.

On May 15, Governor Snyder
signed into law legislation that
will lift the cap on cyber charter
schools from two to five. The cap
will further increase as time goes
on, allowing 10 by 2014 and 15
thereafter. Cyber charter schools
are funded by public money, thus
traditional public schools will
receive less funding. The state
House of Representatives will
also be voting soon on a plan that
requires public school teachers to
pay four to seven percent of their
pension costs.
By lifting the cap on cyber
charter schools, Snyder is using
public money to fund an experi-
mental type of schooling that has
not yet been proven effective, nor
does it operate under the stan-
dards of public schools. For-profit
companies own the cyber char-
ter schools in Michigan. Ronald
Packard, chief executive of K12
- an online education organiza-
tion - owns one charter school
in Michigan and was paid $5 mil-

lion in 2011. It can be reasonably
assumed that companies who
have a profit at stake may view
educating children as a lower
priority. Snyder is essentially
handing away public dollars to
an online education program that
has yet to be proven beneficial for
students.
On Dec. 21, 2011, Snyder lifted
the cap on all charter schools.
While this policy opens up jobs
for new graduates in the charter
school system, charter schools
on average pay a lower salary
than public schools. Most teach-
ers, therefore, want to work in
the public school system. Public
school teaching jobs, however,
are decreasing as Snyder contin-
ues to fund the opening of more
and more charter schools with
taxpayer dollars. If Snyder wishes
to attract the best and brightest"
into the teaching field, continu-
ously reducing teachers' salaries
is not the best way to accomplish
this.

As if the outlook for teachers
didn't already appear dismal, the
Michigan House may pass a bill
that requires teachers to pay more
toward their own pension. Teach-
ers who currently pay nothing
would have to pay 4 percent and
those currently paying between 3
and 6.4 percent would have to pay
7 percent. This is an unfair policy
that only serves to take money
from a group of public employees
who are often overworked and
underpaid.
Teaching is a valuable profes-
sion and a great career option
for many students. With these
new and potentially detrimen-
tal changes, however, Snyder
is making the teaching profes-
sion look less and less desirable.
For the sake of students' educa-
tion and teachers' jobs, Snyder
must reevaluate his changes to
the school system and seriously
consider if cutting public-school
funds is really a wise idea.

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