Monday, July 30, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Monday, July 30,M2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
Edited and managed by students at.
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
EDITOR IN CHIEF
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorialboard.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Trad1tion over success
Michigan shouldn't accept any Penn State football players
This past November, a tragedy came to light at Pennsylvania State
University so horrific that the NCAA issued a severe punishment.
The head coach and several high-ranking administrators stayed
silent when they knew about Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of young
boys. After the NCAA deducted future scholarships from the Penn State
football program, current players were given the option to immediately
break scholarship agreements and transfer from the program without
being forced to sit out a year. These players now must decide whether to
stay at their school or continue their football careers elsewhere. Universi-
ty football coach Brady Hoke stated that he will not recruit or accept any
Penn State football players, and this is a smart decision that will maintain
the University's distance from the Penn State tragedy.
Freshman year, the thought
of having an essay workshopped
in front of 15 other students in
terrified me. I
would sit at my
laptop and read
over my peers'
at how words
I had encoun-
tered - maybe
once in a Jane ADRIENNE
Austen novel ROBERTS
- were appar- -_BERTS_
ently a part of
lary. I felt as though my way of
speaking, and therefore my writ-
ing, paled in comparison.
After getting to know these stu-
dents throughout the semester, it
became apparent that they didn't
speak in18th-century English. They
talked like me. But if they wrote the
way they spoke, there would be a
few too many swear words, and
exclamation points would quickly
Not many people can get away
with writing like that. But it seems
as though many tend to veer to
the opposite end of the spectrum,
resulting in writing that sounds so
foreign that a dictionary is a nec-
essary companion for reading it. It
comes off as elitist.
In an article by Ryan Bloom in
The New Yorker, he describes how
"prescriptivism is currently the
dialect of power and being able to
manipulate that dialect can help
you get ahead." According to Bloom,
using our natural dialects in writing
is a worthy goal, but it isn't reality.
Big words, correct comma usage
and structurally sound sentences
are rewarded in college classes,
articles and so on.
He's right, Stylistically, most of
us conform to the standards we've
been taught since kindergarten.
And that's expected. But what's
scary is that we, asa society, reward
the writing with the most obscure
word and style choices.
For example, growing up, I
always thought Mitch Albom was a
flawless writer. I think it was most-
ly because of name recognition, but
it was also due to the fact that I felt
like crying after reading almost
any article written by him. A few
weeks ago, a coworker informed me
that he didn't like Albom's writing
because it was predictable and he
felt as though his emotions were
I was shocked to hear this, but
after reading one of his articles
again, I realized he had a point. I
wanted to cry because of the style
of the article, which consisted of
italicized, short and poignant sen-
tences combined with word choices
that wouldn't make appearances in
everyday conversation. This style of
,g eliti sm
writing is rewarded. Many consider
Mitch Albom to be a brilliant writer
- and he very well could be. But in
all honestly, no one speaks in ital-
ics while taking five-second pauses
between sentences. It's unnatural.
This style of writing can work really
well, but it shouldn't necessarily be
the best and only way to get your
don't write the
way they speak.
The problem with this is that
most students try to emulate writ-
ing of this kind. In my third grade
class, we had a project in which
we had to write a story and then
look in a thesaurus and change
some of our words. It caused me
to include the word "pungence"
in my story. And trust me, I don't
think I ever used the word = let
alone had any idea of what it even
meant - before stumbling upon
"pungence" in that thesaurus.
I stuck by that method for a
while. When my essay was being
workshopped in that first English
class at Michigan, I had a field day
with the Word Thesaurus tool, and
I can't imagine that the essay was
my best work.
It's a scary thought to write
exactly the way we speak when
grades and reputations are on the
line. We stick to what we know
works: smooth transitions, capital
letters and a rich vocabulary. That
probably won't change anytime
A small step to ending this so-
called "language elitism" is to
recognize that style doesn't neces-
sarily have to drive a piece of writ-
ing. Many of us - myself included
- are quick to love a writer or an
essay simply because we're awe-
struck at how much smarter the
writer sounds than us. It's unfortu-
nate because some ofcthe besteessays
and articles sound like the author is
having a casual conversation with
a friend. Rewarding great content
and stylistic risks is the first stop
to dethroning prescriptivism and
crowning natural dialects in the
And maybe, most importantly,
those well-placed italicized sen-
tences that evoke unnecessarytears
aren't a requirement for great writ-
- Adrienne Roberts can be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow
her on Twitter at @AdrRoberts.
From Page lA
Dynarski prepared a testimony
for the hearing.
In her testimony, she said the
goal of federal student aid and
education incentives is to help
people who are smart enough for
college but not wealthy enough to
pay tuition to afford their educa-
tion, adding that the programs at
the moment areinadequate.
"The current education tax
benefits do little to get more peo-
ple into college," Dynarski said.
"We should simplify and focus
the tax incentives and coordinate
them with the student aid pro-
Dynarski added that despite
growing tuition prices, education
still helps people find jobs.
"Even with record-high tuition
prices, a bachelor's degree pays for
itself several times over," Dynar-
However, she said college is
"unequal," despite becoming
attainable for some.
"Only 9 percent of children
born in the poorest quarter of
families earn a B.A.," Dynarski
said. "The figure is 54 percent, six
times larger, for those with the
Dynarski explained her worry
of this gap setting the country up
for a dim future.
"Growing education gaps
between the children of the rich
and the poor threaten this vision
of economic mobility," she said.
"We are in danger of devolving
into a rigid caste society where the
children of the poor are destined
for low education and menial
Dynarski said higher. educa-
tion reform can help reduce the
inequality, adding that earlier
educational institutions are an
important part as well.
"There is a role for post-second-
ary policy in shrinking these gaps
... (but) it is important to under-
stand the limits of post-second-
ary policy," Dynarski said. "Gaps
in educational attainment and
achievement start early."
Dynarski explained that the
Pell Grant and the American
Opportunity Tax Credit are the
flagships of the student aid and
.tax incentive programs, adding
that the Pell Grant is especially
useful because it directs its funds
toward the neediest students.
"Just 15 percent of Pell Grant
recipients have household
incomes above $40,000 per year,
and just 3 percent over 60,000,"
Dynarski added that both pro-
grams have doubled in size over
the last two years.
In her testimonial, she outlined
the reforms she thinks to be most
"The goals of reform should
be to focus the incentives on
those who are on the margin of
attending college, to simplify the
incentives so that families can
understand and respond to them
and to coordinate the programs,"
She wrote that merging the
Pell Grant and the American
Opportunity Tax Credit into a
single, refundable credit would
make the student aid process less
complex and would allow lower-
income families to receive better
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
attended the committee meeting
and said the bill he introduced on
Feb. 9 could help by forcing col-
leges and universities to release
important data that parents and
students can use to determine
which institution is the best value
Addressing this idea, Dynarski
said she thinks Wyden's bill would
do good, if passed.
"I think (Wyden's bill) would be
a great step forward to have uni-
fied, uniform info about gradua-
tion rates, about prices and about
employment rates and earnings
of graduates from institutions,"
Dynarski said. "The state of Flor-
ida has been doing this on its own,
using its own data systems, but
seeing a more uniform set of infor-
mation across the country would
be a great step."
Baucus said the committee
needed to find a way to simplify
the federal student aid programs,
which he thinks can be complex
and confusing for Americans.
"Under current law, there are
eight separate tax expenditures
related to higher education, and
these benefits use five different
definitions of 'eligible expenses,'
" he said. "Taxpayers must calcu-
late their taxes using each tax cut
to determine which one works
Baucus brought a chart - only
one page out of 87 dedicated to
how to obtain education tax cred-
its - to the committee thatshowed
the IRS questionnaire that fami-
lies use to determine if they are
available for education tax credits
like the American Opportunity
"Based on the complexity of
this guide, one would think the "
IRS expected all of America's
future students to want to major
in accounting," Baucus said. "The
Government Accountability Office
will tell us today how this com-
plexity affects families. They have
found that many families often
pick the wrong benefit and leave
money on the table."
Baucus said reform is essential
for the U.S. education system to do
its job properly.
"We need to make the system
simpler for families, and we '
should improve these benefits for
students. Through tax reform,
we need to look at how we can
achieve the greatest bang for
our buck," Baucus said. "Our
entire system should work to
help, not hinder, the pursuit of an
On Friday, the Big Ten held its
annual preseason media days to
discuss the upcoming football
season. Hoke stated, "It really is
a situation that we'd rather stay
out of." The current Michigan
football team has a chemistry
that he doesn't want to disrupt.
Hoke added that he wants to let
the Michigan team handle its own
business and let the Penn State
players handle their business at
their university. Conversely, other
coaches from various schools
were open to accepting former
Penn State football players.
Penn State University suf-
fered a monumental tragedy, and
the University doesn't need to
exacerbate the situation in any
way. While it is understandable
that the players would want to
leave and have the opportunity
to take their talents elsewhere,
Michigan should stay completely
isolated from the situation. The
entire Michigan community -
especially the football team -
empathizes with the Penn State
football team, but distance is
needed in this situation.
been working toward this upcom-
ing season since the Sugar Bowl
ended in early January. Building
character, developing plays and
generating a winning team for the
2012-13 season are Hoke's goals
for his team. Adding new players
this late in the off-season would
disrupt the camaraderie of the
team, especially as players arrive
fresh from a tumultuous experi-
ence at Penn State.
The Michigan tradition and the
process of becoming a Michigan
Man is instilled in these young
men the instant they step on cam-
pus as freshmen. It's important
that Michigan respects other
schools and continues the Michi-
gan tradition. Penn State is fac-
ing a very intense punishment
- taking players away from their
team would be contradictory to
the tradition on which Michigan
prides itself. Hoke is widely dis-
playing respect for both Michigan
and Penn State by maintaining
the culture of his football team
and not interfering with the Penn
Hoke did admit that there are
some talented players on Penn
State's team that could help
Michigan's team, but transfer-
ring them from Penn State to
Michigan is not worth the cul-
tural sacrifice of the team. "No
man is more important than the
team," Bo Schembechler famous-
ly declared in his 1983 speech
called "The Team". Michigan
isn't a place that sacrifices its cul-
ture and tradition for success.