Letters to the Editor (Forum)

Math an important part of a good education

Inspired by 30 parents of 65th Evanston/Skokie school district (“Parents oppose plan to expand math offerings,” March 5), I would like to propose a crucial step further by just cancelling all middle school education. After all it is difficult on kids and teachers, and causes nothing other than stress negative emotions. Particularly geometry, I hated that subject to the fullest fibers of my young soul. Unfortunately I went to Russian middle school, and can you imagine such atrocity: They taught us poor kids this subject since fifth grade. Can you imagine what a 12-year-old kid can learn? He will know how to proof a theorem from basic sets of axioms, logical and creative thinking, ability to tackle each problem independently, god forbid this. And then what, our sons and daughters might potentially go on and become engineers and architects instead of Wall Street brokers or pop singers? How can we allow that? No, I’d rather see our future generation playing Wii, listening to iPods, watching MTV and drinking cola. How geometry can fit that list, I honestly do not understand. And shame on those parents who were trying to get their useless personal agenda on the school board list. What a waste of tax money.

There is one minor thing though; John Benson mentioned in the interview that “Geometry is a significantly different class than any other math class. In geometry, every problem is different.” Mr. Benson, maybe this is a technicality, but spending some time in graduate school, I came up to the conclusion that most scientific problems are different. So, I would love to invite you to Northwestern to listen to your interesting ideas, but I am not sure, whether the Graduate Student Association would sponsor your talk. You see, they are a bit biased towards education here. Luckily, 65th school district is not.

– aleksandr m. spokoynyy

2nd year Chemistry Graduate Student

DM inconsistent in its policies, alienates dancers

My partner and I worked for hours to raise $890 for Dance Marathon this year. We are happy that the money would be donated to Bear Necessities and the Evanston Community Foundation. We had all of our money by the deadline, and we even went to Target to purchase necessities for the 30-hour marathon. Unfortunately, my partner was forced out due to DM’s refusal to accommodate a conflict.

My partner plays the harp in the philharmonia concert this Sunday, and she has a rehearsal on Saturday afternoon. We assumed that DM would make an exception for her temporary leave due to many reasons, but primarily the fact that a previous dancer testimonial, which was printed on EMCEE magazine for dancers, mentioned how he was allowed to leave for his rehearsal for two hours and comeback to continue his marathon. If this testimony was printed on an official DM publication, then it would follow that DM would make an exception for my partner’s conflicting schedule.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. After several e-mails and office visits, DM would not make an exception for my partner’s temporary leave. The rehearsal is mandatory, and the concert is the most significant event for her. It should be also noted that the event is academically sponsored by the School of Music. We would like to note that we did not get an explicit notification regarding the strict policy until we asked. DM said that it was too much for a safety and liability hazard, which we understand on principle, but their decision leaves no choice but for my partner to not dance this year. As a loyal partner, I will not also dance in protest.

DM seems to be running inconsistent policy enforcement overall. They extended the mandatory money deadline for dancers, but they are not able to accommodate a two-hour leave. Granted, we are comparing money and safety, which are two different areas, but that does not follow that DM should arbitrarily be lenient on one policy while being strict on another. They said that they could not categorize which excuses were credible for temporary leave, so they decided to have zero tolerance policy this year. As a university-sponsored organization, can DM ignore unavoidable academic conflicts? If not, then I question why the university should support programs that make no room for academic accommodation for its members.

We are not here to criticize DM as an organization, but we are quite disappointed by its policy that ignores the basic common sense in accommodations. We wish the best for the sponsored charities and the fellow dancers, but please do remember that two qualified dancers will not be joining in the celebration.

– daniel shin

Weinberg sophomore

Former Daily Staffer