The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on October 14, 1991 · Page 12
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 12

Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue Date:
Monday, October 14, 1991
Page 12
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A-12Comment THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER Monday, October 14, 1991 THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER WILLIAM J. KEATING Chairman and Publisher GEORGE R. BLAKE Editor, Vice President THOMAS E. DUNNING Managing Editor THOMAS S. GEPHARDT Associate Editor DARRYLW. EVERETT Vice President, Advertising WILLIAM R. JOHNSTON Vice President, Circulation MARK S. MIKOIAJCZYK Vice President, Production JAMES A. SCHWARTZ Vice President, Finance GERALD T. SILVERS Vice President, Marketing Services A Gannett Newspaper auHftecQlini ' Jti I Cincinnati schools Tougher job market demands tougher course requirements them to be," Mr. Brandt said. "We cannot just pay lip service to the idea higher academic standards. We're not going to see test scores climb until students spend more time in more challenging courses." " Wl KNW.WM Kl(W(NS5TJIEClPWAR. Racial Justice Act necessary ' L purpose. The act in its present form would not abolish the death penalty. Cases would not have to be relitigated because no convictions would be set aside; only death sentences would be set aside. The challenge would have to be initiated by the defendant, and the comparison would have to be to essentially similar cases. The state could prevail in rebuttal through a mere "preponderance of the evidence." The state would have to challenge the validity of a particular study only once, and it could mount this challenge before having to offer any evidence in rebuttal. The government can also submit its own data. Under the act as presently written (this was not true of some earlier versions), the states are not required to keep any particular records but only to make available to defendants and researchers relevant records already kept. Jury of peers? In the meantime, as of Sept. 25, 154 Americans have suffered the death penalty since a 1976 ruling by the Supreme Court allowed the states to resume capital punishment. On July 22, 1991, Andrew Lee Jones, a black man, was executed in Louisiana's electric chair. He had been convicted and sentenced by an all-white jury for his crimes. "A jury of his peers?" his lawyer asked. . Under Title VII, the Supreme Court has held that a system that produces discriminatory results is not acceptable even though the intent was not discriminatory. All fair-minded citizens agree that no one should be executed under a sentence that was not imposed in a racially neutral way. The problem is how to prove bias in a particular case. The provisions of the Racial Justice Act, as proposed, will go a long way toward solving this problem. Cincinnati School Superintendent J. Michael Brandt's plan to toughen graduation requirements is on the mark. By every index, from test scores to what business leaders say, those requirements should be tough er. This is a new era, one demanding men and women better equipped for a work force with fewer jobs for the unskilled or poorly educated. Thankfully, Mr. Brandt recognizes that in his proposed increase in math, science and social studies for students as a requirement for their diplomas. He would also increase to one year Brandt from one-half year the fine-arts requirement for graduation. Clearly graduates need to be well-rounded, and the fine arts help. Mr. Brandt's proposal to raise to three years from two the math, science and social-studies requirement means students will have fewer elec-tives or less idleness. But they would have more of the academic substance to prepare them for today's and tomorrow's more sophisticated work-places. "We cannot keep ignoring that (test) scores are not where we want Savings Investments are as rate regularly Needed: A new Ben Franklin to help restore the nation's sagging savings. The 3.7 U.S. personal-savings rate, as of July, for example, was a sharp drop from May's 5.2 rate and a far cry from the 6.5 average after World War II. A savings rate too high would hurt the economy. People have to spend to keep production lines and the service sector humming. But savings are essential for investment capital. The fewer funds to borrow, the higher interest rates and,, consequently, the tighter housing and other markets. With interest rates too high, many industries fail to expand or modernize. But won't the aging baby-boom population, huge as it is, increase the savings rate? Middle-aged wage earners, after all, normally save at the highest rates. Senior citizens, by contrast, spend more on average than they earn, whether in Social Security, pension or other funds. A New York Times analysis shows, however, that aging boomers are likely to lower savings rates traditional to those in the 40-to-50 range. Rising birth rates among women in their 30s is one reason. Some women f ' of Every Cincinnati high school student will continue to have to pass four years of English to graduate a year more than the state requires. The Ohio Department of Education, in fact, is behind the times, also requiring only two years each of math and social studies and, oddly, a mere year of science. reforms Governor Voinovich The wants should clearly embrace more relevant requirements for graduation. This is not the day for "at ease" education. Smaller or poorer school districts should consolidate, if necessary, to attain the resources to shape them up. Mr. Brandt says his plan for tougher graduation requirements doesn't depend on passage of the 9.83-mill levy Nov. 5. But he acknowledges it would help. Clearly, more funds would. It is yet another reason for the levy to pass. squeezed dips lower may even be 40 or older when they bear their first child. Such mothers and their spouses will have to continue supporting their children well into their 50s and, in some cases, beyond. Another factor affecting savings is the leveling off of the proportion of women in the work force, and signs some are leaving jobs to devote more time to their children. When a two-earner family loses a breadwinner, there is obviously less to save. Some baby boomers may save less simply because they haven't been taught or otherwise motivated to save. They lack memories of the Great Depression. Most probably haven't heard first-hand accounts of the 1930s. They may also assume another such depression too remote to concern them. Another major problem is that too few governmental bodies, at any level, pay more than lip service to the need to economize. The federal government alone claims about 25 of the nation's income. Ben Franklin would surely say that's too much. Too bad he is not around to say it, while encouraging Americans, generally, to save more. Anyone who tries to work a half-day without breakfast can attest to the difficulty of doing so. What breakfast should consist of may differ with individuals. It certainly differs from country to country. In America, breakfast may mean just juice and a bowl of cereal, especially for those watching cholesterol levels. In Switzerland, cheese, as well as cereal, is common. Germany typically offers a meat assortment, along with cheese and often a boiled egg as well as cereal. But even weight-watchers shouldn't miss breakfast. While it may have some reserve, the body, including the mind, doesn't work well on low fuel. BY MIRIAM ZAFREN Guest Columnist During the current session of Congress, legislators will again be considering the Racial Justice Act, which seeks to ensure that capital punishment will no longer be meted out in a racially biased fashion. Surprisingly, this does not primarily mean that blacks are executed for their crimes more often than whites, although there is evidence that this is so in some localities. For example, in Philadelphia, a single judge is responsible for sentencing twenty-six people to death. Only two of them were white. In our country racial bias in carrying out the death penalty primarily means that killers of whites are sentenced to death significantly more often than killers of blacks, although blacks are murder victims at a rate about six times that of whites. On Sept. 6, 1991, a white man was put to death in South Carolina for killing a black, the first time this had happened in the United States since 1944! And this man had already been convicted of nine other murders, obviously a very aggravated case. What is the message being sent? Inescapably, it seems to be: white lives are worth more than blacks lives. Georgia study How does a situation like this come about? One large well-controlled study (over 2,500 homicide cases, controlled for 230 non-racial factors) covered the state of Georgia. The author of this study concludes that the main reason for the disparity is that prosecutors are unduly influenced by the race of the victim when deciding whether to charge defendants with capital crimes, whether to seek the death penalty, and whether to accept guilty pleas. Of the 14 people executed in Georgia in the 1980s, 12 were executed for killing whites. Prosecutors in some jurisdictions use all their peremptory challenges to exclude blacks from the jury, especially if the defendant is black. In peremptory challenges no reason or justification for the challenge need be given. The result in one Georgia district was that more Smashing WASHINGTON: In recent weeks we have heard a great deal about the dismal prospects of the United States in the next century. Our high school students fare poorly in international competition. Their Scholastic Aptitude Test scores are dismal. Everything is getting soft, and the country is going to the bow-wows. Maybe so, but a couple of reports from the U.S. Department of Labor suggest that not all is lost. American employers, for the most part, are overlooking a resource that could make a tremendous difference over the next 40 years. They are ignoring women. This is a thoroughly dumb thing to do. An August report on the "glass ceiling" in business and industry was well-publicized. An earlier report by Clifford Adelman, "Women at Thirtysomething," provides an abundance of facts to support the thesis. For a variety of reasons, well-qualified women tend to rise to a certain executive level and there they stop. Artificial barriers The glass-ceiling study looked closely at nine Fortune 500 companies. These were scattered across the United States. They ranged in size from 8,000 employees to more than 300,000 employees, but they showed an identical pattern. Within these companies, qualified women run into artificial barriers that prevent them from advancing to top positions. Some of the barriers are organizational. Most top executive jobs are filled from within, and most promotions depend heavily on tenure. Typically, a high-ranking executive will have served 25 years with the company. Promotions also depend upon the nature of a candidate's experience: Work in sales or production The proposed act would allow the use of valid statistics as evidence of significant racial bias. J J than half the blacks sentenced to death were tried by all-white juries. There are quite a few other studies and compilations of data that lead to essentially the same conclusion: there is a pattern of significant racial bias with respect to death sentencing. Some is definitely based on race-of-victim; in some localities race-of-defendant is also a factor. Whether one is for or against the death penalty, there is no possible justification for allowing it to be applied in a racially discriminatory way. Yet, in 1987, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of Warren McCleskey, a black man from Georgia, despite overwhelming evidence of racial bias in that state's criminal-justice system. McCleskey had been convicted of killing a white Atlanta police officer. The court did not dispute the evidence of racial bias, but said that evidence of disparate racial impact cannot be used in a death-penalty case, under present laws, to prove the purposeful racial discrimination necessary to make out a claim directly under the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment which states, "No State shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." This amendment was adopted in 1868, just a few years after the Civil War. Justice Lewis Powell, writing for the majority, stated, "McCleskey's arguments are best presented to the legislative bodies." McCleskey was executed on Sept. 25. Enter the Racial Justice Act. The proposed act would allow the use of valid statistics as evidence of significant racial bias in the imposition of the death penalty in a particular case. This is its whole the 'glass James J. Kilpatrick counts for more than achievement in research or public relations. Networking is a practice that works against women; this is the informal system by which top jobs result from word-of-mouth referrals. There is a network of old boys, but not of old girls. Many large corporations depend upon executive committees at lower levels of management; if women are not named to these committees, they lose the experience that goes into promotions and raises. Other barriers are attitudinal. Sexual stereotypes persist. Justice William Bren-nan described them two years ago in the case of Ann B. Hopkins of Price Water-house. After five years with the company, she was a candidate for promotion to partner. Thirteen of her evaluations were excellent; she had landed a fat contract for the firm, her work was outstanding, and so on. But "on too many occasions Hopkins' aggressiveness apparently spilled over into abrasiveness." She was criticized for being brusque, profane, unduly harsh, difficult to work with; in sum, she was a "macho" woman. One partner was full of helpful advice: If she wanted to make partner, she should walk, talk and dress "more femininely," put on some makeup, get her hair done. Justice Brennan saw catch-22. Under this intolerable and impermissible ap 7 Nutrition Breakfast provides needed fuel for a busy and productive day Miriam Zafren is vice president of the Cincinnati chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and secretary of the board of the ACLU of Ohio. She has been a resident of Cincinnati since 1951. ceiling' proach, women are "out of a job if they behave aggressively and out of a job if they don't." Whatever the causes, the evidence is clear. In the admittedly limited sample of the glass-ceiling study, only 6.6 of top executives were women. In Charleston, S.C., two women reporters for the Post-Courier took a look locally. At South Carolina Electric & Gas, only one of 18 top executives is a woman. At publicly owned Santee Cooper, women held two of 11 top spots. At South Carolina National Bank, the score was two of 40. At the College of Charleston, two of 13. Higher achievements Are women, as a class, less qualified? The Adelman study looked at the high school class of 1972 and followed graduates for 14 years. Both in high school and in college, women's academic performance was superior to men's. Women went on to college at the same rate as men; they won more scholarships, completed degrees faster and had higher grade-point averages. Their achievements in mathematics were notably higher than men's. Why aren't these findings reflected in the executive suite? The defensive response of management is that in time, they will be reflected. Women will be brought increasingly into lower management levels, and will be pushed toward the top. "Yeah," says the vice president of my own corporation, with a small note of weariness in her voice, "they've been saying that for years." James J. Kilpatrick is a Washington-based, nationally syndicated columnist. Miss breakfast? Do so, and you miss the day's most important meal, says the U.S. Agriculture Department. But the department got into a flap over breakfast, thanks to a Consumer Reports article saying the agency "doesn't even recommend that adults eat breakfast." Quite to the contrary, says Sue Ann Ritchko, administrator of the department's Human Nutrition Information Center. Ms. Ritchko noted that a department brochure urges that everyone eat breakfast. "Eat something just juice is better than nothing," it says. The brochure also points out that the very word "breakfast" means "you've been fasting all night and it's time to start refueling your body for the big day ahead."

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