Thursday, February 7, 2002

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

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The Daily Gazette
Swarthmore College
Thursday, February 7, 2002
Volume 6, Number 74

Our email address: daily@swarthmore.edu

Photo of the day: http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/daily/spring/photo.html

NEWS IN BRIEF

1) Alum working “to make an impact”
with TFA

2) World news roundup

3) Campus events

SPORTS IN BRIEF

1) Robinson sets school record; women’s basketball
triumphs over Johns
Hopkins in double overtime thriller

2) Men’s basketball falls to Hopkins

3) World sports roundup

4) Today’s and tomorrow’s contests

WEATHER FORECAST

Today: Rain and snow in the morning, occasional showers in
the afternoon.
High near 45.
With less than a month to go before Screw, everyone seems
strangely calm and
unconcerned.

Tonight: Partly cloudy. Low near 31.
The first-years in particular are so laid-back about the whole
thing that it
reminds me of this farm picture I saw once.

Tomorrow: Sunny. Highs in the upper 40s.
It was really cute – with happy cows and smiling farmers and
everything. Of
course, they were on their way to the slaughterhouse….

TODAY’S SHARPLES MENU

Lunch: Chicken pot pie, homemade bisquits, baked pasta with
spinach,
vegetable ragout, spinach, vegetable blend, fajita bar

Dinner: Beef stroganoff, buttered noodles, garden burgers,
tofu creole,
succotash, vegetable blend, patty grilla bar

NEWS REPORT

1) Alum working “to make an impact”
with TFA

by Jeremy Schifeling
Sports Editor

Kevin Huffman ’92 is your typical Swat alum. He was an English
major. He
went to law school. And of course, he wants to change the
world. But
here’s the amazing thing: He’s actually doing it!

Huffman is the Vice President of Development and General
Counsel for Teach
for America, the non-profit organization that places thousands
of recent
college grads in teaching positions throughout the country’s
underserved
school districts. He was on campus yesterday to recruit for
TFA and spoke
about his experience with the program, its goals and controversies,
and the
effect of his Swat education on his current pursuits.

Huffman, like many seniors, longed “to make an impact
right out of college.”
Having spent a semester in Chile, where he gained some tutoring
experience,
Huffman initially thought that he might like to teach English
abroad.
However, he was accepted by TFA – at that point a fledging
3-year old
organization – and found himself teaching a bilingual 1st-grade
class in
inner-city Houston.

“It was fantastic,” says Huffman. “There was
an enormous sense of both
pressure and possiblity,” referring to the importance
of quality elementary
education in a system that often fails students later down
the line. He
mentions that despite a mediocre pre-service training program,
he was able
to deal with these pressures thanks to “a great support
network – all these
other people who were living and breathing the academic achievement
of their
kids.”

Huffman ended up staying in Houston past his two-year commitment,
after
connecting with the people and neighborhood he had come to
know so well. “I
became deeply entrenched in the community, more than I had
ever been before
or since.” Eventually he would go on to NYU Law School
and later to the DC
firm of Hogan & Hartson, where he would practice education
law, but his
life-changing experience with TFA was not forgotten, and he
returned to the
organization in his current capacity in 2000.

As the VP of Development, Huffman has ambitious plans for
the program, which
is now entering its 12th year. He is attempting to triple
recruitment
within three year’s time by borrowing tactics from corporate
recruiters to
help go after “the campus superstars.” However,
he still bemoans society’s
priorities in this area: “It seems crazy that if you
want to be an
investment banker and make a lot of money, then people will
fly you around
and take you out to dinner, and if you want to be a teacher,
you have to
invest an incredible amount of time and energy jumping through
a whole lot
of hoops just to figure out what you have to do. It just doesn’t
make
sense.” But, Huffman feels that President Bush’s recent
emphasis on
community service may encourage more students to consider
TFA. “We’re
heartened to see a call to action,” he says.

Additionally, TFA is looking to increase accountability in
the classrooms,
measure its teachers’ performances, and do more to have a
“significant
impact on leveling the playing field.” The program is
also hoping to
capitalize on its extensive alumni network, which is 7,000
people strong at
this point. While 60% of TFA alums are still involved in education,
Huffman
thinks that the other 40% are equally as vital in producing
social change.
Ultimately, he hopes that alumni are both teachers and politicians,
principals and CEOs, so that the organization can spread its
message
throughout all of society and “network people together
in reform movements.”

Despite TFA’s broad ambitions, it still faces much criticism
from
established teacher-training programs as well as respected
education
writers, such as Linda Darling-Hammond. The program’s opponents
say that it
doesn’t prepare its corps members well enough, de-professionalizes
teaching,
and ultimately, does a disservice to the kids it’s trying
to help. In
response, Huffman cites a number of studies which show sponsoring
principals’ satisfaction with TFA teachers compared to other
beginning
teachers, a high retention rate within the program, and the
strong
performance of children taught by TFA staff. He also is quick
to point out
that though his training experience a decade ago was insufficient
for his
needs in the classroom, the pedagogy behind the training has
been revamped
since then and the five-week orientation now includes much
more real-world
experience. “I think the evidence is pretty compelling
that our corps
members are effective teachers,” he says, noting though,
that the divide
between the two groups is more of an ideological conflict
than a debate over
statistical results.

Speaking about the influence of his Swarthmore experience
on his post-grad
life, Huffman says, “I think having a liberal arts background,
long-term, is
just so helpful, even if people feel the pinch in the short-term.”
He
particularly sympathizes with the current crop of seniors,
graduating into
an uncertain world with a shrinking economy. “I feel
everyone’s pain
because I graduated in ’92 – which was really the last recessionary
time –
and at my graduation people had taped to the backs of their
hats: ‘Will work
for food.'”

Morevover, he feels that Swarthmore’s philosophy meshes well
with that of
TFA. “I genuinely believe that there’s such a great overlap
between the
ethos and drive of Swarthmore and the ethos and drive of TFA.
It’s just a
great fit… When I left Swarthmore, I remember thinking ‘Will
I ever be
around a group of people with the same values and the same
drive?’ and I
felt exactly that way at TFA too.”

So, in encouraging more Swatties to apply (only 1-3 per year
have joined the
corps in recent memory), Huffman makes no bones about the
challenges and
rewards of Teach for America. “It’s a chance to be a
leader and to make an
impact at a young age – to not take a back-seat but to be
driving something
tangible that’s impacting people positively… And yet, it’s
an incredibly
hard job with very intense training.

“When I think about the things in my life, including
going to law school, or
being a lawyer, nothing has been as hard as teaching first-grade…
but I
also don’t know that anything has ever been as rewarding.
I don’t think
that anything else has given me such a tangible sense that
I made a
difference.”

*****

2) World news roundup

* CIA Director George Tenet testified before the Senate Intelligence
Committee yesterday, responding to congressional critics who
assailed his
agency for failing to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks. Tenet
explained that it
was impossible for intelligence to provide “100 percent
predictive
capability on terrorist events.” He also warned congressmen
that Osama bin
Laden’s al Qaeda network is still intact and is continuing
to plot new
attacks, possibly with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

* Vice President Cheney is scheduled to visit the Middle
East this March,
travelling to 11 states, including Israel and four of Iraq’s
neighbors. It
is expected that Cheney will speak with the leaders of Saudi
Arabia, Jordan,
Turkey and Kuwait about the next phase of America’s war on
terrorism, which
may involve attacking Iraq – one of the three nations that
President Bush
aligned with the “axis of evil” he described in
his State of the Union
address. However, Cheney’s aide would not identify the VP’s
role in
mediating a peace between Israel and Palestine, saying that
he neither plans
to meet with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat nor bring
a new Middle East
peace plan.

* Allied Irish Banks, the largest bank in Ireland, alleged
yesterday that a
currency trader working for a Baltimore subsidiary stole $750
million from
the company by forging documents to cover trading losses.
The suspect, John
Rusnak, met with the FBI and federal prosecutors Wednesday
afternoon but has
yet to be charged. News of the theft sent shockwaves through
European
stockmarkets, driving financial stocks down, while Allied
Irish’s stock fell
16 percent with the scandalous revelation.

*****

3) Campus events

Co/Motion Meeting
Kohlberg 115, 12:40 p.m.

Arnold Dresden Mathematics and Statistics Lecture
Kohlberg 115, 4:00 p.m.

“The Well-Informed Starling: Ecological, Social, and
Cognitive Factors”
by Animal Behavior Candidate Jennifer Templeton, Knox College
Kirby Lecture Hall – Martin, 4:15 p.m.

“Text as Artifact: Traces of Ritual Action in Homeric
Narrative”
by John Garcia, Classics Job Candidate
Trotter 203, 4:15 p.m.

Job Search 101 Workshop
Trotter 301, 4:15 p.m.

“Written Law and Justice in Yemeni Muslim Court”
by Brinkley Messick, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University
Scheuer Room – Kohlberg, 4:30 p.m.

Co/Motion Information Session
Kohlberg 115, 7:20 p.m.

Hong Kong Movie Night: “Once Upon a Time in China”
SCCS Lounge – Basement of Tarble, 7:30 p.m.

*****

SPORTS UPDATE

1) Robinson sets school record; women’s
basketball triumphs over Johns
Hopkins in double overtime thriller

Katie Robinson ’04 scored 40 points, a new Swarthmore record,
to lead the
women’s basketball team to an 85-82 victory in double overtime
over Johns
Hopkins in Baltimore last night. In addition to leading the
team in
scoring, Robinson pulled down 17 rebounds and had a career-high
eight
steals. Heather Kile ’02 scored 25 points and had 14 rebounds,
while Ali
Furman ’03 added 10 points toward the Garnet’s win. The team
now has an
overall record of 17-5 and is 10-2 in the Centennial Conference.

*****

2) Men’s basketball falls to Hopkins

The men’s team was also in Baltimore last night but did not
fare so well as
the women, falling 69-56 to the Blue Jays. David Pearce ’03
and Matt
Gustafson ’05 led the team with 17 points apiece, while Kyle
Lewis ’02 and
Blair Haxel ’05 each scored 10 points. The men’s record now
stands at 5-17,
1-9 in the Conference.

*****

3) World sports roundup

* Baseball’s player’s association is filing a grievance against
the league’s
owners, claiming that their attempts to contract have depressed
the
free-agent labor market during the offseason, forcing the
players to choose
less lucrative contracts. The players contend that the uncertainty
created
by contraction talks have made teams unwilling to deal, and
with the loss in
demand has come a fall in salaries. The owners have responded
to this
grievance by saying that contraction is their prerogative
and that they must
only negotiate over the effects of contraction, not contraction
itself.
However, grievances filed by players in the mid-80’s, claiming
that owners
colluded to not sign free agents, ultimately cost the bosses
$280 million
when an arbitrator ruled on the claim in 1991.

* Imagine the pre-season odds against this: By beating the
Lakers last night
, 97-89, the Chicago Bulls have now swept the two-game season
series. All
this, despite the fact that the Lakers are the two-time defending
champions
while the Bulls had the league’s worst record last season,
an ignominious
distinction that they still claim this year. The Bulls’ cause
was certainly
aided by the absence of Shaquille O’Neal from the Lakers’
lineup due to foot
pains. However, Marcus Fizer played well for Chicago, scoring
21, while
teammate Brad Miller contributed 12 points and nine boards
in the most
unlikely of repeat victories.

* Three-time Olympic medal winner Amy Peterson has been selected
to carry
America’s flag during the opening ceremonies of the upcoming
Winter
Olympics. The short-track speedskater has been in every Olympics
since
1988, and will lead the US contingent into the ceremony on
Friday night in
Salt Lake City. Jim Shea Jr., competing in the new skeleton
competition,
will take the athlete’s oath for America. He represents the
third
generation in his family to compete in the Winter Games.

*****

4) Today’s and tomorrow’s contests

Today:
Badminton at Bryn Mawr, 7:00 p.m.

Tomorrow:
There are no contests scheduled for tomorrow.

*****

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction
being written today.”
–Herman Wouk

*****
.
Interested in reporting or writing for the Gazette?
Got a news or sports tip for us?
Just want to tell us what you think?

Contact the Editorial Board at daily@swarthmore.edu

Editorial Board

News Editors: Karla Gilbride
Pei Pei Liu
Sports Editor: Jeremy Schifeling
Photo Editor: Casey Reed

Staff Writers
News Reporters: Mary Harrison
Evelyn Khoo
Sanggee Kim
Natacha Pascal
Kent Qian
Alexis Reedy
Chiara Ricciardone

Sportswriters: Muhsin Abdur-Rahman
Shavaugn Lewis
Pat Quinn

The Daily Gazette is published Monday through Friday by an
independent
group of Swarthmore College students. The Daily Gazette Web
Site is updated
regularly, as news happens. Technical support from the Swarthmore
College
Computer Society is gratefully acknowledged.

Our world news roundup is compiled daily, using a variety
of sources, most
notably the Associated Press (www.ap.org), Reuters (www.reuters.com),
CNN
(www.cnn.com), and The New York Times (www.nytimes.com). Our
world sports
roundup is derived mostly from ESPN (www.espn.com).

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This concludes today’s report.