In order to comply with the new forced limits on grains, protein, sodium and fats; schools have begun to act silly. For example Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Lexington, MA has removed its SALAD BAR!!! One would assume that salad is healthy however not the government. Being afraid that the school could not control the portions of protein or grains the students would take out of the salad bar, they decided to remove it all together. In Shrewsbury, MA they decided croutons on a salad added too much grains to the meal so they banned them. Also on the Shrewsbury hit list and now banned from their salad bar are hard-boiled eggs and turkey slices because the nanny state can not regulate how much protein one will take. Whole-wheat pasta salad is also a no-no because the nanny state says that kids may get too many grains. After all of this Shrewsbury silliness, the school system brought in $10,000 less in September 2012 lunch sales than in the same month 2011.
After the new federal rules designed to help kids eat healthier, some schools are reporting fewer kids are buying lunch. The new rules limit the amount of grains, protein, sodium and saturated fat that school lunches subsidized by the US Department of Agriculture may contain. Trans fats are banned and calories per meal are capped. Many students have been upset with smaller portions. For example in Brookline, MA, students have been upset with smaller less filling bagels due to these rules. They report that across the school system about 30% of Brookline students buy lunch, down from 35% last year. This is a drop of 5%. Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Lexington, MA reports a drop of 35% fewer students buying lunch this year since the new regulations went into affect.
Stay tuned here for hilarious yet frustrating stories of how schools are banning certain foods one would consider to be healthy, simply to comply with these new regulations dictated to them by the government. Also we will report on clever ways students are taking matters into their own hands to fight back against the nanny state.
In response to a traumatic news event (such as a school shooting tragedy), many children may have questions and concerns. Y3K Tutor In Your Home offers the following suggestions to help guide parents and caring adults to best support children who may be grieving, concerned, or troubled by a terrible event:
Children will benefit greatly from support and caring expressed by the adults in their lives. Create an environment in your home that encourages respect for each other’s feelings and fears, and allows for a supportive, healing environment.
Let children know that you are available to talk with them.
Let children ask questions.
It is ok if you do not have answers to all the questions. It is ok to let your child know that you do not have the answer but that you will try and find out.
Let children know about the support being provided to students, friends, and families of the victims.
Be aware of children who may have experienced a previous trauma and may be more vulnerable to experiencing prolonged or intense reactions and will need extra support.
Acknowledge the frightening parts of the event.
Explain what happened in words that children understand. Explanations should be appropriate to the child’s age, developmental stage, and language skills.
Reassure children that they are loved and will be taken care of.
Children who have concerns about siblings who are living on a college campus or have concerns about safety at their own school should be reassured and their concerns validated.
Be aware of how you talk about the event and cope with the tragedy.
Children learn about how to react to traumatic situations by watching and listening to parents, peers, and the media.
Reduce or eliminate your child’s exposure to television images and news coverage of the shooting. The frightening images and repetition of the scenes can be disturbing for children. If they do see coverage, be sure to talk with them about what they saw and what they understood about the coverage. Make sure to correct any misunderstanding or misinterpretations.
Maintain your child’s routines as best as possible.
For children who are too young to talk or do not feel comfortable talking about their feelings, expressive techniques such as play, art and music can provide additional ways for children to express their feelings and let you know what may be troubling them.
Look for a story book to help young children cope with death, or a picture book that talks about trauma and death in a way that can be communicated to children. It might be difficult for them to grasp exactly what the situation is all about, but you should try your best to enable them to understand these things in their own way.
Many behaviors and symptoms of stress are normal for children who have just experienced a trauma. However, if you find that your child is preoccupied with the event, has ongoing sleep or eating disturbances, is experiencing intrusive thoughts or worries, is focused on fears about death, or is having difficulty going to school and leaving parents, your child should be evaluated by a mental health professional. Contact your pediatrician or school counselor if you feel that the symptoms are persisting and are interfering with your child’s daily routines.
The following is a new policy statement regarding the importance of recess for students released in the January 2013 issue of Pediatrics: The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics
“Recess is at the heart of a vigorous debate over the role of schools in promoting the optimal development of the whole child. A growing trend toward reallocating time in school to accentuate the more academic subjects has put this important facet of a child’s school day at risk. Recess serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated, academic challenges in the classroom. But equally important is the fact that safe and well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits that may not be fully appreciated when a decision is made to diminish it. Recess is unique from, and a complement to, physical education—not a substitute for it. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.”
Do you agree or disagree? Why? Let us know.
Some doctors will turn away patients that refuse to be vaccinated to protect their other patients. The biggest concern doctors have with people not being vaccinated is that an unvaccinated child could expose other patients, especially newborns and children too young to be vaccinated yet, to potentially deadly diseases.
By now you have probably heard the rumor that childhood vaccines can cause autism. Lets take a closer look at how this idea came about. In 1998 a British gastroenterologist published a paper in a medical journal theorizing a link between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism. His research was based on interviews with parents based on TWELVE children!! The press ran away with the story that vaccines cause autism.
Since this global panic, a mercury-based preservative thimerosal has been removed from all vaccines. This was to just to be safe just in case the observed autism was in fact mercury poisoning. Throughout the past decade there have been dozens of studies that have collectively drawn on data from millions of children. These studies have consistently found no connection between vaccines and autism. In 2010 the original British medical journal retracted their original 1998 paper and the UK’s General Medical Council revoked the British gastroenterologist’s medical license.
Although we recommend all children get vaccines as scheduled there are still a few parents that swear that it was in fact vaccines that caused their child’s autism. What do you think? Please share your experiences and thoughts with us.
Vaccination Myth: “Delaying vaccines is safer than following the standard immunization schedule.”
Some parents worry that giving too many vaccines at once can lead to developmental problems. Recently researchers compared kids who received their shots on time with kids whose parents spread them out. They found that those who followed delayed schedules fared the same or not as well on cognitive tests as those who followed the standard schedule. In addition by delaying vaccines, you are giving potentially serious infections a window of opportunity to take hold. Some diseases like tetanus don’t provide any natural immunity. The only way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated.
As some schools consider soliciting private individuals and companies to purchase naming rights, others would rather make do without. Needham Public Schools in Needham, MA do not allow sizeable grants or gifts unless there are no strings attached. This means that Needham will not permit large private donations in exchange for naming rights. In addition Needham Public Schools has a policy to not allow private donations that in their opinion would differently advantage a particular school or group within the schools. They will not accept private funds if the money is to be for a “pet project” of the donor because they believe that can lead to inequity among the schools and student population.
Another reason why Needham Public Schools do not involve themselves with receiving donations in exchange for naming rights is that they want sustainable funding. Needham believes that even though a corporation may support the school system with donations for a period of time, this money would not be available forever. If the Needham Public Schools becomes dependent on private money to fund particular programs or teachers, these programs would face rapid elimination if the private money were removed.
What do you think about school systems like Needham, MA that refuse large sums of money in exchange for naming rights? Send us an email and let us know.
Schools desperate for funding during a sluggish economy have started to turn to private companies and individuals for financial support. For example Newton, MA’s aldermen are deciding on a controversial proposal by the Newton Schools Foundation. The plan is to raise as much as $6 million for educational technology for the Newton Public Schools by selling naming rights to high school spaces.
The district wants to expand the wireless capacity at schools, test out iPads, and offer teachers additional training. This however would cost them approximately $5.6 million over three years. That is far more than the current $1 million annual technology infrastructure budget. If the plan is approved, they should be able to fund all of this technology but at what cost?
The controversy with the naming rights issue comes down to the philosophical question of how much private commercial branding should be brought into the public schools. Is it morally acceptable to allow a private company into a public building and promote their product? Another issue is if Newton, MA were to allow naming rights, what names or types of businesses would be allowed and what may be deemed inappropriate? This easy corporate money may come at the cost of promoting items that for one reason or another some may find offensive. A part of the building could be named after a soft drink, candy bar, sneaker company that runs a foreign sweatshop, or a magazine or newspaper that has a slanted point of view.
The Newburyport Education Foundation has been selling naming rights for a few years. They have been using some of the money raised to update technology throughout the Newburyport Public Schools. They maintain that this money is used for underfunded items such as technology and not for funding basic school needs. Their approach is to sell naming rights as a tool to motivate large donors to donate money and recognize them for their contribution. They have raised as much as $1 million in three years.
Wellesley High School in Wellesley, MA is considering revamping its grade point average system (GPA) in controversial fashion. They would go from a weighted GPA system where GPA is adjusted based on the difficulty of classes to an unweighted system where an “A” in an honors class is worth the same as an “A” in a lower level class.
There are no state or federal regulations as to how GPA is calculated and is left up to each school system. Currently Lexington High School in Lexington, MA already switched to the new unweighted system while Belmont, MA is in the process of doing the same. For the communities of Newton, MA and Arlington, MA, both weighted and unweighted GPAs are calculated.