After the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings in which 20 children and 6 adults were killed, several school systems have put new security measures in place. These include locked front doors and tighter visitor sign-in policies. They have also launched reviews of their current safety policies.
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.
Many high schools throughout the country have started to take extreme and varied measures to ensure drugs are kept out of the schools. Some different yet controversial drug prevention methods include:
At more than 100 high schools in Eastern Massachusetts, drug-sniffing dogs are brought in every year to search for everything from alcohol to marijuana.
In Quincy, MA video cameras follow students in the hallways while plainclothes security guards stay alert for drug activity.
At Westford Academy in Westford, MA the principal decided to add a full time police officer to the staff.
Newton North High School in Newton, MA feels that counseling is the best way to rid the school of drugs. The school has on staff a social worker acting as the school’s prevention and intervention counselor. This person offers several group therapy sessions for students including for youths who are struggling with alcohol and drugs.
All of these schools have a common goal of preventing drug use. Which methods do you think are best and which do you think are going too far? Share your comments.
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.
When fighting for special education accommodations and services, examine the situation before you act impulsively. Have all your facts ready to go to counter their refusal to help. Also plan ahead by preparing evidence and rebuttals to reasons you believe they will claim their services are not needed for your child.
School systems will deny services because of money, yet tell you help isn’t needed. They then make you out to be unruly for taking a stand.
It is not up to you to accommodate the school system. It is up to the school system to accommodate your child and you.