Thursday, October 18, 2012

Schools Crack Down on Cheetos‏

What about a crackdown on illiteracy and bullying instead?  Is that too hard?  -- JR

Teachers across several states are patrolling hallways searching for students in possession of snack food contraband but there’s one hot & spicy treat that is Enemy Number One – Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

“We don’t allow candy, and we don’t allow Hot Cheetos,” Rita Exposito, principal of Jackson Elementary School in Pasadena, Calif., told the Chicago Tribune. “We don’t encourage other chips, but if we see Hot Cheetos, we confiscate them – sometimes after the child has already eaten most of them.”

Yes, you read that correctly. Teachers at Jackson Elementary school confiscate contraband bags of Cheetos.

A spokesman for the Pasadena School system told Fox News that the ban was part of a district-wide wellness policy – and that most of the guidelines come from the federal government.

The spokesman said during school hours they are responsible for the students – and that includes their health.

There are reports of similar Cheetos crackdowns in Illinois and New Mexico.

In Albuquerque, a seventh grade health teacher sent a letter to parents calling for a ban on the Frito-Lay product.

The teacher at Lyndon B. Johnson M idle School warned parents that Hot Cheetos are not only unhealthy but can also spread germs – because the students share their Cheetos. The teacher also complained to parents that the snack food is too messy.

“They have that red dye in them and the kids get that all over their hands and track it all over everything and the custodians have to clean it up,” Albuquerque Schools spokesman John Miller told Fox News. “They’re not big fans of that.”

For the record, Miller said there’s not a district-wide ban on Cheetos.  “She wanted to explain to them how they really aren’t very good for you,” he said, defending the teachers’ letter. “She broke down the fat content and calories. She wanted to share the information with the parents.”

Parents were also required to sign the letter and return it to the school.

“Cheetos are not banned,” he said. “The teacher encouraged the parents to watch the amount of snacks that go to school with kids – either in lunches or worse yet – as lunches.”

The Chicago Tribune reported that several charter schools – and the entire Rockford School District – have banned the snack food by name – because of nutritional concerns.

Frito-Lay released the following statement to Fox News:

“Frito-Lay is committed to responsible and ethical marketing practices, which includes not marketing our products to children ages 12 and under. We also do not decide which snacks are available on school campuses and do not sell snack products directly to schools.”


The Higher-Education Version of the Government-Screws-Up-Everything Chronicles

I’ve previously shared an amazing chart that shows how more government spending on public schools has yielded zero positive results.  Well, it seems that government spending on colleges and universities also leaves a lot to be desired.

Three academics investigated the relationship between higher-education spending and economic performance and it turns out that this perverse form of redistribution from poor to rich is counterproductive. Here’s the key sentence from the abstract.

"Results from a series of fixed-effects regressions using a 1992-2002 panel of state-level data indicate that increased spending on higher education generally exhibits a relatively large negative effect on private sector employment or gross state product growth when the increase in education spending is financed through own-source revenue."

Yet Obama and most of the other politicians in Washington want to increase the subsidies for colleges and universities – even though the macroeconomic effects are dismal.

But I guess that doesn’t matter since politicians seem more concerned about creating more comfortable lives for unproductive professors and bloated school bureaucracies.

By the way, let’s not forget that students also suffer. As the federal government has squandered more money on higher education, colleges and universities have responded by jacking up tuition and fees, leaving more and more students deeply in debt.


Voluntary work to form part of British High school qualifications

Teenagers face completing dissertation-style essays and voluntary work as part of a major overhaul of A-levels, it has emerged.
Voluntary work to form part of A-levels

Pupils could be required to undertake large-scale projects – on top of conventional subjects – under radical new plans being introduced to ensure students are properly prepared for the demands of university, it was revealed.

The move is being considered as part of a proposal to create a new “Advanced Baccalaureate” for sixth-formers.

Last night, Government sources insisted the reforms would not lead to the abolition of A-levels but admitted the so-called “ABacc” could be added to official league tables. It may also be awarded to pupils as a new college leaving certificate.

It follows the introduction of a similar system at GCSE, where pupils can gain the "English Baccalaureate" for scoring good grades in the key academic subjects of English, maths, science, languages and history or geography.

The move comes amid concerns that too many teenagers start university lacking the key skills needed to succeed on degree courses.

A study published earlier this year showed that many universities were being forced to provide booster lessons in the three Rs for first-year undergraduates because school leavers are so badly prepared for the demands of higher education.

It was revealed that many teenagers struggled to structure an essay, use correct spelling, punctuation and grammar and carry out independent research after being “spoon-fed” through A-levels.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “A-levels will not be replaced under any circumstances. There are public consultations about reforming A-levels.

“There are also numerous suggestions about new ABacc league table measures but no decisions have been made."

The Government has already outlined a planned overhaul of A-levels.

Under proposals, existing bite-sized modules will be scrapped in favour of traditional end-of-year exams. More open-ended questions will also be introduced to stretch pupils further

It is believed that AS-levels – sat at the end of the first year of the two-year A-level – will be retained but as a separate, standalone qualification.

In addition, it is believed that Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, wants to add more depth to the qualification by encouraging teenagers to undertake independent study, voluntary work and other subjects.

It is understood that the ABacc would require A-level students to include a “contrasting” subject within their course choices, to counter claims that the current system leads to a narrowing of options at 16.

Pupils who chose A-levels in maths, further maths and physics would be expected to pick a humanities subject, such as history or geography as a fourth subject, the Times reported.

Teenagers who opted for humanities A-levels such as English, history or geography would be required to take a maths course at AS level during the first year of the sixth-form, it emerged.

Students will also be expected to complete a 5,000 word dissertation and undertake voluntary work.

The Government insisted the plans were under consideration and no final decision had been made.


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