Category Archives: Student health

Teens asking the Web to judge their appearance

The San Franciso Chronicle reports on a disturbing trend:

A growing number of tweens and teens, mainly girls, are posting videos on YouTube asking commenters if they’re ugly, according to Jezebel.

Type ‘Am I ugly?’ or ‘Am I pretty’ into the YouTube search box and dozens of videos pop up, including one of an 11-year-old girl who poses for the camera, twirling her shoulders, smiling big, and pulling her long hair out of a pony tail.

“Hi guys,” she says. “I was doing a video because I’m bored and stuff. Do you guys think I’m pretty?”

“If you think I’m pretty comment down there,” she adds, pointing to the bottom of the screen. “I really don’t care but I just want you guys’s opinion.”



San Antonio schools install “calorie cameras” in cafeterias

Reuters reports:

Using a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the schools in San Antonio are installing sophisticated cameras in the cafeteria line and trash area that read food bar codes embedded in the food trays.

“We’re going to snap a picture of the food tray at the cashier and we will know what has been served,” said Dr. Roberto Trevino of the San Antonio-based Social and Health Research Center, which is implementing the pilot program at five schools with high rates of childhood obesity and children living in poverty.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg News brings us this other Texas-related item:

Texas, which may balance its budget by firing thousands of teachers, plans to commit $25 million in state funds to Formula One auto racing each year for a decade…

As many as 100,000 teachers in Texas may be fired because of spending cuts to cope with the state’s budget crisis, according to Moak Casey & Associates, an Austin-based education consultant. For $25 million a year, the state could pay more than 500 teachers an average salary of $48,000.

Oregon legislature seeks to make ‘has plans for future’ part of high school graduation requirements

The Oregon Daily Emerald [Eugene, OR] reports:

A bill passed by the state House of Representatives could keep Oregon’s high school students from obtaining diplomas unless they can demonstrate a clear intention to seek future education or job opportunities.

House Bill 2732, which garnered House approval Monday, requires high school students to show proof of application to college, the U.S. armed forces or into an apprenticeship program in order to be eligible for a diploma.

April 8 K-12 news round-up

  • New York City schools chancellor Cathie Black has resigned her post (apparently with encouragement from NYC Mayer Mike Bloomberg) after just three months on the job. Black was a controversial pick because she completely lacked experience either as an educator or K-12 administrator. [Huffington Post]
  • Education Week interviewed Kelly Gallagher, a former secondary English teacher and author of the new book Readicide, about declining reading skills (and declines in time spent reading) among American youth.
  • A growing number of parents are opting out of allowing their children to participate in standardized testing, leading some researchers and educators to wonder about the effects these opt-outs have on schools’ test performance. [CNN]
  • USA Today profiles Jacob Barnett, a gifted 12-year-old who is wowing fellow physics students (and professors) at Indiana University. (I acknowledge this is not strictly speaking a K-12 news story but it’s interesting nonetheless!)
  • “Children of color are four times more likely than their white peers to be born into a poor family and suffer a lifetime of consequences, ranging from diminished academic standing to increased financial insecurity, a report released Thursday found.” [Huffington Post]

March 10 K-12 news round-up

  • The Obama Administration held a conference on school bullying today at the White House. In his remarks to the educators, psychologists, parents, and others in the audience, the president acknowledged that he himself was bullied as a child. “I have to say, with big ears and the name that I have, I wasn’t immune. I didn’t emerge unscathed,” Obama said. [ABC News]
  • Reuters reports that in Wichita, Kansas, “three middle schools have gone to single-sex lunches. Principals say the new lunch system has reduced misbehavior and helped students focus on eating.”
  • U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that the percentage of schools designated as ‘failing’ under guidelines set forth by the No Child Left Behind law could increase from 37% to 82% in 2011 as states raise academic standards in an effort to comply with NCLB. The Obama Administration advocates the reform of NCLB. [Associated Press]

Denver-area schools find that when recess precedes lunch, students benefit

The Denver Post reports:

A growing number of elementary schools in the Douglas County [Colorado] School District schedule recess before lunch, part of a national trend to improve student health.

“In the morning, [students are] just full of energy. They want to get out and be with their friends, so they’re kind of preoccupied with that, and eating lunch is just one more thing to get through before they can go play, so [having recess before going to lunch] gives them the opportunity to play first and then eat,” [district wellness coordinator Charlee] Roberts said.

Read the entire article at the Denver Post website.

Ohio school apologizes after designating black student ‘slave’ for in-class activity

WTOL-TV [Toldedo, OH] reports:

A central Ohio school district was apologizing on Thursday after an elementary school Social Studies lesson turned into a mock slave auction.Nikko Burton said during an American history lesson at Gahanna’s Chapelfield Elementary School, the class was divided into slaves and masters, 10 Investigates’ Paul Aker reported.

“I ended up being a slave,” said Burton, 10. “At first I didn’t care, but after people were bidding on people it kind of made me a little mad and stuff.”

Burton said that the students who were playing the part of master were told to feel the students playing slaves to see if they were worth buying.

“The masters go to touch people and do all sorts of stuff,” Burton said. “They got to look in your mouth and feel your legs and stuff and see if you’re strong and stuff.”