Category Archives: Education

Michelle Obama’s healthy school meals are set to be scrapped by Trump’s agriculture secretary next week

michelle obama lunch2

Say bye bye to Michelle Obama’s mandated school lunches

Another Obama legacy bites the dust.

From Daily Mail: Michelle Obama‘s healthy school lunches could be on the chopping block with the Trump administration expected to announce new measures as early as Monday to ease the program’s regulations.

The US Department of Agriculture announced on Friday that its secretary Sonny Perdue is set to introduce new standards that will give schools more flexibility in relation to the National School Lunch Program. It is not yet clear how the rules will change school lunches or the regulations.

The announcement will take place at the Catoctin Elementary School in Leesburg, Virginia, where Perdue and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) will eat lunch with the students, The Hill reports.

Republicans have long held concerns about the school lunch program, which was spearheaded by the former First Lady to establish new healthy eating standards and curb childhood obesity.

But the more nutritious meals, which required more fruit, vegetables and whole grains, have not always been popular with schoolchildren.

The regulations pushed by Mrs. Obama led to the sarcastic hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama flooding the internet with unimpressed students sharing photos of their lunch.

Some pictures shared as recently as last week show piles of mushy lunches, small portions and the kind of fare that left some saying even ‘prisoners eat better food.’ 

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

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“Don’t widen the plate…”

Life lesson from Coach Scolinos

In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention.

While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”

Who the heck is John Scolinos, I wondered. Well, in 1996 Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. No matter, I was just happy to be there.

He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate. Pointed side down.

Seriously, I wondered, who is this guy?

After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.

Then, finally …

“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility.

“No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”

Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.

“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”

Another long pause.

“Seventeen inches?”came a guess from another reluctant coach.

“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”

“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.

“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”

“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.

“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls.

“And what do they do with a a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over these seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.

“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Bobby. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of throwing the ball over it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”

Pause.

“Coaches …”

Pause.

” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? What do we do if he violates curfew? What if he uses drugs? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate?

The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold.

Then he turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”

Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.

“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful….to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”

“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate!”

I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.

“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”

With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.

“… dark days ahead.”

Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.

His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players — no matter how good they are — your own children, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.

DCG

Austrian President calls on all women to wear headscarves in solidarity with Muslims

Van der Bellen Austria president

Austria President Van der Bellen

Um, NO.

From Independent UK: The President of Austria has called for all women to wear headscarves in solidarity with Muslims to fight “rampant Islamophobia”.

Alexander Van der Bellen, the left-wing former Green Party leader who narrowly beat a far-right candidate to take office in January, said freedom of expression was a fundamental right.

“It is every woman’s right to always dress how she wants, that is my opinion on the matter,” he told an audience of school pupils.

“And it is not only Muslim women, all women can wear a headscarf, and if this real and rampant Islamaphobia continues, there will come a day where we must ask all women to wear a headscarf – all – out of solidarity to those who do it for religious reasons.”

Mr. Van der Bellen was responding to a question from a schoolgirl who argued a ban on Islamic headscarves or veils would reduce women to their appearance, rather than accomplishments, and shut some out of the labour market.

His comments were made in March but emerged after being broadcast on Austrian television, amid debate in the country and neighbouring Germany about “burqa bans”.

A spokesperson said that following Isis-linked terror attacks across Europe, Mr. Van der Bellen would like to see Muslim representatives in Austria make “clearer statements” emphasising that the atrocities could not be justified within Islam.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

Children must be taught about Islam, insists Church of England

From RT.com: Parents who have concerns about their children being taught about Islam should be banned from pulling them out of religious education (RE) lessons, according to the Church of England.

Senior Church of England official Derek Holloway said withdrawing children from RE lessons could leave them without the skills required to live in a diverse society and “live well together as adults.”

He also cautioned against “fundamentalist” groups using human rights legislation to keep children from learning about different world views.

“Sadly and dangerously, the right of withdrawal from RE is now being exploited by a range of ‘interest groups’ often using a dubious interpretation of human rights legislation,” Holloway wrote in a post on the CoE’s Facebook page.

Parents are currently entitled to withdraw their children from RE class without having to provide a reason, although Holloway said this right should be repealed as it leaves a gap in pupils’ education.

“This is seemingly because they do not want their children exposed to other faiths and worldviews, in particular Islam,” Holloway told the Press Association.

“Anecdotally, there have also been some cases in different parts of the country of parents with fundamentalist religious beliefs also taking a similar course. This is not confined to any one particular religion or area of the country.”

Besides repealing the right to withdrawal, Holloway said in a post on the Church of England Facebook page that standardized RE lessons should be introduced to the curriculum.

Holloway, who was himself a teacher at comprehensive schools in Essex and Wiltshire, also warned the right to withdraw children from RE lessons risks legitimizing those trying to incite religious hatred.

“The right of withdrawal from RE now gives comfort to those who are breaking the law and seeking to incite religious hatred,” he wrote in the post.

Parents also have a separate right to withdraw their children from school services and prayers.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

KSU Has Finally Crossed Over to the Dark Side

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For the last seventeen or so years, I have watched with some horror (and not a little disgust) as my former institution of “higher learning” began to slowly slip into the hell of political correctness.

I suppose back then I rather naively thought that KSU would somehow manage to stay above the PC lunacy many colleges and universities have been rapidly descending into over the last two decades. After all, this area of the country is not exactly known as a bastion of liberalism.

Whatever hope I once had for my former university has now evaporated:

Via heatst.com:

College Puts White People in Separate Room For ‘Privilege Workshop’

By Jillian Kay Melchior|1:37 pm, April 18, 2017

When Kennesaw State University held an event last week on privilege and interracial relations, it asked “those who identify as white” to go to one room and “those who identify as people of color” to go to another.

“The goal of the workshop, which was led by an outside expert, was to foster learning and create an environment of understanding and support for one another,” said Kennesaw State University spokeswoman Tammy DeMel. “Attendees were asked to work together and then were invited to join the group with which they identify.”

The April 13 event “is being mischaracterized” as segregation, DeMel added.

The event, a workshop called “Being, Becoming and Fostering Allies: Building Relationships Across Privilege,” was taught by two psychology professors and one grad student from the University of Massachusetts, as well as a Kennesaw State University professor.

In it, students learned about becoming an ally for less privileged people, as well as “the essential roles of self-reflection, cultural humility, and re-engagement after failures.”

Kennesaw State University is the latest to grapple with the implications of separating students by race. In the last academic year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Michigan, and Concordia University all found themselves facing accusations of segregation after they held events divided by race or focused on one particular racial group.

— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum

End-

Despite the (weak) protestations to the contrary, does anyone actually believe the true goal of this blatantly racist, bull-squeeze “workshop” is not meant to drive a wedge even deeper between the races?

I have a bridge to sell you if you do.

Had something like this been attempted when I was enrolled there back in the day, most of my fellow students would have pitched a fit.

But that was another time in an America that apparently no-longer exists.

Dave

(H/t: Drudge)

Bill Nye becomes science warrior in Netflix series

bill nye

It’s Hollyweird…a faux scientist can become a real one in the land of make believe.

From CNN: Can Bill Nye really save the world? Probably not by preaching to the choir, which doesn’t make his half-hour Netflix show “Bill Nye Saves the World” any less noteworthy as a breezy blow struck on behalf of science, despite a few structural miscalculations.

The title alone speaks volumes: Premiering more than 20 years after “Bill Nye the Science Guy” started on PBS, the new series is pitched primarily toward adults, casting the bow-tie-wearing Nye as an advocate and science warrior, trying to beat back the anti-scientific thought and quackery that’s prevalent, especially within the political sphere.

Nye turns his attention to a different topic in each installment. They include the need to vaccinate children, the reality of climate change (inevitably) and applying a “Quack-O-Meter” to alternative medicines.

The episodes feature the host engaging in low-key, roundtable discussions with experts, and also taped pieces — dispatching a correspondent to India, for example, to document the success vaccination has registered there in preventing polio. Nye’s explanations are clear, simple and often funny, capitalizing on a sort-of nerd-chic personality that’s well suited to the program’s micro-budget, including perhaps the world’s tiniest studio audience.

The producers, however, apparently felt pressure to up the ante on entertainment value, and rather unfortunately chose to add what amount to little comedy sketches to illustrate their points. Those segments range from celebrity cameos (Zach Braff drops by to rail about the climate) to having different actors portray various diseases, modeling T-shirts with names like “POLIO” and “INFLUENZA.”

These vignettes are harmlessly goofy but also wholly unnecessary, feeling like a form of pandering in a series that seeks to arm its audience with greater scientific knowledge.

Like astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Nye has a lot to offer at this moment in time, when there’s such a strong, politically motivated culture of science denial. His eagerness to deliver straight talk on these matters — from asking whether vaccinations should be mandatory to lambasting the U.S. for failing to lead on climate change — will surely feel like a tonic to those share his concerns.

While “Bill Nye Saves the World” is a relatively modest enterprise by Netflix’s standards, it is, overall, an admirable addition to its lineup. If it’s not quite a rescue mission, Nye appears to have taken to heart the concept of trying to provide a small beacon of light rather than just cursing the darkness.

DCG

Survey: 1 In 5 Adults In The UK Can’t Change A Lightbulb, Boil An Egg

change a light bulb

Good grief…what in the world is wrong with people?

From StudyFinds.org: Are you handy enough that if a lightbulb went out in your home you’d be able to change it? Believe it or not, one in five people aren’t so skilled. In fact, a new survey of people in the United Kingdom finds not only do about 20 percent of people not know how to change a bulb — the same number aren’t sure how to boil an egg, either.

The British insurance company Aviva recently released their annual Home Report which detailed, among numerous findings about how people do work around the house, relatively common tasks that people encounter. The company surveyed 2004 people across the UK in February and March about their habits and roles at home.

In addition to just one in five not being able to change a lightbulb or boil an egg, the survey found that nearly a third of the participants couldn’t cook any meal on the fly. And if someone were to spill a portion of their meal on their clothes or on the floor, only 59 percent would know how to get rid of the resulting stain. Only 37 percent could change a flat tire.

The findings were even surprising to the folks behind the study.

“As a nation we tend to take pride in our ability to do things ourselves in and around the home, so it’s a surprise to see there could be a skills gap in places,” says Aviva Propositions Director Adam Beckett in a press release. “That said, we also know that people lead busy lives, so while we enjoy doing things ourselves, we also appreciate the opportunity to leave things to a professional from time to time, particularly with some of the more challenging jobs.”

Interestingly, while 50 percent of those surveyed said they learned how to do a home task on their by trial and error, plenty of people are turning to the internet for help, especially millennials. The study found four in 10 people aged 25 and under prefer learning do-it-yourself chores online. That’s more than twice the number in the age group who turn to an actual book for help.

Here’s a look at the polled tasks and the number of people who indicated they could successfully complete them:

 Task Percentage who feel confident doing this task
Boil an egg 81%
Change a light bulb 79%
Cook a complete meal without using a recipe 69%
Read a map 66%
Sew on a button 65%
Unblock a sink 62%
Remove a stain from a carpet or clothing 59%
Change a baby’s nappy 57%
Wire a plug 57%
‘Bleed’ a radiator 53%
Check oil levels in a car 53%
Put up a shelf 47%
Put up wallpaper 39%
Change a flat tyre 37%
Change a washer on a tap 30%
Fit tiles 22%

DCG