March 2013 Reports

Food allergies and bullying
A report of a study appearing in Pediatrics found that almost 32 percent of the food-allergic children in the study reported being bullied. Often, bullies threatened children with the food to which they are allergic. The study, “Child and Parental Reports of Bullying in a Consecutive Sample of Children with Food Allergy,” said that, while 25 percent of the children’s parents reported their children were bullied, half of all bullying incidents remain unknown to parents. An allergic child’s quality of life increases when parents are aware of bullying.

NRA and guns in schools
The National Rifle Association’s (NRA) popularity has declined since Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre’s press conference this past December, in which he recommended placing armed guards in every school as the only means to prevent school shootings. Forty-eight percent of responders in a Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll taken the week before the press conference viewed the NRA favorably. In a PPP poll given three weeks after the press conference, 42 percent said they viewed the NRA favorably. Fifty percent of participants opposed placing armed guards in schools.

Parents’ help with college costs linked to lower GPAs
Students whose parents help with college costs have slightly lower GPAs, but higher rates of graduation, according to “More is More or More is Less? Parental Financial Investments during College,” a study that appeared in the American Sociological Review. The study found that the more parents contributed to college costs, the lower their students’ grades were. The negative effect of such contributions on grades was least among students at elite institutions. Negative effects were greatest among students whose parents had never discussed their expectations for the students’ own responsibility for their education.

Safety, discipline, and climate
A report from Education Week and the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, “Code of Conduct --  Safety, Discipline, and School Climate,” indicated that participating administrators and teachers find school climate (74 percent), safety (64 percent), and discipline (53 percent) all to be “very important” to student achievement. Seventy-six percent believe in-school suspensions are an effective discipline measure, but only 46 percent support out-of-school suspensions. Fifty-three percent of responders said their schools use schoolwide behavior-management programs, such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. Twice as many teachers (40 percent) as administrators (18 percent) said schools pay too little attention to students’ social and emotional development.

Teen girls and binge drinking
A Vitalsigns report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Binge Drinking: A Serious, Under-Recognized Problem Among Women and Girls,” found that one in five high school girls binge drink -- defined as consuming four or more alcoholic beverages within two or three hours -- about three times each month. Half of all teenage girls who reported drinking also reported binge drinking. While the report found that binge drinking is a problem for all women, it was most common in high school girls and other women under 35 years old, and in those with household incomes of $75,000 or more. Women who binge drink increase their chances of breast cancer, heart disease, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Textbook recycling
Nearly 40 percent of K-12 schools, colleges, and universities are storing or discarding old textbooks, rather than recycling them, with more K-12 schools than colleges failing to recycle textbooks. A report from the National Wildlife Federation, the McGraw Hill Companies, and New Page Corporation, “A Research Study on Textbook Recycling in America,” found that 57 percent of K-12 schools donate or participate in “give away” programs to dispose of textbooks, or store them because they are unsure about how to dispose of them. Even a 5 percent increase in the number of schools recycling textbooks would significantly decrease the number of textbooks in landfills, according to the report.

Voting rates and civics
A recent poll of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 showed that 87.8 percent studied civics in high school and, of those, 96.9 percent learned something about voting. Of those who had learned about voting, 60.2 percent voted in the last national election, as opposed to 43 percent of those who had no civics education in high school. The poll from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, “High School Civic Education Linked to Voting Participation and Political Knowledge,” found that the more participants’ teachers had taught them about voting, the more likely they were to have voted.

Compiled by Margaret Suslick, ASBJ’s Editorial Assistant.