BY SHARON MARTIN
The College Board reported this week that SAT scores for graduating high school seniors had reached the lowest point in four decades. They blame the decline in scores on the diverse student population. That’s probably partly true.
What they didn’t talk about is the role of education policy. In the past few years, school districts started making do with packaged reading programs and laid off their reading specialists. This year, even state funding for the packaged program has been cut. Meanwhile, we spend millions in Oklahoma on standardized tests that teach children nothing, and we make excuses for declining reading scores.
What affect do spending cuts and high dollar tests have on our children and their future?
Also in the news this week is high fructose corn syrup. There are conflicting reports about the effects of high fructose corn syrup on the human body. Some scientists believe that the manufactured sweetener contributes to diabetes and liver disease. So, what’s the corn industry to do about this bad press? Rebrand.
You’ve seen the ads about sugar being sugar. That’s part one of the rebranding effort. Part two is to give high fructose corn syrup a new name, corn sugar. That way, you don’t have to know when you’re eating high fructose corn syrup.
What affect might this ignorance have on your health?
These half-truths are troubling enough, but then there are the dangerous lies. A religious leader in Nigeria told his followers that the polio vaccine supplied by the United States would sterilize children. Parents believed him. The result was a polio epidemic.
History repeats itself. A voter told Michele Bachmann that the Human Papillomavirus [HPV] vaccine caused her daughter’s retardation. Bachmann spread the story like a virus. Scientists have challenged her, saying that there are no known cases of the vaccine causing mental retardation. But who cares about the truth when one can make political hay?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least half of all sexually active people will have HPV at some time in their lives. We know that certain kinds of HPV cause cervical cancer. We know that the vaccine can prevent HPV.
How many lives will be lost to cervical cancer because of Bachmann’s cavalier disregard for the truth?
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer