Roses and Raspberries: Focusing on health, education
Our View: Roses & Raspberries

Roses and Raspberries: Focusing on health, education

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom has tucked into his budget proposal a temporary hiatus in physical fitness tests for students, mostly because recent test results show an increasing percentage of students showing health issues.

The governor and some administration officials are concerned the tests discriminate against disabled students, which often leads to school yard bullying.

It is no secret that kids can be cruel to other kids, especially in a playground environment, probably because kids see similar behavior from their adult role models.

But instead of simply suspending fitness tests while experts study the problem, why not rewrite the test requirements to better measure the fitness of students of all skill levels?

To the governor’s credit, he recognizes child fitness as a growing problem.

Fitness reports since the 2014-15 school year show a significant reduction in the percentage of students deemed fit, especially in the “aerobic capacity” category. Other categories also test for flexibility and strength exercises.

In the last five years, the percentage of fifth-graders deemed fit in the aerobic category has dropped by 3.3 percent. In seventh and ninth grades, the declines are 4.4 percent and 3.8 percent respectively. The percentage of students identified as “needing improvement” and/or having a “health risk” went up by 3.3 percent among fifth-graders, 4.4 for seventh-graders and 3.8 in the ninth grade.

Bullying enters the picture when a kid’s body-mass index, a measure of obesity, is at unhealthy levels. No matter who you are or how tough your psyche, “Fatso” is not an endearing nickname.

Roses to politicians and educators who see a problem, and take steps to fix it.

***

There’s a new school in town, and while some of San Joaquin Valley College’s technical training course offerings might mirror those at Allan Hancock College, the end game remains the same — provide local folks with the knowledge and training they need to succeed.

The new school’s Santa Maria campus will be at 303 Plaza Dr. in space shared with Santa Barbara Business College. The campus will have technical and industrial-trade programs for students in San Luis Obispo County and our own North County.

San Joaquin Valley College was founded in 1977, with a mission of providing professional instruction to aspiring medical assistants in the San Joaquin Valley. Since then, the college has expanded its professional development to include certificate, associate and bachelor of science degree programs.

This is a positive development for our North County communities, another important step toward having a four-year degree-granting institution in our neck of the woods. In fact, having top colleges in our midst is a magnet to help lure businesses and industries with higher-paying jobs.

Roses all around.

***

Some might call it the end of civility, but in fact, that ship sailed a long time ago when it comes to American politics.

This pertains to last Tuesday night’s State of the Union address to Congress by President Trump. Well, part of the Congress. Some prominent Democrats stayed home, apparently suffering a fit of pique.

The uncivil acts began when the president seemed to snub House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s offered and customary handshake, after which the House Speaker took a copy of the president’s speech and shredded it in a show of disrespect. Democrats on the floor also acted up during the speech.

All of which left us wondering, are there any actual adults in the White House and Congress, and if so, do they care more about their party loyalties than about the welfare of the American people?

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