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National News Roundup

February 22, 1984 3 min read

Most of the members of the American Bar Association who responded to a recent survey said they favored awarding salary increases and promotions to teachers based on performance evaluations rather than on a seniority system.

According to the results of a telephone survey conducted for the American Bar Association Journal by Kane, Parsons & Associates of New York City, 78 percent of those questioned said they supported performance-based pay scales.

Sixty-nine percent of the 525 association members and all of the 82 members of the law-student division surveyed said they favored raising college-admissions standards to require competence in core subjects, including English, mathematics, and science.

The survey, which appears in the February issue of the Journal, also found that 83 percent of those surveyed think students taking remedial work should achieve grade-level competence before being promoted.

Only 30 percent of the respondents said they favored a policy of isolating habitually unruly students in special schools.

Some 47 percent of those ques-tioned said they favored tracking students on the basis of standardized-test performance in remedial, vocational, or college-preparatory programs. And 54 percent said they supported granting parents deductions or credits on their state income tax for private-school tuition.

The Children’s Reader: How Sweet It Is

Parents who think their elementary-school children are learning about the three R’s might be surprised to find they are getting more of the three C’s--cake, candy, and cookies.

Based on a survey of the contents of 1,666 pre-readers, readers, and workbooks used in California’s K-3 classrooms during the 1979-80 school year, two health researchers have found that sugar-rich foods were the most frequently pictured food.

In fact, such foods appeared in every reading text they studied, making up from 18 percent to 100 percent of all food pictures and from 17 percent to 70 percent of all food words.

The researchers, Carol D’Onofrio, an associate professor of public health, and Rosalind Singer, a school health consultant and development officer at the University of California at Berkeley, found that 40 percent of the children pictured eating in the textbooks were shown consuming sweets. Cake was the most common food word and picture in the books, showing up in one out of every 12 illustrations.

Although apples were the second most frequently pictured food, they were shown only two-thirds as often as cake. And while fruits and vege-tables as a food group made up the largest number of food pictures, they were often shown in the background as incidental items, while sugary foods were portrayed in the foreground as items that were consumed frequently.

Schools send out mixed messages about food, maintain Ms. D’Onofrio and Ms. Singer. While nutrition-education programs attempt to teach children to eat a variety of foods, to eat regular meals, and to avoid empty calories and excessive sweets, in children’s books, sweets appear more frequently than any of the basic four food groups.

Ms. D’Onofrio and Ms. Singer say they would like to see the proportion of illustrations of sugar-rich foods in textbooks decreased to 15 percent, so it reflects the recommendations on eating set by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs. Today, 40 percent of the calories in the typical U.S. diet come from refined and processed sugars.

Since the study was conducted, the California State Department of Education has adopted guidelines against the use of junk foods and brand-name food items in textbooks, according to Ms. D’Onofrio. However, because schoolbooks are expensive to replace, she noted, students will probably continue to use the books included in the study for some time.

A version of this article appeared in the February 22, 1984 edition of Education Week as National News Roundup