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SCHOOL HEADLINES: Measles, Chess & Fiscal Mayhem

By Jackie Burrell
Friday, March 21st, 2008 at 11:31 am in Schools.

Measles and pox (illus Kathy Hagedorn, MCT Direct) San Diego schools – and schools nationwide – are grappling with vaccine exempters, families who refuse to innoculate their children. Unvaccinated kids don’t just harm themselves, says this morning’s New York Times article, they “present a danger to children who have had their shots — the measles vaccine, for instance, is only 95 percent effective — and to those children too young to receive certain vaccines.” A sudden outbreak of measles in San Diego County last month saw 12 children come down with the nearly eradicated disease. Nine had not had the immunization because their parents objected, the other three were too young to have been immunized. Your thoughts?

Idaho schools have added a C to the Three R’s. Chess is now part of the second and third grade curriculum, a move even supporters say is unsupported by any kind of methodic study of the game’s benefits to education, but that will cost the Idaho legislature $200,000 to $600,000 in taxpayer dollars. That’s a lot of pawns.

Meanwhile in local headlines, layoffs and budget cuts continue their grim march through the East Bay’s educational terrain. For a chart of the impacts on local schools, click here. Student protests continue over layoffs in West County (more details on those cuts here) and the Acalanes district.

While in the Mt. Diablo School District, whose fiscal and administrative mishaps never cease to amaze us, district officials just announced that this year’s six rounds of budget cuts, including 145 layoffs, were based on financial figures riddled with inaccuracies. Once again, it’s trustees Gary Eberhart and Paul Strange stepping forward with the grim news and once more, they’re calling for superintendent GaryMcHenry’s resignation (See also: state auditors, flawed payroll system, unauthorized $5 million payout, et al.) You know, this is just a thought, but perhaps if fellow board members, Linda Mayo, Dick Allen and April Treece put down the red construction paper and lacy doilies for a moment, they could help their consistently outvoted colleagues provide the fiscal oversight for which they were all elected.

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No Responses to “SCHOOL HEADLINES: Measles, Chess & Fiscal Mayhem”

  1. Gary Eberhart Says:

    Relative to your story regarding “vaccine exempters”, I wonder what one of these “new age parents” will say to their child when they contract a disease such as polio? Parents who avoid vaccinations because of unfounded fears about the safety of vaccines need to open their eyes. There is no reputable medical organization that is suggesting that we stop vaccinating our children. The problem is that parents who avoid vaccines gained their knowledge on the safety of vaccines from a Hollywood star that they saw on Oprah or from the internet. These parents are too young to know the devastation of Polio or the whooping cough. To watch a young child die from whooping cough or some other deadly disease that had almost been eradicated would be terrible. I think people should educate themselves about what is medically best for their children, I know I do. But please be aware that medical advice that comes from Oprah and Tom Cruise is not founded on medical research. Take care of your children and make sure that the choices that you are making are not only good for your kids, but don’t destroy all of the medical gains that we have made as a civilization. Here is one place to get medically accurate information about pediatric vaccinations:

  2. Elsa Ramirez Says:

    My first child was exposed to measles before she was 6mos and I was upset. My mother had measles as a teenager and was left with upper respiratory problems. My husband had whopping cough. I am a public health professional, we go for the greater good. Look at immigrants with badly pocked faces, that is small pocks and it too is coming back. We had it beat. I remember iron lungs and children in braces. My dad coordinated the mass polio immunizations in El Paso Tex. in the late 50’s and early 60’s, what kid isn’t going to eat a pink sugar cube! I have a small scare from getting small pocks busters every summer when I went to Mexico. My dad had a big one. I am 53 and all my kids got were chicken pocks, I think they were already infected when the vaccine game out.

  3. Beth Says:

    My coworker told me that she didn’t have her children immunized because of the risks. I explained that the only reason she could make that choice was because I and other parents now and our parents before us were responsible and vaccinated their children.

    My best friend’s mother had polio as a child which resulted in a life-long disability, and luckily not death.

    There are risks associated with not vaccinating children. Those children do have a higher incidence of contracting those diseases, and can and do die from those diseases (such as measles).

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