Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Beat the heat

        Radio Commentary    

            In the excitement of a good pickup basketball game or even a leisurely game of tag, children might not notice the temperature rising.
            But as the day progresses, their bodies notice the heat, and if they aren’t careful, they could come down with heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
            The body’s natural control mechanisms normally adjust to the heat. But those systems could fail if exposed to high temperatures for prolonged periods.
            Here are some tips for beating the heat and staying cool:
            Limit the most exercise or strenuous physical activity to the coolest part of the day — usually early morning or late evening.
            Have children wear loose clothing that's light in weight and color. Choose clothing that draws perspiration away from the skin to keep the body cooler — cotton T-shirts or shorts.
            Make sure children drink plenty of water – don’t wait until they say they’re thirsty to take a drink. The thirst mechanism kicks in only after a body is too depleted. If children are exercising heavily in hot weather, aim for two to four glasses every hour.
            Stay away from liquids that contain caffeine or lots of sugar — these actually cause the body to lose more fluid. Also, know that a drink that is too cold might cause stomach cramps.
            Make sure children periodically take a break in a shady area to cool down.
            These are all smart, effective practices for beating the heat.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Year-round calendar helps ease crowded schools

Year-round calendar helps ease crowded schools but some have gone back to traditional schedule
By the Associated Press


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

NC's Charter School Law

NC's Charter School Law: Creating Two Public Education Systems
Submitted by Mark Edwards, Supt. of the Mooresville NC Community Schools.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Road Rage

Radio Commentary

It seems like more and more drivers are acting out their anger when they get behind the wheel.
After they've been cut off, tailgated, or slowed down by a car in front of them, these angry drivers can even commit acts of violence.
Teaching your children about road rage and how to prevent it is vital to their health and well-being.
One study of more than 10,000 incidents of aggressive driving revealed that at least 200 people were killed and another 12,600 people were injured because of driver anger.
Remember that you are a role model for your children. Keep your anger in check and model for your teens how to be a safe driver.
One good rule: don't take actions that might offend other drivers. These might include cutting drivers off, driving slowly in the left lane, or tailgating. Avoid these actions at all costs.
Also, don't engage. One angry driver can't start a fight unless another one is willing to join in. So take a deep breath and move on.
It also helps to “steer clear.” Give angry drivers lots of room and avoid eye contact. If an angry driver is following you or using a car as a weapon against you, call for help if possible.
Anger management courses have helped many individuals gain insight and practical techniques to keep their tempers under control.
When your children are riding in the car with you remember that they will copy your behavior. Be a good model for their sake as well as your own.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Water safety

Radio Commentary

Children have great fun swimming in pools or at the beach. But it is important that children stay safe any time they are around water.
All children should know how to swim well enough to survive an emergency. Children should always swim with a buddy who has the ability to help them if needed.
Children should stay out of the water if they are overheated or overtired. They should only dive into water they know well, and they are certain is deep enough.
Make sure children check with a lifeguard about beach and surf conditions before swimming in the ocean.
Tell them if they ever think they are being pulled out by a rip current, they should stay calm. Instead of fighting the current, they should swim parallel to the beach. Once they feel free of the current, they should then swim to shore.   
Finally, children should not overestimate their swimming ability. Weak swimmers should stay in the shallow end of a pool, or within an area marked off for them with buoyed lines.
In the ocean, swimming short distances parallel to the shore is safest.
Swimming can provide great exercise and fun. But it is important that children understand the dangers and stay ‘water safe.’

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

TV rules

Radio Commentary

In setting up rules about television viewing especially over the summer, be sure to monitor what your children watch.
Encourage them to choose programs that make them think, are free of violence and sex, and show characters that have values similar to yours.
When watching TV with your children, ask questions like “Why do you think that person did what he did?” Encourage your children to ask questions as well, and be sure to answer them honestly.
Limit overall television viewing time. During commercials, review what you just watched and predict what will happen next.
Turn off the television if you see things on it that you don’t like. But be sure to explain to your child why you are doing so. Say:  “I don’t like what those people are doing because  . . .”
Remember that when children are watching TV it takes them away from other activities like reading and sports. Plan games, trips to the library, and trips to parks and playgrounds to take the place of TV.
Once you’ve established a basic foundation for TV viewing, try to find new ways of using the television to teach and have fun. Television can actually help teach your child geography and math. 
Have reference materials or a computer near the TV so additional information is available. Have your child look up new words in a dictionary, or look at an atlas to find places mentioned in a show. This way it’s fun and educational.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TV and information

Radio Commentary

Children used to acquire knowledge of the world in a gradual, controlled way. They learned how to behave by watching adults and modeling their actions.
The slowly developing reading skills of young people restricted them mostly to stories and facts that were deemed suitable for their age level.
But times have changed. Today children are flung quickly into the realm of adult knowledge.
Certainly the mass media bombard children with messages at every turn. Rock and rap song lyrics, DVDs, and advertising all play their parts. TV, the Internet, and computer games are also major players.
Messages in ads, TV programs, games, and online — and even some content on the nightly news — would have been shocking to see just one short generation ago.
Young viewers can’t always distinguish between the drama and trauma of soap operas and adventure shows, and the day-to-day routine that most adults live.
Without proper guidance, children can grow up dissatisfied with lives less exciting and glamorous than the TV heroes they admire or those on their computer screens. They can avoid handling conflicts that can’t be solved in 22 minutes or worse, 22 seconds.
Creating a family of media critics is one answer to this challenge. “Talking back” to the TV or computer screen is a good first step. Be aware of media content and use good judgment in selections.
These steps are a key to raising healthy, well-adjusted children.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Radio Commentary

We’ve made much progress in reducing the number of children accidentally poisoned each year. Much of the credit is due to public education on the topic.
But vigilance is important and some simple precautions are critical:
• Keep medicines in their original child-proof containers, stored out of reach.
• Follow doctor’s instructions carefully when giving medicine to children.
• Store household cleaners safely — a high percentage of poisonings involve everyday cleaning products, cosmetics, cough and cold remedies, antibiotics, and vitamins.
• Teach children never to eat anything you haven’t approved.
A typical household contains products such as bleach, fertilizers, or paint stripper that can be fatal to a child.
If your child swallows a poison, you must act quickly and calmly:
• If the child is conscious, determine exactly what was swallowed. The child could lose consciousness at any time.
• Call 911 or the local poison control center.
• Have the container on hand so you can tell the center the exact contents of what was swallowed. If the child must go to the hospital, be sure to take the poison container with you for the doctors on the scene.
• Stay calm and give the professionals short, precise answers because time is often critical.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Paying for college

Radio Commentary

Many families would like their children to attend college, but are concerned about the costs.
While paying for college can be a challenge, it is important to know that there are financial aid opportunities for everyone.
The factors that influence the cost of a basic college education are the type of school (public, private, or out-of-state), the time it takes your child to finish (the longer he or she stays, the more it will cost), and the location. 
Location affects the cost of housing, food and transportation. 
Federal and state governments both offer help, along with private sources and foundations like the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation.
Your high school is the best single source of information about aid.
Here are tips that help reduce college costs:
  Reduce the number of classes needed at college by taking Advanced Placement classes or courses at a community college.
  Enroll in a community college and then transfer to a four-year school.
  Take part in a Tech Prep program that is formally linked to a college.
  Take advantage of federal programs like the HOPE Scholarship tax credit.
Remember the guiding principle:  Where there is a will, there really is a way.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer experiences

 Radio Commentary

Summer can continue to be a time of learning for young people.
As a family, choose an important news event to follow for a day or two. Ask each person to find as much information on the topic as possible — read newspapers, listen to the radio, watch TV news, or check online. Then talk about what everyone has learned.
You can also make a family game of discussing a special issue. For example: “Teenagers should be allowed to vote.” Or, “There should never be any homework.”
Ask your children to think of all the reasons they can to support their views. Then ask them to think of reasons opposing their views.
Which views are most convincing?
For variety, you can assign family members to teams and have them prepare their arguments pro and con.
Exercise also helps keep the mind sharp, and summertime is a great time for fitness. Ask your children to do at least one kind of exercise every day. For example, they could run or walk briskly for 10 minutes. 
When possible, they should walk, instead of riding, for any distance less than a mile. 
Have your children create their own week-long exercise plans. Try to think of a modest reward for sticking to the plan. Then exercise right along with your children, for everyone’s health.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Opinion Differences

 Radio Commentary

There will come a time when you and your child have different opinions. It’s inevitable.
Accept this fact and understand that depending on a child’s age, personality traits, or peer influences, they may see things from a different perspective.
Accept these differences of opinion and use the opportunity to discuss the topic in question.
Encourage independent thinking and listening to others. Getting to know people better and understanding the perspectives of others are vital to future emotional and psychological well-being. 
It’s also very healthy and affirming for children to hear you say these words when appropriate: “You’re right – I hadn’t thought about it that way.”
When they grasp the idea that we can always learn something new and see something from another point of view, they are more likely to keep open minds as they engage in a spirited defense of their beliefs.
Help them flesh out their arguments and approach issues from different sides. Show them that everyone is entitled to an opinion but that not all opinions are equally valid, especially if they are based on emotion or misconceptions, rather than fact.
A thoughtful debate is often very thought-provoking. Helping your children become articulate, thoughtful, and respectful will help them at all stages of their lives.