Editorial roundup

The (Columbus) Dispatch, Sept. 19

Kids are scarfing down a lot of high-calorie and fried foods at fast-food joints daily, according to a government report that gives even greater weight to ongoing efforts to combat childhood obesity.

More than 1 in 3 children or teens in the United States eat at a fast-food restaurant on any given day, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The analysis was based on the CDC’s 2011-12 survey data, so nutrition campaigns might have since made a dent. But these worrisome consumption numbers have held steady since the 1990s. Further, the bad eating habits cut across gender and even economic status for children ages 2 to 19.

Fast food restaurants, of course, do offer healthy choices. But it seems the kids aren’t opting for grilled chicken salads.

The study found many of the young diners are getting 25 percent to more than 40 percent of their daily calories from fast-food joints.

These findings are vexing. Young children aren’t trotting to fast-food restaurants on their own; their parents are taking them. And, by the time they are teenagers, better dietary habits should be ingrained. The report should remind parents to set a good example and expose children to healthy foods, perhaps buying a new fruit or vegetable each week to try…

Online: http://bit.ly/1V5QvsF

The (Akron) Beacon-Journal, Sept. 20

Why have so many charter schools performed poorly across the state? The Ohio Supreme provided insights into the answer in a long-awaited ruling last week. The court majority sided with White Hat Management of Akron, one of the largest private operators of charter schools in the country, in a dispute involving the possession of assets (equipment and supplies) that were purchased initially with public money.

In doing so, the court made plain just how much clout the state legislature, with Republicans in the majority, has ceded to White Hat and other private operators. Writing for a fractured majority, Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger adopted a reluctant tone, concluding the court was ruling “narrowly” and all but ordering the legislature to take the responsible path of providing fitting requirements and oversight.

Lawmakers have a prime opportunity. The state Senate has approved strong legislation to hold charter schools more accountable. Unfortunately, the bill has stalled in the House. The court ruling provides a compelling reason to move quickly to enactment.

The dispute stems from the board decisions of 10 former Hope academies and Life Skills Centers to part with White Hat and find a new management company. White Hat argued the boards would need to move, and if they wanted to take the equipment and supplies, they would have to purchase them from White Hat. This seemed an audacious request. Public money flowed to White Hat so it could buy the materials to operate the school. Now the public entity must pay again to get them back?

Online: http://bit.ly/1j2ZW0j

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