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February 14, 2004

"Protein: Yay! Carbs: Boo!"

Schools in Palm Beach and Broward counties are trying a new strategy to raise test scores. It seems comical that they would alter the carbohydrate count in breakfasts for a handful of days and expect it to have some major effect on test scores, and flies in the face of anything I learned about IQ and biochemistry. While H. J. Eysenck and others of a similar mindset often proposed nutritional supplementation as one of the best ways to raise IQ (the little it can be raised), their ideas were for early-in-life programs and long-term implementation. And they definitely were not as naive as this:

"Verde Elementary School in Boca Raton plans to take pizza off the lunch menu and will add a chicken dish. Teachers have been asked not to serve cookies on testing days. Students will get bacon and eggs, cheese sticks and water; no high-sugar juice allowed.

Boca Raton High School plans to offer protein bars with milk before the morning exams. At Atlantic High in Delray Beach, students can still get juice, but also will be able to select protein bars, cheese and fruit."

I am glad they are disallowing high-simple sugar food (e.g., cookies), and advocating water, but do they really think a diet of quasi-comestibles such as bacon and cheese sticks are the ticket to better test grades?

If they put 1/2 as much energy into exploiting individual differences instead of trying to get rid of them, I am sure they would much better pleased with the outcomes.

Posted by A. Beaujean at 09:41 PM