School's Plan to Boost Test Scores: Feed Kids Placebos

Florida elementary school students given 'FCAT PowerBars'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2012 11:37 AM CST
Students will be give an 'FCAT PowerBar' before the test.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A Florida elementary school wants its students to perform better on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test … so it's feeding them "placebos." Hagen Road Elementary students will be given an "FCAT PowerBar"—aka an apple-flavored cereal bar with a label reading, "Warning: Improves Writing Power!"—before testing this week, and administrators reportedly hope scores really will be boosted in the same way placebo pills can have healing effects.

But not everyone is thrilled. It's a "dirty trick," a teacher and lead union representative tells the Miami Herald. "If you were given a choice between your salary and hoodwinking kids, which would you choose?" But the testing chief says the district is just offering a healthy breakfast because "it’s a lot easier to test on a full stomach."

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