Education News Roundup: June 26, 2012

high school football coach on sidelines

Coach Riley/JMKearns/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Jordan contract negotiations hit a snag.
http://goo.gl/8wC8X (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/X4a8K (KUTV)

D-News and KSL continue their series on demographics.
http://goo.gl/1PYhY (DN)
and http://goo.gl/MrvS6 (KSL)

Granite informs Cottonwood assistant coach that donors can’t be coaches.
http://goo.gl/9FWLa (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/qujg8 (DN)
and http://goo.gl/BksOf (SGS)
and http://goo.gl/Ox20Q (SGN)
and http://goo.gl/iBcua (KSL)

Schools nationally moving to more online testing.
http://goo.gl/F3KcN (WaPo)
and http://goo.gl/ocVBw (Hechinger Report)

New Jersey passes teacher tenure reform.
http://goo.gl/8XdSa (Star-Ledger)

New study says school finance and school nutrition can both win with healthy snacks.
http://goo.gl/S7xpM (LAT)
and http://goo.gl/awDxE (Ed Week)
or a copy of the report
http://goo.gl/PsY8c

Big cranberry, however, remains skeptical of new nutrition standards for schools.
http://goo.gl/daF5p (USAT)
and http://goo.gl/iD1le (Boston Globe)

Where are you going to find the next NBA superstar like Kevin Durant? Well, he’s gotta be in fifth grade somewhere, right?
http://goo.gl/o71Sm (NYT)

“Reading Rainbow” is back. This time it’s on your iPad.
http://goo.gl/3RFPS (CNN)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Jordan teachers union declares impasse in contract negotiations Contract » District, union dispute pay, other issues.

Some solutions in place to close education gap, but is Utah willing to pay for them?

District policy forces Cottonwood football booster Scott Cate out of coaching Prep Football » Colts offensive coordinator says he is unsure of his next step

Primary election will have a little something to vote on for all parties

High School Marquis offends sensibilities for election law violation

Governor selects candidates for Utah State Board of Education

$25M shortfall in Office of Education’s budget resolved by legislature

‘Summer Scholars’ gets kids thinking, smiling

Utah teens take virtual distracted driving spin

Society announces scholarship winners

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Cottonwood football players keep showing us how to cope After deaths of two coaches, departures of two others, Cottonwood football players stay focused.

School administrators could become near-millionaires

Solution to school funding issues: Have fewer children

Time for some corrections

That’s one interpretation of the phrase

Son of Scott Walker
In Idaho, as in Wisconsin, the teachers unions fight reforms.

Education reform will hurt Idaho teachers

Just tossing more money at schools won’t solve problems

Curriculum and Tech Leaders Must Have ‘Common’ Language

Tackling Teacher Turnover at Charter Schools

NATION

Online testing revolution comes to schools

Sweeping N.J. teacher’s tenure bill passes Legislature, heads to Gov. Christie’s desk

National education reform group’s spending shown

Early Punishments Can Have Lasting Impact for Some Students A number of studies over the years have linked a child’s exposure to the criminal justice system with increased odds of dropping out of school. The NewsHour recently traveled to Texas, a state that is sending thousands of kids to court every year.

Entertainment Properties Is Being Tested by Charter Schools

Nutrition, finances win with healthful school snacks, report says

Cranberry industry wary of upcoming nutrition standards

Middle School Is Basketball’s Fiercest Recruiting Battleground

Google Adds Apps, Chrome Features for Education

‘Reading Rainbow’ resurfaces as an app

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UTAH NEWS
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Jordan teachers union declares impasse in contract negotiations Contract » District, union dispute pay, other issues.

The Jordan Education Association declared an impasse Tuesday in contract negotiations with the Jordan District, after disagreements over pay and other issues.
The district and the union will now enter into mediation — for the third time in four years, said Sandy Riesgraf, a spokeswoman for the Jordan District.
The school district offered to boost steps and lanes (pay teachers receive for years of experience and education) next school year but said it would only increase pay for the school year after that if the Legislature set money aside for that specific purpose. The JEA, however, believes that’s unlikely.
http://goo.gl/8wC8X (SLT)

http://goo.gl/X4a8K (KUTV)

Some solutions in place to close education gap, but is Utah willing to pay for them?

WEST VALLEY CITY — When Devony Rodriguez started Granite School District’s early preschool program as a 3-year-old, she kept to herself.
“She came in last year very shy, very quiet, no English, didn’t really understand anything. Over these two years, she is outgoing, very social and her learning has really been something else,” said Lola Dominguez, lead preschool teacher at Hilldale Elementary School.
Child advocates said Rodriguez’s experience in the program, which operates in 11 of the district’s most at-risk schools, is typical. The program has given preschoolers such a leg up that by the end of third grade, they’re performing on par in math and English with peers not affected by poverty, according to an evaluation by Utah State University early childhood education researchers.
http://goo.gl/1PYhY (DN)

http://goo.gl/MrvS6 (KSL)

District policy forces Cottonwood football booster Scott Cate out of coaching Prep Football » Colts offensive coordinator says he is unsure of his next step

The Cottonwood High School coaching shakeup is not limited to the hiring of a new head coach.
Offensive coordinator and superbooster Scott Cate said he was informed Monday that he can no longer coach the team, due to a new Granite School District policy that doesn’t allow donors to coach.
Cate’s departure is just the latest twist in a bizarre postseason at Cottonwood that saw the head coach and an assistant resign for off-field allegations and another assistant die when he was rear-ended by an alleged drunk driver on Saturday.
Also on Monday, the district announced the hiring of former Dixie State coach Greg Croshaw as its head coach.
http://goo.gl/9FWLa (SLT)

http://goo.gl/qujg8 (DN)

http://goo.gl/BksOf (SGS)

http://goo.gl/Ox20Q (SGN)

http://goo.gl/iBcua (KSL)

Primary election will have a little something to vote on for all parties

OGDEN — Top of Utah primary elections are to be held today, with a little something for all parties.

For the Ogden School Board, two-term incumbent Don Belnap will face challengers David Tanner and Allen Smith in District 1.
In Ogden School Board District 5, the field is even more crowded, with incumbent Shane Story facing three challengers — J. Scott Handy, Clark Hogan and Jim Hutchins.
Weber County residents will vote on the school district’s proposed $65 million bond issue, which would include the building of five new schools and the updating of two existing schools.
http://goo.gl/9QqkZ (OSE)

High School Marquis offends sensibilities for election law violation

CEDAR CITY – On this election day for Utah’s Republican Primary, citizens of Cedar City assigned to vote at Canyon View High School, a public high school designated as the polling place for Iron County Precincts 6 and 7, arrived to see the school’s electronic marquis flashing the name of Evan Vickers.
Vickers is on the ballot candidating against incumbent Sen. Casey Anderson for the GOP nomination for Utah’s State Senate District 28.
Utah Election Code Section 20A-3-501 prohibits electioneering within 150 feet of the building where a polling place is located, and provides that “(a) county, municipality, school district, or local district may not prohibit electioneering that occurs more than 150 feet from the building where a polling place is located … (emphasis added).”
The timing of the marquis strikes some as curious, as callers in to the Perspectives Morning Show on Fox News Radio 1450 KZNU, observed. Regardless, the broadcasting of a candidate’s name on election day at a polling location appears to some to violate election laws and the integrity of the polling process.
http://goo.gl/dEP8F (SGN)

Governor selects candidates for Utah State Board of Education

SALT LAKE CITY — The 18 candidates who will vie for nine Utah State Board of Education seats during November’s election were selected Friday by Gov. Gary Herbert.
Unlike other elections in the state, candidates for the state school board are vetted by a nominating and recruiting committee, which then narrow the field and forward names to the governor for selection. The committee passed 27 names to the governor from an initial field of 59.
In each case where an incumbent was nominated by the committee, Herbert included them as a candidate for November’s ballot. Two incumbents, Janet Cannon and Carol Murphy, failed to clear the committee and will not appear on the ballot.
http://goo.gl/FxhsO (KSL)

$25M shortfall in Office of Education’s budget resolved by legislature

ST. GEORGE – In the Fourth Special Session of the Legislature held last week on June 20, the New School Year Supplemental Public Education Budget Adjustments bill passed* both the Senate and House, addressing a $25 mil. shortfall in the Office of Education, created by a technical error.
Craig Hammer, Executive Director of Secondary Schools in Washington County School District said that the Office of Education projects the number of new students it anticipates for the budget. Somewhere along the line an error was made and the personnel didn’t catch it.
“It wasn’t lost, nobody took it,” Hammer said, “it was just short of what the estimate should have been for new growth.”
http://goo.gl/hfftR (SGN)

‘Summer Scholars’ gets kids thinking, smiling

OGDEN — It may have looked, to the untrained eye, like 10-year-old Kade Joshua Salvo was just enjoying a sunny summer morning spinning yo-yos with a group of happy friends.
And to the hovering science teachers in the group, who helped to unknot twisted strings and reinforce scientific theories, it was obvious that this was a lesson in pre-physics, illustrating the real-world effects of momentum, kinetic energy and gravity.
But Kade and his dozen or so new buddies knew they actually were doing both.
“You get to learn, and you get to have a lot of fun,” he said, as he cradled the greenish-white yo-yo in his palm. “We’re trying to see who can get the most seconds spinning. The boys think we should change fingers, and that would help. The girls think we need to do a flick and fling. But the boys observed that, and we don’t think it will work.”
Kade was one of 28 students to sign up for Taylor Canyon Elementary’s eight-day Summer Scholars program, funded by the Ogden School District. Students selected a class on a topic they had a passion for or wanted to learn more about.
http://goo.gl/foUJt (OSE)

Utah teens take virtual distracted driving spin

SALT LAKE CITY — Junior high and high school students are taking the wheel to learn about the dangers of texting and driving.
The University of Utah’s Traffic Lab is hosting an engineering camp Tuesday that’ll have teens testing out a driving simulator. They’ll learn how their reactions differ under normal and distracted driving conditions.
The new simulator uses images of Utah traffic conditions and analyzes driver behavior.
http://goo.gl/aNkpQ (OSE)

http://goo.gl/deENp (PDH)

http://goo.gl/0afmD (KTVX)

http://goo.gl/k6UIo (KSL)

http://goo.gl/v93gG (San Francisco Chronicle)

Society announces scholarship winners

ST. GEORGE — Nelson Hafen, St. George chapter president for the BYU Management Society, announced five area high school students and two area BYU students have been given scholarships totaling $5,750.
http://goo.gl/P86qr (SGS)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Cottonwood football players keep showing us how to cope After deaths of two coaches, departures of two others, Cottonwood football players stay focused.
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Kurt Kragthorpe

For the seniors in Cottonwood’s football program, the Colts’ miracle finish was just the start of the healing that’s become far too necessary during their high school careers.
As they’ve discovered, not even an almost fictional ending of their 2010 season opener could permanently fix everything. That night, the Colts honored a man who never got to coach them in a game. They scored two touchdowns in the last three minutes of a 28-21 victory over Alta, returning a blocked field goal 90 yards and an interception 50 yards for scores in a stunning turnaround that made the players proud of their tribute to Teko Johnson, who had died a month earlier of a heart attack.
Yet before that team’s sophomores could become seniors, they would have to deal with much more. A sequence of events in the past two months defies easy categorizing, except for the common outcome of having key coaches no longer working with them.
Offensive line coach Michael Gallegos, 39, a father of two young children, died Saturday when his car was struck from behind by a drunken driver, according to police. That followed last month’s departures of head coach Josh Lyman and assistant coach Eric Eyre, stemming from separate off-field allegations.
http://goo.gl/Q0f4X

School administrators could become near-millionaires
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Wanda Miller

We hear every year that “we have to cut education funding,” but who knew one could become a millionaire working for the school board or school districts? Some administrators are paid up to $284,000 per year. Isn’t this taxpayers’ money? I think education is collecting too much taxes. There needs to be a curbing on wages. If someone can’t live on $160,000 per year, they need to change their lifestyle. The rest of us do it.
http://goo.gl/tMnYW

Solution to school funding issues: Have fewer children (St. George) Spectrum letter from Waid Reynolds

Low per-student school funding in Utah is being touted as an excuse to drill, blast, excavate, sell and develop every unique and beautiful public place in the state in an attempt to increase tax revenues. Strangely, new schools are being constructed everywhere you look, implying that school funding is actually quite robust.
Apparently, no one dares to broach the real problem – too many students. Utah’s birth rate is two and a half times the national average.
http://goo.gl/QE2Gu

Time for some corrections
(Provo) Daily Herald letter from Chad Harris

Your editorial on May 11 titled, “Was firing the right choice?” proved to be full of errors after the appeals last week. Not one person from the party testified to being sexually harassed. In fact, not one person could be found that could verify officer Harris made inappropriate remarks. After 8 hours of review, it was discovered most things reported by the media were false. His termination was overruled because it was obvious Mayor Curtis and Chief Gregory did a poor job reviewing the case. Officer Harris deserves an apology from the mayor, the chief and from your previous inaccurate editorial.
http://goo.gl/QK8W5

That’s one interpretation of the phrase
(Provo) Daily Herald letter from Bob Womack

Was Provo police officer Cody Harris really reinstated, and with back pay? Apparently his “exemplary” record weighed in the decision. For police officers, “exemplary record” must mean never having been caught exercising poor judgement. Someone exercising that much poor judgement can’t be a first time offender. Officer Harris’ punishment was a long paid vacation! He dodged a bullet. It’s a good thing, apparently he wasn’t wearing body armor that day, either!
http://goo.gl/rgB8R

Son of Scott Walker
In Idaho, as in Wisconsin, the teachers unions fight reforms.
Wall Street Journal commentary by columnist WILLIAM MCGURN

It’s on. On the Idaho ballot, that is. Come November, Idahoans will vote on three referenda aimed at repealing what may be the nation’s most sweeping education reform, including new limits on collective bargaining for teachers. Think of it as the sequel to Wisconsin, where similar reforms led to a similar effort—the attempted recall of Gov. Scott Walker.
At the heart of the political drama in Idaho is the state’s superintendent of public instruction, Tom Luna. A glance at Mr. Luna’s résumé shows a career businessman who became involved in his local school board and went on to serve in the Bush Education Department before returning to Idaho to run for his present office in 2006. Most refreshing is what’s not on Mr. Luna’s résumé: a degree in education.
That makes Mr. Luna an outlier within the education blob that runs our public school systems. It may also explain the boldness of the reforms he helped push through the state legislature in spring 2011. Called “Students Come First,” it was a package of legislation that limits collective bargaining, introduces merit pay, and takes advantage of new technology to help give more Idaho students the education they need for college.
Because Idaho is a Western state lacking both huge urban centers and large minority populations, it doesn’t fit into the familiar education narrative of inner-city hopelessness. Nevertheless, failure is failure.
http://goo.gl/v2Q9u

Education reform will hurt Idaho teachers Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review

Idaho Schools Superintendent Tom Luna could not resist an opportunity last week to beat up the Idaho Education Association for alleged lies about “Students Come First,” his controversial program to substitute online learning for live teaching, implement merit pay and put an end to collective bargaining.
He told Republicans gathered for their annual state convention the teacher organization was not, for example, informing members their average pay will go up by about $2,000 when his plan is fully implemented.
In fact, there is a good chance that it will not unless the economy produces significantly more revenue for the state than it does today.
http://goo.gl/ugHld

Just tossing more money at schools won’t solve problems Marietta (OH) Times editorial

Ohio has received high marks from researchers looking into how public education funding is handled. But tell that to officials and taxpayers in financially beleaguered school districts. They understand that good grades in a national study are one thing, but the reality of not being able to balance a district’s budget is something else.
Just three states – Ohio, New Jersey and Utah – received “A” grades for education financing in a study by Rutgers University and the Education Law Center. The ELC is an advocacy group interested in ensuring students from low-income families and relatively poor school districts receive adequate state funding.

Utah – again, one of just three states the recent study gave a top grade for how education funding is allocated – validates that philosophy. Utah spends about two-thirds what Ohio does on public education, on a per-pupil basis ($7,379 in 2009, the last year for which the study reported numbers, compared to $10,625 in Ohio).
Yet average scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests are comparable between the two states. For example, fourth-grade mathematics scores on the NAEP test this year averaged 283 in Utah and 289 in Ohio. Eighth-grade reading averages were 267 in Utah and 268 in Ohio.
http://goo.gl/1G0VV

A copy of the report
http://goo.gl/xAOlK

Curriculum and Tech Leaders Must Have ‘Common’ Language Education Week commentary by columnist Ian Quillen

Five years ago, members of the Consortium for School Networking at a gathering similar to one held today resolved to make establishing lines of communication between technology leaders and other educational leaders a top priority going forward.
Now, with the snowball that is the implementation of the common standards beginning to roll, it’s time to see whether that emphasis has paid off, said technology leaders at CoSN’s annual leadership forum here at ISTE 2012 in San Diego.
“If there’s common core work at your district and you as your technology leader are not involved, I would question why,” said Ray Eernisse, the chief information officer at the Francis Howell R-III school district in Missouri, just outside of St. Louis.
http://goo.gl/kOdWg

Tackling Teacher Turnover at Charter Schools Education Week commentary by columnist Sean Cavanagh

There’s some research that shows charter schools suffer from higher teacher turnover than traditional public schools do. One recent estimate put turnover in charters at 25 percent per year, compared with just 14 percent in traditional public schools. Several explanations have been offered for this attrition. Charter school teachers, for instance, tend to be relatively young, and more susceptible to making quick exits from the profession, some studies suggest. Dissatisfaction with working conditions, and lack of administrative support have also been cited as reasons why charter teachers tend to head for the door.
A new paper, based on research as well as a survey of charter school teachers, offers school leaders and charter management organizations advice on how they can keep more charter school teachers in the fold. Released by a Boston nonprofit called Teach Plus, the paper says charter schools can reduce teacher turnover by taking four steps. They should:
http://goo.gl/qK4fT

A copy of the paper
http://goo.gl/oy1li

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Online testing revolution comes to schools Washington Post

TOWNSEND, Del. — On a recent afternoon at Townsend Elementary School here, a little boy squinted at a computer screen and gripped his mouse. He was stuck. Half of the screen contained an article about rain forests. The other half was filled with questions, some multiple-choice, some not.
One question asked the boy to pick two animals that belonged in the rain forest from a list of pictures and written descriptions. Then he was supposed to drag the animals across the screen onto the rain forest background. Next, he had to move two correct descriptions of rain forest characteristics into boxes. He raised his hand.
“I don’t understand,” he whispered to his fourth-grade teacher.
“Read the directions again,” she whispered back.
Delaware is one of a handful of states that has moved all of its testing online. On a recent visit to Townsend, students were filing into the computer lab throughout the day to take tests. But if a multi-state effort to create better tests is successful, the vast majority of U.S. schoolchildren will be taking standardized math and English tests online in three years.
http://goo.gl/F3KcN

http://goo.gl/ocVBw (Hechinger Report)

Sweeping N.J. teacher’s tenure bill passes Legislature, heads to Gov. Christie’s desk Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger

TRENTON — New Jersey’s public-school teachers and principals would have to ace their own yearly test if they want to attain job security under a bill that won final passage in the Legislature today.
The Assembly unanimously approved legislation sponsored by state Sen. Teresa Ruiz, capping more than a year of debate on how best to reshape the first tenure law in the United States.
The Senate, which approved the bill last week, concurred shortly afterward with several amendments made in the lower house and sent the bill (A3060/S1455) to Gov. Chris Christie.
The Republican governor has long awaited the tenure bill, but he is not expected to sign it tonight.
http://goo.gl/8XdSa

National education reform group’s spending shown Reuters

The national education reform group StudentsFirst, which has set out to transform U.S. schools by introducing more free-market principles to public education, raised $7.6 million in its first nine months – and spent nearly a quarter of it on advertising – according to partial tax records released on Monday.
Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools, launched StudentsFirst in the fall of 2010 with the stated goal of raising $1 billion over five years. Among the reforms it advocates: abolishing teacher tenure; permitting more teachers without formal education training to take charge of classrooms; evaluating teachers in large measure by their students’ growth on standardized tests; and expanding charter schools, which are publicly funded but typically run by private corporations, including for-profit management firms.
Rhee has pressed her agenda in states from Connecticut to Alabama to Michigan, spending millions on TV and radio ads, public rallies and lobbying as well as campaign donations for friendly candidates.
In each state, Rhee has drawn ferocious opposition from teachers unions, which say her policy prescriptions have not been shown to improve student learning.
http://goo.gl/z4BxI

Early Punishments Can Have Lasting Impact for Some Students A number of studies over the years have linked a child’s exposure to the criminal justice system with increased odds of dropping out of school. The NewsHour recently traveled to Texas, a state that is sending thousands of kids to court every year.
NewsHour

BRYAN, Texas | De’Angelo Rollins has many traits of a typical teenager — he’s shy, likes video games and is continuing to grow into his adult body.
Yet Rollins is also coping with a more unique adolescent challenge: a criminal record.
Two years ago, Rollins got into a fight at his middle school in Bryan, Texas, with a classmate that he says had been bullying him for months. The incident left the teen with a hefty punishment: a three-day suspension, a criminal Class C misdemeanor citation for disruption of class and a $350 fine.
“At the time I didn’t know what a citation was,” Rollins said.
After pleading no contest, the fine was reduced to $69, and a judge sentenced Rollins to 20 hours of community service, four months probation and attendance at a first-time offender program.
But Rollins is lucky in some ways. Under Texas state law, if he hadn’t taken care of the citation or the fine wasn’t paid, he could have been arrested when he turned 17.
http://goo.gl/zHdAJ

Entertainment Properties Is Being Tested by Charter Schools Wall Street Journal

Entertainment Properties Trust (EPR) is learning a tough lesson from its ambitious investment in charter schools.
The real estate investment trust, known mainly as a landlord to movie theaters who owns 112 of them in 35 states, began expanding into the education business five years ago by buying or building charter schools. The company now owns 37 charter school buildings, most of which are managed by Imagine Schools, one of the nation’s largest for-profit charter school operators.
But the investment into charter schools has hit an unexpected snag. In the past few months, Imagine lost its contracts to manage seven schools in Missouri and two in Georgia due to criticism about poor test scores and financial mismanagement. Imagine was forced its close its schools in those states, leaving Entertainment Properties in a pinch to fill the vacant buildings.
Those nine schools represent a $72 million investment for Entertainment Properties and one-third of the number of leases the company has signed with Imagine, which currently operates about 75 schools nationwide.
The turn of events has revived concerns among investors that Entertainment Properties is veering too far from what it does best: build and acquire movie theaters.
http://goo.gl/mY5la

Nutrition, finances win with healthful school snacks, report says Los Angeles Times

The federal government is slated to come up with rules governing the food sold at school that’s not part of the regular meals.
Those foods are often called competitive foods, because what’s sold in the student store or in vending machines or other spots at schools often competes with the meal programs.
“Ensuring that schools sell nutritious foods is critical to improving children’s diets,” a report issued Tuesday says. “This is one of the goals of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.”
That law, passed in 2010, directs the federal government to update standards for all foods sold at school by bringing them into alignment with dietary guidelines.
An assessment of what those new rules might do for kids’ health and the schools’ bottom line was released Tuesday by two projects from the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
http://goo.gl/S7xpM

http://goo.gl/awDxE (Ed Week)

A copy of the report
http://goo.gl/PsY8c

Cranberry industry wary of upcoming nutrition standards USA Today

WASHINGTON – The federal government is expected to propose new nutrition standards soon that could leave a bitter taste in the mouths of cranberry growers from Massachusetts to Wisconsin.
To address childhood obesity in America, an effort spurred by first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative, the Department of Agriculture is finalizing guidelines for what can be sold in school vending machines, stores and a la carte cafeteria lines. Sugar is widely viewed as a target, and sweetened beverages like cranberry juice cocktail could be deemed unhealthy.
That would be unfortunate and unfair, cranberry industry officials say, because the tart, deep red fruit is loaded with nutrients and health benefits. But for consumers to avail themselves of those benefits, cranberries must be sweetened.
http://goo.gl/daF5p

http://goo.gl/iD1le (Boston Globe)

Middle School Is Basketball’s Fiercest Recruiting Battleground New York Times

CHANTILLY, Va. — Coaches sat scattered across the bleachers at a basketball tournament here this month, interested observers determined to find the next big star.
With their polo shirts emblazoned with team logos, they could have passed for college recruiters out to woo top players. But these were coaches from some of the elite private high schools in Washington, and the players they were watching were in middle school.
The high caliber of high school basketball in this region and the resulting pressure placed on coaches to win have fostered a fierce recruiting environment focused on players who are much too young to drive anywhere but to the basket.
Although private schools recruit middle school students in other major metropolitan areas, both openly and discreetly, the minimal regulation of the practice here and the desire to uncover the next Kevin Durant — a product of a Washington-area private school who has blossomed into an N.B.A. star with Oklahoma City — has led to an aggressive pursuit of players beginning with fifth graders.
http://goo.gl/o71Sm

Google Adds Apps, Chrome Features for Education IDG News via PC World

Google rolled out on Monday new application-management capabilities for IT administrators at schools that use Chromebook computers.
The new features are designed to simplify and improve the process of grouping, installing and distributing Web applications from the Chrome Web Store, Google said in a blog post.
One of the new features are what Google calls “grade-level application packs,” which contain sets of Chrome Web Store applications that can be tightly woven with the Google Apps for Education cloud-based e-mail and collaboration suite.
The application packs are tailored for specific grades and IT administrators can install them via the Chromebook management console.
http://goo.gl/aCCda

‘Reading Rainbow’ resurfaces as an app
CNN

Butterfly in the sky I can go twice as high. . . Remember those lyrics from the once popular children’s show “Reading Rainbow”? Well, it’s back, but this time not on TV – on iPad.
Last week, Reading Rainbow host, executive producer and actor LeVar Burton, launched the Reading Rainbow app through his for-profit company RR Kidz Inc. Burton says he hopes the app will have the same impact on a new, more “digitally-native” generation as the show had on kids in the ‘80s.
The app, like the show, is aimed at children ages 3-9, who are just learning how to read. Like the show, Burton plays host, this time calling himself “Curator in Chief.” He, along with digital animations named Jane and Austin, guides children on a hot air balloon ride through the chosen story.
http://goo.gl/3RFPS

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