Is pizza a vegetable? New bill would make it official
November 16th, 2011
05:56 PM ET

Is pizza a vegetable? New bill would make it official

The idea of a well-rounded school lunch may skip the "wellness" factor and skip straight to the "rounded" – in the form of pizza.

Congress unveiled its latest short-term $182 billion spending bill late Monday, which among the legislation, would deny funding to the new – and healthier – school meal nutrition standards the Department of Agriculture proposed earlier this year amid growing concerns of childhood obesity.

The new USDA standards included increasing the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk while decreasing the amount of sodium, saturated fat and starchy potatoes.

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Filed under: Kids' health • Policy • School lunch
Today's Reading List
November 16th, 2011
12:07 PM ET

Today's Reading List

Here's what the Schools of Thought Editors are reading today:

AJC.com: Fulton school board votes to become a charter system
One of Georgia's largest school districts could become a charter system. Each school could then ask for waivers from state laws, as long as the school meets state benchmarks.

USA Today: Hall lockers? Some schools say no
Lockers are disappearing in some new schools because technology is replacing books.

CBC News: Canada's national robot games cancelled
Attendance at Canada's national robotic competition dropped by half. Organizers think that children are more interested in playing with new toys rather than learning how to build them.

The Daily Courier:Veterans get wildland fire training to help transition back to civilian life
Arizona's training program teaches vets how to fight a different kind of enemy: wildfires.

November 16th, 2011
10:53 AM ET

Is it time to redesign the report card?

Courtesy Marilyn MargonEditor’s Note: Sam Chaltain  is a DC-based writer and education advocate. He can be found on Twitter at @samchaltain

By Sam Chaltain, Special to CNN

This week, many parents and guardians of students across the country will receive their first report cards of the 2011-2012 school year. For some, the occasion will provide welcome confirmation of a young person’s superior effort. Others will open their mail to find an uncomfortable wake up call. Yet for too many families, the report cards will offer little more than confusion – about how their child is actually behaving, what he or she has actually learned, and whether any meaningful progress has actually been made. “I have a master’s degree in education,” said Devon Bartlett, a parent whose children are in first and fourth grade, “and even I can’t make sense of what my child’s report card is trying to tell me. Clearly, we can do better.”

Given how uninformed so many parents feel, and considering how differently the nation’s 100,000 plus schools choose to track student growth, is it time to give the school report card an extreme makeover, and dress it up for the 21st century?

Zakiya Reid, principal of Bancroft Elementary School in Washington, D.C., certainly thinks so – although she’s mandated to use the same report card as all other D.C. public schools. “We’re doing a lot better here than we were before,” she offered, “and all of our feedback is presented in terms of the primary standards we want the children to reach. At the same time, we’re still learning as a community of educators how to do standards-based grading, so I know the way we present information on the new report card is not clear to all of our teachers. And if it isn’t clear to the teachers, it’s safe to say it isn’t going to be clear to our students and parents. So we still have some important work to do.”
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Filed under: At Home • Elementary school • High school • Policy • Practice • Sam Chaltain • Voices
The kid with the stinky lunch
November 16th, 2011
10:20 AM ET

The kid with the stinky lunch

Food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more and these next two weeks, we invite you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011. Catch up on past coverage and stay tuned for the live blog from our Secret Supper in Chicago on Wednesday night starting at 6:30 CT.

When you're all grown up and on your own and have lived a bit of life, it's easier to find peace with your weirdness. All those little and large things that set you apart as a child – your goofy-looking nose, talent for playing bassoon or obsession with the insides of small electronic devices – are what make you the gorgeous, fascinating, resilient adult you are today.

Back then, though, kids may not have been so kind. Conformity is key in formative years – it teaches us all to walk on the right, chew with our mouths closed and remain reasonably clothed in public places. But it can have a cruel edge if wielded by the callow.

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