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L.A. Schools Get Serious About Rehabbing Lunch Menus, But Will the New Food Help Kids Learn?

The debate about cafeteria food shouldn't just focus on health. It also affects whether teachers can do their jobs effectively.

Chocolate and strawberry milk? Gone. Chicken nuggets and corn dogs? They're also being kicked to the curb. Chalk it up to spending months in the hotseat after clashing with chef Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution reality show, but the Los Angeles Unified School District is putting the kibosh on sugar-filled flavored milk and fast food staples. Great, but are the new optionsvegetable pad Thai, California sushi rolls, and spinach tortellini in butternut squash saucegoing to help kids learn? That may seem like an odd question, but here's why I'm asking: If students don't eat, they come back to class after lunch, sit at their desks, and stare into space like zombies. They can't concentrate.

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Two Former Teachers Defend Music Education on YouTube

In their latest video, the duo Two Teachers and a Microphone make the case for music programs, which are getting cut across America.

The teacher layoff-protesting duo is back! Two Teachers and a Microphone, a pair of pink slipped Los Angeles Unified School District educators, have released yet another video. This time around they're challenging the layoff notices being sent to music teachers.

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Thirsty Students: Access to Drinking Water is Lacking in Public Schools

America's kids are dehydrated and that could be affecting their academic and physical performance.


Feeling a little parched? Next time you take a trip to your office water cooler or sip from your Sigg bottle, think about all the school children who aren't able to drink water during the school day—not even during their lunch period. The result? America's kids are dehydrated, and it could be affecting their academic and physical performance.

According to the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a mere 15 percent of middle school students consume the minimum six to eight glasses of water a day. Part of the new Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 says that clean water must be easily available on campus, but that's usually limited to a few fountains for thousands of students. Some teachers discourage consumption of water and other liquids because they don't want students asking to go to the restroom during class time. Students also often skip drinking from the fountain—lines are sometimes long, it's hard to get a good drink of water when someone's behind you hissing, "Hurry up!" and the unfiltered water might taste or smell bad.

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What can you get for $578 million? Well, if you're the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), you can get one school—or rather seven schools in one sprawling, well-manicured campus that's part idealized learning center, part historical preservation site. A short piece over at The Week's website quickly breaks down pertinent facts about the project.

Built on the site of the old Ambassador Hotel, where Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down by Sirhan Sirhan in 1968, the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools will open next month, serving more than 4,000 students. The price tag on the new so-called "Taj Mahal" school is raising as many eyebrows across the country as last week's Los Angeles Times exposé on which of the city's teachers were good and which ones were ineffective.

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