WBEZ | schools http://www.wbez.org/tags/schools Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Is a national policy on school milk boosting lunchtime waste? http://www.wbez.org/news/national-policy-school-milk-boosting-lunchtime-waste-113813 <p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">One day this fall, first grader Russell Muchow brought his usual bagged lunch from home to Kellogg Elementary School in the far Southwest Side Beverly neighborhood. &nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">When it came time for lunch, he wanted to have a cold milk. But when he asked for a carton in the lunch line, his mom Molly Muchow says Russell was told, &ldquo;in order to take the milk (he) had to take the lunch.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/20151103_122235_resized.jpg" style="height: 500px; width: 281px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Inside school garbage can. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" />But the 6-year-old already had a lunch and if he took a second one, he&rsquo;d just have to throw it away. It didn&rsquo;t make sense to him. So when he got home, Molly Muchow says, &ldquo;he was distraught&rdquo; over being told he had to take food he couldn&#39;t eat. &ldquo;That is not what we teach them at home. We don&rsquo;t throw out food. That is unacceptable.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">Muchow says she called up the Kellogg school &nbsp;lunch director (Chicago Public Schools officials did not respond to WBEZ requests to interview the lunch director.) and basically got the same message: kids can&rsquo;t take free milk unless they take the whole meal.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">&ldquo;So I said I&rsquo;d just pay for the milk extra,&rdquo; Muchow recalled. &ldquo;And [the lunch director] told me it would actually be better for me to have him take the lunch even if he was going to throw it out, for budget reasons, and numbers and for them.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">This may sound outrageous from a food waste perspective, but from a school money angle, it&rsquo;s true.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">That&rsquo;s because for each child who takes the full meal &mdash; which includes an entree with milk and a side of fruits or vegetables</span>&nbsp;&mdash; the U.S. Department of Agriculture pays CPS $3.15, which it shares with the food service company Aramark.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">But if a child just takes a milk, the district and Aramark get nothing from the feds.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">The situation recently dominated a Kellogg Local School Council meeting, but it&rsquo;s an issue that&rsquo;s rooted in federal policy.</span></p><p dir="ltr">&quot;In order for it to be a reimbursable meal by USDA the lunch needs to include all the meal components,&quot; explained USDA regional administrator Tim English. &quot;And that would be a grain, vegetable or fruit, milk and meat or meat alternate. The idea is that we want to provide kids who are taking school lunch with a well-rounded meal.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8546053033_e95eaad450_k.jpg" style="text-align: center; height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Students and parents at a Chicago public school say that when kids just want a single part of a meal--like a milk to go with a home lunch--they are pushed to take an entire free lunch. The full meal triggers payment from the federal government. Some think this could be generating a lot of food waste in schools. (flickr/USDA)" /></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">But it means kids who just want an egg or banana at breakfast, for instance, must take the rest of the meal, even if it&rsquo;s tossed in the garbage.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">Starting last school year, most &nbsp;districts across the country like Chicago&rsquo;s, with a lot of low-income students, adopted the Community Eligibility Provision. That&rsquo;s a USDA program that &nbsp;makes all meals free to all students in the school or district regardless of income. This reduces mountains of free lunch application paperwork and the need to collect money in the lunchroom.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">Students still have the ability to pay 45 cents for milk out of pocket each day. But Northwestern University economist and professor of social policy Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach says the policy doesn&#39;t make that likely.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">&ldquo;Under these circumstances, if you&rsquo;re getting the same thing and you can choose to pay for it or you can choose to get it for free the vast majority of people will choose to get the same item for free instead of paying for it,&rdquo; she said.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">&ldquo;The incentives here are certainly for kids to take what&rsquo;s free and then wastefully dispose of it,&rdquo; she continued, &ldquo;so it seems like there&rsquo;s room for a policy improvement so that kids can get just the milk for free instead of taking the whole meal and then throw part of it away.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">That policy change would require an act of Congress &mdash; which happens to be reviewing the rules around school lunch right now, albeit at a slow pace.</span></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/nutritionists-raise-glass-whole-milk-new-dietary-guidelines-113390" target="_blank"><span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8542429717_dfe01d4a07_k.jpg" style="height: 207px; width: 310px; float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture have teamed up to revise the country’s dietary guidelines, as they have every five years since 1980. They aim to drop the longstanding limit on total fat consumption, which could clear the way for whole milk in school meal programs. (flickr/USDA)" /><span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></a></div></div><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">There is, however, a window for a quicker fix. CPS could choose to pick up the 45 cent tab when a student wants just a milk, making the less wasteful option an easy option (We found at least one district in Ohio where the superintendent says he decided to start doing this two months ago in response to food waste).</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">Still, CPS rejects the idea, saying it would just cost too much. And, to be fair, this appears to be the stance of most districts across the nation, according to Tim English, the USDA director for the Midwest.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">So if free milk won&rsquo;t be an option in the district, how are the existing choices presented to students? Are kids told they can bring money to buy a milk? Are they encouraged to take more than they want? </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>We asked CPS to explain exactly how lunch staff are told to present the options, but officials would not talk to us about it. The district also would not give us permission to talk to the Kellogg lunch staff about the procedure they follow on the matter.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">Kellogg parent Jill Zayauskas says she pretty clear about the way the options are handled at her school, and it makes her mad.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">&ldquo;My son was five when he first saw this and if a five-year-old knows wasting food is wrong then the people who plan this program should know that,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I just don&rsquo;t understand why children are forced to throw away a complete lunch to get chocolate milk and actually encouraged to do that so someone can make their quota. It&rsquo;s all about money&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">About half of the money for each meal goes to food service company Aramark, which receives $1.31 for each lunch taken.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">Kellogg mom Emily Lambert says students are getting mixed messages, right when they&rsquo;re in the middle of a food drive.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">&ldquo;My son is coming home every day asking to take food to school to give food to people who don&rsquo;t have it, while in the lunchroom they&#39;re throwing it away,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;They understand that it&rsquo;s wrong to throw away food that you have and you aren&rsquo;t going to eat.&rdquo; &nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">The USDA is also in the middle of its own campaign to reduce food waste by 50 percent in 15 years.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-21bd09b5-15d2-103d-de8b-cc3df2ad6f9d">Monica Eng is a WBEZ food and health reporter. Contact her at </span><a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org">meng@wbez.org</a> or follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng">@monicaeng</a></em></p></p> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 05:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/national-policy-school-milk-boosting-lunchtime-waste-113813 No Child Left Behind: What worked, what didn't http://www.wbez.org/news/no-child-left-behind-what-worked-what-didnt-113521 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/lbj.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res451923813" previewtitle="The Elementary and Secondary Education Act hasn't been updated since it was renamed &quot;No Child Left Behind&quot; in 2001 by President George W. Bush. The law was introduced by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 to help states level the playing field for students living and learning in poverty."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="The Elementary and Secondary Education Act hasn't been updated since it was renamed &quot;No Child Left Behind&quot; in 2001 by President George W. Bush. The law was introduced by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 to help states level the playing field for students living and learning in poverty." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/26/ap_070905059500_slide-97d06964b9d9cf49dcf94c2923c30dfa11d9e24f-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The Elementary and Secondary Education Act hasn't been updated since it was renamed &quot;No Child Left Behind&quot; in 2001 by President George W. Bush. The law was introduced by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 to help states level the playing field for students living and learning in poverty. (Matt Rourke/AP)" /></div><div><div><p>Cross your fingers.</p></div></div></div><p>Congress is trying to do something it was supposed to do back in 2007: agree on a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It&#39;s not controversial to say the law is in desperate need of an update.</p><p>The ESEA is hugely important, not just to our nation&#39;s schools but the social fabric. It pours billions of federal dollars each year into classrooms that serve low-income students. When President Lyndon Johnson first signed it in 1965, he declared the law &quot;a major new commitment of the federal government to quality and equality in the schooling that we offer our young people.&quot;</p><p>The ESEA is supposed to be updated every few years but hasn&#39;t been rewritten since 2001, when another Texan, President George W. Bush, famously renamed it No Child Left Behind. Bush took Johnson&#39;s original vision, to help states level the playing field for students living and learning in poverty, and added teeth.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re gonna spend more money, more resources,&quot; Bush said at the time, &quot;but they&#39;ll be directed at methods that work. Not feel-good methods. Not sound-good methods. But methods that actually work.&quot;</p><p>Those methods included a sweeping new federal system of testing and accountability &mdash; as strict as it was controversial. The message to states was clear: We don&#39;t trust you to do the right thing by your most disadvantaged students. Schools that fail to educate all kids should be fixed or closed.</p><p>With its emphasis &mdash; obsession, critics would say &mdash; on standardized testing, the law became unpopular among many teachers and parents and technically expired in 2007. But it&#39;s on the books until it&#39;s replaced.</p><p>Now, the challenge for lawmakers is figuring out what &mdash; if any &mdash; of Bush&#39;s tough-love methods worked. This week, NPR is trying to do the same.</p><p><strong>The Tough Guy</strong></p><div id="res451925655" previewtitle="President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965 with Kate Deadrich Loney, his first schoolteacher."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965 with Kate Deadrich Loney, his first schoolteacher." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/26/lbj-3_custom-49916d3821e7b911ea226219ab499e20c2f82936-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 611px; width: 400px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965 with Kate Deadrich Loney, his first schoolteacher. (Yoichi Okamoto/Lyndon B. Johnson Library)" /></div><div><div><p>Bush&#39;s tough-love approach was motivated by the sense that states weren&#39;t doing enough to fix their low-performing schools. NCLB created a new role for the federal government: Tough Guy. Right now, the House and Senate don&#39;t agree on much, but they do agree that the Tough Guy routine didn&#39;t work.</p></div></div></div><p>The recent bills crafted by both chambers &mdash; and that must now be reconciled &mdash; leave it to the states to decide what to do about struggling schools. That includes how to fix them and whether or when to close them.</p><p>But at least one researcher thinks the law, like the classic Tough Guy, is a little misunderstood. And that parts of the law did work.</p><p>&quot;NCLB is usually regarded as a sledgehammer, but it&#39;s actually fairly complex and fairly nuanced,&quot; says Tom Ahn, who teaches at the University of Kentucky.</p><p>Ahn has a Ph.D. in economics and writes papers with titles like, &quot;Distributional Impacts of a Local Living Wage Increase.&quot; In short, he&#39;s an unlikely guy to have written one of the go-to studies on NCLB.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aefpweb.org/sites/default/files/webform/ahnvigdornclb.pdf">But he did</a>. And it&#39;s an eye-opener.</p><p>A few years ago, Ahn and his colleague, Jacob Vigdor, wondered: In spite of the controversy, did No Child Left Behind do some good? Did it improve low-performing schools? For answers, they studied the schools of North Carolina, though what they found can be applied just about anywhere.</p><p><strong>How It Worked</strong></p><p>Under NCLB, schools were judged on something called Adequate Yearly Progress. The goal was to get every child to grade-level in reading and math by 2014. It was an impossible goal that infuriated teachers and administrators alike because it held all children &mdash; and all schools &mdash; to the same timeline.</p><p>The law didn&#39;t care if a child had begun the year three grades behind in reading and a teacher helped her make two years&#39; worth of progress by May. According to NCLB&#39;s strict proficiency guidelines, that student was still a year below grade-level.</p><p>The law also required schools to break down their student data into lots of little subgroups, including race, disability and socioeconomic status. Ahn says that was a game-changer. &quot;If one group of disadvantaged students underperformed, the entire school was considered underperforming.&quot;</p><p>Or, as Nancy Barbour puts it: &quot;Your high-fliers can&#39;t cover for your low-fliers.&quot;</p><p>In 2002, Barbour was the principal of a very good school in Durham, N.C. She says the new law made her and lots of fellow principals and teachers nervous, thinking &quot;Oh no, oh no. In four years we&#39;re gonna be restructuring, and in six we&#39;re gonna be closed down.&quot;</p><p>Some of that fear was justified. Because of the law&#39;s attention to these smaller groups of students, some of whom tended to underperform, many schools that had previously earned high marks suddenly got red flags. This is the first of two important lessons Tom Ahn learned studying NCLB.</p><p><strong>Lesson #1: Some Schools Didn&#39;t Need Fixing, Just Scaring</strong></p><p>&quot;The ones that had the capacity to shape up, they did,&quot; Ahn says.</p><p>He found that many schools improved after that first warning with no sanctions at all &mdash; just the threat of sanctions. Because these schools had relatively few kids below grade-level and enough money and staff to focus on them.</p><p>Ahn found a very different story among schools where lots of students were struggling. For these, often poorer schools, the law was like quicksand. Donna Brown is director of federal program monitoring and support for North Carolina&#39;s public schools, and she saw the quicksand first-hand.</p><p>&quot;When I came to the department in 2004,&quot; Brown remembers, &quot;there were nine schools in the state that were identified for some level of improvement sanction. And, by 2008-9, there were 521.&quot;</p><p>That&#39;s nearly half of all schools in the state that received federal Title I dollars. After two years of failing to make progress, a school had to offer students the right to transfer to a better school.</p><p>The problem with this transfer policy, says Brown, is &quot;you&#39;re not really doing anything to address the needs of that school.&quot;</p><p>It was more punishment than panacea. So schools often sank deeper into the quicksand. If they continued to fail to make Adequate Yearly Progress, they were also required to pay for tutoring services and, later, to choose from a list of &quot;corrective actions,&quot; including changing curriculum or lengthening the school day. And here begins the other great lesson of No Child Left Behind.</p><p><strong>Lesson #2: The Lobotomy</strong></p><p>For schools stuck in the quicksand, Ahn says, &quot;these sanctions start stacking up, and at the end of the day, they don&#39;t help the schools to improve.&quot;</p><p>That is, until the last, most-feared sanction &mdash; Restructuring &mdash; which Ahn likens to &quot;a lobotomy.&quot;</p><p>After five years, schools &quot;in need of improvement&quot; were supposed to write a restructuring plan that could include firing teachers, reopening as a charter or handing over control to the state. And in Year Six, they were supposed to do it.</p><p>In North Carolina, Ahn found the most common strategy was simply replacing the person at the top, the principal. The effect on student performance was significant, equivalent to &quot;reducing class size by a third to a half.&quot;</p><p>Why did the lobotomy so often work? It&#39;s hard to say. Ahn points out that, to be forced into restructuring, a school had to be considered failing for six years.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s something seriously wrong with the way the school has been run,&quot; Ahn says. &quot;And, when leadership change occurs, basically there&#39;s a sea change.&quot;</p><p>He says he could see it not only in student performance but in teacher satisfaction surveys. After the lobotomy, teachers were often happier.</p><p>At least, that&#39;s what the data suggests. To really understand restructuring and why, Ahn says, it was the only sanction under NCLB that seemed to work, we need to see a lobotomy first-hand. We&#39;ll have that story later today.</p><p>&nbsp;&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/10/27/443110755/no-child-left-behind-what-worked-what-didnt?ft=nprml&amp;f=443110755" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 27 Oct 2015 13:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/no-child-left-behind-what-worked-what-didnt-113521 The evidence that white children benefit from integrated schools http://www.wbez.org/news/evidence-white-children-benefit-integrated-schools-113394 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/LA JohnsonNPR.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res449204873" previewtitle="White kid and black kid looking through binoculars together"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="White kid and black kid looking through binoculars together" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/16/seeing-eye-to-eye_slide-1257e6c5f2c03488de7a0ad86fcf5237746b504d-s600-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="White kid and black kid looking through binoculars together. (LA Johnson/NPR)" /></div><div><div>Recently a neighborhood in Brooklyn made national headlines for a fight over public schools. Lots of affluent, mainly white families have been moving into new condos in the waterfront area called DUMBO, and the local elementary school is getting overcrowded.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The city wants to redraw the zones in a way that would send kids from this predominantly white school to a nearby school where enrollment is over 90 percent black and Hispanic and which draws many of its students from a public housing project.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Some parents on both sides of the line balked.</div></div></div><p>&quot;<a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/article/424550/in-brooklyn-public-schools-progressives-opposing-integration-reihan-salam" target="_blank">Liberal hypocrisy</a>,&quot; was the headline in the conservative&nbsp;National Review.</p><p>The tacit assumption&nbsp;was that sending children to a majority-minority school would entail a sacrifice, one that pits their own children against their (presumably) progressive ideals.</p><p>But there&#39;s plenty of evidence that suggests the opposite: White students might actually benefit from a more diverse environment.</p><p>Here are three reasons why.</p><p><strong>1. Their test scores won&#39;t be any lower.</strong></p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/subject/studies/pdf/school_composition_and_the_bw_achievement_gap_2015.pdf">federal government just released a report&nbsp;</a>looking at the black-white achievement gap. It found something remarkable: &quot;White student achievement in schools with the highest Black student density did not differ from White student achievement in schools with the lowest density.&quot;</p><p>Translation: After controlling for socioeconomic status, white students essentially had the same test scores whether they went to a school that was overwhelmingly white or one that was overwhelmingly black.</p><p>This finding &quot;confirms decades of research that white students&#39; achievement is not harmed&quot; by the color of their classmates&#39; skin, says Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, an education professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, who researches race, stratification and inequality in American schools.</p><p><strong>2. They may work harder and smarter.</strong></p><p>Katherine Phillips is a professor at Columbia Business School who studies the benefits of diversity &mdash; a growing field. For example, there&#39;s evidence that corporations with better gender and racial representation make more money and are more innovative. And many higher education groups have collected large amounts of evidence on the educational benefits of diversity in support of affirmative action policies.</p><p>In one set of studies, Phillips gave small groups of three people a murder mystery to solve. Some of the groups were all white and others had a nonwhite member. The diverse groups were significantly more likely to find the right answer.</p><p>&quot;What the work tells us is that when you have people from the social majority in a diverse environment they work harder and focus on the task more,&quot; Phillips explains. &quot;They think about problems more broadly.&quot;</p><p>And, she adds, they are more likely to back up their own opinions and consider alternative points of view, rather than assuming that everyone thinks as they do.</p><p>Phillips believes that her research, done on business students, could generalize to other classroom settings. Being in a homogeneous group may feel more pleasant, she says, but diverse groups keep people on their toes.</p><p>This is potentially an important finding for schools, given the Common Core&#39;s emphasis on deep learning, critical thinking and citing evidence.</p><p><strong>3. They may become more empathetic and less prejudiced.</strong></p><p>&quot;Diverse schools, especially when kids attend them at an early age, are linked to cross-racial friendships,&quot; says Siegel-Hawley. &quot;Your willingness to stereotype declines, and that in turn is linked to a reduction in prejudice.&quot;</p><p>Considering that the United States is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/the-avenue/posts/2014/12/12-majority-minority-nation-2044-frey">projected to be majority-minority by 2044,</a>&nbsp;when today&#39;s elementary school students are in the workforce, being comfortable with differences may become a competitive necessity.</p><p>All of the researchers I spoke with emphasized that the benefits of diversity don&#39;t come at the stroke of a redistricting pen.</p><p>&quot;The benefits aren&#39;t automatic,&quot; says Phillips. &quot;If you put people in diverse environments they can go really badly or really well. A lot of it is a function of things like how much you respect the people in the room.&quot;</p><p>Still, given that truly integrated public schools have long-established benefits for students who are poor and who come from minority groups, many researchers believe that creating classrooms that benefit everyone is a good policy.</p><p>&quot;Cities and schools need really strong leadership that articulates clearly the need for diversity and equity and why it&#39;s connected to 21st-century skills,&quot; says Siegel-Hawley.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/10/19/446085513/the-evidence-that-white-children-benefit-from-integrated-schools?ft=nprml&amp;f=446085513" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 19 Oct 2015 10:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/evidence-white-children-benefit-integrated-schools-113394 Nutritionists raise a glass of whole milk to new dietary guidelines http://www.wbez.org/news/nutritionists-raise-glass-whole-milk-new-dietary-guidelines-113390 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1016_glass-milk-624x436.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_94376"><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Pouring a glass of milk. (Pixabay)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/10/1016_glass-milk-624x436.jpg" style="height: 433px; width: 620px;" title="The government might drop its longstanding limit on total fat consumption, which could clear the way for whole milk in school meal programs. (Pixabay)" /></p><p>The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture are teaming up to revise the country&rsquo;s dietary guidelines, as they have every five years since 1980.</p></div><p>This time, though, they might drop a longstanding limit on total fat consumption, a quiet victory for nutritionists who have called for a shift away from the focus on low-fat foods. The government recommendations form the nutritional bedrock of school meal programs, which currently ban whole milk.</p><p>Dr.&nbsp;Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, says people should focus on &ldquo;healthy fats&rdquo; like those found in nuts and fish, instead of fretting over calorie counts and a &ldquo;fear of fat.&rdquo;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em><iframe frameborder="0" height="330" scrollable="no" src="http://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?328598-1/secretaries-tom-vilsack-sylvia-burwell-testimony-nutritional-guidelines" width="512"></iframe></em></p><p><em>&mdash;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/16/whole-milk-dietary-guidelines" target="_blank"> via Here &amp; Now</a></em></p></p> Fri, 16 Oct 2015 16:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/nutritionists-raise-glass-whole-milk-new-dietary-guidelines-113390 For students accused of campus rape, legal victories win back rights http://www.wbez.org/news/students-accused-campus-rape-legal-victories-win-back-rights-113350 <p><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/As%20colleges%20have%20been%20cracking%20down%20on%20campus%20sexual%20assault%2C%20some%20students%20have%20been%20complaining%20that%20schools%20are%20going%20too%20far%20and%20trampling%20the%20rights%20of%20the%20accused%20in%20the%20process..jpg" style="height: 440px; width: 620px;" title="As colleges have been cracking down on campus sexual assault, some students have been complaining that schools are going too far and trampling the rights of the accused in the process. (Alberto Ruggieri/Illustration Works/Getty Images)" /></div><div><p>College students can&#39;t miss the warnings these days about the risk of campus sexual assault, but increasingly, some students are also taking note of what they perceive as a different danger.</p><p>&quot;Once you are accused, you&#39;re guilty,&quot; says Parker Oaks, one of several Boston University students stopped by NPR between classes. &quot;We&#39;re living in a society where you&#39;re guilty before innocent now.&quot;</p><p>Xavier Adsera, another BU student, sounds a similar theme. &quot;We used to not be fair to women on this issue,&quot; he says. &quot;Now we&#39;re on the other extreme, not being fair to guys.&quot;</p><p>As colleges crack down on sexual assault, some students complain that the schools are going too far and trampling the rights of the accused in the process. In recent months, courts around the nation have offered some of those students significant victories, slamming schools for systems that are stacked against the accused.</p><p>&quot;Schools are overcorrecting,&quot; says a student from the University of California, San Diego. &quot;People like me are always getting hurt.&quot;</p><p>The student, who was suspended last spring after a fellow student accused him of sexual assault, asked to remain anonymous to protect his reputation. He says he was shocked by the accusation and denies any nonconsensual contact. He and his accuser had been hanging out, texting, partying and studying together on friendly terms for months after the alleged assault, he says. And he says he still has text messages to prove it, including her messages asking to come over to his place and share drinks, or &quot;pre-game,&quot; together before a party.</p><p>But he says he never had a chance to make his case because the school wouldn&#39;t let him introduce his text messages as evidence, challenge the investigator or effectively cross-examine his accuser.</p></div><p>&quot;I was so angry because that was really my sole opportunity to defend myself,&quot; he says.</p><p>So he took his&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nacua.org/documents/Doe_v_RegentsUCASanDiego.pdf">case to court</a>, filing as John Doe, and won what&#39;s being called a landmark ruling against UC-San Diego. The judge said the school&#39;s process was unfairly skewed against Doe and ordered the school to reinstate him. &quot;While the Court respects the university&#39;s determination to address sexual abuse and violence on its campus,&quot; wrote Superior Court Judge Joel M. Pressman, &quot;the hearing against petitioner was unfair.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I was ecstatic at that point,&quot; Doe says. &quot;It kind of took some b**** for a judge to come out and make the decision that they made, because every single point that we raised about unfairness and lack of evidence, the judge agreed with.&quot;</p><p>&quot;A case like this makes for a really easy lesson to say, &#39;This is what not to do,&#39;, &quot; says Western New England University law school professor Erin Buzuvis, who&nbsp;<a href="http://title-ix.blogspot.com/">blogs about sexual assault</a>&nbsp;and also consults to universities on how to handle allegations. The San Diego ruling is one of a recent flurry of decisions slamming schools for systems stacked against accused students.</p><p>In the past few months, Middlebury College and the University of Southern California were both ordered to reinstate expelled students. So was the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga after a judge ruled the school was basically upending a fundamental principle of justice by making an accused perpetrator prove he wasn&#39;t guilty.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve looked at what a university has done and thought, &#39;Oh, gosh, what are you thinking?&#39; &quot; Buzuvis says.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" in="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_120314163508.jpg" style="height: 227px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="This Wednesday, March 14, 2012 photo shows attorney Wendy Murphy in the law library at the New England School of Law in Boston. Murphy, who has filed numerous Title IX complaints on behalf of victims, says colleges cave too easily in the face of threatened lawsuits from students accused of sexual violence. Most victims don't have the resources to pursue lawsuits, which is precisely why Title IX procedures on campus must work for them. That means putting a thumb on the scale in favor of victims - such as the &quot;preponderance of the evidence&quot; standard the Obama administration has said schools must use in adjudicating such cases. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)" />Some 50 challenges lodged by accused students are now in the pipeline; that&#39;s up from about a dozen just two years ago. Even one of the more brazen lawsuits, which claims a kind of reverse discrimination in federal court, recently logged a rare (albeit preliminary) legal victory.</p><p>The case, against Washington and Lee University, argues that overzealous administrators, who are using Title IX to crack down on gender discrimination and sexual assault, are actually violating the federal law at the same time by systematically discriminating against men. Most such cases filed in federal court have failed to get out of the box, but a judge allowed the claim against Washington and Lee to at least survive a first hurdle.</p><p>At the same time, the public conversation around campus sexual assault is beginning to put more focus on due process for accused students, and many campuses have been adding new protections for accused students &mdash; like the right to an attorney.</p><p>Joe Cohn, who&#39;s been advocating for the rights of the accused with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, says he&#39;s heartened that two new bills on campus sexual assault include robust due-process protections. (The bills are the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3408">Fair Campus Act</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3403">Safe Campus Act</a>.) He says he also sees it as a victory that he &mdash; as an advocate for the accused &mdash; was invited to testify at a recent congressional hearing. But once there, he says, he was struck by how much more the pendulum has yet to swing.</p><p>At the hearing, Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado wondered aloud why campuses don&#39;t decide cases using a lower standard of evidence. &quot;I mean, if 10 people are accused and under reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, it seems better to get rid of all 10 people,&quot; he said. Polis has since walked back his comments, saying he &quot;went too far by implying that I support expelling innocent students from college.&quot; But Cohn says he continues to be dismayed that the comment was made and that it drew applause.</p><p>&quot;We are a ways away from reaching the kind of equilibrium that will provide fundamental fairness to everyone involved,&quot; Cohn says.</p><p>In some ways, advocates say, accused students are following much the same path that victims did: first suffering silently, thinking they&#39;re the only ones, then slowly connecting with others, then with attorneys and eventually becoming a force to be reckoned with.</p><p>&quot;The irony isn&#39;t lost on us,&quot; says Sherry Warner-Seefeld, founder of a group called Families Advocating for Campus Equality. &quot;The parallels are uncanny, frankly.&quot;</p><p>Warner-Seefeld started the group a year ago after her son was suspended for sexual assault and then won on appeal. Now, Seefeld says, she can barely keep up with calls from guys in the same situation. Many accused students see themselves as victims, she says, and they feel as traumatized as victims of sexual assault.</p><p>&quot;If we dare to suggest such a thing, there are a number of people that go pretty hysterical about that,&quot; she says. &quot;But we know for a fact that there are huge amounts of depression [among students who have been accused and punished after a hearing they claim was unfair].&quot;</p><p>Warner-Seefeld says she&#39;s encouraged by what she sees as a new trend in the courts. She says there&#39;s no question that schools have historically had a problem: automatically doubting and blaming accusers. And she&#39;s quick to add that it&#39;s still an issue. But schools need to fix that, she says, without creating a new problem by automatically doubting and blaming the accused.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/15/446083439/for-students-accused-of-campus-rape-legal-victories-win-back-rights?ft=nprml&amp;f=446083439"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 15 Oct 2015 10:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/students-accused-campus-rape-legal-victories-win-back-rights-113350 Bic is on a mission to save handwriting. Does it need saving? http://www.wbez.org/news/bic-mission-save-handwriting-does-it-need-saving-113316 <p><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/jaeden%20Alvarez%20practices%20cursive%20writing%20at%20Cleveland%20K-6%20School%2C%20Wednesday%2C%20Sept.%2018%2C%202013%2C%20in%20Dayton%2C%20Ohio.jpg" title="Jaeden Alvarez practices cursive writing at Cleveland K-6 School, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, in Dayton, Ohio. (Al Behrman/AP)" /></div><div><p>You may have seen or heard the ads from Bic, encouraging kids to &ldquo;Fight For Your Write&rdquo; to learn handwriting. The company &ndash; best known for making ballpoint pens &ndash; is on a mission to &ldquo;save handwriting.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s encouraging students and teachers to get excited about handwriting again, in this age of technology.</p><p><em>Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s</em> Jeremy Hobson talks with<a href="https://twitter.com/pamallyn" target="_blank">&nbsp;Pam Allyn</a>, Bic&rsquo;s &ldquo;Fight For Your Write&rdquo; spokesperson and founding director of the global literacy organization LitWorld, about whether handwriting is really disappearing from schools, and why it&rsquo;s important to &ldquo;save&rdquo; it.</p><hr /><div><h4><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Interview Highlights: Pam Allyn</strong></span></h4><p><strong>Does handwriting need to be saved?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;You know, it really does. I think we&rsquo;re in a moment where people feel that technology&rsquo;s going to kind of be the solution for everything, and in fact, technology&rsquo;s a tool, but handwriting is a very powerful and beautiful technique and strategy that people have used for many, many years to make ideas come alive on the page. And I think right now, my concern is that especially in schools, but just in thinking about raising our kids as parents and educators that we are very focused on, you know, &lsquo;OK, it&rsquo;s all got to be about moving in that technology direction,&rsquo; but the fact of the matter is writing by hand is a reflective cognitive thinking strategy that actually really helps kids.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>On the cognitive differences between writing with a pen versus using a tablet</strong></p><p>&ldquo;There are actually a couple of really interesting differences. Speaking as a literacy educator and both in terms of looking at the research and also being in classrooms alongside children, I see some profound differences and one of them is that making letters on the page is a lot different from pressing a keyboard. They&rsquo;re looking at the letters, they&rsquo;re thinking about the letters, they&rsquo;re forming the letters. So something from that &ndash; moving from the cognitive to the actual movement of your hand on the page &ndash; is very powerful because then when you&rsquo;re going to your own reading experience, for example, and you look at those letters they have more meaning. Just like the artist, you know, making a color on the page, then goes and looks at that painting, feels a lot differently about it, can really understand what went into it.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;And then the second thing that I think is really interesting, and I see it time and time again when I&rsquo;m working with children and even young adults, teenagers in schools, when they have a pen in their hand I see more creative thinking &ndash; like they&rsquo;ll turn the page around, there&rsquo;s more doodling, there&rsquo;s more kind of a thinking on the page going on. Whereas when they&rsquo;re especially emerging writers, when they sit down &ndash; like a 7 or 8-year-old who&rsquo;s still growing as a writer, not yet completely set even in grammar or language skills on the page or on the screen &ndash; there&rsquo;s something about having the pen in the hand that gives them more ownership, more control, they can feel like they&rsquo;re in charge, you know, that idea of authorship.</p><p>&hellip;&nbsp;And there&rsquo;s something incredible that happens with that and so I don&rsquo;t want to lose that and I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s an either-or. You know, I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s &lsquo;Well, now we can&rsquo;t use tablets. We should only use pens.&rsquo; For me, I see it as a blended world. I grew up in a world where I got to learn how to write by hand, and then I got to learn how to use a tablet, and I want to make sure kids can do both.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>On her message and Bic&rsquo;s campaign</strong></p><p>&ldquo;For myself, I am a literacy advocate, expert, author. I&rsquo;m a teacher. I spend thousands of hours a year on schools and I would never say anything that I didn&rsquo;t think was good for kids. And when Bic found me and they said &lsquo;Look, you know, this means a lot to a lot of people. Parents approach us. Teachers approach us. They&rsquo;re concerned because they&rsquo;re saying, you know, &lsquo;In our schools, or even at home, we&rsquo;re just wondering what are we supposed to be doing?&rsquo; And, you know, when you ask &lsquo;why should we believe this?&rsquo;</p><p>I think the thing is I&rsquo;m inviting people to be a part of this mission because I do believe in it&hellip; You think about how incredibly important the lives and stories of children are for me and my work, there is nothing more genuine than my mission to make sure that children&rsquo;s stories will get heard and also will get preserved. There was a story of a baseball player who the kid caught the ball at the stadium and he went over to sign the ball for the kid. And he said to the kid, &lsquo;Kid, you got a pen?&rsquo; And the kid said &lsquo;No. No I don&rsquo;t have pen.&rsquo; And the guy said &lsquo;You got to have a pen.&rsquo; You know, and that&rsquo;s it. I mean, that kind of sums it up. You can&rsquo;t lay your tablet on the baseball. You know, it&rsquo;s just moments in your life when it means something.&rdquo;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0FF0nOVhrDw?rel=0" width="560"></iframe></p></div></div><p>&mdash; <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/13/bic-mission-to-save-handwriting" target="_blank"><em>via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Tue, 13 Oct 2015 13:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/bic-mission-save-handwriting-does-it-need-saving-113316 Texas prof: I'm quitting now that state lets kids carry guns to class http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2015-10-12/texas-prof-im-quitting-now-state-lets-kids-carry-guns-class-113302 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_821697735255.jpg" style="height: 385px; width: 610px;" title="In this Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, file photo, professor Ann Cvetkovich waits to speak during a public forum as a special committee studies how to implement a new law allowing students with concealed weapons permits to carry firearms into class and other campus buildings, which will take effect in August 2016, in Austin, Texas. Despite a federal law requiring them to have detailed emergency plans, colleges across the country vary widely in how they prepare for campus shootings and inform their staffs and students. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)" /></p><p dir="ltr">Daniel Hamermesh is an economics professor emeritus who has taught at the University of Texas at Austin&nbsp;since 1993. This week, he&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dailytexanonline.com/2015/10/07/citing-concerns-with-campus-carry-professor-emeritus-to-withdraw" target="_blank">announced</a>&nbsp;that he would withdraw from his position next fall after the state passed a &ldquo;campus carry&rdquo; law, which will allow concealed handguns in classrooms, dorms, and other campus buildings.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to bear the increased risk of facing a student in my office that gets disgruntled and pulls a gun out on me,&rdquo; he says.</p><p dir="ltr">Hamermesh, 72, says he will pursue teaching and academic opportunities at other institutions because his fear of being the target of on-campus gun violence has been &ldquo;enhanced&rdquo; with the new law, which goes&nbsp;<a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&amp;Bill=SB11" target="_blank">into effect in August 2016</a>&nbsp;&mdash; the 50th anniversary of a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/an-ex-marine-goes-on-a-killing-spree-at-the-university-of-texas" target="_blank">mass shooting at UT Austin</a>&nbsp;that left 14 dead and 31 wounded.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I worry about the feeling of tension this would engender because somebody might do something, and you&rsquo;re always going to be on alert,&rdquo; says Hamermesh. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t need to put up with that. Life is short, I don&rsquo;t need the money that much, so I&rsquo;d rather do other things.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">UT Austin currently educates about 51,000 students and boasts a teaching staff of about 3,000. Hamermesh says that the campus carry policy may deter both groups from pursuing educational and academic opportunities at the school, which was founded in 1881.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Why take even a slight risk with an opportunity at UT when you can go elsewhere?&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s going to cost the university.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_907794901423.jpg" style="height: 417px; width: 600px;" title="Professor Ann Cvetkovich speaks during a public forum as a special committee studies how to implement a new law allowing students with concealed weapons permits to carry firearms into class and other campus buildings, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, in Austin, Texas. The law takes effect in August 2016. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)" /></p><p dir="ltr">Hamermesh isn&rsquo;t the only member of the University of Texas college system that is against this law. UT Chancellor Bill McRaven, a former Navy admiral, spoke out against the law before it was adopted last spring. And the president of UT Austin, Gregory L. Fenves, is also against the measure.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Right now, the [UT Austin] president is holding a bunch of forums and has a committee designed to decide what they can limit in terms of the places where you can&rsquo;t carry guns,&rdquo; says Hamermesh. &ldquo;But a general limit saying no guns in offices, I don&rsquo;t think that&rsquo;s going to happen, and similarly, no guns in classes, I don&rsquo;t think that&rsquo;s going to happen. You can&rsquo;t do that politically given what the legislation was passed as. I&rsquo;m sure that President Fenves would like to do more limitations than what is in fact politically feasible.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Faculty members are concerned that the new campus carry law may have an impact on course curriculum and learning environment, says Hamermesh.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;A lot of people, especially in the Humanities department, are terribly concerned &mdash; why express something that might be controversial [and may make] a student really, really upset when there&rsquo;s an increased of having a student pull a gun on you?&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;It makes it a less desirable place for learning and it makes it less of a learning environment.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Furthermore, Hamermesh argues that professors should be able to set the terms of their classrooms &mdash; not lawmakers.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It impinges upon my freedom to operate my classroom exactly as I want,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I view my classroom and my office as my castle, and I don&rsquo;t like the legislature telling me what can go on in my castle.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">While some faculty members and students are &ldquo;pro-gun,&rdquo; Hamermesh dismisses those who argue that the campus carry law will empower educators.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to have a gun,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to be involved in shooting at someone who happens to draw first. I&rsquo;m probably too old to draw fast anyway &mdash; my reactions are slow &mdash; and having a gun would just make my life worse in so many ways.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Others in the community have similar feelings. A Takeaway listener named Victoria from Austin called in with this message:</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&#39;m very much against young men having guns on a college campus. The overwhelming perpetrators of gun violence is young men ages 18 to 30. Putting guns in the hands of immature, emotional, stressed out young men is just a bunch of bad decisions waiting to happen.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&mdash; <a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-10-12/texas-prof-im-quitting-now-state-lets-kids-carry-guns-class" target="_blank"><em>via The Takeaway</em></a></p></p> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 16:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2015-10-12/texas-prof-im-quitting-now-state-lets-kids-carry-guns-class-113302 Parents bond over closing of a Chicago public school http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/parents-bond-over-closing-chicago-public-school-112075 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 150521 Jeanette Angela bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In 2013, Chicago Public Schools closed fifty schools as part of a restructuring. When Angela Ross found out her kids&rsquo; elementary school was closing, she could hardly believe it. Then Jeanette Ramann and other parents from a nearby Bronzeville school came to help with the transition. Today, Ross and Ramann are friends and fellow education advocates.</p><p><em>StoryCorps&rsquo; mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. These excerpts, edited by WBEZ, present some of our favorites from the current visit, as well as from previous trips.</em></p><p><em>This story was recorded as part of a collaboration between StoryCorps Chicago and <a href="http://schoolprojectfilm.com">The School Project</a> </em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 22 May 2015 09:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/parents-bond-over-closing-chicago-public-school-112075 In addressing food allergies, some Chicago schools fall through the cracks http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/addressing-food-allergies-some-chicago-schools-fall-through-cracks-111728 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Ravenswood-lunch.jpg" title="Students during lunch period at Ravenswood Elementary chow down on Doritos, nacho cheese and sunflower butter. The new nut-free policy means peanut butter isn’t allowed. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" /></div><p>It&rsquo;s a typical day in the Ravenswood Elementary cafeteria on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side. Middle schoolers catch up with friends, make jokes and chow down on a mishmosh of cafeteria food and brown bag lunches.</p><p>&ldquo;I have a Subway meatball sub,&rdquo; one says.</p><p>&ldquo;I have homemade soup with some rice,&rdquo; chirps another.</p><p>&ldquo;And I have some Doritos with peanut butter, I mean sunflower butter,&rdquo; their friend adds, catching himself as he remembers the school&rsquo;s new nut-free policy.</p><p>Starting in 2015, Ravenswood joined a small cadre of schools that have passed nut-free guidelines that go above and beyond the more common nut-free tables and nut-free menus.</p><p>That means no PBJs, no nutty granola bars, and no Snickers.</p><p>&ldquo;We are asking families and staff to make sure that no foods that have any nuts at all come into the building,&rdquo; says Principal Nate Menaen. And by nuts, he means, &ldquo;Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts of course.&rdquo;</p><p>In recent decades childhood food allergies have skyrocketed from 1 in 50 American children in 1990 to 1 in 13 today. That works out to about two kids in every American classroom &mdash; and that number is growing.</p><p>So how many schools are taking a hard stance against food allergies like Ravenswood?</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Food-Allergy-thumb.jpg" style="height: 206px; width: 280px; float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Ravenswood Elementary is one of only a handful of CPS schools to ban nuts in the entire building. (WBEZ/Derek John)" />Chicago Public School officials say they don&rsquo;t know. But the district does say it offers nut-free meals to about 200 schools (or roughly a third of the district). Most of them are located in more affluent areas or on the North Side.</p><p>But those aren&rsquo;t necessarily the schools with the greatest need.</p><p>Research shows that potential food allergies are actually higher among minorities. <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3182844/" target="_blank">One Children&rsquo;s Memorial Hospital study</a> showed that those with African ancestry have a higher-than-average nut sensitivity. &nbsp;</p><p>Beverly Horne is the lead nurse in the south region of Chicago Public Schools. She oversees more than 100 schools on the South Side, but says that none have adopted the same kind of nut-free guidelines as Ravenswood.</p><p>In order to be allowed medical accommodations, students need documentation along with a doctor&rsquo;s diagnosis. But for many of the families she serves, Horne says, simply getting to the doctor is hard enough. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;It has a lot of do with access,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;If you look at it, several of the clinics in those neighborhoods were closed and the parents have to travel.&rdquo;</p><p>She says nurses do what they can to fill in the gaps on the one to two days a week they can visit a particular school but it&rsquo;s often not enough. Plus, she says, many parents don&rsquo;t always know what to look for.</p><p>&ldquo;I recall one incident where the parent wasn&rsquo;t even aware that it was an allergic reaction she was seeing in her child,&rdquo; Horne says, &ldquo;and so we had to reach out to that parent. And actually it was a food allergy and those symptoms she was experiencing could have been very serious.&rdquo;</p><p>Just how serious?</p><p>In 2010 7th grader Catelyn Karlson died after eating peanut-tainted food that was brought to her Northwest Side school. &nbsp;Since then, CPS became the first large urban district to put epinephrine injectors (or EpiPen) in every school.</p><p>There they can be used to treat anyone in anaphylactic shock &mdash; a severe allergic reaction that can stop a victim from breathing.</p><p>Dr. Ruchi Gupta, a pediatric allergist at Lurie Children&rsquo;s Hospital, helped lead the effort. <a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2014/10/emergency-epinephrine-used-38-times-in-chicago-public-schools.html" target="_blank">In a report on its first year of progress</a>, she noted that 38 students and staff were treated with the injectors. More than half of them didn&rsquo;t even know they had a food allergy.</p><p>This lack of knowledge worries Gupta, who says policy makers need to ask more questions. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Why don&rsquo;t we we see [more allergy diagnoses] on the South or West Side and in predominantly African American or Hispanic populations?&rdquo; she wonders. &ldquo;Now, do they have more and is it as severe? Unfortunately, until now we have not truly been able to classify who is going to have what kind of reaction when they eat the food. So some kids may just break out in a couple of hives or have a little mouth tingling but other kids could have full blown anaphylaxis that could lead to death.&rdquo;</p><p>Minority students may be more vulnerable to food allergies, but Gupta says other factors contribute to how schools decide whether to implement nut-free policies.</p><p>&ldquo;The reason you see policies more on the North Side is probably because of the parents advocating for it so much,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;This gets the principal, school staff and teachers on board that this is a serious problem and we need to do something about it.&rdquo;</p><p>Most of these policies, she notes, are driven by parents in Local School Councils, which is exactly how Ravenswood ended up &ldquo;nut-free&rdquo; this year. Ravenswood principal Manaen says there was some push back as he worked to get his whole school community on board with the guidelines.&nbsp;</p><p>But, it&rsquo;s one thing to say you&rsquo;re nut-free, it&rsquo;s another to make it a reality. It&rsquo;s not as if you can install nut detectors at the door.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s [just] a guideline,&rdquo; Principal Menaen says. &ldquo;Because at the end of the day, maybe I brought in my leftovers from a restaurant I went to that cooked in products that also touched peanut product. And so it&rsquo;s never 100 percent safe.&rdquo;</p><p>It is, however, one step toward making schools a little more safe &mdash; at least in some parts of the city. &nbsp;</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at</em><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> <em>@monicaeng</em></a> <em>or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 07:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/addressing-food-allergies-some-chicago-schools-fall-through-cracks-111728 Illinois lawmaker wants health dept. to clarify its vaccination rules http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lawmaker-wants-health-dept-clarify-its-vaccination-rules-111538 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/measles.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash; An Illinois lawmaker has filed legislation asking the Illinois Department of Public Health to clarify state regulations on whether children must be vaccinated.</p><p>Democratic Rep. Mike Zalewski&#39;s resolution follows a widely reported measles infection at a suburban Chicago day care center. The cases are among more than 100 nationwide this year.</p><p>Zalewski is the father of three small children. He says the department needs the opportunity to tighten criteria for why kids can opt out of vaccinations by next school year. He also says Illinois&#39; regulations could be clearer.</p><p>State regulations generally require vaccinations for older children in day care centers, but measles shots are not recommended for children under age 1.</p><p>Any rule issued by the department must be approved by legislators.</p></p> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 13:43:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lawmaker-wants-health-dept-clarify-its-vaccination-rules-111538