Congress May Leave Child Nutrition Programs Behind – By Gabrielle Levy Sept. 2, 2015 | 3:12 p.m. EDT

The reauthorization of the popular legislation could be overshadowed by other bills on the docket.

Cafeteria worker serving trays of healthy food to children.

Congress must reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act quickly, or students around the nation will no longer have access to free or reduced-price lunches.

A slate of child nutrition programs — including in-school breakfast and lunch, summer meals, and a supplemental nutrition program for impoverished women and children — is at risk as Congress comes back in session next week.

Lawmakers have only 10 days in September for an extended debate on the Iran nuclear deal and must find a way to fund the government by Sept. 30. But they also must reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act (also known as the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act), which provides more than 20 million free or reduced-price lunches and more than 11 million free or reduced-price breakfasts for students each day. That’s more than 5 billion meals each school year.

If they don’t, millions of children stand to lose access to meals during the summer months when schools are not in session.

Originally passed in 1966, the act would now provide meals to a record number of children. Those in families with incomes below 130 percent of the federal poverty rate qualify for free lunch (the reduced-lunch threshold is 185 percent the poverty rate), and while child poverty has declined slightly since 2010, nearly 16 million children live in food-insecure homes.

In 2010, Congress  introduced new nutrition standards that are now in effect in 95 percent of schools in the U.S., according to an August report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


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Leaving Their Kids Locked Up (Excerpt from ‘The Fruits of Cheap Labor’) – Vice News Published on Aug 20, 2015

In northern Mexico, farm workers who pick produce bound for US supermarkets earn as little as $7 a day. They follow the harvest, traveling between the states of Sinaloa and Baja California as internal migrants in their own country. With daycare not an option, children join their parents on the job, sometimes working in 100-degree heat.

In this excerpt, VICE News visits a slum serving as an illegal hotel, where day laborers leave their children unattended as they head out to find work in the farmlands of Sinaloa.

Read: Mexican Laborers Want Americans to Know Who Picks Their Fruits and Vegetables –

Rock The Vote: How This Generation Can Get Involved In The 2016 Race – Ashley Spillane June 2015

Consider this: There are nearly 93 million Millennials in the country right now, making them the largest generation in the country’s history.

….the most diverse generation in the country, and now make up the largest share of the workforce. So, why aren’t they the most influential voting bloc in the country?


It’s tough to imagine this happening now, but 25 years ago this month, a Florida judge banned a controversial record because the lyrics were deemed obscene.

When 2 Live Crew went ahead and performed tracks like “Me So Horny” and “Dick Almighty,” two members of the band were arrested.

This moment galvanized a national conversation on censorship, after the music industry decided it couldn’t sit on the political sidelines anymore.

Industry insiders launched Rock the Vote because they knew the only way to change what was happening in politics and government was to exercise their own political power at the ballot box.

Twenty-five years later, Rock the Vote is still guided by that same principle. We know that if we’re going to influence the future of our country, we need to exercise our right to vote.


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Why I’m finally convinced it’s time to stop saying “you guys” – Updated by Jenée Desmond-Harris on June 11, 2015, 12:40 p.m. ET

The tech startup npm recently blogged about the unusual challengesome of its employees have agreed to participate in: they put a dollar in a glass jar every time they say “you guys.”

“We didn’t invent the idea, though I’m not sure where we first heard about it,” reads the company’s explanation on Tumblr. “But the idea is: if you believe that using the word ‘guys’ to describe a mixed-gender group of individuals is creeping sexism, and are trying to eliminate that word from your casual use, you put a dollar in the jar every time you do it accidentally.”

Yes, “creeping sexism.”

That sounds pretty intense. I’m a big user of “guys,” and when it was first brought to my attention that the phrase was frowned upon among leading feminist thinkers and people concerned with equality — especially in male-dominated workplaces — my reaction was, “Oh, come on. It’s inaccurate, but it’s not actually hurting anyone.”

But I’ve changed my mind. As I read up on the issue, I realized that my knee-jerk response (“It doesn’t seem like that big a deal to me, personally, and changing would require effort on my part and that’s hard and tiring”) is nothing more than a very typical lazy excuse for avoiding the tiny tweaks to our lives that can, as a whole, make society more equal.

Now I’m convinced that “guys” — unless we are actually addressing a group of guys — has got to go.

What’s wrong with “guys”?

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Study: Watching Sesame Street can make kids smarter – Updated by Tez Clark on June 12, 2015, 3:10 p.m. ET

Watching Sesame Street may actually help children do better in school. That’s according to a new working paper released by two economists from Wellesley College and the University of Maryland, which seems to suggest that watching Sesame Street can improve school readiness and school performance for years to come.

Researchers Phillip B. Levine and Melissa Kearney looked specifically at the early years of the show’s run. By comparing TV reception quality (based on distance from broadcast towers) to factors such as the local children’s “grade per age,” the researchers argue that children with access to higher-quality Sesame Street broadcasts had a higher likelihood of being on track throughout school. The effect of the higher-quality broadcasts was most pronounced in the case of boys, African-American students, and the economically disadvantaged.

The children’s program has long attracted educational researchers. According to the show’s website, more than 1,000 studies have been performed since the show’s inception in 1969, showing the improvements Sesame Street makes to children’s development. A 1999 study found essentially the same results as Levine and Kearney just published: Sesame Street has profound impacts on students’ academic ability, and the effects of the show can be seen even 10 or 15 years down the line.

It’s no accident that Sesame Street has proven to be so educational. Series founder Joan Ganz Cooney specifically set out to design a program that would engage and educate underprivileged preschoolers. After receiving a grant from the Carnegie Corporation for her project, Cooney drew upon the expertise of professional educators and psychologists in designing the show. One of her team members was Gerald Lesser, a Harvard psychologist. Lesser himself had based his professional career on studying the mental and psychological effects of students’ ethnic and economic circumstances. In his landmark book Mental Abilities of Children From Different Social-Class and Cultural Groups, Lesser determined that socioeconomic class had profound effects on students’ academic performance.

Throughout its long history (the show turned 46 this year), Sesame Street has been proven to affect kids in the following ways:

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The All-Girl Soldier Club: Child Warriors of Donetsk – Vice News Published on Jun 4, 2015

Once a relic of the Soviet era, patriotic youth clubs in the Donetsk region of Ukraine are gaining new popularity, offering military training to their members. As young people practice assembling guns, marching, and military drills, a strong sense of allegiance flows through the ranks, with some members holding high aspirations of joining the Russian Federation army.

Up to 15 of these clubs compete in the annual Future Warrior Contest held in a local military academy, which is judged by the academy’s members and former Russian military. The contestants battle each other in displays of military prowess, vying for the prize of a visit to a training camp near Moscow.

VICE News follows the Vityaz Squad as they compete against other patriotic youth clubs at the Future Warrior Contest in Donetsk.

Jeffrey Brown: How we cut youth violence in Boston by 79 percent TED2015 · 18:03 · Filmed Mar 2015

An architect of the “Boston miracle,” Rev. Jeffrey Brown started out as a bewildered young pastor watching his Boston neighborhood fall apart around him, as drugs and gang violence took hold of the kids on the streets. The first step to recovery: Listen to those kids, don’t just preach to them, and help them reduce violence in their own neighborhoods. It’s a powerful talk about listening to make change.

NRA Makes a Gun Cartoon for the Kids – Cliff Schecter 04.24.155:15 AM ET



The NRA wants you to think of the children—after marketing guns to them.
Finally, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is embracing common sense and compassion. They’re supporting real regulations to keep people safe! And…you can’t possibly have bought that unless you’ve been in a persistent vegetative state since about 1982.

No, what the three-lettrered, gun-clutching He-Men are actually doing is more of what they do best: they’re now using a cartoon to appeal to the clearly underserved teenage-and-under market for the Bushmaster Carbon-15.

Think of it as a Joe Camel for the modern age. With armor-piercing bullets.

Ostensibly, it’s part of their “Eddie The Eagle program,” which instructs kids to run away from guns left lying around because bigger people in their lives still can own a firearm. And own them they do, as well as enjoying the freedom (!) to leave them pretty much any damn place they please. And because of the NRA’s efforts in parts of the South, West and Midwest, these edified souls can now leave them in more places where a little one can find them—because nursery schools, parks, libraries, airports and churches just didn’t have the same loving feeling without the guns.

So after creating the situation that puts over 650 in a hospital per annum and killed 62 kids each year between 2007-2011, according to The Centers for Disease Control (see why the NRA suppressed funding for gun studies for so long? For the NRA, statistics are bad), what to do to stop it?

Youth Football Linked to Long-Term Brain Damage in NFL Players – By Alan Neuhauser Jan. 28, 2015 | 6:30 p.m. EST

Retired NFL players who started playing tackle football before age 12 performed ‘significantly’ worse on neurological tests.

High school athletic trainer Larry Cooper, left, puts wrestler Roman Orange through a concussion evaluation Jan. 22 in Harrison City, Pennsylvania.

High school athletic trainer Larry Cooper, left, puts wrestler Roman Orange through a concussion evaluation Jan. 22 in Harrison City, Pennsylvania.

Jarryn Thompson, of California’s 8-and-under Torrey Pines Falcons, gets tackled by two linesmen during a Pop Warner division finals game in November 2002.

Former NFL players who played tackle football before age 12 appear “significantly” more likely to suffer memory loss and mental health issues than those who begin playing later, according to a new study published in the run up to the Super Bowl.

Researchers from Boston University tested the memory, mental flexibility and verbal intelligence of 42 former pro football players. Half began tackle play when they were younger than 12 years old, the other half when they were 12 or older.

High school athletic trainer Larry Cooper, left, puts wrestler Roman Orange through a concussion evaluation Jan. 22, 2015, in Harrison City, Pennsylvania.

High school athletic trainer Larry Cooper, left, puts wrestler Roman Orange through a concussion evaluation Jan. 22 in Harrison City, Pennsylvania.

Those who started earlier, the study found, “performed significantly worse on all test measures, even after researchers took into account the total number of years of football played and the age of the players at the time of the tests.”

On some tests, the two groups differed by as much as 20 percent.

“We were struck by how robust the findings were,” says study co-author Robert Stern, professor of neurology, neurosurgery and anatomy and neurobiology at the Boston University School of Medicine. “I expected there to be something. But I was struck by how strong and consistent the findings were.”

The NFL, which helped pay for the players’ travel for the study, did not return a request for comment. The NFL Players Association, which also helped fund participants’ travel, declined to comment until it reviewed the study, which was released late Wednesday in the journal Neurology just days ahead of the league’s premier event Sunday.

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As Colleges Curtail Greek Life, Future Unclear – By Allie Bidwell Dec. 24, 2014

Fraternities and sororities won’t go away, but it’s probably going to change with time, some say.

At least 10 schools have suspended one or more fraternities since the beginning of the academic year.

At least 10 schools have suspended one or more fraternities since the beginning of the academic year.

Andrew Lohse, a Dartmouth College student majoring in English, says he joined a fraternity largely for a sense of tradition. Both his brother and grandfather were fraternity men, and the lifelong bonds fraternity leaders espouse appealed to him.

But a turning point came when as a senior he was on the other side of the rushing, pledging and hazing process for Sigma Alpha Epsilon. In order to become a brother, he says, pledges were forced to swim in a kiddie pool filled with vomit, urine and food, in addition to participating in other activities he says were “traumatic,” “dangerous” and “potentially life-threatening.”

Colleges and universities nationwide are cracking down on fraternal organizations amid claims of sexual assault, alcohol abuse and questionable behavior. Now some wonder whether the Greek system has a place on today’s college campuses, or if the system is outdated in its current form.