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Education News Roundup: School Lunches, Teacher Evaluations, Asthma, and the Race to the Top

Breaking Down the Child Nutrition Act: Q & A (The Atlantic, 4/8/10)

Marion Nestle, professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and author of Food Politics, Safe Food, What to Eat, and Pet Food Politics sheds light on the Child Nutrition Act, the politics of school lunch, and Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution ("Yes, Oliver is doing reality television, but no, he's not exaggerating").

Schools Test a New Tool for Improving Evaluation of Teachers (New York Times, 4/8/10)

In a Chicago Public Schools system where half the schools are on probation yet 93 percent of teachers are rated “excellent” or “superior,” administrators are testing an evaluation process to more accurately measure a teacher’s classroom performance — with an eye toward closing the huge gap.

Morning Buzz: Saving Haiti’s schools ('s "AC360" blog, 4/9/10)

Eighty-seven percent of Port-au-Prince schools were damaged or destroyed by the January 12 earthquake that rocked the nation. People are working to re-open the schools as fast as possible, but most of the classes will be held in tents.

Schools Near High-Traffic Areas Increase Kids' Asthma Risks (BusinessWeek, 4/9/10)

In a study that looked at statistics on children's health in Southern California communities, researchers found that those who attend schools near high-traffic areas are 45 percent more likely to develop asthma, although the number of students in the study who developed asthma was small.

$350 Million 'Race to the Common Test' Starts Now (Education Week, 4/6/10)

The U.S. Department of Education has given the green light to the $350 million Race to the Top assessment competition, which will award grants to groups of states to create rigorous common tests to complement the common standards effort already underway. The $350 million is part of the larger $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund grant program. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced in June 2009 he wanted to peel off $350 million to help states create the "next generation of assessments."