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January 2013 Archives

Debbie Ellis remembers the instant potatoes, chocolate pudding and classic Southern fried foods once served at the child care centers she owns in Greenwood, Miss. Watching kids eat was a joy -- even though spending $800 a month on groceries for meals that could hardly be called nutritious was not.

These days, Ellis has a caterer preparing meals with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plenty of low-fat milk and 100 percent juice, all approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Children are healthier and the quality of care has greatly improved, and the new diets save her hundreds of dollars a month -- while guaranteeing healthier food in a state with the nation's highest rate of childhood obesity.

"We don't have that [joy] now," Ellis joked, "but we do have good quality."

When the USDA passed new nutrition requirements for school lunches in January, more U.S. students gained access to healthier foods -- like it or not. The food served in public schools represents an important statement "about how seriously we take learning,'' said Colorado State Sen. Michael Johnston, D-Denver, who wrote a book about his experiencing teaching in the impoverished Mississippi Delta.

Read the full article here.
Reprinted with permission from The Hechinger Report.

Charm School for College Students


After final exams are over, MIT students will return from their holiday break to experience something different from their usual studies--but almost as important.

It's the university's annual Charm School, offering instruction in everything from how to make a first impression to how to dress for work to which bread plate to use.

Other colleges have started teaching students how to make small talk, deal with conflict, show up on time, follow business etiquette, and communicate with co-workers.

These programs may be fun, or even funny, but there's a deadly serious purpose to them: to give students the kinds of social skills they need to get and keep a job.

Read the full article here.
Reprinted with permission from The Hechinger Report.

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