Arizona expands K-12 online learning

More Arizona students soon will be able to attend their classes online, reports the Arizona Republic: This year, the state has joined a national effort to increase the number of students participating in "virtual" lessons, whether it’s inside a classroom with a teacher, in a computer lab with an aide, or at home with a laptop. The changes arising from a new state law are being met with mixed reaction. On one hand, proponents call the move innovative, saying it will lead to greater choice and flexibility in learning. Critics, however, fear it will lead to students taking online classes that are of questionable value and have little oversight. It creates "a wide-open game with no accountability," said Doug Barnard, director of Mesa Public Schools’ decade-old online program, which requires students to take tests in person. For the past 10 years, a pilot program allowed 14 Arizona districts, including Mesa, and charter schools to offer online courses to about 15,000 K-12 students. But now, the program is open to everyone. Arizona’s 227 school districts and 500 charter schools can create their own online program or buy one from a commercial company. Schools can offer online classes to their own students or any student in the state. Schools will have to apply to a state board in order to participate…

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Schools use Facebook, Twitter to get out their message

Social networking isn’t just for kids, reports the Oregonian: Schools, too, are getting into the act. In the Portland metro area, at least eight districts made the leap this fall, signing up for Twitter or Facebook. Though the sites won’t replace the more traditional forms of communication anytime soon, they provide another way to reach out to plugged-in parents, residents without kids, and even students themselves. At the same time, the new domain comes with a new set of questions about how to maintain the district-sponsored sites, what kind of content is appropriate, and who should have access to the sites during the workday. Portland Public Schools’ Facebook page has been up for about a month and is designed to provide a more casual platform for people to see announcements. The site also provides a way for the district to get instant feedback on news alerts and articles, said district spokesman Matt Shelby. So far, the district has 307 "fans" following its daily updates. "We’re not talking about a real viable communication tool yet," Shelby said. "As more people sign on and more people are viewing and interacting, there will be a variety of uses we can find for it."

Click here for the full story

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School drinking water contains toxins

Over the last decade, the drinking water at thousands of schools across the country has been found to contain unsafe levels of lead, pesticides and dozens of other toxins.

An Associated Press investigation found that contaminants have surfaced at public and private schools in all 50 states–in small towns and inner cities alike.

But the problem has gone largely unmonitored by the federal government, even as the number of water safety violations has multiplied.

"It’s an outrage," said Marc Edwards, an engineer at Virginia Tech who has been honored for his work on water quality. "If a landlord doesn’t tell a tenant about lead paint in an apartment, he can go to jail. But we have no system to make people follow the rules to keep school children safe?"

The contamination is most apparent at schools with wells, which represent 8 to 11 percent of the nation’s schools. Roughly one of every five schools with its own water supply violated the Safe Drinking Water Act in the past decade, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency analyzed by the AP.

In California’s farm belt, wells at some schools are so tainted with pesticides that students have taken to stuffing their backpacks with bottled water for fear of getting sick from the drinking fountain.

Experts and children’s advocates complain that responsibility for drinking water is spread among too many local, state and federal agencies, and that risks are going unreported. Finding a solution, they say, would require a costly new national strategy for monitoring water in schools.

Schools with unsafe water represent only a small percentage of the nation’s 132,500 schools. And the EPA says the number of violations spiked over the last decade largely because the government has gradually adopted stricter standards for contaminants such as arsenic and some disinfectants.

Many of the same toxins could also be found in water at homes, offices and businesses. But the contaminants are especially dangerous to children, who drink more water per pound than adults and are more vulnerable to the effects of many hazardous substances.

"There’s a different risk for kids," said Cynthia Dougherty, head of the EPA’s Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water.

Still, the EPA does not have the authority to require testing for all schools and can only provide guidance on environmental practices.

In recent years, students at a Minnesota elementary school fell ill after drinking tainted water. A young girl in Seattle got sick, too.

The AP analyzed a database showing federal drinking water violations from 1998 to 2008 in schools with their own water supplies. The findings:

• Water in about 100 school districts and 2,250 schools breached federal safety standards.

• Those schools and districts racked up more than 5,550 separate violations. In 2008, the EPA recorded 577 violations, up from 59 in 1998–an increase that officials attribute mainly to tougher rules.

• California, which has the most schools of any state, also recorded the most violations with 612, followed by Ohio (451), Maine (417), Connecticut (318) and Indiana (289).

• Nearly half the violators in California were repeat offenders. One elementary school in Tulare County, in the farm country of the Central Valley, broke safe-water laws 20 times.

• The most frequently cited contaminant was coliform bacteria, followed by lead and copper, arsenic and nitrates.

The AP analysis has "clearly identified the tip of an iceberg," said Gina Solomon, a San Francisco physician who serves on an EPA drinking water advisory board. "This tells me there is a widespread problem that needs to be fixed because there are ongoing water quality problems in small and large utilities, as well."

Schools with wells are required to test their water and report any problems to the state, which is supposed to send all violations to the federal government.

But EPA officials acknowledge the agency’s database of violations is plagued with errors and omissions. And the agency does not specifically monitor incoming state data on school water quality.

Critics say those practices prevent the government from reliably identifying the worst offenders–and carrying out enforcement.

Scientists say the testing requirements fail to detect dangerous toxins such as lead, which can wreak havoc on major organs and may retard children’s learning abilities.

"There is just no excuse for this. Period," said California Sen. Barbara Boxer, Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. "We want to make sure that we fix this problem in a way that it will never happen again, and we can ensure parents that their children will be safe."

The problem goes beyond schools that use wells. Schools that draw water from public utilities showed contamination, too, especially older buildings where lead can concentrate at higher levels than in most homes.

In schools with lead-soldered pipes, the metal sometimes flakes off into drinking water. Lead levels can also build up as water sits stagnant over weekends and holidays.

Schools that get water from local utilities are not required to test for toxins because the EPA already regulates water providers. That means there is no way to ensure detection of contaminants caused by schools’ own plumbing.

But voluntary tests in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Seattle and Los Angeles have found dangerous levels of lead in recent years. And experts warn the real risk to schoolchildren is going unreported.

"I really suspect the level of exposure to lead and other metals at schools is underestimated," said Michael Schock, a corrosion expert with the EPA in Cincinnati. "You just don’t know what is going on in the places you don’t sample."

Since 2004, the agency has been asking states to increase lead monitoring. As of 2006, a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found nearly half of all schools nationwide do not test their water for lead.

Because contaminant levels in water can vary from drinking fountain to drinking fountain, and different children drink different amounts of water, epidemiologists often have trouble measuring the potential threats to children’s health.

But children have suffered health problems attributed to school water:

• In 2001, 28 children at a Worthington, Minn., elementary school experienced severe stomach aches and nausea after drinking water tainted with lead and copper, the result of a poorly installed treatment system.

• In Seattle several years ago, a 6-year-old girl suffered stomach aches and became disoriented and easily exhausted. The girl’s mother asked her daughter’s school to test its water, and also tested a strand of her daughter’s hair. Tests showed high levels of copper and lead, which figured into state health officials’ decision to phase-in rules requiring schools to test their water for both contaminants.

Many school officials say buying bottled water is less expensive than fixing old pipes. Baltimore, for instance, has spent more than $2.5 million on bottled water over the last six years.

After wrestling with unsafe levels of arsenic for almost two years, administrators in Sterling, Ohio, southeast of Cincinnati, finally bought water coolers for elementary school students last fall. Now they plan to move students to a new building.

In California, the Department of Public Health has given out more than $4 million in recent years to help districts overhaul their water systems.

But school administrators in the farmworker town of Cutler cannot fix chronic water problems at Lovell High School because funding is frozen due to the state’s budget crisis.

Signs posted above the kitchen sink warn students not to drink from the tap because the water is tainted with nitrates, a potential carcinogen, and DBCP, a pesticide scientists say may cause male sterility.

As gym class ended one morning, thirsty basketball players crowded around a five-gallon cooler, the only safe place to get a drink on campus.

"The teachers always remind us to go to the classroom and get a cup of water from the cooler," said sophomore Israel Aguila. "But the bathroom sinks still work, so sometimes you kind of forget you can’t drink out of them."

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Crestron Mobile Pro iPhone App Now Available

ROCKLEIGH, NJ, September 24, 2009 – Now available for download from the iTunes® App Store, Crestron Mobile Procombines the capabilities of Crestron Mobile to view home or office alarm status and adjust lights and room temperatures — with even greater power and flexibility for whole house control, including pre-set audio and lighting scenes, home entertainment, pool/spa and more. Both are compatible with the original iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPod touch®.

 

With Crestron Mobile Pro, simply tap the screen to select movies, music and TV in any room or adjust volume, light levels and room temperature with just a touch. Using the home Wi-Fi network locally or the powerful 3G and EDGE networks remotely, total control is always at your fingertips.

 

“Our iPhone apps harness the power of 3G and EDGE networks to put a Crestron touchpanel in the palm of your hand,” said Vincent Bruno, Crestron Director of Marketing. “From virtually anywhere, you can monitor and control systems in your home or office as if you were there.”

 

Crestron Mobile and Mobile Pro provide direct communication to the control system without any third-party software or external servers. The graphical interface works just like a Crestron touchpanel and delivers the same seamless control of all integrated systems, while a large library of built-in graphics provides a great tool for custom designs plus reduces download times. Any updates or changes to the control program are automatically sent to the iPhone/iPod touch when the Crestron app is launched.

 

 

For more information about Crestron Mobile Pro go to www.crestron.com. For high-resolution photos, go to www.crestron.com/pressroom.

 

About Crestron

For 40 years Crestron has been the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced control and automation systems, innovating technology and reinventing the way people live and work. Offering integrated solutions to control audio, video, computer, IP and environmental systems, Crestron streamlines technology, improving the quality of life for people in corporate boardrooms, conference rooms, classrooms, auditoriums, and in their homes. Crestron’s leadership stems from its dedicated people who are committed to providing the best products, programs and services in the industry.

 

In addition to its World Headquarters in Rockleigh, New Jersey, Crestron has sales and support offices throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America and Australia.

 

 

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AXIGEN Releases Version 7.2 with New, Ajax Powered WebMail

Bucharest, Romania, September 24th, 2009. AXIGEN, (http://www.axigen.com), the professional messaging solution vendor, announces today the official release of a new mail server version, Axigen 7.2. The new version features a new WebMail technology designed to improve the overall user experience when accessing web-based email communication tools. The new Ajax powered WebMail interface provides users with a desktop-like experience and is ideal for the Service Provider market segment.

Designed for Axigen’s main target segment, service providers, this innovative user-centric WebMail interface comes with new features to help them create new services and generate new streams of income. Axigen Mail Server 7.2 has a strong focus on monetization, providing multiple, customizable advertising capabilities and seamless integration with third party applications such as portals and community-related tools, thus helping SPs keep their customers online for a longer period.

The Axigen WebMail of version 7.2 offers an overall optimized look-and-feel. It renders email related tasks quick and painless, by introducing features such as keyboard navigation and shortcuts, drag-and-drop, live email list view, frequent folders and also allowing users to employ shortcuts and time saving tricks they have already been using with classic desktop email clients such as Outlook or Thunderbird.

“Our new WebMail technology is best described as the cool web experience of your former desktop clients. It is perfect for web based applications users, such as the majority of potential customers service providers are constantly trying to win over. The flexibility and coolness factor we now provide them with is the edge they need to increase market share. This is , however, only the first commercial appearance of AXIGEN’s new WebMail technology as we have a powerful range of innovative additions already planned for future versions.”, said Oana Bornaz, AXIGEN CEO.

One of the top ten messaging solutions in the world according to The Radicati Group, the AXIGEN Mail Server has a strong focus on meeting the needs of business customers, either directly or through Service Providers employing the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Winner of the ServerWatch 2007 Product Excellence Award for the Communications Server category, AXIGEN runs on several Linux and BSD distributions, on Solaris, on Windows operating systems, on PowerPC and SPARC architectures and is becoming the messaging solution of choice for a growing number of service providers and enterprises worldwide. To download the new Axigen 7.2 version, please visit our download section at: http://www.axigen.com/mail-server/download/.

About AXIGEN and Gecad Technologies
Established in 2001, Gecad Technologies SA, member of the GECAD Group and ISO 9001:2008 certified, is the vendor of AXIGEN, a messaging solution for professionals that ensures an efficient and secure worldwide communication environment and business growth for both service providers and companies of all sizes. Currently, AXIGEN is distributed internationally by over 200 partners from 100 countries and manages email traffic for more than 11,000 companies with 8 million end-users.

Our team of seasoned professionals, with 15 years of experience in messaging and IT security delivers cutting-edge products, by developing an innovative carrier-class technology based on proprietary architectures such as AXIGEN GrowSecure™, AXIGEN SmartProcessing™ and AXIGEN UltraStorage™.
Find out more at: www.axigen.com

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Saint Louis Public Schools Select Schoolwires Centricity to Strengthen Home-School Connection and Public Image

State College, Pennsylvania, Sept. 25, 2009 — Saint Louis Public Schools will implement the Schoolwires Centricity strategic website and community management platform to help strengthen home-school connections and to better communicate the value it provides to students and the district, it was announced today by Schoolwires, one of the nation’s leading providers of strategic website and community management solutions for building stronger school communities, more effective schools and greater student success.

One of the most effective tools that will increase the home-school connection is the capability for teachers to easily create and update teacher web sites, said Patrick Wallace, executive director of communications at Saint Louis Public Schools. The tools for creating websites are very similar to those found in Microsoft Word and email so teachers and others are able to adopt the application with very little training. The solution also provides more sophisticated tools like ‘round-trip’ editing to satisfy power users. In addition to providing static information about homework assignments and contact information, teachers can also make use of interactive tools like RSS feeds and blogs to engage with their students and their parents further.
 
“The teacher web pages will be a great tool for parents to stay informed about what is taking place in their child’s classroom,” explained Wallace. “We expect that these web pages will create a stronger connection between parents and the school, and result in added involvement from parents. We are very excited about the application.”
 
The ability for any authorized staff member to easily populate the district website with information, resources and interactive tools will also help the district better communicate its strengths in student achievement and teacher quality, said Wallace. “We are facing increased competition from charter, private and parochial schools so it is very important that our website reflects the positive strengths of the district to potential parents, students and staff, as well as our existing community members.”
 
The district will also implement Synergy, a digital file-sharing solution from Schoolwires that provides administrators, staff and educators a web-based, centralized and secure solution for creating, editing, and sharing content such as documents, files and presentations.  The Synergy application is accessible to users from within the Centricity platform without an additional login.
 
“We support and applaud Saint Louis Public Schools in their goal of strengthening the home-school connection,” said Edward S. Marflak, founder and CEO of Schoolwires. “The engagement tools available to teachers and others in the district – and their ease of use – will help them greatly in this effort.”
  
About Centricity
Centricityis the first and only strategic solution for connecting K-12 communities – an all-in-one, user-centric solution that puts all district and school constituents on the same page. Unlike any other solution, Centricity is designed to enable collaboration, work hand-in-hand with digital file sharing, improve communications, enhance operational efficiency, and encourage broad adoption and participation by administrators, teachers, families and students. It is a hosted, on-demand solution designed to offer very high levels of security, performance and reliability.
 
 About St Louis Public Schools
St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) is the largest school district in Missouri. SLPS has 74 schools and three alternative programs serving more than 25,000 students in grades Pre-K through 12. The District employs more than 4,000 staff members, including 2,800 classroom teachers.
 
 About Schoolwires, Inc.
Schoolwires Inc.
(www.schoolwires.com) is headquartered in Pennsylvania, USA.

Schoolwires provides strategic online communication, community-management and productivity solutions to the K-12 education market. The company’s core product is CentricityTM, which brings together robust and flexible website management, community management and web 2.0/social network capabilities in a single, user-centric solution. Schoolwires also delivers Schoolwires Synergy™, a digital file sharing solution, Schoolwires Assist™, a service request solution, and Schoolwires Share, an exclusive online client community and support center.

Schoolwires ranked in the Inc5000 as the 605th fastest growing private company in 2009. The company achieved Inc500 status the previous two consecutive years, and has ranked in the top ten fastest growing private education companies in the nation for three consecutive years.
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Duke IT leader searches for reliable ID rules

Making sure students, faculty, and staff members have access to the right online resources at Duke University — while barring others from viewing sensitive information — is just part of Klara Jelinkova’s daily challenge.

With Duke’s increasing community outreach and collaboration with outside researchers, the assistant vice president of information technology has to configure a system that grants access to the university’s IT infrastructure without compromising student and faculty identity.

The decentralization of campus technology has created dozens of web-based systems belonging to individual departments throughout a university, complicating infrastructure management for technology officials on campuses of every size.

Yet Jelinkova said higher education has advanced from the recent past, when school faculty and some students had to remember multiple usernames and passwords to access campus web sites.

Bringing single-login capabilities to college IT systems has simplified campus-based networks and made them more accessible, she said, but there is an ongoing struggle to make sure system users are denied access to information they aren’t supposed to see, such as identification numbers of other students.

When a Duke employee switches departments, she said, it’s critical that he has access to all the online resources of his new job, but is barred from viewing the budget, for instance, of his previous department.

"That’s the most burning issue that I think a lot of institutions are trying to resolve right now," said Jelinkova, a Durham, N.C., resident who worked as a senior strategist for research computing at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, before coming to Duke three years ago. "Everyone needs electronic access to the university, but how can we make sure we know who is entitled to what kind of access?"

She added: "We’re still looking for that solution. I don’t think higher ed is quite there yet."

Jelinkova said compartmentalization could be one solution to colleges’ struggles with identity management. By putting students enrolled in the same course into their own groups in the campus’s IT infrastructure, technology officials can more easily ensure that students will have access to the appropriate online class material, but will be barred from accessing information from other classes at the university.

"It will always be easier to manage in groups," she said.

Jelinkova, who came to the U.S. in 1990 after growing up in the Czech Republic, earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in Slavic languages and economics, and has hosted national presentations on pressing IT issues such as technology infrastructure and identity management

Jelinkova’s grappling with the complexity and IT security of an interconnected campus is just the latest challenge in a life that has revolved around computers.

Jelinkova’s mother, Vera, became one of the first women in the Czech Republic to earn a computer science degree when she completed her education at Charles University in the late 1960s.

On weekends and holidays, Jelinkova went to work with her mother and eventually worked part-time in the early days of information technology.

"I was surrounded by Russian mainframes as big as a small house," said Jelinkova, 37, with a laugh. "I was really immersed in IT. In some way, even though I didn’t think of it at the time, I was mentored by her. … In hindsight, that was a wonderful gift."

Over her two decades in private-sector and higher education IT, Jelinkova has witnessed a stunning shift in information distribution. She recalled living in the Soviet bloc as a teenager, when families weren’t allowed to own copy machines because it could allow citizens to circulate news that was not approved by government officials. 

"It was a clamp-down environment," she said. "The change that we’re living through, the constant access to information–this has changed the environment we live in."

Link:

Duke University

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How tech drives success in Title I schools

A new report examines how districts can make the most of education technology funds, and an accompanying guide identifies effective school technology tools. Together, these resources are intended to help school leaders personalize instruction and give teachers the tools they need to succeed with low-income (Title I) student populations.

The report, "Leveraging Title I and Title IID: Maximizing the Impact of Technology in Education," and the guide, "A Resource Guide Identifying Technology Tools for Schools," were released Sept. 24 by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) and the National Association for State Title I Directors (NASTID).

The two resources, which appear online together, describe products, models, strategies, and research outlining successful technology integration efforts in Title I schools.

A corresponding web site will feature best practices profiling the impact technology has had on Title I populations in schools. For instance, acccording to the report, Kansas’s Technology Rich Classrooms program saw a 10.4 percent increase in third grade state reading scores. In Arkansas, the Technology Integration in the Elementary Classroom project saw third graders’ literacy proficiency increase from 67 percent to 84 percent, and among fourth graders from 47 percent to 69 percent.

Rich Long, NASTID’s executive director, said the report and guide are the first step in what the groups hope will be a series of papers and collaborative efforts to illustrate the impact that education technology can have on closing the achievement gap and strengthening critical skills among Title I schools.

SETDA Executive Director Mary Ann Wolf said technology plays a critical role in helping to address the needs of the nation’s underprivileged schools, and she hopes these resources help districts across the country form the partnerships necessary to begin effective ed-tech implementations.

The report gives general background information on technology’s power in the classroom, including research and data-backed examples of increases in student achievement among Title I students.

Classroom technology use is not limited to computers, the report notes–in fact, innovative technology use incorporates cell phones, MP3 players, and other mobile devices, as long as they are used to reinforce learning and not for the sake of the technology itself.

Sixty-seven percent of Title I students have access to a cell phone outside of the classroom, 79 percent have a music or video device, and 46 percent have access to a computer, according to Project Tomorrow’s 2008 Speak Up survey data.

Title I funding helps schools with high concentrations of students living at or below poverty level and who are at risk of failing to meet state achievement standards. Title IID directs technology funds to schools and gives schools the opportunity to partner with other schools and districts.

"Coordinated planning efforts between Title IA and Title IID programs can result in an unprecedented opportunity for educators to implement innovative strategies in Title I schools that improve education for at-risk students and close the achievement gaps," the report says.

"We need to think radically differently about how to do this, and we won’t have a lot of money to do it. In these low-performing schools, teachers have large ranges of student ability and performance levels. The only way we are going to be able to overcome these barriers and allow the teachers to be effective and [give] students access to the resources they need is through technology," said a statement from Jim Shelton, deputy secretary of innovation and partnerships for the U.S. Department of Education, which was included in the report.

Tips for maximizing federal technology funds to sustain investments include:

• Using an attached guide to identify "21st Century Learning Environment" components.
• Choosing a subsection of schools, grades, or subject areas for specific focus.
• Providing relevant, consistent, and job-embedded technology integration training to teachers and administrators. This might be an opportunity for Title I coordinators to partner with their Title IID office or technology department.
• Offering schools and teachers comprehensive technical support.

The report also gives a brief summary of technologies, such as document cameras and mobile devices, and how they might be integrated into classroom instruction easily.

The resource guide acts as an appendix, giving definitions of key technology components and examples. It also gives technology decision-makers a checklist of considerations when implementing technology in schools.

It summarizes school technology structures and the different forms of computing a school might have, such as a mobile computing lab or a one-to-one laptop program. Also included are examples of hardware, courseware, content and creativity tools, and online and collaboration tools.

The guide also covers implementation considerations such as technology planning, IT support, digital citizenship, data systems, professional development, and student assessments.

Link:

Title I and Title IID Wiki

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Hearing for Google books deal postponed

A federal judge noted the many objections to a $125 million deal giving Google Inc. digital rights to millions of out-of-print books as he agreed Sept. 24 to postpone a fairness hearing so the agreement can be rewritten to comply with copyright and antitrust laws.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said the deal reached last year between U.S. authors and publishers and Google "raises significant issues, as demonstrated not only by the number of objections, but also by the fact that the objectors include countries, states, nonprofit organizations, and prominent authors and law professors."

He added: "Clearly, fair concerns have been raised."

Chin encouraged the parties to revise the settlement as quickly as possible, saying a fair deal "would offer many benefits to society." He cited a statement by the Department of Justice saying an agreement "has the potential to breathe life into millions of works that are now effectively off limits to the public."

In a statement, Google highlighted Chin’s words of encouragement and reiterated its belief that a court-approved settlement would "unlock access to millions of books in the U.S., while giving authors and publishers new ways to distribute their work."

The comments in Chin’s two-page order indicated the judge had taken a critical look at the settlement after receiving nearly 400 submissions about the deal, many of them expressing disapproval.

In a Sept. 18 filing, the Department of Justice said the agreement as it now stands probably violates antitrust law. That conclusion led the plaintiffs, who include the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, to say that they and Mountain View, Calif.-based Google had decided to renegotiate.

This time, the plaintiffs said, negotiations will include Justice Department officials.

The judge said it made no sense to stage the fairness hearing on Oct. 7 when it appears that the deal will be rewritten. He asked parties to the case to appear on that date to discuss how it will proceed but said he will not hear from objectors or supporters, though they are free to attend.

In a statement on its web site acknowledging the postponement, the Authors Guild said: "We’ll continue to work on amending the settlement to address the Justice Department’s concerns."

John M. Simpson, a consumer advocate with Consumer Watchdog who testified about the deal before the House Judiciary Committee, said any agreement also should involve input from Congress.

He said the agreement as it now stands would have given Google a monopoly over the digitizing of books.

"The judge put his fingers exactly on the issues in the case," Simpson said.

In its current form, the settlement would entrust Google with a digital database containing millions of copyright-protected books, including volumes no longer being published. The internet search leader would act as the sales agent for the authors and publishers, giving 63 percent of the revenue to the copyright holders. Authors and publishers could either set their own prices for their books, or rely on a formula drawn up by Google–a provision that has raised fears of the partnership turning into a price-gouging cartel.

The Justice Department sided with those arguments, saying the settlement could lessen competition among U.S. publishers. The agency also expressed concern that Google would gain a monopoly on so-called "orphan works"–out-of-print books that are still protected by copyright but whose writers’ whereabouts are unknown.

The arrangement "appears to create a dangerous probability that only Google would have the ability to market to libraries and other institutions a comprehensive digital-book subscription," the department said in its brief.

Hoping to ease those concerns, Google had promised to share its electronic index with its rivals–an idea that drew an icy response from Amazon.com, one of the world’s biggest book merchants and the maker of the Kindle, an electronic reader.

Google already has gone into some of the nation’s largest libraries to scan about 6 million out-of-print books into its electronic index. So far, though, it has only been able to show snippets of those digital copies. The settlement would clear the way for Google to sell all those out-of-print books and scan even more into its index.

Links:

Justice Department

Google Books

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ONLINE ADVISING LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD FOR COLLEGE ADMISSIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Ryan Schwartz
ryan@iadmissions.com
713-446-3736

ONLINE ADVISING LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD
FOR COLLEGE ADMISSIONS

More Accessible Resources Reaching Every American Family

CALENDAR EDITORS: VISIT www.iadmissions.com FOR SCHEDULE OF FREE COMMUNITY WEBINARS

  •  California has worst counselor to student ratio in the nation 

September 23, 2009, San Francisco, CA….. As college admission becomes increasingly competitive, receiving personal application advice can mean the difference between acceptance and denial for many students. To compound the problem, high school counseling resources are severely stretched. According to the independent, non-profit organization EdSource (http://www.edsource.org/iss_fin_FAQ_cacompares.html), California has just one counselor for every 1,000 students, and the national average is only one for every five hundred.

 

Private college admissions consultants have become popular in recent years, with Harvard Dean of Admissions William Fitzsimmons pointing out in The New York Times on September 15th that some students have consulted with private counselors since middle school. Yet with prices as high as hundreds of dollars per hour, such mentoring has been accessible to only the wealthiest of students, giving them a relative advantage in the application process.

 

This is why an experienced group of former college admissions officers from Stanford, Harvard, Brown and other top universities have come together to offer affordable on-line advising services at www.iAdmissions.com.

 

“Every student deserves an equal chance to tell their story. Expensive private counselors and essay writers give some an unfair advantage,” said former Stanford University Senior Associate Director of Admission and iAdmissions Board Advisor Dr. Jon Reider. “iAdmissions is making that privilege available to everyone. Internet technologies are really changing the face of college admissions.”

 

Founded this year, iAdmissions is a unique network of former college admissions officers that use online technology to provide personalized and affordable guidance on the college admissions process. In addition to hosting a series of free webinars accessible to all, iAdmissions opens doors by offering affordable counseling services to every student, regardless of income level. 

 

“The college application essay can be the scariest part of the whole process.  Will my essay make a difference?  Will it catch the eye of the admissions committee?  Will it honestly portray ‘who I am?’  In iAdmissions’ ExpertCoaching, an experienced admissions officer will guide you through the process and ease the anxiety too,” said Kit Muller, iAdmissions Counselor and a former admissions counselor at Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges.

 

The ExpertReview and ExpertCoaching programs help students strengthen essays, differentiate themselves, and tell their story. iAdmissions services are available for both incoming freshman and transfer students. 

 

For more information to help relieve the stress and cost of the college application process, including free tip sheets and live webinars, visit www.iAdmissions.com.

 

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Dr. Jon Reider and Kit Muller are experienced commentators on national admissions issues and are available for both live and recorded interviews through the above media contact.

 

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