Students’ speech rights become murkier on social-networking sites

As social-networking sites attract younger followers, schools across the country are grappling with the fuzzy boundary between harmless online chatter and valid security concerns, reports the Dallas Morning News. The issue hit North Texas this month when two Frisco middle-schoolers were suspended for threatening to kill their teacher on Facebook. Legal experts say districts face an unprecedented challenge in this digital era: monitoring information without infringing on students’ free-speech rights. "Courts are still navigating how to deal with the internet and what happens on and off campus," said Mary-Rose Papandrea, an associate professor of law at Boston College who studies the effects of digital technology on student speech rights. "They generally say schools have the authority to restrict student speech off-campus when it’s materially disruptive to the school’s activity … or it advocates drug use or violence." But these online networks are becoming the modern equivalent of scribbled notes in class, making it unclear whether students are tossing offhand remarks or plotting real demolition…

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Texting incident leads to teacher resignation

When the father of a student at Woodlawn Elementary School recently found a series of text messages in his stepson’s cell phone, he assumed they were the routine banter of fifth-graders. Then he realized the messages appeared to have been sent not by a 10-year-old but by a teacher at the school, reports the San Antonio Express-News. "U suck," read one message, reportedly sent from the 34-year-old woman’s cell phone. "So do you," the boy shot back. Until recently, students didn’t hear much from their teachers after the last bell rang. But in the days of YouTube, Facebook, and instant availability, it’s easy for those in charge to cross boundaries. "It has allowed them 24-hour access … where they didn’t have that before," said Terri Miller, president of the Las Vegas-based Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation. "But the other great thing about technology is it creates a trail of evidence … so it’s making cases much easier to prove." The woman accused of texting the Woodlawn fifth-grader was placed on administrative leave while the San Antonio Independent School District investigated the allegations. She resigned last week amid the claims of inappropriate conduct, although she maintains someone else used her phone–without her knowledge–to send the text messages. "I think the appropriateness question is a question about the language that’s being used," said Kevin Leander, an associate professor in the department of teaching and learning at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development. "It’s about the context."

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Wondershare PC Health Check Released

November 16th, 2009 —Wondershare Software Co., Ltd, the world leading consuming software provider, gives release of its new system utility Wondershare PC Health Check on its system utility official website ( This is a practical system utility to repair Windows system problems and speed up computer.

Supported operating system includes: Windows 7/ Vista /XP/2000

Key Features of Wondershare PC Health Check:
Wondershare PC Health Check provides simple operations of 3 steps to repair Windows system defects on the computer.

Fully scan security vulnerabilities and system settings that cause potential risks.
Generates system security diagnostics report and guides you to repair Windows.
Repair Windows by fixing vulnerabilities and hazards.
Wondershare PC Health Check builds a backup file for every operation for restoration to the previous status.

What can Wondershare PC Health Check do for you?
Wondershare PC Health Check is a duteous repairer for your system. It does well in repairing Windows, fixing problems such as system vulnerabilities, malicious IE add-ons and system plug-ins, managing startup items and processes, and completely eliminates potential security risks on your system and improves your computer’s performance.

Pricing and Availability
The full version of Wondershare PC Health Check Copy is available for $19.95. Update pricing is free of charge. For more information and get a free trial version, visit

Wondershare Information
Established in 2003, Wondershare has extended its business worldwide. The company owns rich product lines, providing multimedia processing applications, business tools and Mobile software. The products and solutions are adopted and welcomed by world top companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Coca Cola, and IBM and so on. System utility is an important business of Wondershare. It has released Registry Optimizer, Privacy Protector and Disk Cleaner, and many other wonderful system utilities are right on the way.

Official Website:
Phone: +86-755-86117747 ext. 809 (Mon-Fri, 9am to 6pm GMT+8)
Fax: +86-755-86117737
Official Site:


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Student lending landscape in flux

College administrators face a student lending landscape in upheaval at a time when students are borrowing more money than ever to pay for college.

The Obama administration wants to end federal subsidies for private student loans, forcing colleges to shift to a direct-lending model from the government–and the House of Representatives passed legislation in September to make that happen. But the Senate has yet to take up the bill, and Capitol Hill staffers say that’s not likely to happen until after lawmakers resolve the health-care debate.

Now, the Education Department (ED) is trying to force the issue. Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged colleges and universities last month to prepare to use the government’s Direct Loan Program for the next school year. But college financial aid directors are split in their support for the switch, which could require the use of new software and training.

Click here to read the full story on eCampus News


Student lending landscape in flux

College administrators face a student lending landscape in upheaval at a time when students are borrowing more money than ever to pay for college. 

The Obama administration wants to end federal subsidies for private student loans, forcing colleges to shift to a direct-lending model from the government–and the House of Representatives passed legislation in September to make that happen. But the Senate has yet to take up the bill, and Capitol Hill staffers say that’s not likely to happen until after lawmakers resolve the health-care debate.

Now, the Education Department (ED) is trying to force the issue. Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged colleges and universities last month to prepare to use the government’s Direct Loan Program for the next school year. But college financial aid directors are split in their support for the switch, which could require the use of new software and training.

In a letter sent to thousands of colleges and universities on Oct. 26, Duncan pointed out that a law passed about a year and a half ago to ensure that students with financial need could get a loan even if their college did not participate in the federal direct loan program will expire in June.

"Congress acted quickly to provide the Department of Education with unprecedented temporary authority to directly finance loans made through FFELP [Federal Family Education Loan Program] lenders," he wrote. "However, while there are encouraging signs that the financial markets are rebounding, the most prudent course of action is for you to ensure that your institution is Direct Loan-ready for the 2010-11 academic year. That way, loan access for your students will be assured."

Some schools balking

ED provides software to help institutions make the switch, but colleges still must implement the software and train their staff members how to use it–a costly and time-consuming undertaking. Some financial aid administrators are hesitant to make the move for this reason, while others object on principle.

Clint Hanson, vice president for administration and director of financial aid at Thomas More College in New Hampshire, said his school does not plan to switch to the Direct Loan Program until there is a mandate from Congress.

"The primary reasons for not making the switch are, one, currently enrolled students will be forced into having two different loans–Federal Stafford and Federal Direct–when they graduate; and two, the current Federal Stafford Loan program is an example of a very effective and very financially stable public-private partnership in the delivery of student loan services to students," he said.

Hanson, who has been a financial aid officer for 30 years, said he has seen numerous funding issues with federal student aid programs in the past, and he sees more significant issues ahead given the large national debt.

"It is clear that the negative perception of the Federal Stafford Loan program is a result of some overly aggressive proprietary lenders," he said. "The irony is that if the Congress had not changed the law to allow nonprofit lenders like Sallie Mae to become for-profit entities, many of the excesses exemplified by the Sallie Mae model would have been avoided."

Hanson said Thomas More has had a very positive experience over many years with the nonprofit organization it works with, the NHHEAF (New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation) Network Organizations. He said he believes allowing nonprofits to supply student loans is a sensible alternative to direct government lending.

"The nonprofit student loan lenders should be the principal partners in the delivery of federal student loans, rather than a bloated federal bureaucracy or the many greedy for-profit lenders," he said.

‘The writing is on the wall’

Yale University, which previously had resisted the switch, will adopt the Direct Loan approach beginning next year, Director of Student Financial Services Caesar Storlazzi said Nov. 17.

Yale will make the switch before being mandated by Congress, because the university must install new software and adopt new administrative procedures in preparation for direct lending, Storlazzi said. "The writing is on the wall, and we want to make sure that there is a smooth transition to the Direct Loan program when it passes," he told the Yale Daily News.

Discussion about whether Yale should adopt the Direct Loan program has been going on for more than two years, Storlazzi told the campus newspaper. Yale has been reluctant to make the switch before, because private lenders traditionally offered better service and borrower benefits, such as lower interest rates, he said. But he noted that, owing to the economic crisis, such benefits have all but disappeared–making FFELP and direct loans very similar.

Rollins College in Florida has been a direct-loan institution since the mid-1990s, said Financial Aid Director Steve Booker, and he said there are many benefits to providing federal loans directly to students.

"The benefits to the student really are the same. There is no difference to the student. They’re going to get the funds regardless, and the Department of Education really runs both programs," he said. "For the school, you have a little more control over it. You can disperse the funds a little bit faster."

The steps involved in making the switch, Booker said, mostly depend on what kind of technology a school has in place.

"[For] those schools that have the major [software] systems [such as] Banner and PeopleSoft, it’s not an issue, because there are plenty of schools that are on direct lending and FFELP, and those systems have been around for a number of years and have supported both direct lending and FFELP," he said.

Schools that are likely to have the most trouble, Booker said, are those that have homegrown student information systems that don’t support direct loans.

"With homegrown systems, it’s really up to you to come up with the modifications and to work out communications back and forth. If you’re on a homegrown system … then someone on your campus has to write all that code and all that programming language" to set up the system for direct lending, he said.

Booker said that while he was with his previous institution a few years ago, the school saw the declining economy and the need for a switch to direct lending coming and decided to begin making the change then.

He also noted that many banks and private lenders are no longer offering student loans or have to sell their loans to the federal government, so he doesn’t understand why opponents to the Direct Loan Program claim the switch is a government takeover.

"The Department of Education controls the program regardless. It’s just how they deliver the funds. And direct lending is similar to how we get all the other funds from the federal government right now. So we get our Pell Grants, our work-study funds, and so on, the same exact way that we get our Direct Loan funds," he said.

"With the credit environment we’re in, the banks don’t have funding to lend, so they wind up selling the loans back to the Department of Education anyway. So the ultimate holder ends up being the Department of Education, not the bank."

Booker said it makes sense for schools to begin to make the switch even without Congress’ mandate. "That way, you’re sure to have the funds when students start school in the fall," he said.

A growing need for loans

The changes in student lending come as more students and parents are looking for ways to pay for a college education amid a slumping economy, including applying for more loans.

Students are borrowing more to pay for college, according to numbers from ED. Federal student-loan disbursements, which is the total amount borrowed by students and received by schools, in the 2008-09 academic year totaled $75.1 billion, growing about 25 percent over the previous year.

Scott Klene, senior director of student financial services at Bellevue University in Nebraska, said he has seen a significant increase in students applying for federal aid at his school as well.

"There’s an increase in need," he said. "But overall, students are still getting financing in the way they were before. We haven’t seen a decrease in students who are able to pay for school."


Direct Loan Program


A Step into Social Networking

We are proud to be a big part of the social networking sites of Facebook and Twitter!

Keeping up with the fast paced consumer world of mail ordering and internet shopping alike, Dance Direct have introduced yet more ways for our customers to keep in touch with us and follow our every move. We will be keeping everyone up to date on everything we do, like; choosing new products, giving them sneak previews of our new ballet leotards, ‘must have’ dance sneakers, funky fluorescent ankle warmers and our new colourful footless tights.

Everybody knows that Facebook and Twitter are a big part of social networking and such a valuable tool to keep everyone in the loop with the latest gossip between friends and family. Facebook has over 200 million users with around 100 million people logging on every day, and Twitter also has 14 million people logging on to tweet at each other daily, with this in mind Dance Direct couldn’t help but become a part of these phenomenon’s. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to broadcast their business, news and products to people all over the world?

We are giving our customers and fans the perfect place to comment on our chosen colour schemes, share their ideas with us and basically just get to know us as a team on a much more personal level and also have the freedom to post their thoughts, ideas and comments on our wall. We can be found under where we constantly update our fans with new product information, up and coming promotions and the latest gossip.

Our customers are crying out to know when we put our children’s pink ballet tights on offer or when we give an extra 20% off of our already unbeatable prices.

So if mums are looking for the latest Capezio ballet leotard for their daughters or the new range of fluorescent tutus for a Christmas present, or hip hop dancers are waiting for the new range of plume urban dancewear to come out, by being a fan of ours on Facebook this information will be directly at their fingertips.

Check out facebook and you will see that; today there has been a samples hurricane that has blown through the office; we are working our way through these garments to choose exciting new designs for our next catalogue which is due out early 2010.

Watch this space!!

Europe’s leading online retailer of dancewear – Dance Direct.For further information regarding our range of Capezio products, please visit our website at


World wide supplier, Diesel Engine manufacturer & their parts

Windsor is one of the leading supplier & manufacturer of automative parts, engines and engine spare parts, having a vast sales network in many markets in Africa and South America.We mainly deals in Lombardini, Deutz and Perkin engines and their spare parts.
We warmly welcome you to our home WINDSOR. We are one of the leading manufacturer & supplier of engines & engine spare parts. Our range includes LOMBARDINI, DEUTZ & PERKINS engines and their spare parts. A computerized management of our warehouse assures enough supply in order to have a rapid execution of orders and delivery service. We can assist you in determining the right engine for the job you have, and deliver it to you at the right price.
Windsor has been successfully carrying on its trade activity of engine & engine spare parts for industrial & agricultural use.Our wide range of products satisfy all the market’s need in various market sector ;leading supplier to satisfy large and various operative and productive demands.Supplying products completed by all stringent services is our main factor of competitiveness.This is also the base of our excellent trade results achieve in national and international market.We made our presence in global market due to our quality products,competitive prices & customer satisfaction.

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Ballard & Tighe Adds Formal Assessment to Carousel of IDEAS

LOS ANGELES, Calif. November 19, 2009 Ballard & Tighe, Publishers, released new formal assessment components for Carousel of IDEAS, 4th Edition—an English language development program for elementary grades. Adapted to students’ cognitive and literacy levels, there are separate tests for grades K-1 and grades 2-5. The Carousel Testers are achievement tests designed to reveal how well students have mastered the chapter learning objectives so teachers can easily identify areas where some students may need more practice.

“Educators have asked for a more formalized way to assess and monitor the ongoing progress of English language learners,” said Mark Espinola, CEO of Ballard & Tighe.  “The Carousel Testers will also help boost the confidence and better prepare ELL students for taking high-stakes exams.”

The Carousel Testers for grades K-1 focus on listening and speaking skills, including language functions and forms. The Carousel Testers for grades 2-5 assess listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills and consistently test language functions and forms presented in the Carousel program. The Carousel Tester Class Pack for each Carousel set includes an examiner’s manual, consumable placement test booklets, and consumable end-of-chapter Testers. 

Carousel of IDEAS is a comprehensive, systematic, and standards-based English language development curriculum that is organized by proficiency level and is well-regarded for its flexibility of implementation and effectiveness.


About Ballard & Tighe  

Ballard & Tighe, Publishers ( has focused on developing products for English language learners since 1976. Ballard & Tighe provides testing, instructional, and training products and services to more than 3,500 state, regional, and local school districts throughout the United States and internationally. Ballard & Tighe produces assessment products, English language development instructional materials, professional development programs, and a series of unique social studies programs designed especially for English language learners. Follow us at LinkedIn or Facebook: Ballard & Tighe, or read our blog: