Queens school that went vegetarian shows student gains, draws plaudit

Their school swapped sloppy joes and fried chicken for organic roasted tofu and braised black beans, and these kids ain’t complaining, the New York Daily News reports. Students at the top-rated Public School 244, in Flushing, have longer attention spans and better academic scores since the school went vegetarian, school officials said. The school was recognized by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group that promotes plant-based diets, for becoming the country’s first public school to serve vegetarian-only meals in its cafeteria…

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City plans to end guarantee for local high school slots

In a push that is alarming parents, the Bloomberg administration plans to stop guaranteeing eighth-graders a spot in the city’s remaining neighborhood high schools, the New York Daily News reports. “It’s ridiculous to think that children are not able to go to their zoned school automatically,” said Kim Alvarez, who wants the option of sending her daughter Amber, 11, to the local school, Long Island City High School. “The thought that she could end up in Brooklyn or Staten Island or wherever they put her is a little alarming.” The city still guarantees students a spot in high school — just not nearby. The admissions change, which could affect five schools by next year, will allow “zoned” high schools to offer priority rather than a guarantee to local kids…

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Report: Department of Education miscalculated available school space

The city has made sizable miscalculations in its official tabulation of school space, a controller’s audit released Wednesday found, the New York Daily News reports. The Department of Education, for example, wrongly identified in some cases how schools used space. In 10% of 145 rooms reviewed by city auditors, those mistakes affected the count for the Blue Book, as the annual tabulation is officially known…

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Mom fights to have special education son held back after school tries to pass him to sixth grade

A Bronx 11-year-old will start middle school Thursday-even though his mom says he’s not ready, the New York Daily News reports. Special education student Cristian Colon had a hard time last year in fifth grade at Public School 108, struggling to read and failing his state exams. Still he was moved up to the sixth grade.

“They are insisting on promoting him when he can’t even handle third, fourth and fifth grade,” his mom, Rose Colon, said…

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Study: Excessive internet usage linked to teen depression

According to a new study, teenagers who log at least five hours a day online are one-and-a-half times more likely to become depressed than those who use the web moderately, reports the New York Daily News. Young people who spend excessive amounts of time surfing the web grew agitated when not in front of the screen and had a decreased interest in social interaction, according to study co-author Lawrence Lam of the School of Medicine at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney. “Some [teens] spend more than 10 hours a day, they are really problematic users and they show signs and symptoms of addictive behavior … browsing the internet, playing games,” Lam told Reuters. “They can’t get their minds off the internet, they feel agitated if they don’t get back on after a short period of being away.” The study, which was published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, looked at 1,041 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 in Guangzhou, China, who were not depressed at the start of the research. When they were assessed nine months later, 84 of the teens were suffering from depression. Those who used the internet to excess were most vulnerable to depression. Why would screen time cause sadness? It could result from a lack of shut-eye, Lam suggested. “People who spend so much time on the internet will lose sleep, and it is a very well-established fact that the less one sleeps, the higher the chances of depression,” he said…

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