A top California lawmaker unveiled a $1 billion proposal on Tuesday to fund free public preschool for all children in the most populous U.S. state, the latest challenge by Democratic leaders to fiscal restraints imposed by Governor Jerry Brown, Reuters reports. The plan by Senate Democratic leader Darrell Steinberg to offer pre-kindergarten to California 4-year-olds comes as he and other Democratic lawmakers try to push Brown to raise spending on social services, including education, in next year’s budget……Read More
Facebook Inc’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has enlisted Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Qualcomm Inc and four other companies for a project aimed at bringing internet access to people around the world who cannot afford it, following efforts by Google Inc., Reuters reports. The project, called Internet.org, is the latest move by an internet company trying to expand Web access globally. Facebook rival Google is hoping technology, including balloons, wireless and fiber connections will expand connectivity. Internet.org, which was launched on Wednesday, will focus on seeking ways to help the 5 billion people – or two-thirds of the world’s population – who do not have Internet access, come online, the company said in a statement……Read More
Public schools in California would receive significantly more money to educate students from disadvantaged backgrounds under a deal announced on Tuesday that would dramatically reshape public school funding in the nation’s most populous state, Reuters reports. The deal, part of a broader agreement on the state’s budget, also gives local school districts more control over how they spend the $55.3 billion that the state expects to allocate for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. The deal comes as California, which has the ninth largest economy in the world, is experiencing its first budget surplus in years. All told, the state will spend $96.3 billion next year, and set up a rainy day fund of about $1.1 billion……Read More
Global personal computer shipments face a deeper-than-expected 7.8 percent slump this year as tablets overtake laptops for the first time, according to a report from market research company IDC, Reuters reports. The firm previously had forecast a 1.3 percent decline in PC shipments for 2013 but said in a report on Tuesday that consumers content with tablets are continuing to hold off replacing ageing laptops and desktop computers. By 2015, tablets will outship not just laptops, but all PCs, according to IDC……Read More
A new app aims to bring William Shakespeare’s sonnets to the masses with the help of short films starring stage actors performing them in front of New York landmarks, Reuters reports. The Sonnet Project is a free app for the iPhone and iPad that showcases the bard’s poetry through films of up to two minutes and performances by Tony-Award winning actors Joanna Gleason and Cady Huffman, among others. “Shakespeare gets a bad rap. A lot of people say ‘I don’t like Shakespeare, he’s over my head,’ or ‘Shakespeare is boring,'” said Ross Williams, the artistic director of the New York Shakespeare Exchange, the non-profit organization behind The Sonnet Project.…Read More
The Seattle public school system, facing a rebellion that stoked the national protest movement over standardized testing in U.S. public schools, is backing away from the contentious multiple-choice exam for its upcoming school year, Reuters reports. Teachers, educators, and students at several Seattle schools staged a boycott in January against the computerized Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test, saying it was not aligned with the state’s curriculum and produces “meaningless results” upon which teachers’ performances are evaluated……Read More
Warren Buffett accumulates Twitter followers even faster than he makes money, Reuters reports. The 82-year-old “Oracle of Omaha” joined the service and sent his first tweet on Thursday, picking up more than 45,000 followers in just under 45 minutes. “Warren is in the house,” Buffett said under the handle “@WarrenBuffett.” The handle was not officially verified by Twitter, but was confirmed by Fortune magazine, which hosted Buffett for a live webcast Thursday. It was billed as the first social media event for the notoriously technology-averse billionaire……Read More
Working out at the gym at their sleepy New England college, two students chatted about how “crazy” it was that bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon. Three days later, one of them was named a prime suspect, Reuters reports. Returning to campus on Sunday after being evacuated on Friday during a massive manhunt for the bombers, students at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth swapped recollections of seeing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, back in the dorm, at class and in the gym in the aftermath of the bombings……Read More
Amazon.com Inc said on Thursday it plans to acquire the book recommendation website, Goodreads, Reuters reports. In buying Goodreads, Amazon gets a community of bibliophiles primed to buy and recommend books – one of its key areas of business.
“Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world,” Russ Grandinetti, Amazon vice president, Kindle Content, said in a release.
Based in San Francisco, Goodreads is a social network site that lets bookworms catalog and review books. Co-founded by Otis Chandler, whose family once published the Los Angeles Times, Goodreads has more than 16 million members, who have generated more than 23 million reviews……Read More
Banks wrote off $3 billion of student loan debt in the first two months of 2013, up more than 36 percent from the year-ago period, as many graduates remain jobless, underemployed or cash-strapped in a slow U.S. economic recovery, an Equifax study showed, Reuters reports. The credit reporting agency also said Monday that student lending has grown from last year because more people are going back to school and the cost of higher education has risen.
“Continued weakness in labor markets is limiting work options once people graduate or quit their programs, leading to a steady rise in delinquencies and loan write-offs,” Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews Cutts said in a statement.
Equifax analyzes data from more than 500 million consumers to track financial trends……Read More