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12-5-16 Education in the News

Star Ledger--Across N.J. and U.S., once revolutionary turf fields now show signs of 'defect'

 Work finished on a pristine artificial turf field at Highland Park High School in 2008, the jewel of a $1.5 million project paid through a grant from Middlesex County.

 Two years later, the varsity football coach, Rich McGlynn, noticed something unusual.

 “You would get pieces in your sock, and your shoes would be covered with it,” McGlynn said. “You’d have to come in and stomp your feet, and you’d have all green from the turf.”

 Now in its eighth year, the surface at Highland Park may still be green, but it behaves like a grass field choked by an August drought. The fibers have cracked, split, frayed and become matted across a thinning playing field.

 Those were the conditions of hundreds of fields across the country that FieldTurf, the self-proclaimed leader in artificial turf, has deemed defective. According to company officials, the turf — known as Duraspine — was not made properly by their supplier to withstand UV radiation. That caused the grass fibers to prematurely deteriorate, sometimes in as little as two to three years.

 The supplier denied the allegation, settled a lawsuit with FieldTurf and admitted no wrongdoing.

 As part of a six-month investigation, NJ Advance Media surveyed 50 Duraspine fields in eight counties across New Jersey and found nearly all had deterioration consistent with FieldTurf’s description of the defect as detailed by its officials in the lawsuit.




Education Week--Warning Sounded on Tech Disrupting Student Sleep

In this 2013 photo, Lewisville Texas High School student Holly Weston studies at home with her digital devices at hand. Officials at schools with programs that encourage students to use devices are now thinking about how to create the right screen-time balance for students.

Educators who promote the use of education technology are working harder to caution students and parents about the impact of digital devices and the "blue light" they emit, which can disrupt student sleep patterns.

A recent meta-analysis by British researchers has brought renewed attention to the issue, calling increased use of mobile devices at bedtime a "major public-health concern" for children and teenagers.

As many schools and districts shift to 1-to-1 device programs, often allowing students to take those devices home each night, education leaders are looking for ways to incorporate warnings about the detrimental effects of mobile devices on sleep.


By Benjamin Herold and Michelle R. Davis| November 29, 2016