Category Archives: Government

John Hancock Hopes You’ll Trade Activity Data For Insurance Discounts

You don't need to run a marathon — or wear a gorilla suit — to get a discount on John Hancock's new life insurance program. But at least one of them may help.You don’t need to run a marathon — or wear a gorilla suit — to get a discount on John Hancock’s new life insurance program. But at least one of them may help.
Rick Rycroft/AP

Would you lead a more active lifestyle if it meant lower life insurance premiums? Insurer John Hancock and Vitality, a global wellness firm, are hoping the answer is yes. But there is a condition: They get to track your activity.

The practice is already employed in Australia, Europe, Singapore and South Africa, where Vitality is based.

The companies announced the new plan Wednesday and posted a video on John Hancock’s website.

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Here’s How Inflation Has Eroded American Workers’ Overtime Eligibility

Sheila Abramson serves customers of Langer's Delicatessen in Los Angeles in 2013.

Sheila Abramson serves customers of Langer’s Delicatessen in Los Angeles in 2013.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

President Obama is once again poised to go it alone on labor policy, this time on overtime. The Labor Department is expected in the coming weeks to release a rule making millions more Americans eligible for overtime work — currently, all workers earning below $455 a week, or $23,660 a year, are guaranteed time-and-a-half pay for working more than 40 hours a week. The law may raise that as high as $52,000,Politico reports.

The rule would also change the regulations outlining which employees earning above that threshold are eligible — currently, employers can exempt some employees above that threshold if those workers could be considered “white collar.”

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An Irreplaceable Replacement, This Sub Gets The Job Done

Substitute teacher Josephine Brewington receives the substitute teacher of the year award.

Substitute teacher Josephine Brewington receives the substitute teacher of the year award.
Courtesy of Kelly Services

One of the toughest jobs in education is the substitute teacher. The pay is low, schedules are unpredictable and respect can be hard to come by. But because the average teacher missed 11 days of school in 2012-2013, a sub like Josephine Brewington ends up playing a crucial role.

And this week — Brewington was rewarded for her efforts — winning the 2015 Substitute Teacher of the Year award.

For the last six years, Brewington, 50, has taught inside every kind of classroom in the Beech Grove City Schools system outside Indianapolis.

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Pressure To Act Unethically Looms Over Wall Street, Survey Finds

Stock prices

Alan Schein Photography/Corbis

A new survey of financial professionals tends to confirm the widely held belief that the financial industry has an ethics problem.

Among the more than 1,200 financial professionals in the U.S. and Britain who were surveyed, about half the respondents believe their competitors in the industry have behaved unethically or illegally to gain an advantage in the market.

Ann Tenbrunsel, one of the authors of the study, says that perception, even if it’s just a suspicion, does not bode well for the industry.

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San Diego schools to get some financial relief

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Education funding is set to increase under Gov. Jerry Brown’s “precariously balanced” state budget proposal. The San Diego Unified School District Tuesday outlined plans to use that little bit of unexpected money to continue working toward lowering class sizes, helping English-learning and disabled students and engaging more parents in the learning process.

Brown’s budget proposal for the 2015-16 fiscal year reflects a $4.8 billion increase in educational funding from this year, with an additional $4 billion for implementing the Local Control Funding Formula. A portion of that — $23.6 million — could potentially go to San Diego Unified.

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Why The President Wants To Give Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars To Toddlers

Nikki Jones' preschool class at Porter Early Childhood Development Center in Tulsa, Okla.

Why does public school start at age 5?

Neuroscientists say the most important brain development begins at birth. Friedrich Froebel, who coined the term “kindergarten” in Germany in the mid-19th century, was among the first education thinkers to intuit this fact about the brain. His “child-gardens” were mixed-age classrooms of children from 3 to 7 years old, who learned through play.

When reformers such as Boston’s Elizabeth Peabody brought kindergarten to the United States, they followed Froebel’s mixed-age model. But when kindergartens became incorporated into public school systems, beginning in the late 19th century, the age cutoff was generally set higher, at age 5.

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From Potatoes To Salty Fries In School: Congress Tweaks Food Rules

When it comes to salty french fries or pizza served at lunch, schools may get more time to dial back sodium content, thanks to a provision in the federal spending bill headed for a vote on Capitol Hill.

The gargantuan budget bill that lawmakers on Capitol Hill are expected to vote on Thursday does more than dole out federal dollars to keep the government running.

It also tweaks federal nutrition rules.

For starters, the bill — aka, the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill — includes a provision that will give school food directors more flexibility when it comes to adopting 100 percent whole grain items, such as pasta and biscuits, in school breakfast and lunch meals.

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Common Core Reading: ‘The New Colossus’

Fourth-grader Isiah Soto digests some history during independent reading time.

The Common Core State Standards are changing what many kids read in school. They’re standards, sure — not curriculum. Teachers and districts still have great latitude when it comes to the “how” of reading instruction, but…

The Core standards explicitly require students to read “complex” material, and the fact is, many kids simply weren’t doing that before the Core. What were they doing?

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California Pension Committee Approves Retirement Compensation Proposals


A California Public Employees’ Retirement System committee approved a proposal Tuesday that would include the higher pay of temporarily promoted employees. Opponents say that could create opportunities for fraud. A vote could come Wednesday.

Christy Bouma with the California Professional Firefighters Union says it’s only fair that people who temporarily do the same jobs as permanent employees should earn the same pay and pension.

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