Your School's Lunches

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Ms. I, Apr 12, 2011.

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  1. nontradguy

    nontradguy Rookie

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    Apr 14, 2011

    Personally, I have a huge problem with telling parents what they can and can't do. You want to send your kid to school with a cheeseburger and a bottle of coke, go right ahead. Who is the school to tell them what they can and can't eat for lunch? That's ridiculous, in my humble opinion.

    Having said that, though, despite what I think about what parents would be allowed to do, I'm a HUGE supporter of what Jamie Oliver is doing. I really feel that obesity is killing America at an alarming rate. No joke. Being an aspiring physician, I've read tons of articles on obesity, but, recently, the one that shook me the most was that on average (in 2009) 1 out of 4 Americans are obese. Also, the new estimate was that in 2010, we spent something like $168,000,000,000 on obesity related stuff. Amazing. Just think about what we could have spent of cafeteria food with that! haha. Sorry. hehe. I'm a science dork.

    Anyway, my point is that I really do think this school is way out of line. I do, however, think that schools should make a larger attempt at actually supporting healthy eating habits. I, personally, don't consider processed food healthy, but that's me. :)
     
  2. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Apr 14, 2011

    First, sorry for the term "good folks" - it's a colloquialism that wasn't intended to mean that folks at school are "good," and it certainly wasn't meant to imply that the folks at home are "bad."

    Moving on, I think you raise a good point about deciding what should be taught in schools, but that question is as equally applied to academic curricula as it is to non-academic curricula or other school decisions/programs such as extracurriculars, social skills training, nutrition, mental health services. The point is that anything included the "curriculum" of a school (broadly defined to include everything from lunches to social skills to reading books) is something that a group of people somewhere chose. There are many people here who disagree with direct instruction, for example - someone, somewhere chose that that was an important way for kids to learn. In social studies, someone chose the textbook, and someone wrote the textbook - things were chosen to be included, and many things were chosen to be excluded.

    So, I agree with you on one level - there is selectivity in all areas of the school's "curriculum." The question is, how should educators make decisions about what should be included in that curriculum. Invariably, morality, ethics, personal beliefs, etc. do make their way inside the classroom, lunchroom, counseling office, district curriculum office, etc. It's impossible for those personal variables to not be considered. There are a few sets of beliefs that are typically considered inappropriate to base one's judgements on formally when selecting what is included in the "curriculum," such as one's personal religious beliefs. However, no one makes decisions without some sort of core belief system about education, how we should treat each other (e.g., with respect), etc. These are also personal values, and they infiltrate our discipline systems, reading passages we select, etc.

    So, I agree that values do pervade decisions that deal with sex, nutrition, social skills development, etc., but they pervade all aspects of schools - not just those. In addition, they can't readily be filtered out - there aren't discipline systems out there, for example, that don't assume at least some value identification with the program. If you believed that we should have value-free schools, then we'd have to cancel school altogether.

    Next, I disagree that schools have "taken over" most of those areas - they have incorporated things such as nutrition, sex ed, social skills training, and counseling, because they were neglected by at least a segment of the population, if not the community as a whole. Schools would be less interested in providing counseling if all children received appropriate mental health support outside of schools, and did not experience any social issues demanding support, such as divorce, grief, bullying, etc.

    I think to a large degree whether to include those things you've placed in the "parenting" column of child development depends on how you see the process of raising children. The cliche "it takes a village" comes from the fact that many people see child development - even things beyond academics - as not just in the exclusive domain of parenting, but the job of a community. Schools are part of that community. Teaching children about life isn't just the job of the parent, but of neighbors, teachers, pastors, after-school program counselors, bus drivers, etc. From my belief about child development, not addressing these things is very bad.

    However, I do believe that parents should have the right to cover certain things in their own homes, such as sex education. There are certain topics that are very personal, and I can see how parents should be given the right to opt out of those particular lessons. However, most things would not be put in this category.

    So, I think there is ample support that many child development supports should be included in schools - not just academics. In terms of how schools decide how to cover these topics (what food to include, what reading books to chose, what social skills to teach), while I think it's okay for teachers to bring values in the classroom, I think there should be 2 considers:

    1. Are the educator's values reasonable, reflective of the community, and not unreasonably offensive?

    2. What does research say is the best thing to do in the situation?

    With food, I see no problem with providing healthy food - with making the proactive decision to change how they feed kids because it's the right thing to do according to values, research, etc. Kids who eat healthy do better - you'd be hard-pressed to find reasonable disagreement wit that. I think the main issue is that parents aren't being given the option. I'd be curious if you read my post a page or two ago with how I would change school policy in this situation? Specifically, my ideas were to allow parents to opt out given reasonable circumstances such as personal dietary preferences, religious beliefs, or medical needs. I'm confused with how you see my posts as usurping parental rights in schools, when my proposals specifically protected those rights?

    If you've worked in schools where kids fall asleep in the afternoon because of the sodas, doritos, pop tarts, and candy they ate for lunch (in addition to other reasons), and read research on how diet effects academics, behavior, etc., you would probably see the benefit of attempting to promote healthy eating in schools. I do think the policies should be changed to allow for parental choice when reasonable, which I expressed in a previous post.

    Again, it seems as though you seek to promote parents' right to chose above all other variables. Parents do sometimes make good choices - if you've worked in a school with 99.9% FRL, I'd be curious to hear how many parents you observed packing healthy lunches? Should we give room in school policy for the few parents who do pack healthy lunches? Of course. But, shouldn't we attempt to improve school climate (including food) when we can?
     
  3. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Apr 14, 2011

    Yes we have bigger fish to fry, hijacking the thread a bit. I'm not saying nutrition isn't important nor is health or wellness.

    On that note only 1/4 of our public elementary schools (of about 500) have recess.

    We have schools being closed by the district without taking into account children crossing gang lines. The story of Derrion Albert- an extreme case, which made worldwide press. Though there are many other stories just like that and as the weather becomes nice this will only become worse. We have a serious gang problem in some areas here. At one school I worked with we had to push people off the playground at dismissal because they were recruiting our SECOND GRADERS into the neighborhood gang. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/27/beating-death-of-derrien_n_301319.html

    We also have a school board that thought getting the olympics was more important than the education of children, where the president spent 800,000 and several trips to Denmark. We lost the olympic bid and he shot himself. We're in a constant economic crisis, yet we insist on buying awful programs that are run by friends of the mayor.

    These are just a few bigger fish to fry that should make it into the more mainstream and national media.

    I am very fortunate to work in a very good school in the district, but have had prior experience at one mediocre school and one downright awful school.
     
  4. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Apr 14, 2011

    In the article I read the only school mentioned doing this was Little Village. Additionally, no other school seem to be mentioned on the CPS blog or the catalyst blog. There was another school on the south side mentioned that took away soda and "hot flamin's" that returned them at the end of the day. The article also said that many children go to the corner store in the morning without their parents even knowing. I've seen it happen several times.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 14, 2011

    No, SOMEONE is paying. Either it's the parents or the taxpayers, but "there's no such thing as a free lunch."And if the lunch is getting paid for but not eaten, then it's a waste of both money and food.

    And if 99.9% of the population is already getting lunch at school, then this is about the 0.1% of the school population who doesn't qualify, as well as any of those who DO qualify who might choose not to use that qualification to get the free lunch.

    I found this interesting: http://jezebel.com/#!5791130/to-fight-obesity-school-bans-lunches-from-home , particularly this paragraph: " For many students, the policy means they simply don't eat lunch. The school district increased the nutritional quality of its meals last year, but this led to students buying fewer meals. A Tribune reporter noticed many students at Little Village took lunch, but threw it out uneaten. It's unclear if this reflects on the taste, or the stubbornness of a child confronted with healthier food."

    Again, schools should educate. Parents should parent. Are both dropping the ball with some kids? Sure. But schools have more than enough to do without stepping on the toes of the parents. Educate kids. Teach them about healthy foods and how to buy them and prepare them. Mandate Home Ec if you want. But, unless it puts someone else in danger, do not tell parents that they have no choice over what foods their children are allowed to eat in a public school.

    That said, it's not my kids or my tax dollars. I'm guessing that my opinion won't change anyone else's here. So I've said my piece, and I'll bow out at this point.
     
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