I think the public school system needs to be called out on their hypocrisy when it comes to nutrition and education. Jamie Oliver said it best when it comes to food and what’s going on, “You can’t scream about bad health on one hand and then strategically feed them crap everyday on the other.”
That is what pretty much what happens in the school system when it comes to food and food education. I am not saying that it is the sole responsibility of the education system to educate kids on food, the parents are just as responsible.
The schools don’t help the matter at all when they host such events as “McTeacher Night.” Yes, you read that right. It’s called “McTeacher Night.”
The whole idea and concept is absurd. It sickens me that schools, principals and teachers are on board with this program and get excited about it.
This is when teachers work for a night at McDonald’s and encourage their students to come in to buy McDonald’s. The store is generous enough to donate some of the profits back to the school. C’mon? Really?
Of course the kids get all excited about wanting to see their teacher (an authority figure) working at McDonald’s so they put the pressure on their parents to go and buy food. Yes, the parents could still very well stand firm and say no.
As principals and as teachers, they should be ashamed of themselves for promoting such crap to kids. Looking at childhood obesity and instances of diabetes, then promoting McDonald’s…let’s use some common sense.
The food that is served in school cafeteria’s is jacked up with sugar and other processed ingredients. There was an article on Change.org Sustaiable food section that said kids get nearly half of their calories from junk food. Surely some of this is coming from school served meals.
There are also the candy sales that I’m sure still go on as well. I know that schools are hard up for money. I get that, but there has to be other ways to raise money that don’t involve killing the kids.
There was an article on Rodale.com about how gardens should be a part of the classroom. The article sites a study done at University of California – Berkeley that shows -
…that when schools teach some classes in the school’s garden and kitchen, and offer healthy fare in their cafeterias, it has a very clear and positive impact on kids’ diets. And on their attitudes towards food: Kids not only eat more fruits and vegetables, they know more about nutrition.
I am by no means saying that school gardens should supply food for the whole school. I believe that food should be sourced from local farms, but that’s a separate post.
Getting gardens and coursework built around the gardens would be a great way to discuss real food and nutrition with students. It could be fun and get them interested.
This is one of the reasons that I did the Urban Kinder-Garden Workshop last year and will do another this year. It gets the parents involved, helping to educate them. It gets the kids involved and gets them excited about what’s going on, thus making them ask their parents to do this at home.
The education system has been broke for a while. A program like this implemented by school’s would show that they are committed to truly educating kids about food and nutrition.
What are some other programs ideas that schools can start?