A Forum for Opinions on News, Politics, and Life
April 12th, 2011
By Dan Miller
Taking the lead as Chicago often does, the principal of Little Village Academy on Chicago’s West Side, a public school, now bans lunches from home and insists that only nutritious and tasty food prepared by culinary professionals be eaten there.
Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.
“Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” Carmona said. “It’s about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It’s milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception.” …
A Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman said she could not say how many schools prohibit packed lunches and that decision is left to the judgment of the principals.
“While there is no formal policy, principals use common sense judgment based on their individual school environments,” Monique Bond wrote in an email. “In this case, this principal is encouraging the healthier choices and attempting to make an impact that extends beyond the classroom.”
Any school that bans homemade lunches also puts more money in the pockets of the district’s food provider, Chartwells-Thompson. The federal government pays the district for each free or reduced-price lunch taken, and the caterer receives a set fee from the district per lunch.
This initiative to help the stupid children of stupid parents applies even to the smart children of smart parents because otherwise they would feel discriminated against; besides, judgments as to that sort of thing are difficult to make, even for trained educators.
The lunch bag initiative has great potential. Just as lunches from home have been banned, so too can ideas from home be banned on the same principle. Ideas served up in our public schools are, of course, much more nutritious than any brought from home — even (and perhaps more so than) those brought from homes with intelligent parents. Students don’t like some of them? Their parents don’t either? Just shut up and accept them. Most parents are not trained educators and couldn’t possibly know what’s best. As highly competent and well trained professionals, school administrators know what’s best and these ideas are for your own good. Eat them along with your yummy tofu. The impact of this initiative will “extend beyond the classroom,” obviously a good thing.
(This article was also posted at The PJ Tatler.)
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