Can’t blame McDonald’s or schools for children’s eating habits. Or can we?

Interesting news story today about the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based consumer advocacy group, threatening to file a lawsuit against McDonald’s, saying that the fast food chain’s marketing of its Happy Meal toys “has the effect of conscripting America’s children into an unpaid drone army of word-of-mouth marketers, causing them to nag their parents to bring them to McDonald’s.”

Blaming McDonald’s for obese kids is akin to blaming schools. I have disagreed on this issue with some of my food writer friends who believe that schools ought to be teaching nutrition through what they serve in the lunchrooms and that schools play a key role in childhood obesity.

I don’t think McDonald’s is the parent here. Nor are the schools. If parents don’t want their kids to eat french fries, say “no” when the kids ask to go to McDonald’s. If parents don’t like the calorie counts of school lunch options, pack a lunch for the child.

I remain leery of expanding the list of things that schools ought to take responsibility for, such as teaching kids to be civil, to perform CPR and to count calories. My wariness is a result of meeting with too many well-meaning organizations who believe that their agenda – whether financial literacy or organic produce — ought to be adopted by schools.

I see no problem with a toy in the Happy Meal. Is it a lure? Sure, but life is full of lures. Parents have to teach their kids to resist the negative ones.

I have friends who hate that some teachers offer candy to students as a prize or treat. I don’t. I just don’t think the problem is a peppermint or candy Kiss now and then.

According to the story:

McDonald’s has fought such criticism for years, and the company made a pledge in 2007 to advertise only two types of Happy Meals to children younger than 12: one with four Chicken McNuggets, apple dippers with caramel dip and low-fat white milk, or one with a hamburger, apple dippers and milk. They both meet the company-set requirement of less than 600 calories, and no more than 35 percent of calories from fat, 10 percent of calories from saturated fat or 35 percent total sugar by weight.

CSPI argues that even if those Happy Meals appear in advertisements, kids order the unhealthier meals most of the time.

Again, there’s parent in this scenario. I am not sure why the parent can’t say “no” to the less healthy version.

I know many of you will disagree with me, but I think parents have a lot to do with food choices. When I was a kid, I pleaded with my mother to buy soda (soft drinks to those not from the Northeast). Never got any. And I don’t buy them much now, regarding a six-pack of Coke as a treat for my teenage son and his pals. I don’t let my 11-year-olds drink them. (I do let them order sodas in restaurants as a treat.)

I agree with keeping vending machines out of schools. I don’t think we should make it easy for children to buy junk. Nor do I think schools ought to make money from kids’ poor choices.

But we can’t shift the burden of children’s eating habits onto schools or restaurants. Because last time I looked, there were no 7-year-olds behind the wheel in the drive-thru.

106 comments Add your comment

More teaching accountability

June 24th, 2010
12:31 pm

The obvious answer, is to make teachers accountable. They are the ones teaching the children, and that includes health. Every child should have a body fat index at the beginning of the year, and if the class score indicates the overall fat index has increase, that teacher should be put on a Professional Development Plan.

More teaching accountability

June 24th, 2010
12:36 pm

If the teacher is using researched based best practices, and making the lessons on healthy food choices interesting and engaging enough, then the students will naturally not want the unhealthy foods, even if they are offered at home.

This is clearly a case where the teachers have failed to properly educate, and failed to properly implement the outstanding GPS health standards, and the teachers need to be held accountable for that failing.

More teacher training is clearly needed and should be provided.

Atlanta Mom

June 24th, 2010
12:36 pm

Can you say “nanny state”?
This is beyond ridiculous. One time, when I was sick, I let my children watch Saturday morning TV. That was the last time they watched Saturday morning TV. Way too many commercials.
Saying “No” isn’t that hard, once they know you mean it.

More teaching accountability

June 24th, 2010
12:41 pm

This is from the GaDOE

The new Georgia Performance Standards for Health Education are based on the eight National Health Education Standards, copyright 2007, developed by the Joint Committee on National Health Education Standards which consisted of representatives from the following organizations and agencies: American Association for Health Education, American School Health Association, American Public Health Association, and the Society of State Directors of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation and sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

Clearly the GaDOE, under the leadership of Kathy Cox, has provides the guidance for teachers to be able to be fully successful in implementing engaging health lessons.

Maureen Downey will confirm the research that says the teacher is the single greatest factor in a child’s academic performance, therefore the answer to this is to make the teacher accountable for providing engaging lessons that will make the students want to embrace healthy food choices.

To blame McDonald’s for this is clearly wrong, when the accountability should lie with the teacher.

ConcernedFultonMom

June 24th, 2010
12:46 pm

I’m not sure how mandating teachers to teach “health” will help…
however, what I do know is that as a parent it is my responsibility to set limitations for my children. Just because they want something means that they have to have it – no matter if it’s a Happy Meal or a Pan Pizza.

I agree with Atlanta Mom…saying “no” and meaning it goes a looong way…

ConcernedFultonMom

June 24th, 2010
12:47 pm

“Just because they want something means that they have to have it – no matter if it’s a Happy Meal or a Pan Pizza…”

I meant just because they want something DOESN’T mean they have to have it

Atlanta Mom

June 24th, 2010
12:47 pm

“schools play a key role in childhood obesity”
I believe that may be true, due to the entire lack of PE/recess in schools today.
But, I have a question–have school lunches changed that much in 20 years? I always brought mine to school because the school lunch was too horrible to consider. My children never wanted to each school lunches either. Are they truly worse today than in the past?

td

June 24th, 2010
12:49 pm

This is a total parent issue. When we as a society decide that the education system should be used for Reading, Writing and arithmetic only and not for social programs then we will see our children becoming smarter. Until then, we will continue to be stuck in mediocrity.

More teaching accountability

June 24th, 2010
12:50 pm

ConcernedFultonMom, Maureen Downey has cited research over and over again that the single biggest influence on a child’s academics is the teacher. There is no denying this, because as Downey points out, it’s researched based.

Therefore if the teacher is held accountable for teaching engaging health lessons, then the student will make the correct choices, just like if the teacher is held accountable for teaching other engaging content lessons, the student will make the correct choices on assessment.

Really, what the child chooses to eat is just another form of authentic assessment, and therefore we need to hold the teacher accountable for what they are teaching as far as health.

RobertNAtl

June 24th, 2010
1:16 pm

@More teaching accountability: I get the snark, and agree with the point you are making overall. I take some exception to singling out Ms. Downey for implied criticism; I regard this blog and the comment forum as one of the best ways to educate myself on, and think about, educational issues. Therefore, I react somewhat defensively to posters who take Ms. Downey to task for her positions (especially when they do so repeatedly, as you do in this thread, and as that other poster with his/her repetitive admonitions about the “e-rate” issue). Ms. Downey is a reporter/blogger, not a part of the educational establishment IMO, and I think there are more worthy targets of criticism even on issues where you disagree with Ms. Downey. In this particular case, for example, Arne Duncan would be a more logical target for your snark (which, again, is well-received on my part). Anyway, just my opinion.

More teaching accountability

June 24th, 2010
1:32 pm

Snark RobertNAtl? There are people who would never consider this a snark. How bad has it gotten in public education as far as our scapegoat the teacher mindset? Try an administrator who suggested excessive absences were primarily the fault of the teacher, because if the teacher had more engaging lessons, the child would come to school.

But RobertNAtl, it’s Maureen’s blog, not Arne Duncan’s. She’s the one who talks to Arne Duncan when he comes to Atlanta, but won’t ask him to comment on the largest cheating scandal in Georgia’s history, even as the person at the helm during the scandal is being pushed to guide federal education policy.

She’s the one who refuses to acknowledge discipline as a major issue, when you have school systems engaged in massive under-reporting and teachers brutally assaulted in the classroom despite the fact they pleaded repeatedly for assistance from administration.

She’s the one who won’t follow up when a teacher’s legal rights are violated, such as when people were willing to go on the record when no less than a state senator was alleged to have shut down a grievance hearing in DeKalb when allegations of even more cheating were about to become the subject of testimony.

The free press is a conduit for holding government officials accountable, and when they won’t they deserve to be called on it.

Cora Kelly

June 24th, 2010
1:35 pm

Concerning McDonald’s being sued over toys in Happy Meals, alot of the ills in modern day society can be laid at the feet of parents, or lack of parental guidance. Parents can say “no” to their children, and the child will survive not being able to have whatever it is they want, but very seldom really need. It is far easier to just give in and say “yes”. A parent of three now grown children, I know at times I took the path of least resistance. I also know in hindsight I often paid the price for that lax attitude at a later time. Parenting is hard work, and gets harder every year that child grows towards being an adult.

ConcernedFultonMom

June 24th, 2010
1:35 pm

@moreteaching….

I’m sorry – are we talking about a teacher who is teaching a health class?

because most of the teachers I’ve seen are spending most of their time having to “teach” students to pass a ridiculous test…

and I agree with Atlanta Mom…recess & PE are largely left out of many students’ day – yes, just what we need in the age of video games.

@Atlanta Mom…
YES – the food “offerings” are quite scary. Have you seen that Jamie Oliver show on school lunches?

schooled

June 24th, 2010
1:42 pm

Why does Ms. Downey continue to ignore what readers and responders of the Get Schooled want? We want a discussion on discipline. We want the candidates for State Superintendent to be asked about discipline. I realize that the Happy Meal story was big news yesterday, but why tie it to a blog about health ed standards just to avoid a discussion on the MOST IMPORTANT topic related to education- DISCIPLINE? The Happy Meal story could have easily been discussed on MOMania or some other parenting blog. Thanks to the responders for making it about education as you focus on how teachers will be blamed once again. Maybe student food choice could become another component of how teachers are judged according to RTTT? The other blog entry is about an atheist charter school in England??? Other topics readers and responders seem to want to talk about include: RTTT, lack of diploma options and Math 123.

It's up to the readers

June 24th, 2010
1:48 pm

Poster schooled just gave you a blueprint if you want to improve this blog, and let the blog maximize it’s ability to bring to light the changes that need to be made to truly improve what happens day to day in the actual classroom.

Readers, you have a blueprint. It’s up to you to follow it.

Maureen Downey

June 24th, 2010
1:56 pm

@school: There is one poster – albeit an incredibly active one – who mentions discipline no matter what the issue is. There are thousands of readers of this blog. (We have a counting system here to measure that.) I cannot tailor this blog to a single reader or two or three.
I personally like a variety of topics. The growth of the blog readership since I’ve taken it over suggests that readers do, too. (From 29,000 page view 10 months ago when I took it over to nearly 400,000 last month.)
There has to be a balance of topics between what teachers want to read and lay people. And that is why I put up 70 different entries last month, so there is something for everyone. It is also why I still post even when I am on vacation so there are new topics every day and usually more than one. (I searched back three months and found 14 entries where I mentioned discipline issues.)
I am sorry that this blog can’t confine itself to five topics, but this is a newspaper with a wide online readership of more than a million people. My charge is to offer a broad array of topics. And again, I have to be driven by the data, which suggest that readers like a variety of issues.
Maureen

@Maureen

June 24th, 2010
2:02 pm

Maureen the issue isn’t that you don’t constantly talk about it. It’s that you almost NEVER talk about it.

Can you cite an article you have written exclusively devoted to the proposition that the classroom teacher should be more empowered to hold students accountable for behavior, without a fear of administrative retaliation for doing so?

Can you cite even ONE column you have written exclusively devoted to that?

@Maureen

June 24th, 2010
2:06 pm

Ok Maureen we see the 14 references. But can you cite even ONE for the following:

Can you cite an article you have written exclusively devoted to the proposition that the classroom teacher should be more empowered to hold students accountable for behavior, without a fear of administrative retaliation for doing so?

Or is it your contention that this is simply not an issue that affects the integrity of the current teaching and learning environment in the public schools?

M

June 24th, 2010
2:10 pm

What the h*ll is “white milk?”

JB

June 24th, 2010
2:11 pm

Who cares if you can calculate the area of a triangle if you don’t know how to set goals, budget, maintain your health and keep from getting pregnant before you are ready to parent? A lot of our citizens are failing on these points and it requires massive amounts of taxpayer money to treat. The curriculum should incorporate skills you need out in the real world. Even if you are lucky enough to have a parent that teaches you these things, nothing wrong with reinforcing it at school.

Devil's Advocate

June 24th, 2010
2:11 pm

Yay Maureen! Hopefully this person will clam up now! Thank you!!!

@Maureen

June 24th, 2010
2:15 pm

I’m sorry Devil’s Advocate, but I’m not nearly as emotionally invested in currying favor with Maureen as you obviously are.

Why do YOU cite the article Maureen wrote written exclusively devoted to the proposition that the classroom teacher should be more empowered to hold students accountable for behavior, without a fear of administrative retaliation for doing so?

Or would you like to come on here DA, in support of Maureen, and proclaim that it is simply not an issue that affects the current teaching and learning environment in the public schools?

John

June 24th, 2010
2:20 pm

There is not enough food on any school lunch tray to even begin to make a child obese even if the child ate every bite every day.

Maureen Downey

June 24th, 2010
2:22 pm

@Maureen, Let me go back to the origins of our exchanges on this single issue, which I fear is boring everyone else by this point.
A long time ago in my pre-blog days, you suggested to me that teachers were being assaulted with impudence, that teachers were suffering serious injury and that students were not being punished. So, I made calls and could not find any examples. I asked you for names. None were forthcoming.
Now, you have shifted to a broader landscape; teacher are not allowed to “discipline” kids, that classrooms are the wild west. So, I remain confused as to whether you are saying that teachers are being physically hurt or that teachers can’t tell disrespectful kids to shape up or ship out
Have I written about discipline? Yes, I have. Have I written that Georgia teachers are under siege from unrestrained and unchecked student behaviors? No, because I don’t see it.
I have not taught in k-12, as you like to note. But I have visited hundreds of schools. I have seen plenty of kids in in-school suspensions. I have seen plenty of kids suspended. I have seen plenty of kids sent to alternative schools.
And I have about 100 e-mails in my in-box from teachers on a variety of topics. Not one is telling me that they fear for their lives, that they can’t discipline their students without fear of retaliation.
That appears to be your experience and that of a few other teachers here. I don’t invalidate that, but I don’t see it as a major problem. I have also noted that there are great disparities in discipline reports teacher to teacher and that classroom management is a critical skill that new teachers complain they are not being taught.
Maureen

@Maureen

June 24th, 2010
2:24 pm

Come on Devil’s Advocate, don’t be shy. Tell us that the lack of administrative support for discipline in the schools and the atmosphere of retaliation when teachers ask for that support isn’t worth EVEN ONE column exclusively devoted to it?

Put your money where your mouth is, and let’s get back to the role of childhood obesity and the public schools!

Peadawg

June 24th, 2010
2:25 pm

“The obvious answer, is to make teachers accountable”

Nope. The obvious answer, is to make PARENTS accountable.

USAFMom

June 24th, 2010
2:27 pm

For Christ sakes – tell your kids no. It is not going to kill them or hurt you! It is not McDonald’s responsibility. It is not the school’s responsibility. It is the parent’s responsibility to teach their kids how and what to eat. Quit trying to be their friend and be a parent. A parent tells their children no all their life.

Benny

June 24th, 2010
2:31 pm

Peadawg – won’t happen. By sheer numbers politicians fear numbers. More parents vote than teachers. Don’t tell the parents they should be responsible. Nope blame someone else and tell parents it’s not their fault.

Betty Crocker

June 24th, 2010
2:31 pm

I am assuming that putting the responsibility on the teacher to present engaging lessons regarding healthy food choices will make some parents actually prepare the meal and sit down together as a family to eat it. Are the posters who advocate this serious or just being facetious???? There is a limit to what a teacher can do. Good Lord, aren’t parents accountable for anything????

Betty Crocker

June 24th, 2010
2:34 pm

And yes, cafeteria lunches are horribly unhealthy. But has anyone ever noticed what kids bring from home for lunch?? Equally unhealthy. Many parents pack convenience lunches. This whole McDonald’s thing should be a non-issue. Stay home and cook.

Dewey

June 24th, 2010
2:36 pm

I personally like the fact that different issues are covered in this blog. The fact remains that the real answer is in parent/child accountability. The only reason why BMI index is not used to hold PE teachers accountable is results cannot be manipulated to show improvement. Heaven forbid a teacher tell a parent their child is morbidly obese or for that matter actually failing a subject, or report the child as being disruptive. They are all angels, right? The sad part some are angels and/or trying. They are the ones that are getting left behind as the education bends over backwards to help the ones that do not want any. It’s called personal responsibiltiy. As far as the subject of this article goes, if YOUR child is fat don’t let them eat at McDonald’s, turn off the TV, have them go outside play, take them to the boys and girls club, etc.

@Maureen-here's some data

June 24th, 2010
2:37 pm

Maureen here is some data to back up my point since you mentioned being “data driven”.

The report, as referenced in the Washinton Post, was entitled “Teaching Interrupted: Do Discipline Policies in Today’s Public Schools Foster the Common Good.” The organization that published it is Public Agenda, and the organization that sponsored it was called common good, a decidedly non partisan group considering Newt Gringrich and George McGovern are on the board!

Now Maureen I ask: Are ALL these teachers wrong? Am I the ONLY person who thinks the lack of support for discipline is an issue?

Here is the report’s most unsettling summary of its findings: “Teachers operate in a culture of challenge and second-guessing — one that has an impact on their ability to teach and maintain order. Nearly half of teachers (49 percent) complain that they have been accused of unfairly disciplining a student. More than half (55 percent) say that districts backing down from assertive parents causes discipline problems. Nearly 8 in 10 teachers (78 percent) say that there are persistent troublemakers in their school who should have been removed from regular classrooms.”

FIFTY FIVE percent say they don’t get administrative support. Are the ALL wrong Maureen?

Hey, It's Enrico Pallazzo!

June 24th, 2010
2:37 pm

My wife is a SPED teacher in a Dekalb County HS. While the population in her class is MOID, Autistic, and have behavior issues and has had her nose broken by one of her students trying to transition him; it is when she is asked to help get regular education students out of the halls and into the classrooms that she is most concerned. She is cursed at, leered at, and intimidated anytime she tries to get some of the kids into their class. Because there are not enough adults around to maintain a sense of discipline, this behavior is rewarded. It will only get worse as the class sizes increase.

PJ

June 24th, 2010
2:45 pm

The part that concerns me most about the lawsuit is that they are concerned that parents are made to say “no” too often & being worn down to get their children these meals. Whoever is having such a major problem teaching their kids good from bad, healthy from unhealthy is going to have the drug-addicted, chain-smoking, teenage mothers & fathers who end up with no sense of personal responsibility. I’m not saying my kids never eat McDonald’s as that would be far from the truth. It is a treat every once in a while. Yet they know about healthy foods, healthy choices and are more excited about the fresh garden veggies they planted & bi-weekly local, organic produce boxes than they are about a McNugget meal. Schools should absolutely offer nutritious lunches and more time for recess and PE, but a sense of personal responsbility comes from home.

Devil's Advocate

June 24th, 2010
2:53 pm

@@Maureen – Discipline is always an issue, but I have always felt backed up by administrators for the most part. My school regularly sends the worst offenders to alternative schools. I have also found that teachers that complain the most about discipline have zero classroom management skills. And I also always try to remember that we are dealing with KIDS! They are supposed to be discipline issues and difficult to deal with for a good part of their lives. I was. I was a teenaged mess who acted out too much and embarrassed my parents at times, but it didn’t mean the whole world was failing.

Get over yourself.

@Maureen

June 24th, 2010
2:54 pm

Maureen, have you ever considered that some are not writing you about the issue of retaliation…because they fear retaliation for talking to a reporter? Seriously Maureen.

But since you are very prodigious in your output, why not just put it out there in a forum where readers can respond FREELY and OPENLY?

Why not just ONE blog, a SINGLE blog, that asks “Some teachers, and supporters of teachers claim that teachers are not getting consistent administrative support in discipline and at times are even being retaliated against for bringing light to the subject. Is this a legitimate concern?”

“Let’s discuss”

If you are willing to do SEVENTY blog topics in a single month, are you saying you can’t devote even ONE to the question administrative support in matters of discipline?

@Maureen

June 24th, 2010
2:57 pm

So Devil’s Advocate the SEVENTY EIGHT PERCENT of teachers who said that they have chronically disruptive students who should be in a different environment are ALL weak classroom managers.

The FIFTY FIVE percent of teachers who say districts don’t back them up in discipline matters are ALL weak classroom managers?

Are you claiming, by logical definition, that anybody who highlights discipline problems in the public schools is a weak classroom manager?

Michelle B.

June 24th, 2010
3:04 pm

@ More teaching accountability in your world which teacher would be held accountable for what each student puts in his/her mouths daily? The PE teacher, language arts, social studies, math etc.? Who’s accountable? Most 6-8 teachers get a 20 minute lunch from the time we take our class steps into the lunch room and leaves, so we basically have about 10 minutes to physically eat our lunches … and the teachers in your world are now going to be not only watching behavior but also what 25 – 30 students are consuming too. Are you kidding me? Until food daily food consuption is on the CRCT, that won’t be happening. My principal is more concerned about wether my students have learned their prepositions, different types of pronouns etc., and from the the looks of him, he’s eaten one too many fry in his day too.

Maureen Downey

June 24th, 2010
3:05 pm

@Maureen, Are you interested in writing up a piece on this issue that I could post citing your own experiences? There are more responses and interest when there is a real example in the blog entry.

Devil's Advocate

June 24th, 2010
3:05 pm

Sure, 78% WISH they could remove students more easily, who wouldn’t? But easily removing students doesn’t happen for a reason, it should be difficult to do. Part of our job is socializing students and teaching them from their mistakes. So, though we might WANT it to happen, it would be terrible for the students if we could do so easily.

And frankly, from my experience, I would say that close to half of teachers aren’t good classroom managers, it’s hard to be a good one. Very hard. But, administrators are in an impossible place. They weren’t in the room, and they have to at least entertain the possibility that the teacher wwas partly in the wrong, so the teacher doesn’t get a satisfactory result sometimes. Plus, it is just part of the culture of the profession to complain about administrators, so poll results will always be skewed. I would much rather see a scientific study of such issues.

Too much credit

June 24th, 2010
3:06 pm

People are giving way too much credit to the schools and teachers for THEIR CHILD’S nutrition. These same children have lived for 4-6 years with the parent before entering school. As a teacher, I have seen students arrive to school with chips and blue “drink.” These same children will either eat it along with the school breakfast or with lunch. Who purchased this! Parents. As educators we can teach the food pyramid and portion control. We do teach health as a part of the curriculum, but we do not enter the child’s home and stock the pantry.

As a parent, I occasionally purchased a Happy Meal. The key word was occasionally. Two of my children shared the order of fries. Moderation folks. The toy is not what keeps the parents coming back. Cheap, easy food does. The toy is merely a treat for good behavior etc.

Jaime

June 24th, 2010
3:10 pm

I can’t believe this is even a viable dispute. Is this really what our nation has come to? No one is responsible for anything? Nothing is anyone’s fault? The teacher made me do it, McDonald’s made me do it and so on? They are my kids. I am responsible for what they eat and how they eat and I am responsible for how they are educated, whether in academics or in health. I am sure these people who want the teacher to be in charge of their children will be horribly offended when she/he says “Put down the cookie. It is making you fat.”

irisheyes

June 24th, 2010
3:10 pm

Once again, parents are allowed to opt out of parenting. I don’t think it’s McDonald’s that’s causing the obesity problem in America. It’s parents who let their kids play video games all freakin’ day. It’s parents who buy their kids an XBox, PS3, and a wii. (Yes, I’ve had students like that, even in my Title 1 school.) It’s parents who think that two big honeybuns constitutes a healthy snack (I shudder to think what they eat for meals at their houses). Do I take my kids to McDonald’s? Sure. Maybe once or twice a month. Do we eat healthy all of the time? Nope. Have my kids spent the summer sitting on the couch playing video games or watching TV? No, we’ve been to the pool, and they’ve been out in the evenings (when it’s not so blazingly hot). Plus, I’ve told them that fast food isn’t healthy, and it’s only occasional. Sure, their definition of occasional is means more frequently than mine, but they can’t eat it if I don’t buy it.

Strong parents needed!

June 24th, 2010
3:17 pm

Parents are ultimately in control of their children. When my own children were small they could only get white milk with lunch on Monday-Thursday. Friday was a treat day. If one of them wanted that nasty red or orange drink it was fine with me. One day a week. I did NOT need to send a note to the school or have the cafeteria put restrictions on my children’s lunch account. All I had to do was tell them and that was it. As an active volunteer in the school, I would pop in for lunch occasionally and peek at my childs’s choices. I shaped my child’s decisions even from afar. It is important that we as parents teach our children to make reasonable choices on their own.

It does not matter if the kids select vegetables and fruit during lunch and then leave it to be thrown away. It only matters if they actually eat the healthy choices. That begins in the home. Exactly what is being served at home?

Teacher, Too

June 24th, 2010
3:22 pm

It’s the parents’ responsibility. Turn off the T.V. and take away the video games. I’ve been teaching a long time. When I was younger, I brought lunch to school because I couldn’t stand the school lunches. I was chubby– but by no means was I the size of many kids today. There are kids who can’t fit into a desk. It isn’t school lunches that make the kids obese or overweight!

Think about the changes in kids’ lives in the past twenty or thirty years. T.V. has become more dominant as well as video games and movies. I was not allowed to sit and watch T.V. all day. Mom shooed me out of the house and said to go play. I found things to do outside. Certainly, we didn’t have computers back then, so there was no sitting for hours on end playing video games, some that are excessively violent.

We are the most obese country in the world (or, at least one of the top ten, I would venture to say). It wasn’t always like this. But it’s not the school’s fault. Parents, take the kids to a park on the weekends, or, as a family, take a walk after dinner.

@Maureen

June 24th, 2010
3:25 pm

@Maureen, Are you interested in writing up a piece on this issue that I could post citing your own experiences? There are more responses and interest when there is a real example in the blog entry.

Maureen that’s a dodge; you have done PLENTY of topics without having a “real example” for a lead in.

But maybe this exchange will inspire someone to provide an experience. Maureen has been good in the past at letting someone do a lead in and maintain anonymity, so perhaps she would provide a forum to talk about discipline and retaliation, without being retaliated against for daring to do so.

Have you talked to any of the professional organizations about this issue?

@Maureen

June 24th, 2010
3:28 pm

“So, though we might WANT it to happen, it would be terrible for the students if we could do so easily.”

Just so we are clear Devil’s Advocate, when you have two or three chronically disruptive students who are doing severe damage to the integrity of the learning environment, it would be terrible for the other 25 students who are applying themselves to have those two or three removed?

Stockholm Syndrome anyone?

Devil's Advocate

June 24th, 2010
3:33 pm

@@ Maureen- Seriously? You aren’t going to step up? Wow.

@Maureen

June 24th, 2010
3:37 pm

And who is to say that I haven’t done so?

I don’t see you “stepping up” and writing a blog on how so many of your colleagues are in reality weak teachers. Heck, I don’t even see you stepping up on this blog and giving straightforward answers to simple direct questions.

lori

June 24th, 2010
3:39 pm

more teacher accountability, what are you smoking? If your kid is fat, it’s YOUR fault. Not your kid’s fault, not McDonald’s fault, not the teacher’s fault, not the education system’s fault. YOUR FAULT. You are the only person who buys food for your child. Buy better food!!!