Monday, March 14, 2011

Mandatory School Breakfast - during class time - in Chicago

So glad this is getting attention outside of Chitown. Click here to read the story.

I'm still hopeful there will be a reversal on this issue. While there is clearly a need for a breakfast program in many CPS schools, there are many schools for which this will become a catastrophe of waste. Our local CPS school does a great job providing breakfast before school hours and has a low percentage of children on free or reduced-priced lunch. The administration has found an easy way to meet the needs of our neediest in a manner that enhances their school day.

The article points out Chicago's already short school day and that during the mayoral campaign Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel figured a child in Houston gets four more years of K-12 instruction than one here. As for the amount of class time the program will rob, the author offers his estimate:

...children are losing, perhaps, 20 minutes each day. That’s 57 hours over 170 school days, or more than 10 days — of instructional time.

Ten days! The loss of instruction is incredulous enough, but when combined with the lack of qualifiers for participating in the program it's positively embarrassing. We don't have time or money to waste. And weren't we beginning to take nutritional advice seriously? A consultant detailed the contents of the free breakfast:

“A lot of processed carbohydrates. My personal favorite was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on a graham cracker. Corn pops. Oversalted cheese sticks. Mealy apples. Stale bagels with cream cheese.”

Bad lessons, all the way around.

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