Friday, February 8, 2013

Thank you Mr. Metallo

Print Friendly and PDF The article below is from the Albany Times Union of February 8, 2013. Rather than trying to improve on his work or using out-of-context snippets, I decided its best if everyone could just read it. Then reread it. And read it again. This short article includes the majority of the snags that have stymied public schools over the last 25 years.
Everything below here is from the paper.

Denying kids junk food isn’t the answer

  By John Metallo

     I feel a lot better after reading the newspaper this morning. The federal government has banned the sale of junk food in schools across this great nation.
   Finally, our schools will have something to do that is productive instead of worrying about things like teaching and learning, curriculum development, accurate budgeting, state testing, teacher evaluation, bus safety, sex education, character schools, bullying prevention, safety and security, psychological counseling, social work, health screening, etc., etc., etc.
   Monitoring the sale of junk food in schools?
   Give me a break, please.
   What a waste of time and energy, from the Capitol building in Washington to the corridors of every school in the nation. This is simply something that is not the headache of the schools.
   I worked in public schools for over four decades. And guess what? I really don’t care what your kids eat. I don’t care
  how much they weigh. I don’t care if they develop lousy eating habits that will negatively affect them in future life.
   How about the parents of these little cherubs of ours doing something instead of expecting the schools to raise their children for them? Schools would be a lot better off if we ask them to do what they are supposed to do — educate kids.
   Schools are not meant to raise kids, nor will they ever be able to do that.
   Let’s look at a few facts. Kids are not getting fat because of what they eat in school. They consume most of the food they consume at home or some place other than school.
   Based upon a 180-day school year and three meals per day, a student consumes 180 lunches in school during a calendar year. That would move up to 360 meals per year if the student eats breakfast in school each day.
   By the way, why are kids being fed breakfast in school? Shouldn’t that meal be consumed at home in the presence of a caring and loving family? Given lunches only, a student would consume
  180 meals in school and 730 other meals at home or elsewhere. That diminishes to 550 meals consumed outside the school for those who have breakfast and lunch in school.
   If schools serve healthy lunches, that does not necessarily mean that kids will eat them. Some kids bring their own junk food with them from home. Some buy it from the corner store on the way to school. Some trade for it with their friends. If there is junk out there, kids will find it.
   It is what kids do. Much more junk food is brought into a school each day than is sold in any vending machine in a school.
   By the way, vending machines are in schools to help support things like sports and school activities, which are cut when budgets are slashed. If we properly fund those programs, we don’t even need the vending machines. But that is another article.
   We cannot expect our schools to solve all of the ills of society. How about we start taking responsibility for ourselves
  and our families?
   Education begins at home. Teaching kids how to eat properly should begin long before the school years begin. Kids who eat healthy at home tend to eat healthy elsewhere.
   Face it. Junk food is not going away. As a matter of fact, I like my chips on occasion. Trying to eliminate it from school or anywhere else for that matter is an abject waste of time and money.
   Let’s concentrate on teaching youngsters to make good decisions when it comes to food. That teaching begins at home.
   Are you with me, Mom and Dad?

   John Metallo lives in Slingerlands. He is the retired principal of Albany High School and a former adjunct instructor at the University at Albany and SUNY Plattsburgh.

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