After the previous blot, I was pleased to run across an article [Link] so stuffy and arrogant – and erroneous! – that I have bruised ribs from rolling and laughing. The article, entitled “School lunch decisions made by the child and not the parent” is based on a journal article of a study of twenty students and families in England.
England has the same kind of schule lunch restrictions that many states in the Yankee republic have that are examples of how the intention of good is bollixed by introducing organizational (in both cases, governmental) rules.
I am not going to comment on the speciousness of the small sample size. But it is amusing when one considers why the sample may be so small.
The study was primarily concerned about the difference between students eating cafeteria meals and eating packed – brought from home – meals, presumably at luncheon. The basic data was collected by group discussion/interview. An illuminating summary was given:
“After analysis of the data, four keys themes emerged: children as a decision maker; priorities when preparing a packed lunch; parents’ anxieties and reassurances; and school factors. Even though parents preferred taking advantage of school lunches that are provided at no cost to some families, they were unwilling to force this decision when the child disagreed. The child’s food preferences also took precedence when the packed lunch was prepared. Children themselves made specific requests when shopping or the parent packed what they knew would be enjoyed and eaten. The ability to monitor that a lunch had been eaten was cited as a benefit of a packed lunch over a school lunch and providing a treat in the packed lunch was also important to parents. The inclusion of treats and other items such as chips, chocolate, and soda is often prohibited by packed lunch guidelines, but parents questioned whether enforcement is possible. They also reported children trying to persuade parents to ignore the policy by reporting on what other children had brought to school.”
A conclusion from the study director:
“Children’s growing authority over food choice has implications for staff involved in providing school food and presents an opportunity to develop initiatives to promote better food choices and subsequent nutrition,”
was also illuminating.
Based on my own experiences, both as a student and as a parent, inclines me to consider this to be primarily academic stercus tauri. I can’t speak to England, but I know in Amerika that “children’s’ growing authority” is erroneous and void. I have related previously how students negotiated their lunch contents when I was a bairn. And based on comments by my parents, such were not new then. So the actuality is a negotiation and not an authority. Although I do suspect keeping peace does instill considerable authority over the contents.
I find it amusing that the matter of parents’ distrust of the schule instrumentality to provide lunch is unmentioned. The partei line is that schule lunches are nutritious; the actuality is that the schule lunches be cheap and easy to produce. Even if the lunches are nutritious, such is irrelevant if the children do not eat them. Also unsaid is that the schule is largely indifferent to whether the lunches are consumed since making and forcing them on students is sufficient to satisfy their obligation under law. They may occasionally be pinged for food wastage but such are transient and ignored.
Once again we come down to human questions: which is better, nutritious lunches uneaten or semi-nutritious lunches eaten? The answer is self-evident to everyone but an educationalist or a bureaucrat.
Overall, this seems a matter of educationalists (and bureaucrats) ignoring child psychology. Children are, as a rule, picky eaters. They dislike change unless it is self-initiated, and there is woefully little of this in schule. So institutional recipes for unengaging food basically create an environment of rejection that grows over time. Variation of the recipes intensifies the trend.
Sadly, there is a strong correlation between sugar level and learning capacity. The sadness is how this relationship is abused with conditions such as these. It seems we need to amend Chicken Man’s saying to “Good Students succeed in spite of bad teachers and bad schules.”