"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, April 05, 2009

During Test Week the Poor Kids Get Breakfast in Philly

In Philadelphia, the school CEOs (once known as principals), who report the system CEO (once known as superintendent), who report to another CEO who we once knew as mayor, are all in agreement that poor children should be given time to eat breakfast, at least during Test Week. The rest of the year, drill time (once known as school) is too important to give up for feeding the population (as they say in prison), even though a third of poor kids come to school hungry every day.

With the Dunc's pay-per-score plan financed and ready to "roll out," along with the accelerated conversion of poor schools into the "no excuses" charter chain gangs modeled on the KIPP brainwashing camps, we may expect that it will be more and more difficult for poor kids to get something to eat when they get to school--except, of course, during Test Week, when the staff's salaries for next year are being determined by children who are to be well fed for at least a week--unless, of course, the children are too nervous to keep down what they eat.

How many atrocities must be accumulated before the the American people say ENOUGH. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
By Alfred Lubrano

Inquirer Staff Writer

Students in Pennsylvania schools can eat breakfast in their first class of the day with a teacher present and it will be counted as instructional time, the Department of Education has announced.
The new ruling is important because many principals typically have resisted in-class breakfast service, saying it detracted from instructional time.

Numerous studies show that breakfast is vital to learning and that in-class service has proved the most effective means of getting children to eat the meal, said Leah Harris, a department spokeswoman.

Seizing on the change, Philadelphia advocates for the hungry say the city school district should mandate breakfast service during the first class every day.

"It should be required throughout the system," said Jonathan Stein, a lawyer with Community Legal Services long involved in school-meal programs. "And principals should be evaluated on whether they ensure children eat breakfast."

Referring to a district spokesperson's statement that principals are afforded a good deal of leeway and often resist in-class feeding as "kings of their fiefdoms," Stein added, "The days of laissez-faire should be history. More direction from the top is needed."

The Inquirer reported last week that principals typically push in-class food service during testing periods, when their performance is being judged. But during the rest of the year, they don't seem to make the same effort to ensure that children eat morning meals. . . .

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:24 PM

    It goes from bad to worse .... and it's also hard to really say how much better the "food service" breakfast is..... my students are often offered thimblefuls of sugary cereals that they have to scarf down in a flash. Why can't they have oatmeal and other real food? I suppose anything is better than nothing.... but I can tell you that my students (all of whom receive free breakfast/lunch) often experience the mid-morning carb crash (I have plain oat cereal and raisins on hand to tide them over till lunch....when they get treated to such hideousness as "french toast stix" chicken patties, or pizza. Then we have the afternoon indigestion-fest.

    ReplyDelete
  2. In reading your article, I was intrigued with the teachers outlook on whether or not an impoverished student should be given breakfast during the school day. I completely agree that, “Principals should be evaluated on whether they ensure children eat breakfast.” Principals need to be the voice and the backbone of the school. With the growing rate of poverty, educators should do everything possible to set students up to succeed, even in difficult circumstances. I was appalled by some of the teachers when I read the Philadelphia Inquirer article that you included in your post. It is shocking that some teachers would rather have a student go hungry than to allow them to eat breakfast in first period. While I agree with a “no excuses” standpoint, I believe that there needs to be some guidelines instilled. Teachers do not necessarily need to give homeless students preferential treatment, but they should focus on ways to help them succeed. Although scientific research has proven a positive correlation with breakfast and learning, many teachers neglect apply this to daily life. It is pathetic for some teachers to only want students to eat breakfast during test weeks when they too are being evaluated, instead of being concerned with student’s constant success and well being. With “one third of poor kids coming to school hungry every day”, action needs to be taken.
    In reading your blog several questions came to mind and I was hoping to hear your opinion. What do you think would be a successful way to implement breakfast into a daily school routine? What are the flaws of having an in class breakfast service? What action do you think Secretary Duncan can take to improve homeless student’s success in the classroom? In another blog that I read on the same topic, the issue of laying off several school social workers was brought up, how big of an impact do you believe the reduction of social workers will have on the homeless students? Do you think teachers can fulfill this duel role they may be given? Thank you so much for your input and perspective on this crucial topic. I look forward to your response!

    ReplyDelete
  3. hi , reading your article,the school my son attends they have an in house suspention center and the the program starts at 8:30 am and regular school starts at 9:00 am ,the students don't get there free or reduce breakfast and the students get no breaks until 11:45am 10-15 min to eat the lunch they brougt from home, if they didn't bring there lunch all they are given is a penuttbutter sand wish ,with nothing to drink they have to ask for water ,the school didnt disclose that kind of treatment nobody really knows whats going on there.but the staff, what should i do.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous7:15 PM

    hi , reading your article,the school my son attends they have an in house suspention center and the the program starts at 8:30 am and regular school starts at 9:00 am ,the students don't get there free or reduce breakfast and the students get no breaks until 11:45am 10-15 min to eat the lunch they brougt from home, if they didn't bring there lunch all they are given is a penuttbutter sand wish ,with nothing to drink they have to ask for water ,the school didnt disclose that kind of treatment nobody really knows whats going on there.but the staff, what should i do.

    6:54 AM
    Delete

    ReplyDelete