Monday, March 14, 2005

School Lunches and the Nanny State

At two of the blogs I read, JoanneJacobs.com and EducationWonk.blogspot.com, there are posts about a Telegraph (UK paper) article about school lunches. On her site, Joanne merely mentioned that in Japan, teachers eat with their students (hint hint). The EdWonks were a little more direct:

Here at the 'Wonks, we wonder how much our student lunches would improve if Secretary Of Education Margaret Spellings and her legion of Washington educrats also ate the same food as our students.

Both posts had people jump at the solution: of course teachers should have to eat cafeteria food with the students! That'll fix the problem! I felt compelled to address these comments.

I stated that I shouldn't be compelled to eat anything I don't want to eat. I'm going to turn 30-10 next month (we don't use the f-word in polite company) and I'm a big enough boy to decide for myself what I'm going to and not going to eat!

Additionally, if certain people think there's a problem with cafeteria food, then they should find an adult solution to the problem. They could address their concerns to the school or district administration, form a committee, meet with the school board, take cost into account, and come up with an alternate plan. Instead, they want to force me to eat the food, hope I don't like, and then hope that I'll fix the problem. That doesn't sound like a good solution to me.

Further, I said that forcing me to buy and eat cafeteria food would be a forced subsidizing of the food--and if it's bad, why subsidize it? Why not let the students vote with their wallets if it's so bad?

Bottom line: no one is forced to eat cafeteria food, not even students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch. Forcing me to eat it would be the height of the nanny state.

Please, go read the comments on those sites, especially Joanne's! For not wanting to be forced to eat cafeteria food I've been accused of right-wing paranoia, a lack of leadership, and of perhaps being a member of the Montana Freemen! Does one really have to be any of these things not to want to be compelled to eat what is served in the cafeteria? Should my job as a teacher include a requirement to eat with students in the cafeteria?

I bring my own food, partly because the cafeteria food is so expensive! Also, I do so because I want to eat what I want on the days I want and not have someone else dictate to me. Is that so bad? Is that really such a right-wing position?

Has the left moved so far that they can now justify forcing people to eat what the school serves?

3 comments:

Sherwould said...

I read your comments in Joanne's blog, and found them surprisingly strident and emotional. My guess is that you're still not feeling "in the pink" because of your impending job situation.

I always loved those old war movie scenes where a general sees his officers eating fine cusine while his men are eating "less than stellar" fare. The general stands erect and bellows "Get rid of this stuff ... from now on we only eat what our men eat"! Most inspiring!

So in this situation you are probably right, but you're not very inspiring.

Take care, Bob B

Darren said...

What's not inspiring about individual freedom? If we have a right to have an abortion, do I not have a right to eat what I want?

I don't view this as an issue about school lunches. I view it as an issue of compulsion--something I definitely don't support.

tdogt said...

This is my first reply to a blog. I just couldn't read this and not respond. I just got done reading your blog on school lunches and went to the links you made available and read all of the comments and I would be speechless if I weren't so horrified. I cannot believe people think
teachers have anything to do with what is served to the students in the cafeteria. And then to think that we should have to eat it as well?? Does anyone, in any occupation, have to eat what the company provides (if they have a cafeteria on site)? Do prison guards have to eat what the prisoners are served? Do nurses have to eat what their patients are served? This is so ridiculous it's painful.