You have to look at who defines "healthy." I swear, the teachers at my school think "healthy" is meat and dairy. seriously! they want a diet heavy in cheese and meat. what they consider healthy is shocking. many of the teachers at my school "don't like vegetables." I'm not making that up. If they eat vegetables, its a small side of corn or green beans with their barbecue. I dunno what you saw on the news, but my kids are not getting salads in the lunchroom.
As far as the M & M thing goes, remember these are third graders. They have to do the work anyhow, so why not work a little harder for an M & M. They actually love it. You'd probably think they'd think it was a rip off to get ONE piece of candy every 2 1/2 weeks. but they LOVED that. it was something to work for. a reward. better than nothing, which is what I can give now.
It may sound dramatic, but if any of you work or know someone who works for the public schools, money is SO TIGHT. it makes a huge difference to us not to be able to do this little sporadic candy rewards. Now i have the plastic toys in bins that they can choose every 10 stickers (or every 5 weeks). That is VERY expensive for me. When you have 50 kiddos, and each prize is about 10 cents...well call me a cheapskate, but I'm already spending hundreds each year on supplies, instructional materials, stickers, awards......this all comes out of my pocket. The prizes cost me an additional $75 a year.
I think its a nice thought that a child would get at least one healthy meal a day. But as a resident in texas, the concept of healthy here is completely BACKWARDS. Also, I'd like everyone to consider that school is not meant to handle everything in a child's life. What is the parents' responsibility? Sorry, but I hardly feel its the school's responsibility to keep a child from being obese. I have to vent about this a little because I truly think the general public is ignorant to the assinine expectations placed on schools. Teachers are held solely accountable for every facet of a child's development. We have some kids who have never done a stitch of work outside of school. No parental support, no book reading at home, nothing. We do the best we can. We put our heart into it every day. But these kids will continue to struggle with reading and basic skills if they don't have help outside of school. All of this going on with no counselors anymore due to budget cuts. No counselors! My elementary kids are SCARED when the police officer comes to give a talk. They want to know who he's coming for. It may seem like I'm going off topic, but I really do think its related to a general blaming of the schools for the problems of today's children. Parents need to take responsibility for their children's health and wellbeing, as well as their education. It cannot be done solely at school.
While its a nice idea to move toward healthier lunches, I think its assinine to take away all candy, birthday cupcakes, etc. Our schools are turning into one big boring standardized testing machine. Kids are losing their love of learning, and the fun parts about school. You know they even had to change all the science model lessons that involved marshmallows and gumdrops? They did planets, atom models, etc. involving those things. They are no longer allowed. I hardly see how a few lessons a year involving less than 10 gumdrops will hurt.
Another sad example, is what we used to do for the standardized tests. I literally have kids throwing up in the bathroom nervous over these tests (which in itself is pretty sad at age 9). One of the teachers found a study that showed peppermint helps kids focus and stay attentive on tests. Something goofy like that. So to boost the kids' confidence, we'd give them one starlight mint before the test, so they could be "extra smart." They get some glimmer of hope from that. Esp. those that struggle and don't qualify for special education help because of other ****ty texas laws. I watch them struggle to pass each year. It gives them a confidence boost, to get a mint before the test. Thats also now against the law. One friggin starlight mint.
There is so much to be taught and never enough time to learn it. If we don't instill in our children a love of learning and the desire to be life long learners, all of what we are doing is pretty wasted. Some of my fondest memories of elementary school were sharing cupcakes I made with my mom for a classroom birthday celebration. Or making a hannukah dreidel and learning about different holiday traditions. Now there are laws to make sure that neither take place. In fact, you are not even allowed to share any food with kids that's from home. It must be store bought....some safety issue. Its friggin crazy to me.
To me, the biggest problem is that its never consistent or logical. In my eyes, they've made arbitrary rules about whats healthy that are not logical or factual. They've made rules that hurt an already pitiful classroom environment, and they're still serving everything smothered in low quality cheese. So where's the health or the benefit?