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Posts tagged ‘students’

Students and Teachers Biggest Losers in Budget Crisis: Legislators Urged to Pass a Budget That Invests in Education

Kindergarten teacher and Groton Education Association President Beth Horler said her district has already had to close an elementary school and cut 22 teaching positions.

Cutting school programs, laying off teachers and administrators, diminishing resources, and increasing class sizes. These are just some of the actions school districts across Connecticut have already taken to prepare for the start of the school year without a state budget.

Today, outside Maloney High School in Meriden, CEA, AFT, teachers, parents, students, and a coalition of superintendents, boards of education, and school business officials held a news conference. They detailed how students are being hurt by the budget impasse and the chaos it is creating as schools prepare for a new year with tremendous uncertainty and without critical funding. Read more

Help a Child this Holiday Season

Winter boots, a shirt, and a book. Those items were on one young girl’s holiday wish list last year, but this girl’s parents, like so many others in Connecticut, were facing tough economic times, struggling to put food on the table, and unable to provide holiday gifts for their children.

Fortunately, the little girl had a Holiday Bear sponsor who made her holiday bright by providing her with what she asked for and so much more.

The Connecticut Education Foundation (CEF) Holiday Bear gift-giving project brings CEA members, the public, and businesses together to provide gifts to hundreds of disadvantaged public school children during the holiday season.

You and your colleagues can make a difference in the lives of hundreds of public school children throughout Connecticut this holiday season by participating in the program. Read more

A New School Year Off to a Great Start

The new school year is a time of new beginnings, new relationships, and new opportunities. Students and teachers around Connecticut are now back at school and getting to know one another and the routines of a new year.

Students in East Hampton had their first day back at school this Tuesday. Watch the video below and find out what teachers at Center School, which serves students in fourth and fifth grade, are looking forward to this year.

Reactions to New School Lunches at Your School?

Opinions vary on the new federal school lunch standards — what’s your take?  Photo from USDAgov via Flickr.

The new federal school lunch standards rolled out this September have drawn protests and boycotts from high-schoolers, and there are reports that children of all ages are dumping their veggies. The new guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are admirably aimed at improving health and combating childhood obesity, but is this the right approach?

The new standards insure students are offered fruit and vegetables every day, increase offerings of whole grain foods, offer only fat-free or low-fat milk, and limit calories based on the age of the children being served.

Childhood obesity is certainly a serious health concern. Here in Connecticut a recent study found that a third of kindergarteners and third-graders are overweight and one in seven are obese.

Obesity solution or restricted eating?

Some say the  new lunch program is a step in the right direction, while others object to the calorie limitations and say the changes are too sudden.

The Milwakee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports that 70% of Mukwonago High students who normally buy lunch boycotted the school lunches to protest the one-size-fits-all approach. The USDA standards limit lunchtime calories for students in grades nine through twelve to 850.

“A freshman girl who weighs 100 pounds can eat this lunch and feel completely full, maybe even a little bloated,” said Joey Bougneit, a Mukwonago senior.

But [Nick] Blohm is a 6-foot-3-inch, 210-pound linebacker. He’s also class president, and takes several Advanced Placement classes. If schools want students to perform well, he said, they can’t be sitting in their chairs hungry.

Marion Nestle, a New York University professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, writes on her blog FoodPolitics.com:

If kids aren’t eating the food because they hate it, the calorie limits hardly matter. And if kids are hungry, the remedy is simple: Eat the food.

The new lunch standards hardly call for starvation rations. Kindergarteners through fifth-graders get up to 650 calories. The maximum is 700 for kids in grades six through eight, and 850 for high schoolers. All kids can have extra servings of vegetables. This ought to be plenty to get most of today’s kids – sedentary, underactive and prone to obesity as they are – through any school day.

On her blog FakeFoodWatch.com, journalist and blogger Deborah White writes:

The Obama administration’s new school-lunch guidelines are a well-intentioned step forward, but too restrictive, too inflexible. Too extreme. And too much, too soon, to successfully wean American kids off fast food habits, and to inspire love of healthier fare.   Force is not the way to lead kids, or anyone, away from fake foods.

Perhaps worst of all, kids from low-income families can least afford to augment the often unsatisfying lunches that may be their heartiest meal of the day. Sometimes their only meal…

Also quoted in the  Journal Sentinel article is Mukwonago Area School District Food Service Supervisor Pam Harris. Harris said:

Children’s weight and poor nutrition in America are serious problems, but the changes are too abrupt.

“I could not be more passionate about this,” Harris said. “I want to solve this problem. But limiting calories in school lunch is not going to help the overweight kid. What happens at home is a major piece of that puzzle.”

In the New York Times, Jane E. Brody writes that it’s important for parents to expose children to a variety of foods and involve them in food preparation.

But schools, too, have work to do. When children learn about foods in the classroom and have hands-on experience with them, they are more likely to eat them in the lunchroom.

How about restoring kitchens run by well-trained cooks who know how to prepare nutritious and inviting meals, and offering cooking classes to boys and girls starting in the first grade? Schools today are so focused on stuffing children’s heads with facts and figures they have forgotten that a good mind needs a well-nourished (and well-exercised) body.

What’s your opinion? How are students in your school reacting to the new school lunch standards?