Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Public Schools are Not a Cure-All

Apparently, Americans are fatter than ever. As a resident of a very tubby town, I’m not surprised. But what does surprise me is how often discussions about American weight problems end up as discussions about what kids are eating in school (the article cited above is a perfect example).

You know what I ate for lunch in high school? A full-sugared soda and a bag of Doritos most days (I liked to save my lunch money for video games and more Doritos at the 7-11). When I was a senior and could leave campus, I ate a rotating variety of meals that included Taco Bell, Wendy’s, CiCis Pizza, Arby’s and McDonald’s. I did not get the low-cal options.

And I’m not fat. Why? Because like most kids, my health habits were not conferred to me through school. I learned from my parents who prepared a lot of home-cooked meals and exercised regularly. I don’t think my personal example is an aberration. In fact, I think it’s pretty dang typical.

It’s all well and good to feed children healthy food at school. I totally support such moves. But it’s not going to end obesity or even stem it. As I’ve said to parents who want more abstinence-only classes in the school, or who want prayer in schools: Our schools exist for the education of the mind. The body and spirit are the responsibility of parents and the greater society.

Public schools cannot do all or even a slim majority of our child rearing for us. They should steer our children in the appropriate directions and they certainly should fill our children’s minds with the knowledge they need to be successful citizens, but they cannot cure our nation’s greater ills.

You want children to eat better at school? Fine, that's a worthwhile cause. You want to end obesity in America? You'd do better to search for real solutions.

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Anonymous Dyre42 said...

Good to see you posting again.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh that it would be that many more people would see your point and follow it to its natural conclusion - schools should not be substitute parents at all. But all too often, many parents abdicate their responsibilities and expect the schools to do the parenting

10:36 PM  

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