Re "Teachers union wants a say on breakfast program," Sept. 9
I always try to assume the best about people's intentions, but I am running out of ways to explain Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. John Deasy's doltish behavior. The latest example is his reaction to teachers wanting to have input on how a school breakfast program is
administered. Deasy says, "It's incomprehensible as to why we would negotiate a student's nutritional needs," as if teachers are opposed to good childhood nutrition.
As an elementary school teacher (not in L.A. Unified, thank goodness), it's incomprehensible to me why Deasy didn't want to get teachers' ideas on how best to implement a program that has kids eating in classrooms during instructional time.
L.A. Unified's pilot program of serving breakfast in classrooms at 20 schools has proved itself to have educational benefits. United Teachers Los Angeles isn't completely pleased because the district did not discuss the program beforehand.
This is a done deal; the program is worthwhile. At this point, UTLA should accept the expansion of the program to more schools and encourage its teacher members to share how best to deal with the changes — for the sake of the students.
I visited a classroom during this program's implementation. In addition to losing 30 minutes of instructional time, the school district is taking over parents' right and responsibility to feed their children breakfast. Opting out is the responsibility of the student.
It also creates trash and waste. And finally, to me the worst implication of this program is the message to children that eating prepackaged food at a desk is a perfectly acceptable way to spend mealtime.
If a parent needs to use the free breakfast program, he simply needs to get his child to school 20 minutes before class begins. And if the nonprofit Los Angeles Fund wants to spend $6 million in public schools, it should pay for a day of instruction. In the last four years, my child has missed almost a month of school because of furlough days and shortened school years.
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