I wish to register my comment on the current “school lunch program” fiasco.
I have three children, the youngest two having spent their entire elementary school career in GES, and the oldest, all but three years.
I wonder if the school board has the same reasoning or agenda as they did about five years ago when they last tried to abolish the school lunch program. I understood then that the stated reason was that the other schools in the district didn’t have as good a program, and they didn’t want our school to have a better arrangement. It didn’t make sense to me. I believe that the school board backed off after a large number of parents reacted vocally to the proposed cancellation.
What is it that the school board is trying to accomplish? It seems to me that they are trying to dismantle and/or control a very positive and beneficial thing.
In the entire time that I have been familiar with the school lunch program, I have NEVER been misled to believe that the program was only working for the benefit of the “needy” children. In fact I have to point out that I clearly understood that the universality of the program is what made it so wonderful.
I see that the ideas (and the outcomes) of the “universal school lunch program” and this “targeted need-meeting program” are considerably different.
With the system described in the last Shingle, children are apparently being shown how to discreetly get the free food without their peers knowing, and therefore prevented from experiencing shame because of their parents inabilities, or shortfalls, or situation. Oh, and they can help themselves to the fruit once in a while, too.
I was at the school frequently when my children attended, and saw how well the children enjoyed participating. There were no ‘class distinctions’. They were cooperative, and enjoyed getting their jobs done. There were many more things occurring than just the service of providing nutritional meals to needy children. There was REAL education going on here, too. All the children were picking up social and life skills by doing something concrete and real to them, and by being part of an organised effort to accomplish a set goal, in a set amount of time. Add in the very basic physical reward of food at the end, and the learning process was quite enhanced!
I feel that there is a solid case to be made for the real added values that the school lunch program brings to the Gabriola Elementary School student body.
I did have one idea that I think could now be of substantive, practical use: parents of children who have previously attended school and therefore obviously have had their children benefit from the activities and service built into the program, could render a donation this year to assist the program in overcoming its fundraising shortfall. To that end, I will start the ball rolling with a small donation in the name of each of my children.
To close, I would like to quote the philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti: “…we must create in the school a real atmosphere of freedom, and that can come about only when there is function without status, and therefore a feeling of equality. The real concern of right education is to help you be a vital sensitive human being, one who is not afraid and who has no false sense of respect because of status”.
Carmen, here’s wishing for you to keep up the good work!
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