There is no money

You should know that my job is on the chopping block just like so many educators. So even if I don’t lose my job for the blog, I still could be shown the door because they don’t have money to pay me.

 Right now all over the country school administrators and principals are making some very difficult decisions. Cost cutting measures include: laying off all administration and ancillary staff including secretaries, assistant principals, reading specialists, curriculum coordinators, nurses, classroom aides, etc; closing pre-school programs, gifted programs, art, music, computer class, and extra-curriculars because they are not required by law; making kindergarten half-day thereby consolidating classrooms; offering early retirement to older, expensive teachers; letting go new teachers and closing their classrooms; and increasing class sizes to 40.

Have you ever seen a classroom with 40 students? I have… on multiple occasions. It’s chaos. How does even the most talented teacher manage the behavior of 40 (small) people? I couldn’t imagine leaving my child with 40 kids and one person. And that person would be in charge of educating my kid? Yeah, right. It’s called bad babysitting. Read: Reduce Class Size Now and Class Size Matters

Research has found that for kids K-3 they need a teacher:student ratio of 1:20 (or less) to learn effectively. Many wealthy districts already provide classrooms that size. The classrooms at my school are already in the 1:30 range.

Have you ever met a kid walk into kindergarten without any preschool experience and no prep or support at home? Yeah, I have… these kids haven’t been read to, don’t come from a print-rich environment, and don’t know rules and structure. Early childhood programs make a huge difference for children, especially those from disadvantaged homes. Read: Why investments in early childhood work.

I have gotten a couple questions from readers asking why I’m tackling school lunches when teaching positions are being closed because there is no money. I’d like to respond by saying: it’s not “either/or.”

We need make the long-term investment in children. We need to fund education. We need the best teachers. We need to feed students the best food we can find so that they can reach their potential as leaders. We are the USA after all! We act like we are the best, but look at how we fund education and school lunches. Do we really value children?

…Oh yeah, and let’s add recess back because the last time I checked running around was free.

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147 thoughts on “There is no money

  1. To me the most upsetting part of all this is the extremely large and unnecessary amounts of waste that is produced from these lunches. Every piece of food appears to be wrapped in some form of food packaging which just gets thrown out at the end of the lunch period. I went to a smaller school where the only garbage that was produced was the napkins, straws and milk carton along with the food scraps (all but the plastic straws should have been composted). As I was leaving school and entering college the school was considering switching to polystyrene trays that you disposed of every day! This is nuts. All the waste that big schools and little schools like mine produced could be greatly reduced, that garbage ends up in the environment and ultimately effects the health of students and communities as well. We need healthier food, with less waste and if possible and desired by the schools maybe some organic and locally harvested options. Lets go full circle with this improvement of health, no?

  2. I'm a 1st year teacher and have 3 kids in the school system I teach in. Thankfully they have "home cooked meals" at lunch which look much better than yours do! As a busy, single, working mom I feel really guilty now sending my kids to school to eat the school lunches but for now it's a necessity because we qualify for free lunch. Like I said, Single Mom, 3 kids and 1st year teacher!
    Love your blog!

  3. I am a high school teacher. I eat school lunch everyday with the students. It is cheap and I rather enjoy it. And students enjoy seeing me in the line taking the foods with them.

  4. hello,

    i came across your blog through reading an article about it.

    I don't know if you know about this but Jamie Oliver (a celebrity chef in the UK) worked and still is working on trying to change the foods served in school too. His documentary: Jamie's School Dinners, is worth a watch.

    He recently won a TED prize to help him more with this project which he is now coming to America to do the same thing.

    Here's a video of his recent talk about his cause:

    I think what you're doing is very noble. And I wish you all the best.

  5. I value your work in writing this blog. As a student, I know full well the problems with this system. I used to attend an elementary school served healthy, and good tasting lunches. We ate cheese sticks, strawberry shortcake, and even pretzels for Halloween. There were of course, more to it than that, but that is all I can remember. These kids behaved well, and always held their hands behind their backs when we walked in line. They even told on each other when someone did something wrong, so in a way we did a lot of the behavior correcting ourselves.

    I've since moved to a new state that serves unhealthy and disgusting lunches. These are fourth graders to teenagers who have very deplorable attitudes towards school, and they act out, talk forever, and don't sit down. We have ISS, but they enjoy being there because it's quiet, and they can sleep. That is all for the correcting bad behavior part. For some reason, they think that if you tell on someone, you get beaten up. I've done a survey once about the school lunches, and only 87% of the classrooms I surveyed like the food. I myself even preferred not to eat anything during lunch, which was really damaging to my stomach. Surveys have been done to see how a good lunch acts on behavior. Now I know that the research works.

  6. To the person who said that her mother had 80 to 100 students in a class…that may have been true in high school but not in elementary school. I am in my early 40's and remember and we often had 30-33 students in a class. Of course, teachers had no problem teaching because students were too afraid to talk or act up because not only would they be punished at school but also at home. Now days you run into parents who do not teach their kids to be respectful to teachers and think that their kids are perfect and have done nothing wrong. They see nothing wrong with little Johnny or Sally talking nonstop in class or talking while the teacher is teaching…what they do not get is that if 20 or more kids do the same thing no one learns what they are expected to learn. I teach 4th grade and have 24 students and it is way too many kids in one class. One on one teaching and help is almost impossible.

  7. First, let me say congratulations Mrs. Q for educating the public about these issues.

    When I was growing up our school lunches weren't horrible for the most part. I'm sure that some parts weren't the most nutritious, but they weren't the worst. Our food NEVER came in cardboard and plastic covered containers, and didn't look like it had been microwaved. We had beef and bean chili, beef vegetable soup, tuna salad on lettuce leaves , baked grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh fruit when available, cartons of milk, vegetables, and we would get a small dessert of some kind. Rarely did we get a hotdog. But I graduated in 1997 and things have changed I'm sure. I was one of "those" kids who had to eat lunch at school because my guardians couldn't afford for me to brown bag everyday. But unlike some kids, I always had decent clothes, food at home, a yard to play in that was in a safe neighborhood, and plenty of books.

    I've had some really great teachers, teacher's that I still consider friends, the one's that do their best to make a diffrence in the lives of students. So I don't think that the main issue is teacher's not being able to control their students. I think the main issue is that a lot of parents simply don't care. and the other big issue is school violence and bullying.

    Now I've moved away from my hometown, gotten married and am a mother of two boys. My boys are homeschooled because the public school system is so bad. A Kindergarten teacher where I live refered to my oldest son (who has Asperger Syndrome) as "retarded", and informed me that he would be placed with all the other "stupid and retarded children". She said that those classes were not accademically challenging and he should do fine in them. I looked at my husband and said… "Dear, we're becoming homeschoolers because our son is not going to be subjected to this environment". That was in the fall of 2004 and we're still homeschooling. I don't for one minute believe that all teacher's share that woman's opinion and I know that not all families can afford to homeschool. I don't have a problem with children attending public schools, I have a problem with how bad the public school systems have become!

    The food is horrid from what I've seen here, and children DO learn better when they are in smaller classroom sizes. Just check the academics of homeschooled kids compared to the averages.

    I think parent's (or atleast the ones that care) should become involved with local schools. There's a lot of meals that are healthy, cheap, and create a large quanity. There's a lot of adaptations that can be made to current foods to make them healthier. And for some of the littles that need snacks, have parents agree to sign up to provide snacks for the class. Celery and all natural peanut butter don't cost that much and my boys loved making "ants on a log". The ants were raisins and the log was peanut butter stuffed celery.

    It's time that the adults in this nation stand up for our future generations!

  8. I'm glad you are doing this blog and exposing the horrible school lunch programs that are out there.

    That being said, I think the entire concept of school breakfasts and lunches should be re-thought. The schools are supposed to EDUCATE our children on life skills, not feed them, provide medical care, etc.

    If a child qualifies for free meals at school, their family likely qualifies for food stamps and/or WIC. So where is that food stamp money going? It costs very little to make your child a lunch that is reasonably nutritious – a sandwich, a piece of fruit and a thermos of milk or juice costs about $1 a day.

    Why is the responsibility for feeding these kids being placed on society and the taxpayers? Isn't the most fundamental and basic duty of parents to feed, clothe and shelter their kids?

    Of course, many will moan that irresponsible parents would starve their children without a school lunch program. But is that really true? Or have they simply become dependent on a free handout, like welfare families that have relied on the state for generations?

    I'm not selfish. I don't want more money to "eat out and drive a Lexus" as one commenter here claimed. I'm simply tired of handing over 50 percent of my income to the government year after year after year.

    I'll feed my children. You feed yours.

  9. The problem is the people that we vote for as our politicians. They are making decisions and laws regarding our schools, nutrition, and children with no concern or real knowledge. None of them have read research about students and their brains. None of them have ever taught in a classroom. None of them really care about a kid and what they eat for lunch.

    I teach at a low income public school in Texas and none of my students eat breakfast and rarely have the money to buy it from school cafeteria in the morning. So lunch may very well be their only form of sustenance the entire day. And we expect these kids to be well disciplined, well behaved, and ready and willing to learn? How? They are HUNGRY!!! Dying for real food, not chemicals, not carbs, not foodservice food from a box; but real honest to goodness someone actually prepared these meal kind of food.

    It breaks my heart daily. The way to a students brain is through their stomach. Feed a child and watch and see what happens!

  10. I'm a student, and one of the more aware ones. Our district puts art and music before the lower level gifted students. Our budget is over 9 figures, but we only have 8 schools. The superintendent makes a lot more money than he should. My High school is always put before the other schools. I was very angry with this until i became a freshman last year. our food looks slightly better than your districts, but what is a major issue is the impact of
    10,000 + trays a day on the environment. the trays are made from styrene, which is a carcinogen. the styrene will leak into any warm or wet foods. yes, we are giving our kids cancer. Thats why I have a lunch bag, and a pantry full of organic peanut-butter.

  11. hey everyone, i am a 7th grader in middle school. i think this blog is very inspiring to people who wants to change school lunches. i must say i remember in elementary school all of our food was cooked in ovens and we didnt have plastic wrap on top of the food so things like spaghetti and mac n cheese were hard and crispy on top. the sporks would sometimes break if i tried to eat this food. when we had Salisbury steak or mashed potatoes they would be dry, bland, and extremely tough. thats right. i had to use a knife to eat mashed potatoes. it was just sad.

  12. Mrs. Q – you just became my hero. I work in a pre-K program, where we are REQUIRED to eat breakfast, lunch, and snack with the kids. While I agree that it's more fair to the kids (it would be cruel, after all, to eat pizza in front of or around a child who just had to eat overcooked fish-stick resembling things), I think our food programs are rediculous. Every teacher in our program has gained weight in their time working here, and I personally have also had some major digestive problems since I started. This is the food we're feeding our kids! Our family doesn't get food stamps or WIC, so I'm paying out of pocket for MY kids to eat at school. Granted, the elementary schools have healthier foods and more variety than the pre-K programs, but rarely have I seen the school teachers willingly eat cafeteria food.

    As for the school systems, I think it's a shame that they've come to what they have. There are some awesome teachers, principals, and other school employees out there – but because of budgeting and paperwork we're all overworked, underpaid, under appreciated – not to mention the fact that no, we DON'T have the time or resources to address each child's personal needs – and THAT is the real shame. Maybe if enough of us speak out, something may change.

    We can hope, anyway.

  13. Mrs. Q,
    Good luck in everything & thanks fighting for your kids! I'm a parent living in Florida fighting very hard to keep my kids' schools at the substandard level that they currently are at. I'm not sure how the people making the decisions for this country think it is going to get any better if our kids aren't educate properly & w/funding.
    Thanks again!

  14. What you are doing is great, I hope you ignore the foolishness that shows up in all comment sections these days.

    My kids are in high school now but when they were in elementary I always packed their lunch. One day my son came home and said a little girl in his room got caught stealing food out of other kids' lunches. He was a bit indignant because she had gotten into his bag and taken his apple. I kind of knew what was happening as we live in a city where 85% of all kids in public school are on free or reduced lunch; 1 in 3 live in abject poverty. I explained to him that she was hungry but it was interesting to me that she took the apple and not the cookie. I stopped by the school later that week and talked to the teacher, it was just what I thought. This little girl was stealing fruit, yogurt and carrot sticks – she never touched the chips and desserts. The rest of the year the teacher and a few parents went together to bring fruit and veggies into the classroom every day but I always knew it didn't solve the larger problem.

    Miss Roberts is right, kids need the right kind of "fuel" to learn and they aren't getting it. And I am so weary of these people who want to complain about their taxes going to public schools. We really need to understand that all our lives are better when we support schools (including decent nutrition)so that we will then see a better result in our communities' economic health.

    My kids are almost through high school but I will never begrudge any of my tax dollars going to our nation's children. And, one last thing, my kids were in SAGE classrooms from k4 – third grade (1 teacher to 15 students). It was the best possible educational experience they could have had – class size matters.

  15. I just found your blog and I must say I love it! I do think your students are getting a better lunch than my students are. Whole wheat buns and bread?! Never heard of such a thing at my school. I could never eat in my school's cafeteria…sadly, the only vegetarian option is pizza. And I don't think I could stomach that for even one day. Keep up the good work. And fingers crossed that your school does not decide to cut. I think it's a fear almost every where now. I know my school has threatened for the last three years to lay off teachers in order to save money. Luckily, it hasn't happened yet. Thanks for not only stomaching the food but also providing all the research!

  16. Loved your post! Very insightful, especially since my daughter attends public school. We don't have exactly a poor district and the teacher student ratio is what you described for what it should be. I never really gave any of this much thought, until I started working in the school system. At the time, my daughter was eating school lunches, and while it seems like our district is making efforts to provide healthy food from all the food groups….it still looked, smelled, or tasted gross. Needless to say it wasn't much longer and I had her taking her own lunch to school with all kinds of goodies in it. I agree that more efforts need to be made, though, by city/state/government officials nation wide to put our children's education first! They are the future after all! I think that pre-school should be mandatory, since it is the building blocks for future teachers and schools. I also think that parents should be "taught" I guess, what they should be doing at home to ensure their child reaches their potential at school. In my district, I've heard too many parents say, "Well, that's why they go to school, so you can teach them right from wrong." IT seems that a lot of the parents here don't parent…They expect the teachers to be Mommy at school, teach them morals, right from wrong, oh and english, math, social studies, etc. Teacher's shouldn't be expected to do everything…parents need to do their part to help the school do their part for the kids. It's a cycle…and it only works, if everyone helps. And yeah…funding would be the biggest help for school. Good luck with what you're doing, you're doing an awesome job!!!

  17. Your blog is about school lunch, but your comments run a whole lot deeper into the educational problems we face. Bottom line: it's about money. They say that you can build a school or a prison. Well prison's make money. The system itself doesn't value education, it values athletics and ego. So while I commend you for taking a stand against unhealthy food at schools, I think we all know what the result will be if we watched "Supersize Me" documentary; it's all I can barely stomach.

  18. When I was in school, most of us brought a lunch from home. If you bought a school lunch, you got a cold sandwich, a piece of fruit, a small treat, and a carton of milk. It wasn't a bad lunch at all. We didn't get hot options under middle and high school when we could order and buy from a variety of different priced options. The teachers ate in their break room or classroom while doing paperwork. Parents volunteered to be lunch monitors at both the elementary and middle school levels.

    I wonder why it has changed so much.

    As far as my kids…they get a home prepared meal every day as part of the homeschooling. I took the "parents need to become more involved in their children's education" to heart. I can't be more involved than I am.

  19. Just a thought, I know you're doing this blog for other reasons, but since you get so many hits on it, if you were to have some advertisements on your blog you could make a little extra money on the side!

    Hope this helps, and good luck!

  20. annonymous, when your mom went to school her parents actually parented. try being a teacher nowadays. they are teacher and parent because parents today dont know how to be parents. they no longer discipline their kids. so yes, if kids had discipline, that many kids would be fine.

  21. As a single mom or two, I subbed K-5 four years in a California district where my kids attend, earned my teaching credential, worked under a contract three years, got pink-slipped, and am back working as a sub. Not great, but in this economy, I'm kind of glad to just have a job. I've eaten a few school lunches when I have forgotten mine. We do have a fruit & veggie choice – even if canned, it's something. Some lunches are pretty good (turkey gravy over mashed potatoes) and some are gross (teriyaki chicken nuggets – gray and nasty) and at most of our schools, teachers can arrange for a simple salad. As for class size, we had 20:1 in grades K-3, and 35:1 in upper grades. Now lower grades are either 30 or 35:1 also. I subbed a first grade class the second week of school and had 37 students. It was like that I Love Lucy episode where they have moved to the house in the country and she and Ethel are herding the baby chicks back into the box. What a joke. No, the teacher had not had time to train them in classroom procedures, which can take around six weeks if you really mean business. Some classrooms can run smoothly with 30-35, but I'll tell you, it only takes a couple of unruly kids to make it all come crashing down. These are kids who have not been trained at home to be obedient to parents, to do their share around the house and be helpful, to wait their turn, to respect property & personal space, etc. In other words, lack of parenting. In my subbing now, I have expanded to middle school, and there are a couple of schools I avoid.

  22. I feel for all the teachers out there who are going to be in dire straits because of no money. In my district, over 150 teachers may be laid off. I just saw an article that California sent out over 23,000 pink slips last week! I am fortunate that I have a job, and can't begin to imagine what other teachers are feeling. My thoughts go out to everyone and I hope that we can all make it through.

    Class size in CA is going up. We can go up to 24 in K-3, but next year may be 30. I teach first grade where we have kids come in who have never been in Preschool or Kinder. To me, 30 seems like a circus.

    As for the poster who commented that if teachers could control the class, they need to wake up! I've lost count as to how many times a parent has told me to stop disciplining their child because they can do whatever they want! I don't know how many times a parent has sworn at me in front of their child and said it's OK. I don't know how many times a parent has told me that their child doesn't have to do homework because they don't want to take the time out of their day to do it. I don't know how many times a parent has told me that it isn't their job to teach their child. So, I smile politely, nod my head and go back to doing the best I can with their child and all the others in my class, while dealing with the behavior issues, learning issues and all the other stuff that comes with teaching. It pisses me off, but I do it because I love my job and hope to be the one ray of sunshine in that child's life. Sometimes it works, other times I don't know.

    As for the lunches, they suck! The kids get to eat crap food and we expect them to learn. Most of my kids are on free lunch and they don't even get their share of the food. They get to pick and choose, but they don't pick or choose anything. They barely eat and then go play (we get recess 3 times a day!). But, for the kids who do eat, they eat crap and then are expected to do well the rest of the day. I've posted before that I used to eat school lunch, but I gave it up last year. I'd rather make my own lunch than eat the crap. And, the food has gotten worse in the last few years thank to the economy. Maybe we should make the politicians eat school lunch every day and see how long they last!

  23. I simply want to express my gratitude for your blog and my hope is that our country will find progressive solutions to educating & feeding our children/society. We are all affected by each. Thanks again, Melissa

  24. I commend everything you are doing. I am from a family of teachers and health care workers, and I personally just graduated from college with a degree in Nutrition. This is a subject that has come up at family gatherings countless times and is something I am very interested in pursuing. I think it's great to educate those who have no idea and no understanding of how children are affected by poor nutrition, especially when they rely on school lunches for their main source to fulfill their dietary needs.
    Keep it up, and good luck! I hope that those in authority see this and realize how important their decisions are. Thank you!!

  25. Ha those look like GREAT school lunches compared to what I've been feed throughout my school career. I was feed one fruit cup not chips nothing… maybe a salad that was days old or something like pizza. I've even had meals where there was pieces of plastic still in my pizza or food that mad e almost everyone who ate it sick. I remember one time I was given spaghetti. It made me terrible ill to my stomach. The next day a good portion of my class was absent and I can guess why.
    I used to live in New jersey and went to more middle/lower middle income district school. It's terrible what they feed you. For one period of elementary school I would eat nothing but a fruit cup for lunch 'cause it was they only thing that wouldn't make you ill or pose a chocking hazard ( see plastic in my food comment for reason why). That should not be something children have to do. EVER!

  26. I just found this blog and I thank you for writing this. I completed my masters in education just as the economy fell apart. I've taught 6-12 in two countries and implemented/run school-wide discipline programs. I can't get a job. NO ONE will hire a teacher w/ a masters because we are more expensive.

    Between firing/laying off the experienced teachers, increasing class size and filling classrooms w/ young, inexperienced staff, our kids are in for a serious quality of educaiton decline.

  27. By the way–All you who think tax payers shouldn't pay for other people's kids when they don't have any. Ok, well, my parents are dead, so I shouldn't pay social security, right? It's not mine. I also never had a fire, so I don't want to pay the fire department. I don't live in a high crime neighborhood, so I won't pay for police–I'll just use my hunting rifle. And when these kids grow up and are supporting your dumb asses on social security, maybe they should quit paying taxes for your medicaid. Oh, wait, we're not going to educate them so they won't have jobs to pay any taxes… nevermind. Maybe we should just post a big "third world country" sign on the white house now. What kind of stupid crap is that? Rich childless yuppies wanting the country to be a bunch of uneducated ignorant trailer trash so they can feel superior? Do we all just pay as you use? I don't drive on the interstate that much, I think I should only pay 4% of the taxes that normally I would for it. Grow up and quit being so selfish, idiots. It isn't about paying for someone else's kids, it is about protecting the whole country. If you want to live in a place without universal education, move to Bhutan or Zimbabwe or somewhere. Idiots…

  28. Hi. I love the blog. I just wanted to share a little tid bit that I was told not to long ago. I have my children in private school not for any other reason than the lack of good resources for my children. It has been a pain to drive them to and from school all the while trying to work fulltime. Homework is huge but the results are worth it. The teacher to student ratio is low. I don't mind paying taxes for a public school that they don't use and tuition. Anyhow, we are adopting some children from the foster care program. Our little daughter has an IEP for her global delays. She has to attend a public school preschool program to service her speech delays,etc. These are things not offered by our private school. I guess…I have been spoiled by the fact that I pack all my kids lunches everyday with leftovers, etc. (it is a small school and the teachers help with reheating the food) When I enrolled her in this public preschool program, I was contacted by the school nurse. Our daughter can't have sugar due to an intolerance. No sugar refined or natural. (It causes serious gastrointestional disturbances. She basically has uncontrollable diahhrea. ) Anyhow, the school nurse informed me that sending food might be a problem for reheating purposes. She offered the lunch every day. Sure, I told her. Can she please take the sugary items off the tray for her? No cakes, fruits, etc. She said "All No! We can't do that! We aren't allowed." I asked her why since I did have a doctors letter stating that she is to have no sugary items. And she said that she just wasn't allowed to do it. When I asked her what did she do for diabetics…my mouth hit the floor. She actually told me that the dieticians can't change the trays for these kids nor take the sugar items off the trays. They just wait and give the kids insulin. I was completely horrified! She didn't like the way it sounded when I repeated the statement back to her. I find our food system for these kids totally screwed up! What happened to our lunches from the days of old? I remember everytime we had grilled cheese sandwiches…we also had spinach, fruit cup and milk. I remember chili, a hunk of cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, crackers and a cookie. I remember mashed potatoes, turkey with gravey, green beans, etc. We had home cooked meals with food groups that weren't prepackaged etc. And …they would take the stupid cookie off the tray for students who couldn't have it. It was too much to be placed there and expected for the child not to eat or be tempted. Sorry for venting. Just wanted to share. I feel there is a serious prob. when they won't even do this for a diabetic!

  29. I want to bring to the table a number of things.
    first: KUDOS, big, big kudos for what you are doing.
    Second: If we don't support the primary education system, imagine what is going to happen to the COLLEGE and UNIVERSITY level education system.
    Third:The school lunches you have eaten are far better than what I had available to me in my formative years: a form of pizza (yes, pizza) every day (pizza pockets, pizza, pizza boats, pizza sticks, and pizza rolls) OR shredded, brown iceberg lettuce and some questionable vegetables. More often than not I chose NOT to eat. (and my mom and step dad wondered why I was voracious when I got home at 430 pm).
    fourth: I was educated in a rural schools system that cut music and art programs far before it seemed trendy. They reintroduced the programs at the behest of many parents of children who had talents in those areas and wanted a way to develop those skills. Now, 12 years later I hear that the district has again cut those programs. But, they still have an up-to-date weight room, and a still viable football field.
    I was a teacher-aide in a kindergarten class where there were easily 30 children. I was there to assist the teacher in teaching her students rules, limitations, how to read, and how to write their names and basic rules. I was a junior in high school while doing this. The school system I graduated from does this frequently: they give usable credit to students to teach younger students because they can't pay for enough teachers to have a proper ratio of students to teachers.
    I am still in communication with a handful of my teachers from my high school years. They are as appalled as I am at what is happening to the education system. we consistently ask "Why is there money for war, for greedy CEO's at banks, for corrupt politicos, and NO money for the public school system?"
    Again, I applaud you for your effort. I do hope you, and the rest of us that are shocked at the state of public education, find the support we need to turn it all around.

  30. I just stumbled onto your blog, and i must say I had to read from start to finish!! My childrens school district is in the process of making major changes and cuts! Currently my children are getting prepared on site breakfast and lunch, but starting next school year they will be served pre packaged meals shipped in from another state. This is part of their plan to cut cost. I just don't understand why they can not make the cuts where it does not interfer with my childrens education. Why can't they cut out all of these athletic expenses. Not all children participate in this voluntary act at school. Do they realize how much money they could save if they made the parents pay for those expenses if they want their children to particapate in them. Thats just my opinion!!

  31. Hi! I love your blog 🙂

    I read these books not too long ago called "Preschool in Three Cultures" by J. Tobin, which looks at public and private schools in Japan, China, and the US. There are 2 books published, one with data from 1989 and another that was published in 2009, they're both really good really good, I'd definitely recommend reading them!

    I don't know if you knew this, but in Japan class sizes are generally much larger than in the US, typically around 30 kids, and this is considered normal and not overcrowded. Classroom dynamics are different in Japan, children are taught to work out their own problems when they have disputes with eachother, and there were many scenes in the book in which Japanese children acted out or got into fights and the teachers for the most part just sat back and let the children learn peer mediation and self control.

    While I highly doubt that it would be possible to do this with American children since obviously there's a lot more that impacts their behavior besides just what their classroom environment is like, I think it's interesting that Americans think that all children are automatically impossible to control. Japan shows us that with a different set of cultural values even children of an early age can learn to behave properly and with respect in the classroom, making large groups of kids more manageable.

  32. Mrs. Q, I think this blog is fantastic and I thank you for being a quiet activist!

    I am a teacher and my colleagues and I are often horrified by what our school serves for lunches. We are in a district that has been ranked among the top in our state – yet our kids eat absolute crap for lunch nearly every single day! There are many students (middle school aged!) who simply refuse to eat if they have been given money to buy lunch instead of a bagged lunch…understandably so, but what a horrible habit to fall into!

    And I must comment about class sizes and proper student education – too many have commented for me to ignore! Someone actually made the comment about the one-room schoolhouse – one teacher being responsible for every child of nearly every age in every subject. Yes, this must have been QUITE a feat – I know I would struggle with this. However, I'm pretty sure that those students of yesteryear had a much better sense of discipline and accountability than many of our students today. Of course, kids are kids, however our students today often do not hear the word "no" at home. They have little to no responsibilities put upon them by their parents, let alone discipline. This in itself dramatically changes the climate of a classroom when you have too many of these mentalities in one place at the same time!

    I will be sharing the link to your blog with my colleagues…and maybe some other places as well…I think many people are not aware of what our children actually deal with in our schools today and this is certainly an eye-opener for many.

    Thank you for taking a chance, and for raising awareness about an issue that we will be dealing with for years to come.

  33. I love this post. As a senior in high school and with that, a high school with an inadequate amount of money, I can relate to this post. The school has cut back on the teaching staff, a few of them being excellent AP teachers. Additionally, a few more of the AP teachers have left due to the ridiculous ways of the school. With a shortage of such good teachers (and teachers in general) I find my classes these days, quite frankly, to be a waste of my time. Being in a class with 30 some odd kids is quite annoying as well as trivial to my education. And as far as the lunch situation goes, I'm vegan and in South Texas there are hardly any vegetarian options, let alone vegan. But I will say that the lunches posted on here are much more healthy seeming than the lunches at my school, and that says a lot.

  34. Just two points I'd like to add:

    1) I attended school in the 1960s and beginning in first grade until fifth grade, our classroom size was fifty-two. I *know* I received a better education than my children whose class sizes ranged twenty to twenty-five.

    2) For the poster who wrote: what would happen if we slashed those defense contracts and redirected funds to education?

    Throwing money at schools doesn't guarantee anything other than more money spent per student.

  35. I really applaud what you are doing. I just read about your blog on yahoo. I am a teacher myself and am originally from a country where education and educators were valued in a way I have never seen in the US. I can't believe that funding is being even cut for education to the extent it is. This country needs to realize that we need to invest in our future and not jeopardize it. It includes the whole picture. We have to be able to feed these children's body, mind and soul. Make sure they have the right teachers, the right environment, the right food, the right activities. There are so many problems with the education system that I am actually afraid to send my children to public school. I would NEVER consider sending my child to the school I teach at, and to me that is just SAD!!!!! I don't understand how nobody understands this. Everybody says, well we are the only country that offers free education from K to 12. Wow just because it's free to people then it should be cheap education??? I'd rather pay to make sure my children are getting the best education. If it's the money, then make parents pay something, anything that they can afford! I know for a fact that would help school systems.
    I don't know if I will be getting a contract for next school year and I don't really want to think about it. I don't even worry for me anymore. I worry for the children because ultimately with all these cuts, we are only cutting them out of the "american dream".

  36. I commend you. I taught French for two years and that really was enough for me to know, that I was just going to be a paid (with nice benefits) babysitter. I quickly left the country, taught (and still) teach children and adults who want to learn and it has made all the difference.
    The American public school system doesn't really care about education nor the children. I am convinced of this and what is worse is that parents no longer know what to do with their children let alone sit next to them before or after dinner to help them with their homework. Irresponsible parents are what's causing the school system to further deteriorate. Bless you and all the teachers who still fight to educate just one child, let alone a class of 40.

  37. I never thought I'd see the day when TEACHERS are getting laid off!! Politicians always SAY they are interested in education, but just look at what is happening!! I think cuts should be made ELSEWHERE and everything done 1st before even thinking of laying off teachers!!

  38. Nice effort first of all I must say really informative and helpful if people take it in a positive way.

    I agree the Class Size should be small to be fair with both students and teachers.

    In my country 70 to 60 is normal class size with 1 teacher even in most reputed schools of the country.

    It only creates chaos as not all fingers of a hand is same which is same case for students not all students are equal in all way. Teacher do not express things well to student and students do not get things well either too.

    But, to increase our resource government should spend some resources too, if people who are in teaching profession are not motivated themselves how they suppose to passionate their students?

    Teaching is very important profession of society because a Doctor can trains doctors/patients, an Engineer can trains machines, a scientist can trains new experiments but a Teacher trains the future of nation.

    I am not a Teacher but I realize it a long time ago when I was in 5th grade now I am Software Engineer just completed my graduation last year.

  39. I'm so inspired by your project on showing how unhealthy and unacceptable these school lunches are. Our children should be a priority and just fixing health care is not getting the big picture- we need to start setting good habits on proper and healthy nutrition and not start off children with these high sodium and greasy, artery clogging foods that only expand their waistlines and are not nutritious food required for proper and healthy development. I went to a CPS school and I see those lunches everyday and I ate them everyday from K to grade 12 because it was free and I had no money to spend on food outside, which I believe had caused my overweight status and maybe cause potential health issues for me in the future. I am a student nurse now so I know what a good diet consists of and the benefits of a healthy nutritious diet, but it took a long time and lot of effort for me to switch from greasy unhealthy cheap food to healthier choices. I'm sure there are many people out their with their opinions, and whatever happens, I hope the best for you and your project and thank you for writing this blog and sharing us your insights. I do hope to see the day our children are served beautiful and healthy lunches like in Japan and more money should be spent on teachers like you, who really impact people's lives and not put all our countries money on wars, fancy events like Olympics, and other crazy things. 🙂

  40. As an American high school student, I would like to thank you. You are not only a great inividual, but a truely amazing teacher. I wish I could have had more teachers like you. You stand up for your kids, and for kids you will never meet, never have to watch struggle. You are a shining example of what a great teacher can do and why our country needs to wake up and start respecting the "good ones" and the often-undervalued yet ever so important work they do. Thanks, and don't give up.

  41. When I was going to school (1968-1981), I ate at the school cafeteria nearly everyday. My school fixed the best meals from scratch. I know for a fact that they were from scratch as I worked for the cafeteria carrying the cans of vegetables, fruits, bags of flour, etc. up from the basement of the cafteria, so that they could cook up great meals for the kids (ovber 500 daily). I'm 47 now, but I still crave some of the food that those wonderful ladies made-the pizza, the tacos,even the Western Hash. I thank Mrs. Gonzales, Mrs. Lave, Mrs. Sartoris, Mrs. Sartoris and all the others for all the hard work they did. My daughter's school district (district 60-Pueblo, CO) thinks nachos and large, soft pretzels are good meals. I wish you luck with your adventure.

  42. What none of you seem to understand is the quality of school lunches are going down because of the falling economy and because of gas prices going up throughout many years. Ever since gas prices went up the quality has gone down, the quantity has gone down, and/or price of food has to go up.

    It's not the schools fault, it's the stupid oil companies fault.

  43. Trust me what your eating is at least five times better than what they serve up here in New York. Sometimes the food looked (sometimes even smells) so bad you dont want to put it anywhere near your mouth and the fruit has usually on the verge of or has gone bad. We used to live for Pizza day and scrounge through the week so we can buy from the neighborhood corner stores. Its costly but you do what you have to do. Spending seven or more hours in class hungry and cranky just isn't cool.

    i graduated recently and still have friends in the public school system so i am up to date with the goings on of my highschool

  44. to Brian D. Hill

    the food had been terrible since the mid 90's so its not the oil companies. for once they hav't got anything to do with it.

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