Friday, February 14, 2014

What time should schools serve lunch to kids?

A school lunch that meets new Federal guidelines -(Photo PENNINK/AP)
The other week it was an elementary school in Utah taking away lunches from students who's parents had failed to replenish their kid's lunch card spending accounts making headlines.

This morning's edition of the Brian Lehrer Show devoted a segment to exploring why some New York City school kids eat lunch early in the morning rather than the afternoon.

Early. We're talking 10am, 10:45am and in some cases as early as 9am; not breakfast, lunch.

Not surprisingly it seems to boil down to budgeting and management oversight of the school systems massive planning calendar which spans the entire school year and does not turn easily on a dime in response to unanticipated needs.

Now maybe I'm wrong but I'm guessing students in the nation's top private schools are not eating lunch between 9am and 10:45am in the morning.

If I had to eat lunch at 10:45am I'd be an absolute mess by the afternoon, and I'm an adult. How does eating lunch that early impact a developing child's capacity to pay attention, focus and learn in the classroom environment during the latter half of the day?

As a caller who claimed she teaches in the NYC public school system observed when she called in, students are much more likely to act up, get distracted by behavioral issues and their attention spans are shorter in the afternoon period; what she considered a notoriously difficult time to effectively  teach children.

NY mayor Bill DeBlasio ran on a campaign of addressing inequality within the Five Boroughs.

His staff looking into innovative ways to work with local principles and administrators on how to shift lunch schedules so kids don't eat lunch at 9am might be a good place to start.   


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