Friday, December 17, 2010

Iowa Public Radio to cover the school lunch issue

Iowa Public Radio will cover the school lunch issue on "The Exchange," today (Friday, December 17) at noon. Both Katina Lillios, who organized the petition to extend the lunch period, and Steve Murley, the Iowa City school superintendent, will be on the program, which will also be available afterward via podcast. Details here.
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4 comments:

northTOmom said...

Chris, I listened to the podcast, and found it extremely disappointing. The host barely let Katina talk at all; instead he gave most of the air time to the superintendent, who made a lot of politically-correct but hollow-sounding noises. No one ever acknowledged that even the current twenty minutes is *way* too short for a lunch period for kids. As for the so-called expert, perhaps she should study school lunches in more than two European countries before she makes pronouncements about universal trends. She could look a little closer to home--for instance, at the province of Ontario (current PISA darlings), where kids routinely get--gasp!--a whole hour for lunch, the amount she derided as "just too much" for Americans.

Chris said...

northTOmom -- All true. But anything that keeps people talking about this issue is good. What I really wish is that I had the presence of mind to call in during the first half of the program and ask our Congressman about No Child Left Behind's responsibility for so much of this problem.

Katina said...

One point of confusion has arisen in these conversations is the 15 versus 20 minutes. Below, I excerpt part of an email I sent this morning to Ben Kieffer and Steve Murley:

"I just want to clarify something that came up in both the public meeting on the 13th and yesterday, and that is the 15 minute lunches in Iowa City (versus 20 minutes that Steve made reference to).

According to the Wellness Policy posted on the ICCSD website, students are to get a minimum of 15 min to eat after going through the line to get their food. I also attach the 2010 Instructional schedule, which states that students are to have 15 minutes of actual eating time. Nowhere do I see reference to the 20 minutes that Steve makes reference to. These 15 minutes of actual eating time are not actually being enforced at Shimek, nor at many other schools, given the parents' and students' complaints. There may be a 15 min lunch period, but students are not actually eating for all that time. So, the reality is that kids are eating for less than 15, maybe 10 minutes or less. This is clearly a serious problem.

*Wellness Policy:(from http://www.iowa-city.k12.ia.us/health_services/health_services_documents/wellness_policy_docs/policy_510.pdf), p. 6
"Building principals will:
• schedule lunch periods to provide students with a minimum of 15 minutes to eat after going through the line to get their food..."

*From Instructional Schedule, 2010, p. 4: Lunch
"Students have 15 minutes of actual eating time for lunch daily."

****
So, just to make things more complicated, we have two problems:

1) The 15 minute eating policy is not being enforced,
2) Even if it were, it would not be enough time.

Chris said...

Thanks for that update, Katina. I'm sure curious about what kind of "Wellness Committee" decides that fifteen minutes is a good length for lunch. Do these people ever eat lunch themselves?