Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Breakfast In Class A Bad Idea

I think the world might end when I write these words but here goes:

I agree with the Bloomberg administration.

Uh, huh - you heard right.

The City Council wants to make free breakfast available in every classroom in the New York City school system, but the Bloomberg administration opposes it.

And I agree with Mayor Mike:

On Wednesday, the City Council took a stand on free school breakfasts. Lawmakers want to make it mandatory in every classroom. It's now available in the cafeteria.

It's something that the Bloomberg administration has no appetite for. They contend the requirement might lead to childhood obesity, as some kids might have the day's most important meal twice.

"We are not going to mandate this," said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott. "It's something that our principals have the ability to opt into and so we want them to opt into it if that's what they want to do. Our goal is to increase the breakfast served, whether it's in the classroom or people walking in."

Quinn disagreed.

"So we've looked at that study and we think it is flawed and doesn't in any way support that the school breakfast is leading to childhood obesity," she said.

Now I don't know if breakfast in classrooms will lead to an increase in childhood obesity, but I do know this - focusing on ONE thing at a time when you're eating is the best way to not mindlessly overeat.

Either you're eating or you're learning - not both.

We have this culture that values "multitasking," as if there is a such a way as dividing the human brain and attention span so that it can give effective focus to doing more than one thing at once.

There isn't.

You can give something 100% of your attention or you can divide your attention and do two things at once or you can do as many things as you want at the same time and divide your attention and focus even more.

But the more you do at the same time, the less focus and mindfulness you give to each task.

This is especially so with food.

I know that if I'm sitting at the computer eating, I am more likely to mindlessly eat more calories than if I am sitting at a table focused on my food.

Sure, that's anecdotal - but there are studies to show that multitasking while eating leads people to eat more calories.

Eat first, then go to class.

If kids aren't showing up in time for breakfast, then build that into the schedule.

But leave the food out of the classroom and let students be as mindful about their eating and their learning as they can be.

We need more mindfulness around our activities, not less.


  1. Also, breakfast in class would take away from instructional time. Who would clean up breakfast? Not the custodial staff.
    The classroom garbage cans are too small (at least in my building) for breakfast-added expense and who would bring breakfast up to the classroom? Teachers? Students? How do children get the chance on the "choice" in breakfast?
    Why can't parents wake up early enough to send their kids before school officially starts for breakfast? Why don't the children who come early to school actually eat breakfast?
    All interesting and valid questions.

  2. Why is there so much money available for more crappy food for breakfast, (which the vast majority of families have no problem providing for their children)- while we are told there is not enough money to improve school lunches? It's because the same system that profits from the shitty cafeteria food wants to profit even more. EX:-milk, which most Asian and African-American kids can't digest properly, is served every day at every meal to every kid! Why? It's not even healthy, it just has a healthy reputation from all the advertising. Breast cancer and osteoporosis are highest in dairy consuming countries!
    It's creeping statism and control of functions and activities traditionally done by the families, in concert with corporatism and profits. Slow death by Kontrol.
    I've been to school food conferences and they want 100% of the kids eating school food so as not to stigmatize the poor kids who have to eat it. Breakfast AND lunch- 100% is their goal.
    I say provide local organic food for lunch and you will get close to 100% for lunch. The food they now serve is atrocious and they want to cram it down our kids throats, while making teaching even more difficult serving breakfast!!!
    Let's not forget the little plastic toy they put on the breakfast tray. Learn anything from McDonald's maybe?

  3. Once again people who have never been in a NYC classroom show their ignorance! We have mice and roaches in my classroom, and custodians don't clean desktops (I do, every morning, so that students have a clean desk every day) Who cleans up the spilt milk? At least most of the vermin are in the cafeteria because we teachers are vigilant re food in the classroom. Reality check needed here.

  4. Maybe this is another ploy to "save" money by putting low paid workers out of a job or cut back on their hours by having classroom teachers become the cafeteria workers. This is a disgrace and as harvey stated, a demonstration of ignorance. Who indeed would clean up classrooms of the garbage and spills left by the kids? It's also demeaning to relegate a classroom teacher to become a child care worker. Maybe the city council thinks we are, but they do have it wrong. Maybe they should be the elected civil servants they are supposed to be, not the useless graft-infused body of parasites that they are. I actually agree with Bloomberg also, a rare occurrence.

  5. Excellent and well reasoned post.

    So when a teacher, who is being observed by his/her administrators, can't facilitate a lesson because Jack spilled his milk and Jill has to clean her hands before working on a task, who will be held responsible for the lesson bogging down?

    You have to wonder if the City Council has any concept of what goes on in a classroom, and what it takes to teach a class. Mayor Bloomberg has already weighed teachers down with all the things we have to do in a classroom to be considered "good" teachers. The City Council would now add yet another thing we have to incorporate into a lesson which distracts from the learning process.

    So it goes.