The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Thursday, 03 February 2005]

Junk food and ’rithmetic

Arizona in unfortunately one of the many states where public schools are making up for their paltry funding by peddling junk food to students. There’s a proposal being bandied about to ban this sort of merchandising and instead force schools to sell healthier alternatives, at least during school hours. (During athletic events the lid comes off, of course, since there are few more important values to instill in the leaders of tomorrow than mixed messages.)

But the proposed ban has met with resistance, as many schools are fearful of losing their moolah, which “pays for field trips, school clubs and athletic events.” So a study was conducted to see if switching vending machines to healthier alternatives would indeed cause a reduction in profits. And it turns out that according to the study, the lucre kept flowing.

The upsetting thing here–and which seems to be taken as a basic fact of education in the reporting–is that schools have to peddle wares, not which wares they happen to be peddling. How about ripping out the vending machines from campuses and budget for the schools to be able to function without the extra source of income?

But in a state that ranked 50th in the nation for spending per student in 2002, that’s not all that likely to happen…

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