Are School Gardens a "Cruel Trick"?

Caitlin Flanagan, writing in The Atlantic magazine, believes that the "edible schoolyard" movement is a waste of time that would be better spent having kids learn from books.

Flanagan is particularly concerned about Hispanic immigrant families who brought their children to the U.S. are now seeing their kids educated to pick crops.

"[A] cruel trick has been pulled on [schoolchildren] by an agglomeration of foodies and educational reformers who are propelled by a vacuous if well-meaning ideology that is responsible for robbing an increasing number of American schoolchildren of hours they might other wise have spent reading important books or learning higher math (attaining the cultural achievements, in other words, that have lifted uncounted generations of human beings out of the desperate daily scrabble to wrest sustenance from dirt).That no one is calling foul on this is only one manifestation of the way the new Food Hysteria has come to dominate and diminish our shared cultural life."

There is no evidence, she says, the the school garden movement actually improves children's academic performance. Such activities are fine for after school programming, but class time, she argues, should be spent actually educating students in academic subject matter. Otherwise, she writes, "we become complicit- through our best intentions-in an act of theft that will not only contribute to the creation of a permanent, uneducated underclass but will rob that group of the very force necessary to change its fate."

Full Story: Cultivating Failure

Comments

Comments

And here is another view (from a parent in Berkley)

Cultivating Knowledge

School garden programs cultivate knowledge- of plants,animals, soil, water, ecology and nutrition. Failure is not part of the equation.

The only worthwhile point addressed in this commentary is the notion that creating a vegetable garden should not be the primary means of solving poor dietary habits. Public policy changes are needed that provide better food in lower income communities and that make junk food a less prevalent option.

Students lives and knowledge are enhanced by experiential, hands-on learning. Any person that tells you otherwisewould make a poor educator.

Flanagan is purposely a provacateur

I suspect she doesn't really feel completely this way; she is paid to be provocative. If you saw her on Colbert she is a little out there and thus not a mainstream voice.

Best,

D

I understand

Yes, I am aware of that. However, many American viewers aren't aware of her intended provacation and take her commentary as real news.

Thank you for posting this

Thank you for posting this article. I think it is good to view all sides of the issue at hand, but Flanagan is beyond newsworthy and is just doing a poor job of trying to create news.

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