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.
January 15, 2010, 8am PST | Michael Dudley
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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."

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Published on Wednesday, January 13, 2010 in Atlantic Magazine
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