Is There Any Bigger Lunchbox Threat Than Chocolate Milk?

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Here’s an important new educational crusade being undertaken in Los Angeles:

“Los Angeles Unified, the nation’s second-largest school district, is the latest district to tackle the issue. Superintendent John Deasy recently announced he would push this summer to remove chocolate and strawberry milk from school menus. …

Many, including the School Nutrition Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Dietetic Association, American Heart Association, and National Medical Association, argue that the nutritional value of flavored low-fat or skim milk outweighs the harm of added sugar. Milk contains nine essential nutrients including calcium, vitamin D and protein.

A joint statement from those groups points to studies that show kids who drink fat-free, flavored milk meet more of their nutrient needs and are not heavier than non-milk drinkers.”

I’m all for working on childhood obesity and nutrition, but really? I suppose I wouldn’t be so irritated by this if the Los Angeles Unified School District wasn’t such a basket case. Remember this is the same School district where they spent over $572 million building a single school. This is also the same school district where, according to L.A. Weekly:

“Officials spent $3.5 million trying to fire just seven of the district’s 33,000 teachers for poor classroom performance — and only four were fired, during legal struggles that wore on, on average, for five years each. Two of the three others were paid large settlements, and one was reinstated. The average cost of each battle is $500,000.

During our investigation, in which we obtained hundreds of documents using the California Public Records Act, we also discovered that 32 underperforming teachers were initially recommended for firing, but then secretly paid $50,000 by the district, on average, to leave without a fight. Moreover, 66 unnamed teachers are being continually recycled through a costly mentoring and retraining program but failing to improve, and another 400 anonymous teachers have been ordered to attend the retraining.”

So, again, this is a school district that spends enough money to make the Pentagon blush and generally leaves kids with serially incompetent teachers as a matter of official policy. In many, many basic and meaningful educational senses, the LAUSD is badly failing their students and taxpayers. Yet, because childhood obesity is a trendy topic these days, they’re all over a nutritionally dubious plan to ban chocolate milk.

I think this is a revealing look into educational priorities these days.