September 12, 2011

"School garden organizers around Madison say running a garden is not without its challenges, and one of the biggest is getting teachers involved."

Should school teachers be doing the gardening?
"Teachers just don't have the time," [Mary Michaud, a parent who started the garden at Madison's Van Hise Elementary.] "And many don't have the training or the instructional support to do it."
Suddenly, they want you to be a farm worker!
As a result, many school gardens primarily are run by parent volunteers, who can be in short supply in schools with high poverty rates where parents don't usually have time for gardening.
Poverty? Do middle-class parents have more time?
But Max Lubarsky, who has worked as an Americorp volunteer at Glendale and this fall will be an educational assistant, and Joe Muellenberg, youth nutrition educator with UW-Extension, have in the last two years revived the school garden. They hope it will attract more parent and teacher interest.

The two moved the garden from the back of the school where it often flooded to the front and built 11 raised beds, including three in the shape of pizza slices growing basil, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and cilantro.

Lubarsky said students participating in a Madison School & Community Recreation program do most of the work at the garden now, but incorporating it into curriculum is "definitely a goal for the future."
So... there's no teaching. Just farm work for the kids. But it's okay to compel this for them because... why? Because you think they're fat? But your garden is premised on pizza!
Teachers don't need to go out and dig in the garden; they can simply hold math class among the tomatoes to get students thinking about the environment and being outside, he said.
The old outdoor class. Does that ever work? I say teach in the classroom and then give the kids some time to go out and play, freely. Not work in the sun.

I'm not against gardens, by the way. I love gardens. And I think a school garden could be a great learning experience. I just have a problem with underdeveloped feel-good projects and compulsory menial work.

91 comments:

rhhardin said...

I'd chiafy by melding school gardening with pottery class, wasting time twice as efficiently.

prairie wind said...

including three in the shape of pizza slices growing basil, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and cilantro.

There is already far too much cilantro in the world.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

The 'organizers' have been reading some old Commissar's handbook, and come upon the concept of the Subotnik. Are they so dumb they haven't learned it was inspired by the imperialist corvee? Next it'll be mandatory...

Maguro said...

A little menial work would probably do these kids some good.

PatCA said...

Mao sent all the city folk to the countryside so they could learn to be ideologically pure and innocent peasants. So the idea is a big hit too with our Left.

Henry said...

Why not medical marijuana? Easy to grow and benefits society.

Bob Ellison said...

Prairie, I, too, was once a cilater (cilantro-hater). But I have converted. The plant it comes from may be the most versatile one ever.

traditionalguy said...

The kibbutz is so special.

For a real lesson, the could assign a plot to each student ( Like private property) and see what grows.

The workers will out produce the others 100 to 1. Then the harvest deprived will have to steal from the workers.

Maybe a union could take over all work rules and do the distribution. Karl Marx has a great gardening book on this.

This would be such a great lesson that the Garden Kibbutz folks would quickly shut it all down.

Shouting Thomas said...

A healthy heaping of leftist propaganda!

This is all part of the greenie, local food, sustainable lefty agenda.

Do Madison teachers have a Five Year Plan? What about the Great Leap Forward?

I grow a large, organic garden every summer. You are forewarned.

EDH said...

Wouldn't it be more educational to load the entire class into a converted Hudson truck with what remains of their possessions and head west on Route 66?

Triangle Man said...

Poverty? Do middle-class parents have more time?

On average they will have more flexibility with their job schedule to get time away, or will be more likely to have a stay-at-home parent, and less likely to have a single-parent household.

gerry said...

Teachers don't need to go out and dig in the garden; they can simply hold math class among the tomatoes to get students thinking about the environment and being outside, he said.

What is it about Madision and UW that kills intelligence? They want to take a truly beneficial subject, a "hard" science, math, and gaiafy it.


An "educational assistant" and a "youth nutrition educator"...don't education departments exist at universities to give the sociology professors someone to look down on?

AllenS said...

Would unionized farm workers then call the unionized teachers scabs?

SukieTawdry said...

Good God, it's vegetable gardening, not astrophysics. How much "training," or even tending, is required here?

It's pretty simple--at the beginning of the season, set some starter plants (much, much easier than seeds) and then during the course of the season, adequate water, a little fertilizer and, voilà, vegetables. See, the veggies actually grow by themselves. I know; I do it every year and I hate gardening (love the fresh produce, though).

Gad, does everything in Madison have to be such a federal case?

And as a side note, seems to me kids in high-poverty neighborhoods (or any kids for that matter) could stand to get a few tools of self-sufficiency in their belts.

Nena's 99 Luftballons Song said...

For pure gardening fun and aesthetics, probably not much of a teachable moment. Integrating the garden plan with multi-level learners, skill learning, and peer mentors, could catapult the idea into a 5-year tiered project with disciplines of science & math, literature & writing, art history & studio art, ... a grant could fund the project and results exchanged for "brownie points" -- teacher incentives. Seems promising to me.

AJ Lynch said...

"Americorps volunteer"? These volunteers get paid don't they?

TosaGuy said...

My dad was a teacher. He also had time to run a real farm, but it was his own.

Kit said...

There is already far too much cilantro in the world.

Yes.

Bryan C said...

Impoverished parents have such hectic schedules these days, what with rising at dawn and walking from the workhouses to sell pencils and matches in the streets. And these days everyone has a smartphone and nobody's allowed to smoke anymore, so business is terrible.

jcw said...

actually, having taught 8th grade, sending the hormones with legs out to a farm for a year wouldn't be a bad idea...

Carol_Herman said...

NO! Kids should be gardening!

And, has horrible as it sounds, radishes grow so quickly, they're what should go IN, because kids can do it. And, in a few weeks they get to eat them.

Teachers are not expected to garden!

Even parents who come to help, need to leave the activities to the kids. Including having them first get the rocks out.

Why are we requesting this of teachers?

Fred4Pres said...

Having kids do gardens is good for science and biology class, but it requires a teacher (or teachers) willing to integrate it into their ciricculums).

Fred4Pres said...

This is a perfect place for parents to get involved. There are parents in most every class who are master gardeners and who can help both teachers and students.

Gretchen said...

My kids attend a charter school in Verona, and they have a school garden that's incorporated into the curriculum. The kids planted a "Three Sisters" garden of beans, squash and corn (hits social studies), it was tended over the summer by volunteer families, data was collected over the summer which is now being used in math and science, and they are monitoring whether the natural rainfall vs. supplemented watering with rain barrel water leads to more produce, bigger plants, etc... And it ties into the food theme of the first part of the year, since they are harvesting and sampling the veggies.

I don't see this as leftist/enviro-hippie useless knowledge; it's teaching them science, math, agriculture and social studies in one simple plot. The kids really enjoy and take pride in their garden, and our teachers are right in there with the kids.

Fred4Pres said...

Isn't gardening rather limited during most of the school year in Madison, Wisconsin...unless you are teaching the kids to make ice wine.

SGT Ted said...

Thats what gardening becomes when public employees run it.

Carol_Herman said...

In Plant Biology, in college; I remember be given a paper cup with soil. Whatever the seed was ... we placed it into our individual cups. AND, then, as it grew ... the cart with all the cups on it would be wheeled back in. And, it was our job to measure the leaves. What did I get to measure?

Some people got way bigger plants! I just had enough to "measure" to pass the course!

What did I grow? A stem that had three branches of leaves.

Why did I take Plant Biology? Well, I certainly didn't want to dissect a cat! I chose what I could stomach.

Was it fascinating? Yes.

Did my plant count for a grade? I suppose. I was at all my classes. And, nobody's "plant" died. Why was this important? I have no idea.

Everything in school for kids should be a learning experience. Taking them out of their classrooms and then not having what you want them to learn, NOT count towards their grades? I think you'd be missing what kids believe is true about school.

You're eventually going to be tested. You don't need to pay attention to anything that's not going to be on the exams.

Also, because kids forget so much over the course of a year ... some teachers tell them they'll see some old test questions re-appearing. Which keeps them in practice to review what they've learned.

Now? Is gardening being done for "fun?" Kids can find their own "fun."

edutcher said...

Gee, I know of a garden designer with some time on his hands in the afternoon.

Maybe he could help.

jcw said...

actually, having taught 8th grade, sending the hormones with legs out to a farm for a year wouldn't be a bad idea...

That's what Adolf did and all he ended up with was a lot of little baby Aryans.

SukieTawdry said...

AJ Lynch said..."Americorps volunteer"? These volunteers get paid don't they?

Indeed they do. They get college scholarships as well. It costs taxpayers several billion dollars annually to pay these "volunteers."

Fred4Pres said...

Why not have the kids raise chickens. They can collect the eggs from the hens and slaughter the cockrels. Which can then be explored as an analogy/metaphor for how men are treated in modern society.

mishu said...

I seem to recall an article from the Atlantic or somewhere. It discussed the whole garden at the school concept from the point of view of a Mexican immigrant. He leaves a farm in Mexico, drags his family across the desert and gets up early each morning to work for a landscaper just so his kids could go to an American school. What does the American school teach his kids? How to be a farmer.

JackOfVA said...

Of course, a vegetable garden in the front yard landed Julie Bass in trouble - misdemeanor arrest with potential 93 days in jail. http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/local/julie-bass-of-oak-park-faces-misdemeanor-charge-for-vegetable-garden-20110630-wpms

Fortunately the Oak Park DA realized what a fool he would look like in prosecuting the case and dropped the charges. http://www.ecocentricblog.org/2011/08/11/our-hero-julie-bass-outlaw-front-yard-veggie-gardener/

SJL said...

Fred4Pres - I believe the word is curriculum (it's already plural)

Fred4Pres said...

SJL, I need remedial spelling along with fresh cilantro.

Fred4Pres said...

Fred4Pres said...
Why not have the kids raise chickens. They can collect the eggs from the hens and slaughter the cockrels. Which can then be explored as an analogy/metaphor for how men are treated in modern society.

9/12/11 11:37 AM


And how boys are treated in most school districts.

Earth Girl said...

My husband is a an elementary teacher in an urban (high poverty) charter school and he started a garden club AFTER school using his own time and his own money. About 1/3 of his 4th grade class chose to participate in the spring and fall. The kids learned a lot about soils, propagation (seeds, bulbs, division), pollination, etc. Some used a shovel for the first time in their lives. I helped and one parent helped.

I don't understand vegetable gardens at schools, unless you only grow cool weather crops. Who tends and harvests the garden during summer break?

Kit said...

Indeed they do.

So much so, that many that I know are also on food stamps.

Fred - Madison's got a fairly robust summer school program. This may be something that can be worked in there.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I don't see this as leftist/enviro-hippie useless knowledge; it's teaching them science, math, agriculture and social studies in one simple plot. The kids really enjoy and take pride in their garden, and our teachers are right in there with the kids.

Gardening as a learning activity is a great idea. Team it up with some cooking, canning, household budgeting and other skills for living and it would be highly practical and useful.

In our area 4H and FFA are big organizations. Not only gardening but actual farming skills and animal husbandry.

Are there no 4H Clubs or FFA organizations in Madison?

Plus....who puts cilantro on pizza. Yuck!

Václav Patrik Šulik said...

I submit that with all the homework being piled on kids and now the emphasis on doing things which used to be part of home life, it makes more sense to home school.

BTW, I've noticed a lot more gardens in the front yards in the neighborhoods. This is because the front yards tend to be more level, have more sun and are more easily monitored when going to and from work. People are referring to these as "Obama gardens" - Obama supporters say they are following Michelle's example, detractors say it is because they can't afford to feed their family.

Change!

TosaGuy said...

I read an article where this commercial gardener in Minneapolis got kids to volunteer to work at his for-profit veggie farm for free.

It's not slavery if you volunteer, but what if your school voluntells you?

Surfed said...

Tried that at my inner city school. Even had a large greenhouse constructed with all the usual greenhouse amenities (overhead sprinklers, table trays, etc.). Without continuous hourly supervision it turned into a place for teenagers to skip class and have sex, smoke pot and, even worse, smoke cigs. They tore up the place and even ripped out the fruit trees planted outside the building. Now we use it as an ersatz storage shed. Not that they wanted to eat eggplant and greens anyways. Now if we could have just grown pizza and fries....

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Gardening is a learning experience every year.

This year I learned that ONE eggplant plant is more than enough and do NOT ever plant three unless you have a lot of friends who like eggplant.

Surplus eggplant is a worse horror than the dreaded zucchini overflow!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Surfed

This is why we can't have nice things.

Seeing Red said...

Having schools do gardens provides some fresh food for the cafeteria.

If only Federal guidelines would allow that. But they might not.

Pogo said...

The lefties in our town are pushing the stupid "urban garden" concept. Like trains and national health care, it's a form of peasantry that makes their leg tingle tingle tingle.

At the neighborhood meeting I asked what problem they were trying to solve, much as the neighborhood has few apartments and everyone has a yard they could use for a garden if they wanted already.

He mumbled something about feeding the poor.

Notably, the poor purchased none of the available plots. Half went unsold and became weedy.

The Boys and Girls club down the street tried this, but none of the kids would help.

The goddamned proles won't farm like they oughtta!

DADvocate said...

I find it hard to believe that parents in poverty don't have as much time to volunteer as middle class parents. Parents in poverty may feel more entitled to be receiving services than giving them, but that's another story.

As far as volunteer hours go, my kids' school system, which consists of one school at each level received 52,000 hours of volunteer time in 2007. A strong sense of community and a certain amount of competitiveness to be better than those other guys helps.

Chuck66 said...

My school teacher parents used to help my grandpa slaughter chickens. Did it right in the farm yard. Then plucked and cleaned out the chickens in his garage.

I say we do that in school. Take an axe to the chickens heads, pluck them and clean out the bloody cuts right on school grounds. That will be a lesson they will never forget.

t-man said...

Since this is in Wisconsin, wouldn't it be more appropriate for the kids to operate an in-school dairy farm/cheese factory?

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BJM said...

@EDH

Wouldn't it be more educational to load the entire class into a converted Hudson truck with what remains of their possessions and head west on Route 66?

Gah!! No more hippies, please.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Every year at our small country fair the kids in FFA and 4H are judged on the quality of the livestock that they have raised. Lambs, pigs, cattle, rabbits, chickens, ducks.

After being judged and awarded the ribbons there is an auction of the edible livestock,generally the lambs, pigs and cattle. The kids are dressed in their uniforms and walk their animals around the ring and the community bids on the animals. The grand prize winner will get a large amount of money. Sometimes thousands of dollars. The money goes to the kids and most of them put it into their college fund or towards the next year's animal.

Although they know that they are raising the animals for market, quite often you will see some of the younger kids holding back the tears. After all they do get attached to the animals. The older kids, having gotten over the attachment are quite thrilled at the big bucks.

Not all kids are suited for this. My daughter wanted to raise a lamb. After some discussion we determined that she would not be able to 'let go' and with her tender sensibilities would consider the lamb a pet and not livestock. We raised vegetables instead.

Learning experience.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Not all the animals are slaughtered.

Raising a prize bull or cow for breeding can bring the highest value. Same thing for pigs.

BJM said...

@DBQ

Next year try Japanese eggplants, they are considered "gourmet" products and pricey in the markets. Thus the surplus is much easier to palm off and they grill wonderfully.

I had a peperoncini glut this year...pickled a ton of the little suckers and the rest are going to seed.

BJM said...

Raising milking goats would produce food without any slaughter involved and provide manure for the veggie plots. They could make yogurt, chevre and feta cheese to go with the tomatoes, basil and peppers. Sex ed could be worked in too.

The only hitch might be dealing with the FDA's raw milk swat team.

Freeman Hunt said...

Heh. I wonder what my public school friends would say if I said, "We're going to homeschool so that the kids have more time to work on the farm."

Sigivald said...

What am amazing waste of time and effort on pretty much everyone's part.

I trust the schools involved have no difficulties at all getting all the kids to learn what they're supposed to and graduate, right?

Right?

William said...

Pizza should not be politicized. Childhood is a time of innocence. Do we want our children to have such intimate knowledge of the basic ingredients of pizza?

Patrick said...

The Americorp volunteer is a taxpayer funded low wage job that replaced a private business layoff. he makes it easier to keep the job numbers and expectations inflated.

If any of them now drive to the garden they need a commercial vehicle license. /s

ic said...

"The two moved the garden from the back of the school where it often flooded to the front and built 11 raised beds."

A few months ago, a woman was ticketed and fined somewhere in the Land of the Free(loaders) for planting her veggie garden in her front yard. What's the diff?

Will the schools be fined for using child labor in their veggie farming?

Seems it's better for the kids to know farming so they can do their bit in urban farming in places like Detroit. Seems it's the only way most of these kids can do to put food on their tables since most of them are unlikely to get a paying job in Obamaland.

Fred4Pres said...

As part of the education process the children should also castrate young calves with rubber bands and watch their testicles shrivel and fall off after two weeks (that is how they do it now). Then when the calves are fattened up a bit on the school lawn, they can be shipped off to the feed lot and slaughter house and the kids can track the calves process still they are turned into delicious steaks. Then they can serve the meat in the school cafeteria. It is a good analogy/metaphor for how men and young boys are treated by society.

Will Cate said...

Oh well... gardening is talent everyone will need to possess with civilization collapses.

Fred4Pres said...

Will Cate, and husbandry too.

Alex said...

What happened to teaching about the soil and animal husbandry? Those are worthy subjects along with the typical academic stuff.

Peter said...

Perhaps it’s time for NCTM to add some teachable moments to vegetable gardening?

After all, there’s no reason to just teach math when you can teach math-flavored enviroganda.

This is from NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) Website, http://illuminations.nctm.org/LessonDetail.aspx?ID=L210
“Math Content
In Aluminum Cans, students will:
• gather and graph data about aluminum can use
• interpret data, including figuring and displaying the mean of a set of data
• develop a plan for future actions
In How To Bag It?, students will:
• discuss the pros and cons of kinds of shopping and grocery bags
• gather data
• make and interpret a graph
• develop a recycling plan
In Plastic Packaging, students will:
• gather data about plastic container recycling
• graph the data and interpret graphs
• develop a recycling plan”

Grandma Bee said...

Good observations, Dust Bunny Queen!

Yes, there is 4H in Madison.
http://fyi.uwex.edu/dane4hyouth/
Check it out.

Twenty years ago, when the original Glendale Garden was active, our family lived right over the fence from it. At that time, the complex immediately to the east had not become Gentrified and Condominiumized. It was mostly Section 8 housing, and allowed large families. When all 54 units were full, it held 200 people under age 18. There were a lot of kids in that neighborhood who were hungry. My husband and I spent a lot of time and energy helping out over there, and we put in a LOT of volunteer time at Glendale while our kids were there.

When the middle class kids who'd signed up to work the garden over the summer got bored and didn't show up, kids from that complex worked and were absolutely thrilled to bring home the fruit of their labor. I remember one proud nine year old carrying a full sack of cucumbers.

The project died in 1993 because the teachers who started it went on to different schools, and the rains we had in 1993 swamped the garden completely. I am delighted to hear that they moved the garden to a drier location.

There is no better way to teach the connection between hard work and food than a garden. This project is a blessing, not some fad or hippie brain wave.

The new principal has just moved to Glendale from our school district, and I have high hopes for Glendale. They've got a winner. I look forward to hearing the progress that the school makes.

Quit beefing, roll up your sleeves, and find something useful to do in your own local school. I'm tutoring. What can you do?

carrie said...

At what point in elementary school does math class become more complicated than just counting? I would think that that happens in first grade now that we have 4 year old as well as 5 year old kindergarten. The liberals are intent on turning America into a cottage industry based economy. Nothing gets more praise from the liberals than growing your own food, community farms and similar endeavors--that sure makes us competitive in the world marketplace. I love gardening and we have a huge vegetable garden, but gardening is a hobby not an academnic endeavor and wasting elementary school students' math time on gardening is not going to help them compete with Asians.

glenn said...

This is always a problem with lazy people. They never have time to do anything. If you need something done ask the busiest person you can find. They'll figure out a way to fit you in. The lazy ones just make excuses*


*Based on a 50+ year life getting prople to do stuff. That actually created wealth.

Class factotum said...

In How To Bag It?, students will:
• discuss the pros and cons of kinds of shopping and grocery bags
• gather data
• make and interpret a graph
• develop a recycling plan


Will this section also include a unit on not packing the peaches at the bottom of the bag where they get crushed by the 28-oz can of tomatoes?

Freeman Hunt said...

What else are they supposed to teach them? With constantly rising test scores despite the large gap between the top-scoring United States and all other countries, they have to find something for the children to do. When you're ahead forty points in the game, the polite thing to do is stop scoring.

Alex said...

Freeman - American students are doing the worst in the developed world when it comes to math.

carrie said...

See this link for the USA math scores http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trends_in_International_Mathematics_and_Science_Study

Julie C said...

Each one of the schools in our district has a garden (3 elementary and 1 middle school). The middle school garden is quite nice, fenced, with raised beds and a source of water. Many different classes utilize the garden (math, science, and Foods). It is maintained by one of the school clubs and supervised by a couple of teachers. During the summers, parents volunteer to manage the gardens at each school for a set period of time. Our middle school even got a grant from some rich person who believes in all that sustainability and local growing stuff.

But I live in a fairly well-off community and I could definitely see how in a lower-income area you could have a) burnt out teachers with enough problems on their hands that a garden is just more than they could handle and b) parents without the interest to sustain such a project.

We have the opposite - teachers and parents who are so into the whole eco-thing you can't beat them off with a stick. I love to grow vegetables so I am fully supportive of the garden, even if I haven't been partaking in the sustainability koolaide (or hemp juice).

denmotherblog said...

Compulsory gardening for minors. Where's Cesar Chavez when you need him?

dbp said...

All students and teachers will happily work in glorious state gardens!

Lonetown said...

Maybe in those lower income areas the lack of parental involvement has more to do with what is being grown than in available time.

I can think of a crop that would bring them in.

Fred4Pres said...

Let's march the children out the collective farms under the direction of Madam Michelle. Long live the Glorious Revolution!

David said...

"Schools with high poverty rates where parents don't have the time . . . "

If you are impoverished in Madison you are much more likely not to have education or motivation than time. There are poor parents who are time pressed, just as there are middle class parents. But a major problem with impoverished parents is that they don't involve themselves in their children's education.

This is a very uncomfortable fact, but you can't change things without facing uncomfortable facts.

Smilin' Jack said...

Teachers don't need to go out and dig in the garden; they can simply hold math class among the tomatoes to get students thinking about the environment and being outside, he said.

Because we certainly don't want students thinking about math in math class.

Suddenly, they want you to be a farm worker!

After being educated by teachers like that, what else could you be?

Smilin' Jack said...

"School garden organizers around Madison say running a garden is not without its challenges, and one of the biggest is getting teachers involved."

Actually, I would have thought the biggest challenge is that the place is frozen solid for the entire school year.

Craig said...

On average they will have more flexibility with their job schedule to get time away, or will be more likely to have a stay-at-home parent, and less likely to have a single-parent household.

That's funny. My first thought was that people on welfare have all the time in the world. Now, I am aware of the working poor, but, please, let's not forget the welfare recipients. And, just to be really annoying, I would expect that the welfare people would be among the last to show up for garden work anyway.

There is a reason they're poor, you know.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

I just have a problem with underdeveloped feel-good projects and compulsory menial work.

Amen to that! We farm for a living and donate young vegetable plants to several school garden projects.

The single really successful project wanted to purchase seedlings. The students work in the gardens all summer and take the produce to the local farmers' market.

Proceeds cover the following year's costs, and the intention is to get the 'business' to the point it can pay a modest wage to its workers.

Students are learning where veggies come from, how they're grown and harvested, and what bloody hard work it is. More importantly, they're learning what it takes to develop a self-sustaining business.

Sadly, it is but one of five, and Ann's point is decidedly germane to the other four.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

mishu,

You mean Caitlin Flanagan's "Cultivating Failure":

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/01/cultivating-failure/7819/

Opening graf:

Imagine that as a young and desperately poor Mexican man, you had made the dangerous and illegal journey to California to work in the fields with other migrants. There, you performed stoop labor, picking lettuce and bell peppers and table grapes; what made such an existence bearable was the dream of a better life. You met a woman and had a child with her, and because that child was born in the U.S., he was made a citizen of this great country. He will lead a life entirely different from yours; he will be educated. Now that child is about to begin middle school in the American city whose name is synonymous with higher learning, as it is the home of one of the greatest universities in the world: Berkeley. On the first day of sixth grade, the boy walks though the imposing double doors of his new school, stows his backpack, and then heads out to the field, where he stoops under a hot sun and begins to pick lettuce.

Lede grafs do not get any better than that.

Mind you, I'd take learning how to grow food over much that passed for teaching in my own high school.

Ralph L said...

A group is turning a derelict farm near my office into a market garden maintained by mentally-challenged adults, but for now they're mostly working on weekends. There's a mobile home and an old barn, but eventually they hope to have housing on the property. I assume they're getting govt money.

Synova said...

They never mention the biggest challenge...

The growing season is primarily summer vacation.

Paddy O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Haz said...

I thought unions stood against subjecting children to forced labor at little or no pay. Wasn't that one of the reasons the whole union thing happened back when?

Why to WEAC/MTA teachers want vegetables produced by free child labor? Doesn't anyone in Madison remember Cesar Chavez?

No justice, no peas!

Michael Haz said...

Children should be taught how to brew beer. They'd be more interested, and it's a life skill.

AlphaLiberal said...

Just popping by, coincidentally after seeing this story linked at DailyKos:

High school and middle school classrooms must be cleaned within 15 minutes of dismissal. That can cut into time teachers set aside to meet with students. According to a cleaning manual the district distributed to teachers, if the rooms are not swept “room numbers will be logged and reported to respective principals.”

“If a student comes in the middle of your sweeping, you either have to say. ‘No, I can’t help you,’” she said, or stop and risk that it will not get done in time.

jamboree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loggerhead said...

"Teachers don't need to go out and dig in the garden; they can simply hold math class among the tomatoes to get students thinking about the environment and being outside, he said."

Shouldn't the goal of math class be to get students thinking about math?

Freeman Hunt said...

Freeman - American students are doing the worst in the developed world when it comes to math.

Therein lies the joke.