Today’s lesson: How to NOT answer a question in 140 characters…complete with links, quotes and statistics. That was the main takeaway from today’s Twitter chat that was led by the USDA in regards to the new school lunch rules. (I know, I almost went a day without talking about them, didn’t I?)
From noon to 1 p.m., I sat at my computer (thank you George, for taking an unexpected nap!) and participated in the chat. I retweeted information, I asked questions and I commented on answers…I seemed to have more involvement than the party that was hosting, as did many of the concerned parents, students and citizens that participated.
What did I learn? I learned that we have a long way to go to make improvements. I learned that you can successfully have a non-conversation, not answering questions and referring to links and policy…and never once offer a real solution. I learned that the “science” behind the changes isn’t easy to get to, and that parents are going to have to step it up for awhile.
But I also learned that we have a lot of people supporting change, and that we can work together and make more people aware of the issues that are happening at our schools.
I didn’t expect our questions to be answered, I didn’t expect to feel fine with the whole program after an hour of “chatting.” But I also didn’t expect to feel ignored and for the issue to be sidestepped at every question.
For example, the question was asked, “What about free & reduced lunch students who can’t afford to buy additional food at school?”
The answer was, “Thornton: There are a number of programs available in schools to help meet dietary needs of kids during the school day.“
Later they supplied this link for more information…it just includes the information we already have regarding school lunch, free and reduced-price meals and the school breakfast program. No additional resources, no new snack program, no real answer at all.
That was the way the majority of the hour went.
So where are we now? Well, we’re gaining support, spreading the word and making everyone aware of the short-comings of the new mandates in our lunchrooms. Our schools are being held hostage and our students are paying the ransom.
For more information, check out the Sensible School Lunches Facebook page and browse the information available there. Join in the conversation and share your tips and tricks for getting children the nutrients they need, while working through these restrictions.