Another Distraction from the Hard Work of Teaching

Coming soon: Halal nachos? Image credit: “9 fun new K-12 school lunch menu items kids will devour

by James A. Bacon

A horrifying percentage of Virginia public school children may be functionally illiterate, but never fear, Governor Ralph Northam has a new plan to help them. He has announced the formation of a task force charged with identifying “best practices” for implementing culturally and religiously inclusive school calendars and school meals.

“When our school environments reflect the history, values, cultures, and traditions of the communities they serve, our students are better positioned to learn and thrive,” Northam said in a press release.

Yes, you read that right. Northam is justifying the initiative on the practical grounds that it will help children “learn and thrive.”

I’m sure the kids are looking forward to eating  pizzas, tater tots and nachos that have been rendered kosher and halal. But will they learn more? Put another way, is there any research that current nutritional standards inhibit children from mastering the three Rs? No, there isn’t — at least none was alluded to in the Governor’s press release.

The main non-Christian religions in Virginia are Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. Of the four, three (Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism) are practiced mainly by immigrants from Asia. All other things being equal, one would predict that the deleterious effects of refraining from eating taboo foods and of skipping school for holy days would fall upon Americans classified as Asian.

But as we all know, Asians as a group outperform Whites, Hispanics and Blacks in their Standards of Learning (SOL) test scores. The pass rate for English is 89% for Asians — higher than the 85% rate for Whites, 67% rate for Hispanics, and 61% for Blacks. If culturally insensitive calendars and school food interfere with academic performance, Asian kids seem to have no problem dealing with the challenge.

There is a case for making reasonable accommodations for religious minorities, but it’s a values-based one. The needs of religious minorities should not dictate school policies, which are built around the needs of the majority, but they should be respected and allowances should be made when the views are genuinely held. (Sorry, no accommodations for adherents of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster). That’s exactly what the Fairfax County School Board has done, and I expect many others have as well. These issues are best dealt with at the level of classrooms, schools, and school districts.

The way for schools to become engines of “social justice,” as Northam purportedly desires, is to do what they were set up to do — teach kids how to read, write, calculate, communicate, and think clearly. The system is manifestly failing tens of thousands of children. Instead of fixing the real problem, Northam and Secretary of Education Atif Qarni are implementing a left-wing “diversity, equity & inclusion” agenda that chases will-o-the-wisp racism.

Let teachers, principals and school boards work out the religious accommodations, Governor, and focus the “best practices” on teaching kids to read.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


15 responses to “Another Distraction from the Hard Work of Teaching”

  1. Maybe more sushi and bat or pangolin tacos will improve the test scores? We should give it a try.

  2. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
    Baconator with extra cheese

    I would love to see the most liberal of liberals square the circle when it comes to Halal foods in the schools.
    They explode when anything is fundamentalist Christian but seeming fawn over anything fundamentalist Muslim.
    I’m also waiting for the fundamentalist Muslims to have serious pushback on gay-rights and abortions once they reach a critical mass in certain locales. It should be highly entertaining to watch liberals try not to offend brown people who aren’t liberal at their core.

  3. Stephen Haner Avatar
    Stephen Haner

    Clearly a whole host of people employed at the State Department and elsewhere have WAAAAY too much time on their hands, and they don’t know what else more useful to do with it.

  4. LarrytheG Avatar

    and Breakfast too:

    ” Starting the School Day Right with a Healthy Breakfast
    The School Breakfast Program (SBP) provides reimbursement to states to operate nonprofit breakfast programs in schools and residential childcare institutions. The Food and Nutrition Service administers the SBP at the federal level. State education agencies administer the SBP at the state level, and local school food authorities operate the program in schools.”

    Oh, and not Northam but that socialist Federal Govt:

    yep, same old, same old socialism:

    ” The School Breakfast Program was established in 1966 as a two-year pilot project designed to provide categorical grants to assist schools serving breakfasts to “nutritionally needy” children. ”

    geezy peezy – 1966 – imagine that… and CONGRESS – too!

    ” To encourage schools in needy areas to participate, Congress authorized higher federal payments for schools determined to be in “severe need.” During the first year of operation, the SBP served about 80,000 children at a federal cost of $573,000.

    During the next few years, the pilot program was extended several times, and a number of modifications were made to expand the program. In 1971, Congress directed that priority consideration for the program would include schools in which there was a special need to improve the nutrition and dietary practices of children of working mothers and children from low-income families. Even more important, in 1973, the categorical grant reimbursement structure was replaced by a system of specific per-meal reimbursement.”

    1. How is this relevant to the post or any of the comments that preceded it?

    1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      Kids already have mental blocks. It is called Tik Tok.

  5. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    At Briar Woods High in Loudoun I would say a little more than half the kids packed their lunches. The packed lunches looked good too! Many different home cooked ethnic dishes that smelled tasty! The only kids eating the school lunch were the latch key kids and the free reduced lunch kids. A large portion of which went into the trash untouched. I know this from 15 years of lunch duty. Ice cream, milk, and fruit drink sales were strong too.

  6. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
    Baconator with extra cheese

    I can’t wait for someone to have the gonads to end Christmas as a state holiday. I mean Christianity is akin to white nationalism and all.
    I do expect that one day there will be no way to keep up with virtue signaling/ complaints and workers will just be given 10 or so personal days to do with as they please in lieu of holidays.

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Done already. Most schools refer to it as “Winter Break”. Things happen when you’re wide awake too.

      1. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
        Baconator with extra cheese

        The state employee calendar lists it as Christmas. Governor Woke should squash out that white nationalist holiday. Since we’re all in on woke keep the state agencies open on the 25th.
        It’ll be fun to see how woke his employees are when they are counting beans instead of watching their kids opening presents.

    2. but now with Northam’s directive all those religious and cultural holidays will be celebrated.. the Catholic meatless Friday will be replaced with the Saudi ‘Chop Chop Square’ Friday. It was always a fun time for friends and family!!!

  7. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    We Pastafarians are happy that the Catholics willingly gave up meatless Fridays and our kids no longer have to choke down a cheap State approved Gordon’s fish stick knockoff.

    Fish sticks? There’s a joke in there somewhere.

    1. WayneS Avatar

      I didn’t know fish had

  8. WayneS Avatar

    “a task force charged with identifying “best practices” for implementing culturally and religiously inclusive school calendars and school meals.”

    Does this mean no one gets lunch during the month of Ramadan?


Leave a Reply