Last week, in the forest of papers the girls bring home from school, there was a postcard with the following information:
Did you know…
- Compared to lunches from home, school lunches contain twice as much fruit.
- It’s cheaper to buy a school lunch than to pack one from home with the same nutritional value.
- Eating school breakfast is associated with improved math grades.
Interesting. I did not know that.
Imagine my surprise to find out that the breakfasts I give my daughters every morning and the lunches that I daily pack apparently are not only substandard, but may be causing them to not do as well as they could in math. I’ll keep that in mind the next time they bring home their straight A report cards.
I was so irked by this that I started laughing. What are they saying? Because of what was written on the opposite side, I think the postcard was a way to inform parents that schools provide breakfast and lunch, adding a dash of assurance that kids will be just fine if parents need or want to feed their children in this way. I think. Or perhaps they’re saying, “Nanny nanny boo boo, we do better than you do.”
The murky message wasn’t the only thing that had my brain twirling. I wondered about the cost of printing and distributing this—6×9, both sides four-color with bleeds, printed on a decent weight cover stock. I assume, but could be very wrong since I never ate breakfast at school and rarely bought lunch there, it was given to students state-wide since it was put out by our fine state’s Department of Education. But even if only our humble county was targeted for spreading the word, with more than 100,000 students, that’s still a few bucks. There must have been a better, cheaper way to share whatever the message was.
Whatever was spent on this postcard probably could have been put to better use somehow—especially when, in our county (whether any money came out of our county’s pocket or not), good programs have been shut down because of lack of funds, many positions in and out of the classroom have been eliminated, and the teachers haven’t had a raise or step increase in the past three or four years.
Not printing this postcard probably wouldn’t have saved any jobs, but in an era of dwindling budgets, these are the kinds of things that need to cause second thoughts. Is this absolutely necessary? What are we trying to say? We know what we’re saying but is the message clear to others? Can we do this in another, less expensive way? Every little bit adds up, one way or another, so maybe this could be one tiny starting spot for shaving unnecessary waste.
Our teachers and kids deserve nothing less, yet so much more.