Saturday, 25 February 2012

Inconsequential Consequences - Healthy Food for Healthy Schools

As someone who has advocated that we have healthy, active kids you may be surprised that I am discussing the downside to the April 27, 2008 Bill8 which forever how we serve food in schools in Ontario.

Well no one will argue that we need to have students make good choices when it comes to eating habits this Bill 8 has had many casualties.

First, many of the food providers are struggling to be profitable or even to break even as students have stopped purchasing in their school cafeteria. For some schools, the local stores have been the benefactors as students flock their instead of purchasing the healthy choices presented to them in school.

Many of the food providers are now questioning whether they can remain in schools - so soon the school cafeteria may be a thing of the past.

Second, and more significantly is the impact to schools and school boards. Many schools used the profits made in their food programs to support the arts and extra-curricular activities - now with little or no profit this is no longer a source of funds. School Boards have lost a funding source which paid for extra things that the funding model did not cover.

So are we really benefitting students when they simply go down the street and make the purchases that we are preventing them from doing in school?
How many programs and extra-curricular events will no longer occur since there are no funds to support these programs and opportunities?

Well I agree that we need students to make good choices when we enforce draconian measures - they simply bypass the system and obtain the 'contraband' somewhere else and so the only ones losing are those kids that benefitted from the profits of our cafeterias and food programs.

And are we teaching them the skills in they go into the workforce or higher education and can make poor food choices - we have all heard of the "freshman 15" brought on by bad food choices.

Sometimes best intentions have inconsequential consequences which don't help kids.

DECA Competition

It was my pleasure to be a judge at this year's Ontario finals for the DECA high school students. As a former coach at the University level, it is interesting to see the High School students and what they bring to the table.

The students were from all over - I was judging the fast food category. The 2nd case was a very difficult case that dealt with hiring older, experienced but unemployed workers over high school students. I was very impressed with the answers that they gave and their depth of wisdom.

If one ever questions the quality of education in Ontario, I would highly recommend becoming a judge as the students were well spoken and poised and gave answers well beyond their age and experience.

I wish those well that go on to Salt Lake, Utah.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

"We're bargaining for students - It's about time"

So one of the challenges whenever it's bargaining time is that management represents management rights and unions are to protect their members' rights.
Who are we bargaining for - we are bargaining for our students and hence the new tag line
"We're bargaining for students - It's about time"

This will be a challenging year as I have never bargained before where really the provincial government is acting on management's behalf and we are a party - not the driver.

We know there probably won't be any monies for raises so what will the issues be? too soon to tell.

The standard asks are more money - less work.

We need to stay focused on our goal which is ensuring every student in Toronto gets the best we can give them.

2012 will be an interesting year!