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March 3, 2008 / Ben Chun

No Free Lunch

In my freshman class today, I had students read Free Lunch Isn’t Cool, So Some Students Go Hungry. I was mostly interested to see if they thought there was a technological solution to a social problem. But I did ask for them to write about their perceptions of this problem as well, and got a whole range of answers. Here are some choice quotes.

Technology could help by say, ordering food like pizza or heathly food that actually taste good because students hates the taste of school lunches and its always the same thing so students gets tired of eating the same thing.

The lunch is just nasty. And I don’t think that there’s some social thing with eating free lunch. Its just that in elementary school, the teacher leads the class to lunch… but they don’t do that in middle school or high school so we aren’t forced to take their slop.

Has there ever been a time when students thought school cafeteria food was delicious? Probably not. But now, here are some other voices that you didn’t hear from in the NYT article:

I don’t really care. If you can’t even pick up your own school lunch, but you have nice clothes, who cares. People can think what they want. It’s just a matter if you care or not. It’s stupid to care, people need to eat. If kids keep thinking that way, they can just get skinny, not my problem. I get free lunch and I don’t even care if people see me or not. You don’t have to have money to be cool. MONEY ISNT EVERYTHING!.

To me I see no problem with eating a free lunch…do u? I mean if your hungry. Its true sometimes I noe I aint got no money and hesitate to get in line because I don’t wanna get to the front of the line for some nasty food provided by the goverment…mine as well go hungry right? But if its good Ill eat free lunch without a problem, rather then spend my money up everyday.

This next one makes me happy, because it was written by a student who is learning English for the first time this year. I can’t take any credit, really, but it’s cool to see the progress.

I know most students at Galileo do not eat their lunch at school or do not eat school lunch. Someone does not have the free lunch pass, and someone got the free lunch pass but never use it. Someone does not like the school lunch, so they do not eat lunch or buy lunch everyday. Someone does not want to wait for the line, so does not get their free lunch. I think this is an individual problem, so I don’t think technology can solve the problem.

So what am I really doing here? It’s like a current events / freewriting / class discussion mashup. Sorry, I didn’t mean to say “mashup”. I want to generate writing, encourage reading, but always focus on analysis. I’m not sure if I’m succeeding. There are themes, but I try not to bash them about the head constantly with linking everything together. After all, that’s their work! If I do it for them, it’s like taking away the toy and playing with it for them. Doesn’t accomplish much. I wonder what else this kind of writing can turn into, aside from an essay. Should I assign them to write blog posts? Or is that just way too trendy?

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