who should control students’ lunches–school or parents?

     Since I had several items over the last few weeks about the brouhaha in Chicago, IL, over a school prinicpal who banned sack lunches from home, I thought that I would share this item as well.

     Rich Tucker, a communications professional and a columnist for Townhall.com, had an item on Apr. 29, 2011, entitled “Is Government Protecting Us or Limiting Us?”

     He began, “Children learn a lot in school. Maybe more than we intend to teach them. CNN recently reported: “One Chicago public school is telling students they can either eat cafeteria food or ‘go hungry.’” No homemade lunches will be allowed without a medical excuse.

     “The goal is to make certain children eat well. But that needs to be a parent’s job, not a school bureaucrat’s job. This school is teaching kids that they aren’t capable — and that their parents aren’t capable — of making sensible decisions about something as fundamental as what they eat.”

     You can read the rest of the article at:


Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, Willow Springs, IL

The “Little Red Schoolhouse” Nature Center 9800 Willow Springs Road, Willow Springs, IL 60480, is part of the historic past of Palos Hills in which it is more or less centrally located. Before the written history of man, Indian hunters followed the receding glacier that once covered northern Illinois. In 1804, there were two Indian villages near here.  The school was built in 1886 to replace a one-room log cabin school — the first school building of the area. The Little Red Schoolhouse was originally located a little north of where old 99th Street joins the Black Oak Trail. In 1932 the school house was moved to Boy Scout Camp Kiwanis, and classes continued in this building until 1948. In 1952 it was moved to Its present site.  In 1955 its doors reopened as a school, but in place of the three R’s, fascinating stories are told to children and grown-ups who visit here, stories about forest preserve plants and animals and the earth of which they live.  Fifty years ago Longjohn Slough was merely a wet prairie where farmers cut wild hay.  The land on which the schoolhouse now stands was a fruit orchard planted in 1906.   All groups of 15 or more must arrange dates and make reservations by telephoning the facility at (708) 839-6897.  For general information, call the Resource Management Department at (708) 771-1330; 1 (800) 870-3666; TDD# (708) 771-1190.

quote on compulsory education

     Mark McWhorter, a homeschooling father and gospel preacher, sent me the following item on Sat., Apr 16, 2011.
     “Is it not ironical that in a planned society of controlled workers given compulsory assignments, where religious expression is suppressed, the press controlled, and all media of communication censored, where a puppet government is encouraged but denied any real authority, where great attention is given to efficiency and character reports, and attendance at cultural assemblies is mandatory, where it is avowed that all will be administered to each according to his needs and performance required from each according to his abilities, and where those who flee are tracked down, returned, and punished for trying to escape – in short in the milieu of the typical large American secondary school – we attempt to teach ‘the democratic system’?”
     — Royce Van Norman
     Source: “School Administration: Thoughts on Organization and Purpose,” Phi Delta Kappan 47(1966):315-16

     My response:  It’s interesting that at least one person recognizes what the modern school system has become.  As Sean Hannity likes to remind us, the idea that “all will be administered to each according to his needs and performance required from each according to his abilities” is Karl Marx’s very definition of the basis for Communism.  So here is someone admitting that the modern public school system is basically a form of Communism!

OK, we had to get in Bill O’Reilly’s comments about the school lunch issue

     In an article on TownHall.com entitled “School Lunch Madness,” Bill O’Reilly weighed in on the issue of the Chicago school which forces children to buy school lunches rather than bring their own if they want to eat.   

    He noted: According to an article in The Chicago Tribune, my standard lunch would not have been acceptable at the Little Village Academy public school in the Windy City. The principal, Elsa Carmona, is quoted as saying that her students can either eat the school cafeteria food or “go hungry.” Wow! Tough dietary deal.

     He continued: Predictably, Carmona’s edict caused an outcry, and now she says she was misquoted by the Tribune. Her lunch opinion is not a mandate, just a suggestion, she insists. But this story is not exactly an analysis of the federal budget. It strains credulity that the Trib got it wrong. What most likely happened is that Carmona took some heat from on high and is backtracking.

     Here are the comments which I especially want to emphasize: “But forcing parents to buy school food is going too far. This is nanny state stuff. I know that under President Obama the nation is heading in that direction, but it is now time to pause and smell the meatloaf.

     “Parents are the primary caregivers when it comes to raising children. The school educates kids, but it has no right to dictate lifestyle choices. If there is a problem that impacts a student’s ability to learn or socialize, the school has an obligation to bring the situation to the parents’ attention. But telling kids what they can eat at lunchtime usurps parental authority.”

     His conclusion: “The government cannot legislate good parenting, even though it has spent trillions of dollars trying.

     “The folks running the Little Village Academy need to wise up about this free society business. In America, we allow freedom of choice. And while kids can’t choose their parents and vice-versa, when it comes to choosing the meal plan, parents should rule.”

     You can read the entire article at:

well, just one more item on the nanny state diet police

     In a 4/13/2011 One News Now item headlined, “Chicago school usurps parental authority”  Bill Bumpas wrote the following:

     In an extreme example of the “nanny state” mentality, a public school in Chicago is forbidding students to bring lunches from home and is ordering them to only eat food from the school cafeteria.

     The principal at Little Village Academy (K-8) on Chicago’s West Side told the Chicago Tribune that making students eat the cafeteria food, unless they have a medical excuse, is intended to protect them from their own unhealthful food choices.  “Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at school,” said Elsa Carmona. “It’s about nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve [in the lunchroom]. It’s milk versus a Coke.”
     While the administrator makes the nutrition argument, former public school teacher Dr. Karen Gushta — research coordinator at Coral Ridge Ministries and author of The War on Children: How Pop Culture and Public Schools Put Our Kids at Risk — tells OneNewsNow it usurps parental authority.
     “It’s another effort to take away parental rights and the right of a parent to make decisions about what is in the best interest for the welfare of their own child, and place that right in the hand of an administrator or some government agent or whomever it may be,” she laments.
     Gushta contends there is a growing effort by government officials to take away rights — all in the name of what is good for us. Parents especially, she says, need to connect the dots and be aware of what could come down the pike. “Today it’s food choices and maybe school choices,” she suggests. “Tomorrow it may be how you choose to discipline your child or where you want your child to attend worship.”
     The Tribune article also points out that the federal government pays school districts for each free or reduced-price lunch served — meaning schools that ban homemade lunches also put more money in the pockets of district food providers.

and one more item on the school lunch controversy

     Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Parental Rights.org on the usurpation of parental authority over children’s lunches at a public school in Chicago.  (I’m so glad we homeschool–we can eat bonbons for lunch in our jammies if we want to!) 

What’s for Lunch? And Who Decides?

     By now you’ve probably seen the Chicago Tribune story about the Chicago public school that doesn’t allow students to bring lunches from home. One parent explained the issue thus: “when they bring the food from home, there is no control over the food.”

     But there is always control over the food. The only question is, “Who is doing the controlling?

     At Little Village Academy, a public school in Chicago, the answer is Principal Elsa Carmona, who six years ago decided lunches from home must be banned. “Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” Carmona said. She has obviously never met my wife – or any one of countless other moms and dads who go to great lengths to see that their children stay healthy and properly fed.

     “This is such a fundamental infringement on parental responsibility,” said J. Justin Wilson of the Center for Consumer Freedom, as quoted by the Tribune. And we heartily agree. But we are not surprised.

     In 2005 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Fields v. Palmdale School District determined that a traditional fundamental parental right “does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door.” (427 F.3d 1197, 2005) So, in Chicago the school can mandate that parents shell out $2.25 daily for a child’s lunch or let their child go hungry.

     Where will the madness end?

     Passage of the Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is a good place to start. By restoring the traditional standard of fundamental parental rights, we can begin once again to empower parents to make the good, healthy decisions for their children that they are currently not allowed to make. We believe, as the Supreme Court once said, that “[t]he statist notion that governmental power should supersede parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and neglect children is repugnant to American tradition” Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584 (1979).

     And that includes deciding what’s for lunch!

more on the Food Nazis

     On TownHall.com this morning, Marybeth Hicks had another article on the decision of a Chicago public school principal to forbid children from bringing their own lunches because, evidently, she believes that the nanny state knows what’s better for children than their own parents.  Apparently, this has been going on for six years, and nobody has said much about it until now when a group of students and parents have finally started questioning it.

      The article, titled “Menu is Mandated at the Nanny Cafe,” begins,  “The school lunch debate took center stage this week with a Chicago Tribune story about a public school on the city’s West Side that prohibits children from bringing lunches from home.”

     Marybeth rightly noted, “It’s not the role of a public school principal to decree what her students may and may not eat. In fact, even the less-stringent policies convey a growing and disturbing trend among educators and others toward meddling in parents’ decisions.”

     She contined that she was troubled by “the underlying belief that prompts such policies — that some parents simply are incapable of making wise decisions on behalf of their children, even about what to feed them for lunch.”

     She concluded, “Ah, but the road to tyranny is paved with good intentions. The folks who advocate such mandated programs always pitch what sounds like an irrefutable argument: The school (read: government) must step in for our children’s health and wellness.  Today, it’s required school lunches and body-fat analyses in countless school districts. Tomorrow, who knows what parental rights will be usurped in the name of healthy children?  In a free society, the most we can do is teach and encourage parents to make healthy and wise choices on behalf of their children. Information, “peer pressure” and a healthy school community will do far more to influence parents’ behavior than forced solutions from the powers that be.  Anyway, disempowering parents simply won’t work. As the students at Little Village Academy know too well, when it comes to feeding our nation’s children, the “Nanny Cafe” doesn’t come close to homemade.”

     You can read the entire article at:


the Gastronomic Gestapo rears its ugly head again

     Since we live about 100 miles from St. Louis, MO, my computer home page has news headlines from there.  This morning, there was one entitled “Should a school ban kids from bringing their lunches? ”  Amanda St. Amand, a writer for the St. Louis Post Dispatch began, “Talk of the Day was already written when I came across an article in the Chicago Tribune that left me speechless.”

     She said that at one public school, at least, children are not allowed to bring their own lunches from home. Unless they have a medical excuse, they must eat the food served in the cafeteria.  Quoting from the Chicago Tribune, she noted that the principal at the Little Village Academy, is Elsa Carmona:

     “Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.

     “Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” Carmona said. “It’s about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It’s milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception.”

     Carmona said she created the policy six years ago after watching students bring “bottles of soda and flaming hot chips” on field trips for their lunch. Although she would not name any other schools that employ such practices, she said it was fairly common.

     A Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman said she could not say how many schools prohibit packed lunches and that decision is left to the judgment of the principals.”

     St. Amand reacted by saying, “We all know there are kids and parents out there who might throw a Twinkie and a Coke in a bag and call it good. But is a school going too far by saying kids can’t bring a lunch from home? What about your experience with school lunches; did you pack or buy? What about your own children? And aren’t there parents out there, like me, who knew they were saving money and providing their child a healthier lunch than what they would otherwise eat?”

      You can read the entire article at:


     Interestingly enough, also this morning at TownHall.com, Kyle Olson had an article, “Chicago Kids: Get Your Hands Off My Lunchbox!” about the same subject, beginning, “No wonder Chicago Public Schools have a dropout rate near 50%: now the government school system is telling kids what to eat.”

     My thinking is that this is just another attempt by the left, who think that they know better how to run everyone’s lives than even the people themselves do, to control people’s lives.  This gets to the question as to who should direct the upbringing of children–the parents or the state (through its representative, the public school system).  And, of course, the leftist elite in this nation come down on the side of the state every time!

     Olson commented, “The last thing failing schools should be worrying about is what kids are eating for lunch. With miserable track records at educating children, how can we expect them to get nutritional needs right?

     “Government schools do not run our lives. Some things should still be sacred including, yes, a home-packed lunch.

     “This is further proof that government-run education is failing and it’s why kids are leaving it in droves for educational options that work.”

     You can read Olson’s entire article at:


     Homeschoolers don’t have to worry about the Gastronomic Gestapo telling them what they can and cannot eat for lunch. (At least yet!)

I’m back (hopefully)

     I have not been posting in this blog for some time (although I do post regularly at my Home School Book Review blog, http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolbookreview ), primarily because we have been moving over the last month or so, and I have been extremely busy with that as well as making trips to South Carolina to see about my late father’s property to get it ready for putting on the market and also bringing some things back here.

     I have been working on a series of talks, some of which I have given at homeschool support group meetings and homeschool camps.  I am available to give them at homeschool support group meetings or other special events, and even at conferences.  Here is a list with some descriptions and outlines.

     1. “Why Homeschool?”  What are some of the reasons that are propelling more and more families into this adventure?  Being reminded of why we do what we do will help us when the going gets a little tough or we become discouraged. Here are some of the reasons:

I.  Some homeschool because they feel that the classroom model of instruction is inherently wrong.

II. Some homeschool because they feel that they can provide a better education than the public schools do.

III. Some homeschool because they do not want their innocent children to be exposed to the humanist-socialist-elitist-leftist asgenda that seems to control much of what is done in public schools today.

IV. Some homeschool because they do not want their children to be “socialized” during their most formative years with the wrong crowd.

V. Some homeschool because they just want their children to be safe.

VI. Most who begin homeschooling for whatever reason continue to do so because they find it a welcome return to family-oriented and parent-directed education. 

     2. “Advice for Homeschooling Dads.”  As a homeschooling father, I feel a passion to help other homeschool dads to become more involved in their children’s education and to be more supportive of their wives’ efforts.  Here are some of the suggestions that I have for homeschooling fathers along with advice for how to accomplish these goals:

I. Exercise godly leadership in the home

II. Support your wife in fulfilling her homeschooling responsibilities

III. Recognize the importance of nurturing and protecting children

IV. Assist children in preparation for life skills

V. Be a good example to your children

VI. Strive to maintain effective but loving discipline in the home

(includes my list of “Ten Things that Homeschool Dads Can Do with Their Children”) 

     3. “How Should We Then Teach?”  This is not a discussion of methods or curricula.  Taking the thought from Francis Schaeffer’s famous book, we shall look at the importance of approaching all subjects, and education in general, from a Judaeo-Christian or Biblical worldview.   There will be suggestions as to how to approach from a Biblical worldview the following subjects:

I. Reading/Literature

II. Grammar

III. Mathematics

IV. Science

V. “Social studies” (history/geography)

     4. “What Kind of Literature Shall We Choose?”  As a professional reviewer of youth literature, I have read all kinds of books intended for young people.  Do we want our children reading that which is exciting but worldly? That which is “godly” but insipid?  Or are there other choices?  What the world considers great is not necessarily what God considers good.  I discuss several issues related to this choice.

I. The different methods available to choose reading material

II. How to determine the worldview of a book

III. Some suggestions on how to decide what to read 

     5. “Homeschooling: Is It Worth It?”  A look at the benefits of homeschooling that is designed to encourage us to keep on keeping on.

I. Family cohesiveness

II. Opportunity of discipleship

III. Seeing God’s hand in everything

IV. Protection

(Ends with my own story of encouragement, “The Parable of the Homeschool Family; or Is It Worth It?”) 

The above are the presentations that I have been developing.  However, I have also given the two following presentations that can be adapted to homeschooling in churches.

      Dangers Facing Our Society: Why It Is Important for Godly Parents to Consider Homeschooling

One reason why many choose to homeschool is that today, our society in general, and especially those who wish to be followers of Christ, face various dangers in the spiritual realm resulting from prevailing attitudes and philosophies in our culture that have had a definite effect on our public schools and may affect the thinking of our children.  This lecture looks at a few of them.

I. Subjectivism and relativism

II. Modernism

III. Immorality

IV. Materialism

V. Multiculturalism

VI. Indifference 

     The Adventure of Homeschooling

We recognize that God has given parents, not the government, not public schools, not even the church, the responsibility of raising children.  Homeschooling is where parents take primary responsibility for the education of their children.  Raising children and educating them at home can be viewed as a chore or as an adventure.  This presentation looks at some of the goals parents pursue in the adventure of homeschooling in addition to learning how to read, write, and cipher.

I. Spiritual life

II. Family life

III. Social life 

     Homeschooling Methods

This is a presentation that I used to give each year at our annual “New Homeschoolers” seminar with the St. Louis Homeschooling Activities, Resources, and Encouragement (SHARE) support group in St. Louis, MO.  There is really no “right way” or “wrong way” to homeschool.  Every family is different, and the beauty of homeschooling is that each family can choose the method and curriculum that best suits its needs.  If you are considering homeschooling or just getting started, here is some information about homeschooling methods that you might find useful.

I. The “traditional” or “scope and sequence” method,

II. “Distance” homeschooling

III. The “living books” or “habitual” method  based on the writings of Charlotte Mason

IV. The “classical” or “trivium” method

V. The “project” or “integrated” method, also known as “unit studies”

VI. The “principle” method

VII. The “environmental” or “unschooling” method, also called “invited learning”

 VII. The eclectic method that may use several of these

     And I am currently working on one with the tentative title, “How to Introduce Your Children to the Great Music of Western Civilization, Even If You Don’t Know a Treble Clef from an Eighth Note.”

     If anyone is interested in my presenting these things at your event, you can contact me at wswalker310@juno.com .

     Oh, by the way, you can find my speaker’s profile at The Old Schoolhouse Speakers Bureau: http://www.homeschoolspeakers.com/search/?name=Wayne+Walker&state=AL&searchby=name&x=36&y=12

5 reasons why we homeschool


By Wayne S. Walker

     Everyone who homeschools has certain reasons why they do so.  Some of those reasons may pertain to educational philosophy, safety, or plain practical matters.  I would guess that everyone who does not homeschool also has reasons why they do not do so.  Here are five reasons why we homeschool.

1. Because we want to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

     God ordained the family relationship as He did and gave children parents for several specific reasons, one of which is for parents to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).  This means that parents have the responsibility to train their children to know the Lord and His ways (Proverbs 22:6).  In years gone by, it was possible for parents to do this while still sending their children to public schools because the schools were viewed as “in loco parentis” and worked together with parents in training children.  But now we have judges who declare that once children step over the school door threshold parents have no say in what they are taught.  It is no wonder that homeschooling is growing by leaps and bounds.

2. Because we want to give our children a godly education.

     The McGuffey Readers, which were used in public schools in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, used scripture and Biblical principles to reinforce their lessons.  These same principles formed the basis for our Western Civilization.  However, today the Bible and teaching about God’s will for mankind are not welcome in public schools.  Sometimes people say, “Send them to school to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic, and then teach them the Bible at home and in church.”  If it were only that simple!  The fact is that there is no such thing as “neutral” education.  If reading, writing, and arithmetic, etc., are not taught in the context of a Biblical worldview, then they are meaningless and, in fact, become vehicles to inculcate a non-Biblical worldview.  In homeschooling, we can teach our children what they need to know from God’s vantage point.

3. Because we want to protect our children.

     School shootings, drugs on the playground, and teachers who sexually abuse students are in the news.  Of course, these kinds of problems can happen anywhere, but the last place they should happen is at school.  But beyond the need for physical protection, Bible-believing parents also want to protect their children from the kind of humanist indoctrination that often occurs in science classes where evolution is taught as a fact, in sex education classes where traditional morality is ridiculed, and even in literature classes where students are required to read books with filthy language and evil behavior.  “Sheltering” children has gotten a bad name, but it should not.  We do not let young children play out in busy streets or under the sink with harsh chemicals until they are ready for those situations.  We want to protect them from physical harm.  Homeschooling helps us protect them from spiritual harm.

4. Because we want to prepare our children to face “the real world.”

     Our desire to “shelter” our children is not to keep them from facing “the real world” but to provide the time for us to guide and direct them so that they can be prepared to face “the real world” when they are ready.  It is not our aim to shut them up in a closet for eighteen years but to use those eighteen or so years instructing them about “the real world” at the times and in the circumstances of our choosing with us at their side to help explain it.  Another analogy that is often used is that gardeners do not immediately set tender young plants out in the ground with exposure to the harshness of weather but allow them to grow strong and hardy in controlled situations, such as a greenhouse or basement nursery, before exposing them to the outside elements.  That is what homeschooling is all about.

5. Because we want to pass on to our children the values that we believe are best.

     One of the current arguments against unregulated homeschooling is that children need to be in school so that they can be exposed to value systems different from those of their parents.  This is folly!  This is madness!  This is insanity!  Thousands of years of human experience demonstrate that God’s way, which puts parents and not the state in charge of raising children, is best.  If parents do not pass on godly values to their children, who will?  Thus, one very important reason why we homeschool is because of what Moses told Israel in Deuteronomy 6:6-7.   “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”  Yes, this is the essence of Biblical homeschooling.

     (taken from Biblical Homeschooling, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biblicalhomeschooling , Feb., 2011)