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Betsy Combier

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The E-Accountability Foundation announces the

'A for Accountability' Award

to those who are willing to whistleblow unjust, misleading, or false actions and claims of the politico-educational complex in order to bring about educational reform in favor of children of all races, intellectual ability and economic status. They ask questions that need to be asked, such as "where is the money?" and "Why does it have to be this way?" and they never give up. These people have withstood adversity and have held those who seem not to believe in honesty, integrity and compassion accountable for their actions. The winners of our "A" work to expose wrong-doing not for themselves, but for others - total strangers - for the "Greater Good"of the community and, by their actions, exemplify courage and self-less passion. They are parent advocates. We salute you.

Winners of the "A":

Johnnie Mae Allen
David Possner
Dee Alpert
Aaron Carr
Harris Lirtzman
Hipolito Colon
Larry Fisher
The Giraffe Project and Giraffe Heroes' Program
Jimmy Kilpatrick and George Scott
Zach Kopplin
Matthew LaClair
Wangari Maathai
Erich Martel
Steve Orel, in memoriam, Interversity, and The World of Opportunity
Marla Ruzicka, in Memoriam
Nancy Swan
Bob Witanek
Peyton Wolcott
[ More Details » ]
Why Dont Ed Officials Eat The Same Food That is Served in Our Public School Cafeterias?

March 16, 2003
Let the Brass Eat Mystery Meat


To the Editor:

Re 'Naked Lunch: Schoolchildren Grimace and Can't Bear It' (March 9): I started a lunchtime discussion group several years ago at a Manhattan school, and every Monday in the cafeteria for an entire school year I saw the most unappealing, overcooked vegetables and undercooked meat I have ever seen. My fourth and fifth graders traded, bartered free homework help, anything as long as they did not have to eat that 'food,' if that's what it was.

Why not ask the distributors to feed the administration at the Tweed Courthouse before the meals are delivered to our children?

Upper East Side

Here is the NY TIMES article I replied to:


NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: UPPER WEST SIDE; Naked Lunch: Schoolchildren Grimace and Can't Bear It
By DENNY LEE (NYT) 432 words
Published: March 9, 2003

Few would confuse the students at Public School 84 with food critics, but their reviews of the cafeteria are prompting changes.
'Those lunches are nasty!' wrote Amber Bass, a fifth grader at P.S. 84, a largely Hispanic school on West 92nd Street near Central Park West. 'They are all mushy and burnt. I hate those school lunches!'

Another fifth grader described the fare in detail. 'The cheese on the pizza is hard,' Justin Stevens wrote. 'When the lunch ladies serve spaghetti, it is sometimes just sauce. When the lunch ladies cook chicken, it's pink.'

One student even remarked on the service. 'The lunch ladies should be friendly to the kids,' Jeniece Nieves said.

Complaints about burnt pizzas, however, were minor compared with the critiques of the milk. Many students said the milk was served lukewarm and past its expiration date. Cottage cheese, anyone?

'That's outrageous,' said Councilwoman Gale A. Brewer, whose district includes the school and who asked the students to write down their criticisms after a recent field trip to City Hall. 'You have to eat in order to be educated and think.'

In response, inspectors from the Department of Education recently visited the school. They had a different dining experience.

'The school was serving terrific meals,' said David K. Chai, press secretary to Chancellor Joel I. Klein. They also found nothing wrong with the milk. 'We have no reason to believe the school was serving expired milk,' he added.

The visit did uncover antiquated ovens that repeatedly scorched meals. They are being replaced with newer models that have something called a thermostat.

The city's schools serve about 650,000 lunches a day. The food is cooked off site and arrives with heating instructions. A typical meal consists of a hamburger, canned fruit, a pint of milk and a vegetable dish, which often takes the form of French fries.

While the city's school cafeterias rarely evoke culinary rapture, advocacy groups agree that their fare usually surpasses that served in hospitals.

'Everybody likes to bad-mouth school lunches,' said Agnes Molnar, a senior policy fellow for the Community Food Resource Center, a nonprofit group in New York. 'School food programs suffer from not enough money and too much stigma.'


'Kids don't want to be caught dead getting lunch,' Ms. Molnar said, adding, 'If you get a free lunch, you're seen as a welfare kid.'


© 2003 The E-Accountability Foundation