Commentary

One dumfoundingly simple solution to what ails our schools

There are a lots of ways that we over-think things in the world of education policy and ignore obvious, common sense solutions.

As this article by an NYU doctoral student from the website OZY.com reminds us today, many such solutions are as simple, practical and cheap as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich:

“Many big public schools are overcrowded to the point that students have to stagger their lunches. This means some kids are eating lunch at 10 a.m. and others at 2 p.m. Considering that a lot of these kids skip breakfast, many of them are going eight hours or more without anything to eat. In fact, a 2013 report by No Kid Hungry, a nonprofit working toward ending childhood hunger, found that 73 percent of teachers say they have students who come to school hungry on a regular basis. Feeding America and the USDA report that, in 2012, 15.8 million kids in the U.S. didn’t have reliable access to food. This hunger, combined with the long wait to eat or the very early lunch, has two big impacts on these kids’ lives….

Luckily, it’s a pretty simple problem to solve. When I was a holistic health counselor at a public high school…I asked the guidance counselors to send me students who would regularly either fall asleep or start fights at 10 a.m. or 3:00 p.m. — the hungriest hours. My theory was that these kids were not angry or petulant, but instead were acting out the effects of their hunger. My prescription? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. PB&Js were an easy, delicious and culturally acceptable way to get healthy energy into students who were struggling so mightily against their own biology. While my results were far from scientific, many of the students I worked with ended up with better grades and fewer trips to the counselor’s office.

PB&Js are far from a panacea. A sandwich cannot address the funding issues, crumbling infrastructure or myriad social burdens our schools and students face in their struggle to learn. However, when we don’t give our students enough food to fuel their brains, we set them up to fail. If we are serious about improving educational achievement and ending childhood obesity, we have to make sure our students have the most basic tools they need to succeed, which in many cases might involve peanut butter and jelly.”

Read the entire article by clicking here.

6 Comments


  1. Alex

    December 23, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I’ve seen a lot of crazy postings over the years, but this one tops them all !

  2. ML

    December 23, 2014 at 10:48 am

    More than anything it attempts to show the importance of not only making sure our children have a proper diet but that every child responds differently and requires individualized attention(or the best possible in larger schools. It’s intent wasn’t to say pb&js will solve everything, only to show that there are solutions other than scrapping public schools for vouchers.

  3. LayintheSmakDown

    December 24, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Maybe we need to give them pajamas too!

  4. Alan

    January 1, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I bet all those hungry kids are filthy communists anyway, looking for a guv’mint handout! LOL…

  5. LayintheSmakDown

    January 1, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    That could be the case, I am willing to pitch in some pajamas though.

  6. Alan

    January 2, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Pyjames, not pajames.

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