"L.A. schools' healthful lunch menu panned by students"
December 27, 2011
Very interesting. Closely resembles my older daughter's experience teaching in a D.C. middle school, even to the derogatory phrase, "It's nasty."
Amanda Marcotte at Slate identifies, from the article, one possible reason for the puzzling behavior:
One problem is that it's simply easier to make edible junk food than edible healthy food. Anyone can deep fry a hunk of low-grade meat and pass that off as food kids will like. The kids, however, don't appreciate a pad Thai that's got the same sad near-food feel that school lunches have had since the beginning of time. Kids who reported liking the foods at the taste tests conducted over the summer are now complaining that the food is soggy and watery. Soggy and watery are easy to overcome qualities if food is also salty and deep-fried, but not so much when it's a pile of veggies and noodles.
Megan McArdle argues, interestingly, that it's just one more example in a long-running series.
This is one more installment in a continuing series, brought to you by the universe, entitled "promising pilot projects often don't scale". They don't scale for corporations, and they don't scale for government agencies. They don't scale even when you put super smart people with expert credentials in charge of them. They don't scale even when you make sure to provide ample budget resources. Rolling something out across an existing system is substantially different from even a well run test, and often, it simply doesn't translate.