Table Of Contents
With a common vision of what we would like to see in schools around the country, the discussion moved to presenting what the barriers would be to creating healthy school environments and implementing the USDA HealthierUS Challenge. A particular focus was put on schools serving racial and ethnic minority or impoverished communities, which tend to face the biggest obstacles and the worst health and educational outcomes.
While understanding that the local groups participating in the ALC would identify specific barriers and challenges that we are not able to anticipate, the Advisory Group identified the following general barriers:
- A white culture that is normative and lacks understanding of white privilege dominates schools and school districts, and the larger society. This negatively affects understanding of health and achievement disparities.
- There is a need for more political power (e.g., around Child Nutrition Act reauthorization fight)
- Cultural mindset and overall resistance to change
- Inconsistent messages
- Lost traditions such as family cooking and family dinners. Families are busy and stressed, so time constraints become significant
- Federal policy does not support educating the whole child in an environment of teaching to the test
- There's a gap between theory and teachers' instructional practice
- Teachers are not valued and are judged by standards that do not support the development of the whole child. There is a lack of incentives and rewards for the teachers.
- Current economic structure of school meal programs impedes the use of food service money to promote wellness.
- Fear of growing and cooking food on-site in schools.