"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Parents - Are You Really Expecting This?

You know the analogy about battles and the war?  It's true.  Though we may win battles, the war is far from over.

The federal government is determined to get into the lives of the private citizen.  Michelle Obama recently told a cafeteria full of airmen that she was proud of them for eating their veggies. Her visit, as the federal face of healthy eating, was meant to promote the military's new campaign to  get more fruits and "veggies", leaner meats and low-fat dairy products into dining halls, snack bars and school cafeterias on military bases. Little Rock Air Force base's pilot program is just the start. It is a much easier start because the military is actually under the federal government's control. And have no fear, this program will be a success there; not because the healthy foods have winnowed down the weight of the average airman, but because the average airman must meet certain physical metrics in order to be accepted into the program and fit in the tiny cockpit. It seems the First Lady's lack of knowledge of her audience is no different than Marie Antroinette who advised the starving peasants to eat cake.

This food program shows how serious the Federal government is about your health. If you doubt that, consider Mrs. Obama's statement, "It's not just a diet issue, this is truly a national security issue."  You have only to look at the TSA to consider how far the federal government is willing to go to invade your privacy in the interest of national security. Food on military bases is one battle.

A high school student just shared with me this week a website they were told to go on in their health class to calculate their overall health based on input regarding their diet and exercise. The USDA's site is called "Supertracker."  The name says it all. Once registered, you are asked to enter all the foods you ate on a typical day.  You are then asked to input all the activity you did that day.  Each of these screens come with drop down menus with several hundred food and activity options. This is not a superficial, gimmicky, analysis program.  Someone has put a lot of time and effort into creating it.

Once you have entered all that information, SuperTracker provides you a health report detailing how many of your daily calories came from fats and what kind of fats, what you sodium intake is, and how much you need to increase your activity levels.

Even IF the government doesn't use this data to track students individually, they are amassing a lot of conglomerated data on the average teen lifestyle which will just be too tempting to ignore. This data will be combined with that from other government departments (who are all sharing data now) to develop regulations about the foods Americans will be allowed to eat. They are starting in the military and in the military schools, and they will go next to the public schools. They already have a campaign to get schools to change their menus voluntarily. Data like this will be used to justify why they must force those who do not participate voluntarily to comply with regulation in the future.

Of course they will conveniently ignore, for now, the study that said the food served in school has no impact on childhood obesity. The amount of time spent eating and the limited access to food while in school sufficiently curtail overeating, even if the kids have access to candy and soda in vending machines. It's what they eat at home that has far more impact on their weight. The study doesn't help them now when they are trying to control school food, but when they get around to controlling the public food supply, expect this little gem to be trotted out.

What kids do at home is the real data that government is interested in.  Having them use the Supertracker program to self report is one way to get that data.  Using the Polar Fit monitors is another. As I said at the beginning, there are battles and then there is the war. Parkway parents may have won the battle over the PolarFit monitors, but the school is pressing on with the war. Fox 2's You Paid For It producers looked into the financing of the Parkway monitors.  The school system spent almost $40k on the monitors for the elementary schools at a time when the district must cut $9 1/2 million in spending. When asked how they could justify that expense, the Superintendent Keith Marty said, "Parents are  expecting  us to help them and help their children become healthier." (watch the video here and pay attention at 1:04)

Is that the case Parkway parents?  Do you expect the school to help you raise your children?  Are you willing to let them track your child electronically to achieve that goal?  Or is the Parkway Superintendant unclear on the role of the school? The district is working on restarting the PolarFit program, but this time they will seek parental approval to use the monitors. The war rages on.



  1. I would never let my child participate in this program.....EVER! I work in a school, so I will post anonymously.......

  2. I have never liked the word "veggies," I guess I am just not on terms of endearment with foods that contain cellulose.

    But seriously, get your kids out of public school.


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