« October 2006 | Main | December 2006 »

November 29, 2006

Encourage Principals & School Board Members to Support Getting Junk Food Out of Schools

As you know, momentum is building to get soda and junk food out of schools nationwide. One remaining barrier is that many principals, school board members, and other school officials oppose such efforts for fear that their schools will lose revenue. Yet, experience is showing that switching to healthier foods does not have to cause schools to lose money.

We need your help to reach out to school officials to ask them to urge key education organizations (such as the National School Board Association, National Middle School Association, and National Association of Secondary School Principals) to support the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act. (While the current bill is set to expire at the end of 2006, its sponsors plan to reintroduce it in early 2007.)

Please send an email to school principals and school board members in your community by:

1) Locating your local principal’s and school board members’ email addresses, which are often available on school and school board websites;

2) Sending the email message below to those principals and school board members and ask them to sign the form below and email it to

Dana Roberts, CSPI, at droberts@cspinet.org (or they can fax it to 202-265-4954);

3) If you need help identifying local school officials, contact us for assistance: Dana Roberts, CSPI, droberts@cspinet.org or call 202-777-8352.

For more information on the bill, go to: .

To view the bill, go to:

Thank you in advance for your help with this effort.

Suggested subject line for email to school officials: Please Help Improve School Foods

Suggested message for email to school officials:

I urge you to sign the letter below to the National School Board Association, National Middle School Association, and National Association of Secondary School Principals and urge these influential organizations to support the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act. This national bill calls on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to update its nutrition standards, set in 1979, for foods sold through vending machines, a la carte, and other venues outside of school meals to ensure that the standards are consistent with current science and address present-day concerns about children’s diets and health. The current standards no longer make sense. For instance, seltzer water and breath mints may not be sold, but chocolate candy bars and chips may be.

To sign on to the letter, please complete the form below and email it to droberts@cspinet.org or fax it to Dana Roberts at 202-265-4954. (Or you can just send an email to Dana Roberts that includes your name, title, school or school district, city, and state.) Also, please forward this email to other school board members or principals who you think would be interested in signing on. For more information or if you have questions, contact Dana Roberts at the Center for Science in the Public Interest: droberts@cspinet.org or 202-777-8352.


National School Boards Association
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Middle School Association

Dear :

We, the undersigned [school board members/superintendents/school principals], urge the [National School Boards Association/ National Middle School Association/National Association of Secondary School Principals] to endorse the bipartisan, bicameral Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act (S. 2592/H.R. 5167). As education professionals, we value children’s health, and recognize the importance of good nutrition to children’s well-being and their ability to learn.

This bill calls on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to update its nutrition standards, set in 1979, for foods sold through vending machines, a la carte, and other venues outside of meals to ensure that the standards are consistent with current science and address present-day concerns about children’s diets and health. The current standards no longer make sense. For instance, seltzer water and breath mints may not be sold, but chocolate candy bars and chips may be.

While most areas of education are regulated at the local or state level, school food has long been a federal issue. Congress and USDA set detailed standards for school lunches and breakfasts, and the federal government invests $10 billion a year in these programs. In addition, most states and localities leave the development of dietary guidance to federal agencies.

According to USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “students will buy and consume healthful foods and beverages – and schools can make money from selling healthful options.? Their survey of 17 schools and school districts found that, after improving school foods, 12 of the schools and districts increased revenue and four reported no change. One school district initially lost revenue after improving its foods, but later its revenues increased and even surpassed previous levels.

A national poll by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that 90% of parents and teachers support the conversion of school vending machine contents to healthy beverages and foods. The sale of low-nutrition foods in schools undermines parents’ ability to help their children eat healthfully.

Other national education-related organizations, including National PTA, the National Education Association, and the National Association of State Boards of Education, as well as 90 health-related organizations listed below, have endorsed the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act. We urge you to join them in supporting this bill.


Name __________________________________________________________

Title ____________________________________________________________

School or School District ____________________________________________

City _____________________________________ State______________

Organizations that Have Endorsed the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act

American Academy of Pediatrics
American Association for Health Education
American Cancer Society
American College of Preventive Medicine
American Dental Association
American Diabetes Association
American Dietetic Association
American Heart Association
American Medical Association
American Medical Athletic Association
American Medical Student Association
American Public Health Association
American Running Association
American School Health Association
American Society of Bariatric Physicians
Amputee Coalition of America
Arkansas Action for Healthy Kids
Arkansas Chapter, American Academy of
Association of State and Territorial Public
Health Nutrition Directors
California Center for Public Health Advocacy
California Food Policy Advocates
Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and
Community Health
Center for Informed Food Choices
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Children’s Alliance (WA)
Citizens’ Campaign for Commercial-Free
Chronic Disease Directors
Community Health Partnership (OR)
Connecticut Association for Human Services
Connecticut Food Bank
Connecticut PTA
Council of State and Territorial
Department of Health and Wellness, University of North Carolina at Asheville
Directors of Health Promotion and Education
End Hunger Connecticut!
FamilyCook Productions
Fitness Forward Foundation
Florida Introduces Physical Activity and
Nutrition to Youth, Inc.
Food Play
Food Policy Council (MT)
Food Research and Action Center
The Food Trust (PA)
FoodChange (NY)
F.R.E.S.H. New London (CT)
The George Washington University Cancer
Hartford Food System
Healthy Planet, Healthy School Lunch Program
Hunter College of the City University of
New York
Institute for America’s Health
Iowa Dietetic Association
Kentucky School Nutrition Advocates
Kids First (RI)
Maryland Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyle
Massachusetts Public Health Association
Memorial Health Center (WI)
Middlesex Coalition for Children, Task Force
on Childhood Hunger (CT)
Montana Food Bank Network
NAASO – The Obesity Society
National Association of Pediatric Nurse
National Association of School Nurses
National Association of State Boards of
National Council of Jewish Women,
National Education Association
National PTA
National Research Center for Women &
National Student Nurses Association
The New England Coalition for Health
Promotion and Disease Prevention
New York City Nutrition Education Network
New York Coalition for Healthy School
New York State Nutrition Council
North Dakota Dietetic Association
Nutrition Council of Oregon
Oregon Hunger Relief Task Force
Parents’ Action for Children
Physicians Committee for Responsible
Prevention Institute
Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses
Produce for Better Health Foundation
Produce Marketing Association
Samuels and Associates
School Nutrition Association
Share Our Strength
Society for Nutrition Education
Society for Public Health Education
Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and
Activity Environments (CA)
Trust for America’s Health
United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable
United States Water Fitness Association
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences,
Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health
Wisconsin Dietetic Association
Yale University School of Medicine,
Prevention Research Center
Young People’s Healthy Heart Program

November 22, 2006

Learning Circles: Foundation, Theory, and Practice (2 cr)

New course offering Spring 2007!
CI 5900-6 Special Topics in Family, Youth, and Community

Registration #69477
Instructor: Lynn Englund, Ph.D.
Location: 335 Peik Hall
Time: 9am-12:30pm
Dates: Saturday, January 20, February 3, February 17, March 3, March 24, April 14.

Learning Circles are an important pedagogical tool for professionals working with diverse populations in classroom and community-based educational settings. They help individuals and groups deal with issues that can't be resolved solely with technical solutions, prescribed techniques, or new skills. The learning circle process respects participants' diverse perspectives and experiences, and creates opportunities for new growth and action.

Download course flyer

Course Goals
Students will:
* participate in and lead learning circle discussions;
* examine the historical uses of learning circles at Highlander Folk School;
* become aware of adaptive challenges;
* reflect on their experiences with learning circles;
* examine concepts and theories that support pedagogical uses of learning circles.

Lynn Englund has extensive experience using learning circles. Her research explored their pedagogical uses and examined individual experiences of learning circles.

November 17, 2006

National Family Week November 19-25, 2006

November 13, 2006

Confucianism, Education, & Families: Views From Asia

Six Asian and Asian-American graduates of University of Minnesota Family Education programs presented research at an Asian Symposium held November 9. Current and former family education faculty members who taught them are shown in the photo. They are (front, left to right) Dr. Nina Chen, Univestiy of Missouri Extension; Dr. Jane Plihal, faculty; Dr. Luyi Lien, Ying Hua Academy School, St. Paul, Minnesota; (back row, left to right) Dr. Grace Huang, Cleveland State University; Marilyn (Marty) Rossmann, faculty (retired) ; Dr. Jerry McClelland, faculty; Soohong Kim, doctoral student; Dr. Hyejung Cheon, Ewha Wonan's University, South Korea; Dr. Shu Ching Kao, National Chia-Yi University, Taiwan; Dr. Ruth Thomas, faculty.

November 12, 2006

Working Mothers

I have recently become very irritated by the way America treats their parents and children. I am working on a project in my Practice of Parent Education class to design a work site Parent Education course for "Career moms," and have been reading about the history and ideology of the "American Family in my Family Education Perspectives class." Today I watched a story on 20/20 about working mothers and the maternity leave controversy. Can you believe our country has one of the worst maternity leave programs in the world? Here is a quote from ELIZABETH VARGAS, the 20/20 reporter who did this story because of her own balancing struggles..."of 168 countries surveyed in the world, only four offer no national maternity-leave program: Lesotho, Swaziland, Papua New Guinea, and the United States of America." Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn is interviewed in this video because of his work on maternity leave and the family.

If this gets you as fired up as it has me, go to the 20/20 website for stories, video clips, and more about this issue: If you do go to this site you may take notice of the fact that fathers are basically disregarded as having any relation to this issue.

I have a lot of responses to this issue but even more to learn so I would appreciate any conversation, resources, or feedback about this topic. WARNING: watching the 20/20 videos and reading their stories has been known to raise blood pressure.

November 4, 2006

Learning new (blog) tricks

Family, Youth, and Community faculty, staff, and graduate assistants have been given authoring privileges to post new entries to our experimental blog. To demonstrate the "notifications" feature of the blog, they have also been included on the list of individuals who receive an email any time a new entry is posted to the blog.

November 2, 2006

New poster promotes FYC programs

download file
The Department of Curriculum and Instruction has a new poster to promote the department's education programs. Look for it around the University of Minnesota and in schools. Our family and consumer sciences, family education, parent education, and youth development leadership programs are listed.

November 1, 2006

Family and Consumer Sciences Cohort 2006-07

Family and Consumer Sciences initial licensure students Megan Lundberg, Sarah Kjergaard, Jalane Gunderson, Kahla Sparish, and Carly Emil ham it up after their lab management class.