Just as we released our 3rd and final (for now) episode on school lunch, The Courier-Journal was just beginning to release their own investigative articles on the JCPS school system. Their series of deeply researched articles also comes with a new podcast produced by the newspaper.
Knowing that we could not ignore the work of our local newspaper and the overlapping information we cover in our own series, we decided to read the first article and discuss their findings. Darryl also shares his personal experience in the JCPS school system and how his story aligns with those told in the article.
Not about food, but definitely rooted in history and the ongoing racism our youngest members of society experience in childhood and as new adults.
In the second part of Part3 on School Lunch, we continue our examples of redlining in Louisville, KY. As we mentioned in our last episode, Louisville has a “rich” history of redlining and busing, so we decided to stay here and examen the city’s struggle with school integration. Because this is still an issue in our schools today, we will do a short bonus about an article on the continued segregation in our system that just came out in the Courier-Journal.
“In Louisville, housing segregation declined more than 20 percent since 1990, likely contributing to the city’s relative escape of Detroit’s struggles. School integration and housing plans can work together to reduce the dependence on busing for equal education. Louisville leaders offered three exemptions to the busing program: one to already diverse neighborhoods that met the racial balance goals established in the original court order, another to black families who made an integrative move into a predominantly white neighborhood using housing vouchers, and another to neighborhoods that eventually evolved into integrated environments. Although an imperfect plan, failing to prioritize socioeconomic status and overlooking public housing site selection in segregated neighborhoods, Louisville’s exemption policy produced an incentive for neighborhoods to become more diverse. Eventually, this provision ended, but not before the entire program of city-suburban comprehensive desegregation had limited the amount of concentrated poverty in the region and reduced white-flight from the city, stabilizing home values and tax revenues. Parents in Louisville can feel confident that the location of their home will not negatively impact either the resources or the racial composition of their child’s potential school.”
So be sure to tune into our next “Gravy” episode as we analyze this paragraph and discuss the current status of integration in Louisville.
Having too much to say in this episode, we actually broke it into two parts. In the first part of Part 3, Darryl and Kelly talk about the Supreme Court rulings that made school integration mandatory, and the redlining practices that lead to systematic segregation, and eventual busing.
Because this subject matter is so vast, we decided to keep it super-local and stay within the city limits of Louisville, KY, so for those of you from out of town, here is a reference map when we talk school clusters. This map is for elementary schools within the metro area but be aware that Middle and High Schools have separate maps.
In the following episode, we will discuss the history of busing in Louisville, the Supreme Court decision that took race out of the list of factors for busing, and what the current system looks like for Jefferson County Public Schools.
In our second episode on School Lunch, we take a hard look at how the metaphor of a Melting Pot to describe the necessary assimilation of American immigrants, might be a little problematic. The school lunchroom is the place where newly immigrated children were (and still are) introduced to the “American diet”. Where classrooms taught U.S. history and civics classes, the lunchroom taught that stew and cow’s milk was what you consumed to fit in. In evaluating these food choices, we look at food sensitivities across nationalities and how dairy specifically does not fit well into most children’s diets.
We also look at some personal stories of the lunchroom drama that immigrant children have had to deal with and the various reaction their parents had when requesting Lunchables over sticky rice.
There is a quick introduction to school lunch and how an American-born, European immigrant began the first lunch program in his German factories.
We end the episode by giving Darryl a short quiz on school lunches across the globe. If you would like to take a similar quiz and see how you do, you can find the same images he was describing at this website: Name The Countries These Lunches Were Served
Welcome Back to School! (and our podcast) After a much needed break from research, writing, and talking about kind of bummer stuff, we are back and ready to do all these things again. We welcome all of our listeners back with a series about school lunch.
Our series begins with Native American Boarding Schools which parents were forced to send their children to in order to assimilate to White/European culture. From there we examine how the idea of the American Melting Pot used public schools as a tool to assimilate immigrant children. Then we will move on to redlining, integration, the Black Panthers, and the Soul Food movement in schools. Which will bring us to where we are now: the healthy school lunch movement, the Hunger-Free kids act, and COVID’s impact on school lunch.
With our first installment, we follow the history of Native American education by colonists, churches, and the U.S. government. Off-reservation boarding schools became very popular after the Civil War as a way to forcibly assimilate indigenous cultures. We look at how this movement created generational trauma for students and their families, changed their diets in harmful ways, and taught skills that were useless in their own culture.
We’re glad to be back and excited for this deep dive as we enter our second year of working on this podcast. Thank you to each person who has followed us and continues to support our work. We couldn’t do this without you.