So now the Right Wing Peanut Gallery has something to say about school gardening programs.
Its spokesperson is Caitlin Flanagan, a contributing editor and book reviewer at The Atlantic Monthly.
Chef and author Alice Waters started ESY in 1995 on a one-acre empty lot near Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, CA. ESY and gardening programs like it have been adopted by many public schools across the country ever since. In 2008, for example, 3,849 out of 9,000 California schools used ESY, says Flanagan in her recent Atlantic article.
Flanagan objects to school gardens because they take time away from the academic subjects, which causes students to do poorly on their standardized tests and thus subjugates underprivileged youngsters to failed, impoverished lives as adults.
While Flanagan doesn't totally dislike gardening programs, she maintains they should be held after school. Then in an interesting twist, she venomously chides not Waters but the California Department of Education "for allowing these gardens to hijack the curricula of so many schools." And they do this without a single study verifying that garden programs help students pass standardized tests in English and math.