Friday, October 16, 2015

McTeachers Serving Lunch Today

And here I am supposed to be on a diet:

"Nonprofits pressure McDonald’s to end ‘McTeacher’s Night’" by Sacha Pfeiffer Globe Staff  October 16, 2015

Grade papers. Assign homework. Prepare lesson plan. Make Oreo McFlurry.

For some teachers, that’s a real-life schedule one or two days a year, and not because they need a part-time gig to supplement their day jobs.

Although they might based on where they fall in the public $ervice pay scales.

Instead, they’re participants in “McTeacher’s Nights,” in which they “work” at a local McDonald’s for a few hours in return for a portion of that evening’s sales being donated to their schools.

On its website, the fast-food giant describes the fund-raising events — hundreds of which have been held nationwide, including in Massachusetts, for years now — as an opportunity for students and their parents “to see their very own educators serve up hamburgers, fries, and shakes!”

And that, said Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, a kindergarten teacher at the Mission Hill School in Boston, “is disgusting.”

“So much of our work is around teaching children to make good choices and lead healthy lives, and for teachers to be serving McDonald’s is a message that is really confusing,” she said. “It’s an implied endorsement of McDonald’s and all they stand for.”

Confusion and mixed messages are nothing new in corporate-controlled AmeriKa, and then again, it might be better than the school lunch.

McLaughlin’s view is shared by two Boston nonprofits that fight exploitive marketing and launched a national campaign this week to pressure McDonald’s Corp. to discontinue its “McTeacher’s Night” program. Backed by the National Education Association and more than 50 teachers unions across the country, the campaign argues that the fund-raisers use teachers to market junk food to kids and aren’t worth the modest amounts they raise — typically a few hundred dollars per event.

But many of the Massachusetts schools that participate in the program say it’s an easy way to make much-needed money, and although teachers typically wear McDonald’s-branded clothing at the events, they reject the claim that teachers are being turned into corporate pawns. They also point out that McDonald’s offers healthy-eating options. What’s wrong, they ask, with a teacher serving apple slices alongside Big Macs if that boosts a school’s financial health?


“It’s a fun night where kids enjoy seeing their teachers outside the school,” said Kara Fink, copresident of the parent-teacher organization at McCarthy Elementary School in Framingham, which held a McTeacher’s Night at a local franchise last week. “Is it the healthiest? No. Do my kids eat there on a regular basis? No. But do they have it sometimes as a treat? Yes.”

Isn't that child abuse?

The more than $600 the school made at the event is “not a small chunk of change,” Fink added, noting that the chain’s affordable prices enable families of all income levels to participate.

Actually, it is when you consider that condos in Bo$ton are going for $1 million a piece. 

I mean, think about that, kids. Your teachers have to grovel at the feet of McDonald's for some chump change to support the school as the wealth disparity and inequality yawn in Baw$tun! That should earn your respect as you kids learn power concepts.

Also see: Boston Schools $lu$h Fund 

I'll bet the administration and staff isn't eating McDonald's over at the Park Plaza or Convention Center, but you kids and your parents are stupid and won't notice.

At the end of the evening, schools receive a percentage of the night’s sales, usually between 10 and 20 percent; the exact amount is up to the franchisee.

McTeacher’s Nights have existed for many years, but only recently did they land in the crosshairs of Corporate Accountability International and Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, the Boston-based groups leading the campaign to end the program.

Is there an app for that?

(Blog editor then snorts at another agenda-pushing effort that has nothing to do with the health of kids. This is more agenda-pushing public relations from the Globe. Of course they don't eat everything.)

It came to their attention, in part, through Mark Noltner, a teacher who lives in the suburbs of Chicago and became incensed when his kindergarten-age daughter brought home a school flyer advertising a McTeacher’s Night.

“I was very frustrated that teachers were being put in a compromising position of being recruited to sell food for McDonald’s,” Noltner said. “Kids are already exposed to a huge amount of commercialism outside of school, and now those media messages are infiltrating the school setting.”

It's the $ociety that has been con$tructed for them. Why are you trying to ruin the party?

McDonald’s issued a statement to the Globe that said: “Teachers and parent-teacher organizations have a choice in how they seek to raise additional funds, and for years they have told McDonald’s and franchisees that, in addition to the extra financial support these events provide for their schools, they have a great time connecting with their students and neighbors in meaningful ways.”

Although teachers are described by McDonald’s as “working” at the restaurant on McTeacher’s Nights, several teachers who participate in the program say their role is much more informal.

“Teachers don’t cook food, but they serve food and pass out paper cups and take pictures of kids,” said Lori Hyland, a third-grade teacher at Louise Davy Trahan Elementary School in Tewksbury who has gone to McTeacher’s Nights for several years. “They’re basically scenery.”

That's what the whole society and those governing it promote: imagery, illusion, and scenery.

Still, that’s troubling to Josh Golin, executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

“For a young kid to see one of their teachers anywhere outside of school is exciting and thrilling, and kids trust and respect their teachers,” he said, “and to leverage that to sell kids junk food is preposterous and egregious.”

Look, I don't eat there despite the makeover and I'm not endorsing the product; however, we have tens of thousands of kids across the globe starving to death every day with more having their lives and environs taken by war and bombings. 

What, you don't like my dinner conversation?

Golin and others also argue that the funds raised by McTeacher’s Nights are relatively measly, and accuse McDonald’s of using the financial plight of many public schools as a marketing opportunity.

He's right about that (says blog editor between bites).

But many schools that take part in the fund-raisers say in an era when teachers often dig into their own pockets to buy school supplies, every little bit counts. 


Matthew Castonguay, principal of Tewksbury’s Trahan school, has mixed feelings about the events. He said his school participates in them twice a year, with “a majority of staff going in shifts and working behind the counter or as greeters” on a “completely volunteer” basis.

“On one hand, in school we’re promoting healthy eating,” he said, “but on the other hand it’s a school tradition, it’s something kids look forward to, and it’s a moneymaker for our parent advisory council.”

Yeah, forget the hypocritical message you are sending the kids. 

You know, the kind of stuff that destroys credibility?

Trahan’s most recent McTeacher’s Night, held last month, raised about $500 for the school, Castonguay said. Some parents, he said, declined to participate.

That doesn’t placate Richard Stutman, president of the Boston Teachers Union, which voted unanimously to join the campaign asking McDonald’s to end the program.

“It exploits children, it exploits the teacher-child relationship, it encourages bad eating, and I don’t think it’s the best way to raise money for schools,” he said.

They need every cent they can get.


Did you see who was funding the fitness effort?

I'd say they were spoon-feeding you but....

"Boston icon Medieval Manor to close" by Taryn Luna Globe Correspondent  October 15, 2015

After 43 years of making merry while diners gnaw on roast fowl and glug beer, the South End restaurant and performance theater Medieval Manor is closing its doors.

Owner Don Akin said he’s shuttering the Boston institution because the business is losing money.

How can that be?

“I’m 65 years old, and I’m running out of enthusiasm,” Akin said. “Money is just too tight. I have to confess, my head is kind of spinning with the reality of the situation.”

Akin and his late brother Mark founded Medieval Manor in 1973, and over the years the dinner theater became an off-color draw for birthdays and other celebrations. While diners gather at communal tables, actors stage a spoof of medieval times in which a king wakes to find his court — a minstrel, jester, oaf and, of course, wenches — having a party without him.

The six-course meal is served without utensils. Each adult receives a drink token for his or her choice of a half gallon of Michelob Amber or Pabst Blue Ribbon or a half liter of wine. The restaurant also serves “virgin mead,” a mix of pomegranate, honey and decaf iced tea, or root beer.

It was Massachusetts' version of Medieval Times!!

The cast, whom he describes as students or part-time actors with other careers, often calls on the audience to participate in the show.

Tickets cost $34 to $54, depending on the night, he said.

“We’ve gotten pretty good over the years at identifying those who would not object to helping us out and those that would rather die a thousand deaths,” Akin said.

Akin said attendance has remained flat at the 140-plus-seat show, while costs have continued to increase.

In some ways, the business also fell victim to modern times. When he opened, guests were less concerned about sitting with people they didn’t know, he said.

He blames himself in part for the show’s decline, saying he wished he had become more Internet savvy to tap into social media and digital marketing.

The business was also dragged down by rumors that it had been shuttered years ago, which he could never fully dispel, he said.

“It’s quite possible that a lot of little things contributed to the scales being tipped at a certain point,” Akin said.

Maybe the lack of a knife and fork?

Akin sold Medieval Manor’s liquor license and hopes to use the proceeds to pay bills and break even. The final show is New Year’s Eve.

Many fans have reached out to share their memories about Medieval Manor since learning about the closing, he said.

“I want to thank all of Boston for supporting us for so long,” Akin said. “Please accept my apologies for not being able to do it for another 43 years.”

He ended with a tagline from the show: “Long live the king!”


The king is dead.


After death, Zafgen clinical trial of obesity drug halted

The stock price has fallen and the company has lost two-thirds of its value.

Also see: 

Bring unified enrollment to Boston schools

In schools, can separate be equal?

Thought you might like to chew on them.