Caitlin Flanagan has used her fey, patrician writing style to skewer members of the upper-middle class for everything from their reliance on poorly paid housekeepers to their obsession with elite colleges. In this month’s issue of The Atlantic, she unleashes her ire on gardens in public schoolyards, accusing them of robbing underprivileged American school children of a high-quality education. She writes:
With these gardens—and their implication that one of the few important things we as a culture have to teach the next generation is what and how to eat—we’re mocking one of our most ennobling American ideals. Our children don’t get an education because they’re lucky, or because we’ve generously decided to give them one as a special gift. Our children get an education—or should get an education—because they have a right to one.
The attack elicited impassioned responses from everyone from the Huffington Post to Slate to Flanagan’s Atlantic colleague Corby Kummer.
- Don’t Blame Arugula for Failing Schools Several writers, including Samuel Fromartz at the Huffington Post and Andrew Leonard at Salon, criticized Flanagan for pointing to school gardens as a reason schools are failing when the American education system has so many bigger problems. Fromartz writes:
[M]igrant parents would probably spend more time worrying about Sacramento gutting meager school resources and teachers' positions then about the 1-1/2 hours a week their kid spends tending the arugula. And they should.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.