School board member: Biased ‘Fast Food Nation’ book doesn’t belong in schools

August 29, 2014

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Anna Bryson Anna Bryson

Anna Bryson is an elected Trustee of the Capistrano Unified School District in south Orange County, California.

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. – I voted against having Eric Schlosser’s ‘Fast Food Nation’ as an assigned text in Capistrano Unified schools. I was the only Trustee willing to vote against the leftist ideological indoctrination in this book.

Fast_food_nationThe book is unscientific. It is anti-capitalist and explicitly pro-socialism.

I said in public debate that the book is not balanced and does not present both sides. I cited Cynthia Crossenn, who deplored the author’s ‘cavalier manipulation of data.’ She gives as an example the author’s claim that on a typical day in the U.S., ‘one-quarter of the adult population visits a fast-food restaurant.’ But this claim is not based on sound social-science research – the author even admits that this is his own ‘estimate.’ This book should not be assigned to Capistrano students in the absence of reading that provides more about fast food than this author’s unproven opinion.

I also cited economist Thomas DiLorenzo who said that ‘Fast Food Nation’ ‘has nothing at all good’ to say about the fast food industry – which I find to be wrong and unfair to students. DiLorenzo goes on to point out that American consumers are as educated ‘as they have ever been’ and ‘can judge for themselves where the best place to eat is.’

DiLorenzo adds that Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast-food restaurant chains have in recent years catered to Americans’ growing interest in a healthier lifestyle and have cut down on fat, put out more salads, and offered low-carb foods.

I complained that the title as presented to board for approval did not give the book’s full title: ‘Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the American Meal.’ The title itself indicates that the book is one-sided.

The fact that this book is recommended by the College Board should not determine the decisions of the Capistrano Board. We are elected to represent the parents and taxpayers of the Capistrano district and not to blindly follow the dictates of some outside group. The fact that there are alternative books available makes it even more distressing that this slanted, biased book was approved by the school board.

I am disappointed that my fellow Trustees did not stand up for Capistrano’s children.

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