Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

February 9, 2005


Host: Michael Grant

Chinese New Year


  • On the Chinese calendar, 4703 is the year of the rooster. Find out about the Chinese new year festival and how to celebrate this year of courage and good luck.
Guests:
  • Mark Anderson - Chairman, K-12 Education Committee
  • Chuck Essigs - Director, Governmental Relations, Arizona Association of School Business Officials


View Transcript
> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," will removing soda and candy from vending machines and school sales have a negative fiscal impact on school budgets? We discuss that plus 2005, or on the Chinese calendar, 4703, is the year of the rooster. Find out about the Chinese new-year festival and how to celebrate this year of courage and good luck. That's next on "Horizon."

>> Announcer:

"Horizon" is made possible by the friends of channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
According to the USDA, the percentage of young children who are overweight has more than doubled in the last 20 years. Among adolescents, it has tripled. Childhood obesity is now recognized as a national problem, which can eventually result in the earlier onset and increased rate of disease. But schools can provide an environment for setting health, nutrition and physical activity strategies. Conversely, schools can also be a place where children can have access to unhealthy food choices, namely from vending machines and snack bars. A bill at the state legislature deals with that issue. That legislation passed the house K-12 education committee today with an amendment that would exclude high schools. We'll talk more about that bill in a moment. First, Merry Lucero looks at the pilot study by the State Department of Education that prompted the bill.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
Candy, chips and soda pop. We all know they are empty calories. Adults can take responsibility for choosing junk food, but most parents expect their children in public schools to be served a nutritious lunch.

>> Tom Horne:
Some parents don't care if their kids eat sugar. They put candy bars in their lunch box, but most parents want their kids to be healthy and resent when the schools undermine that effort. They get to school and they are facing a vending machine and if the kids want, their lunch can consist of a candy bar and soda.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
Schools taking part in the federal lunch program have to follow nutrition guidelines, but school stores, vending machines and snack bars don't always offer healthy food.

>> Tom Horne:
It's the responsibility of this department to enforce federal law. So we have dietitians who go to the schools and see what they are doing and they have rules that they apply. It's a matter of balance. It's not like you eliminate all sugar or eliminate all fat, but there has to be a certain amount of protein and complex carbohydrates and the overall balance have to be good.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
Schools and districts make thousands of dollars from sales, some through contracts. The money pays for extracurricular activities like field trips and athletic events. So the state Department of Education conducted a five-month, eight-school pilot study to learn the financial impact of removing junk food and soda from schools.

>> Tom Horne:
None of the schools lost any significant amount of money, and some of them actually did better. An example is the Monte Vista school for which we have a chart. The blue area shows how much money they were making which is represented on the vertical scale showing the amount of money they were making selling unhealthy foods and then the red part shows that they made substantially more money selling healthy foods.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
But critics of the report say it was too brief and flawed. Some of the schools never offered soda before the study, others never had vending at all. The study is the basis for House Bill 2544, which would require schools to participate in the federal school lunch program and ban sodas and sweets at school. Some parents and educators are concerned about losing vending contracts and think decision about what is sold at their schools should be controlled locally, not by the state.

>> Michael Grant:
Here to talk about that legislation is the bill's primary sponsor, Representative Mark Anderson, chairman of the K-12 Education Committee. Also here is Chuck Essigs, Director of Governmental Relations for the Arizona Association of School Business Officials. Gentlemen, thank you for coming. Mark, give me the major points of your bill. We touched on a couple. Give me how you see it.

>> Mark Anderson:
The bill is designed to allow the Department of Education to set minimal nutritional guidelines based on federal standards that would be consistent across the state, that would ensure that at least as far as what the schools are offering to children, they are offering healthy and nutritious snacks, drinks and food, and the concept is very simple. We want our kids to be healthy. We don't want to create an environment where we're contributing to poor health on the part of students which is going to affect academic outcomes as well.

>> Michael Grant:
So the Department of Education itself would establish these standards based upon standards already in place by the federal government?

>> Mark Anderson:
Yes, the federal government has certain foods that they've listed as foods with minimum nutritional value, which is mostly candy and soda. The department would use their experts to really look at that in a much more broader level in terms of all of the kinds of foods and how they interact and how to make sure that kids get healthy nutritious food and snacks.

>> Michael Grant:
+ I want to go to an amendment today, but Chuck, let me draw you into this conversation. You and your organization and a lot of school districts are not too crazy about this idea. Why?

>> Chuck Essigs:
It's not that we're not supportive of kids eating good at school and eating healthy an developing good habits, but the question is should the state mandate rules or leave some of those decisions to local school districts to best implement those programs and decide what works best in their school districts. In Arizona, we have over 220 school districts that go from just a few students to 70,000 students, and the needs and the uniqueness of those districts need to be recognized. For the State to issue nutritional guidelines for schools, that's very acceptable for the state to mandate certain types of things where schools kind of raise the flag of local control and believe that they can do a better job locally than by the State dictating what needs to be done.

>> Michael Grant:
Local control issue bounces all over the place and in a wide variety of different context. In this particular context, though, if you want to -- if you want to have a uniform school system in the words of the Supreme Court, and if you accept the argument that nutrition should at least play some role in that, don't you want to have a system where regardless of where my child attends school, they are at least getting a nutritional content that's fairly consistent with someplace elsewhere they might have attended school?

>> Chuck Essigs:
I think you will start to see a lot of that. The federal government is mandated that in 2006/2007, every school on a lunch program should have a wellness plan in place to help promote healthy lifestyles for children, but the vast variety of things that exist in Arizona in terms of school districts just need flexibility, and school districts are making a lot of movement towards providing healthier food, but they need the flexibility depending on the uniqueness of their community and when you bring about local control, the state government doesn't like the federal government telling them what to do, that's local control, but the state telling local school districts what to do, they look at that a little bit differently. Schools are very concerned about what kids eat and their lifestyles, but they just believe that they need opportunities and flexibility in meeting those needs.

>> Michael Grant:
Mark strong government being for the government being most responsive, why not leave this up to local control?

>> Mark Anderson:
It's been in local control and they are just not doing it. There are some reasons why is they are not and it's financial. Up until now the schools and school district leaders have said we need that revenue from those vending machines. We need to get those sodas and candies sold so we can raise the funds and they are willing to make that compromise and say we'll compromise students' health for the financial side. We are a little bit removed from that pressure here at the legislature, and we can say what's in the best interests of children in the long run and work with the schools and develop some ways in which to develop some other revenue or as Tom Horne showed just by introducing healthier items doesn't necessarily mean you are going to lose revenue. There are solutions for this. I don't favor the status quo, which is continuing to provide sodas and candies when we have a serious problem.

>> Michael Grant:
What I think representative Anderson is saying while the school districts may be interested in childhood nutrition, but there's money there, and that overrides the interest in childhood nutrition and we need to take some steps to correct that.

>> Chuck Essigs:
First thing is a lot of that money that people talk about doesn't really go to school districts. It goes to student organizations and student groups. They use that as fundraisers to make monies for their trips and the different activities. So schools really wouldn't feel the brunt as much as some of those student organizations might feel the brunt of losing that opportunity.

>> Michael Grant:
But I have heard some numbers that some schools make as much as $30,000 to $50,000 on this, some portion of that may go to student groups, but some portion that have is also going to the school and the school district, is it not?

>> Chuck Essigs:
Those dollars would go to student organizations. Take a large high school with 1500 or 2000 students, they have a large number of student groups doing a variety of things during the year, but most of that money ends up helping and supporting student activities. And I believe schools have made a lot of progress and maybe the state would want to look a little bit more about what has changed over the last couple of years and chart what those changes are into the future. I think schools are very concerned about this, and so are companies, some of the major soda vending companies are taking steps where they won't put the vending machines in element industry schools anymore unless they have soda -- don't have soda, but water or juice products in them. A lot more progress has been made then people think.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Anderson, a lot of people questioning the reliability of the study conducted by the Department of Education. It had a very shortest period in front of the break point, not very many schools, perhaps a very good sample mix of schools. Do you put a lot of stock in that study or not?

>> Mark Anderson:
Well, Michael, it was not really designed to be a scientific study, to come out and categorically prove that every single school would generate more or equal or more income if they instituted healthy food, it was just so to show that if you do it, at least in a certain number of schools, you actually won't lose that much revenue. It's not the only study out there. I was shown today in 13 different states they've done the same kind of pilot-type program where various ranges of schools from large high schools to small schools also did similar concept of introducing healthy items in the vending machines and the cafeterias, again with similar results. Now, I can't guarantee you, and I don't think the study realistically says that, that it's absolutely guaranteed that you are going to make as much money with the healthy food, but to me, that's not really that important. There has got to be creative way that has we can raise funds for these student groups other than providing sugar and sodas to children when that's going to cause health problems. It just doesn't make any sense.

>> Michael Grant:
For one thing they could go door-to-door and sell chocolate bars and that way we would be damaging our health, but instead of damaging their health. If nothing else, Chuck, anecdotally, doesn't the study demonstrate that it is possible to make as much or perhaps more money selling healthy things as selling junk food things?

>> Chuck Essigs:
In a very limited population, which I don't think was representative of the type of situation that is existing -- high schools are your major issue. It's really not as large of an issue in the elementary level, because it's just not that kind of revenue generated and the study did not include high schools. I believe they had one alternative high school in Tucson, which was very, very small and they might have had a chart high school which was very, very small, but if they want to look at a realistic study, they need to look at larger middle schools and high schools with fairly large student populations and see what would work there.

>> Michael Grant:
Ironically, though, if I understand the statistics and what's been happening over the last 20 years, it's the teen adolescent group that is really suffering from the effects of obesity and overweight and the health impacts of that and the lifestyle impacts of that. From that standpoint, don't you need it more at the high school level?

>> Chuck Essigs:
I agree. I think a lot of high schools have taken steps in that area, and they can certainly do more, but I think it's very important that there be the flexibility and the local decision-making on how best to do that, and the State might want to over the next couple of years track what kind of -- certainly schools have things that they can do and some have done a lot of things to improve their situation, but maybe look at what will happen over the next couple of years on a voluntary manner rather than mandating something that may or may not work.

>> Michael Grant:
We have come full circle almost. The committee passed an amendment exempting high schools. Are you pleased with that?

>> Mark Anderson:
No, I wasn't. I was not really happy because I think it should be mandated to high schools as well, but the political realities were in order to get the bill out today we had to make that compromise. We are willing to work with schools. That amendment and delaying tout a full year in order to give them a chance to renegotiate contracts or to work out how they are going to make the change from unhealthy to healthy food in the vending machines. We really do want to work with the schools to make this happen, but frankly, if you don't have sort of the pressure coming from the State and the health people, the schools are quite happy with the status quo in terms of just bringing in the revenue with the candy. It's the easiest way out, and I think even just having this kind of legislation gets the ball rolling and getting changes out there.

>> Michael Grant:
Were supporters of the amendment to exempt high schools arguing essentially financial issues, other issues?

>> Mark Anderson:
That and I think they were also arguing that many of our high schools are open campuses, so that children or kids could leave the campus, go to the Circle K, go to one of the fast food places nearby, and so therefore -- and also the fact that they should be able to have a little more maturity in making choices regarding their nutrition, which is debatable, but those were the main arguments.

>> Michael Grant:
Chuck, could part of this problem be solved by how the schools approach this subject? Perhaps broadening the bid base that they look to in various areas, inviting water bottle companies in as well as soft drink companies, other kinds of nutritional bars instead of just M & Ms or Snickers? Has that been tested very much?

>> Chuck Essigs:
Yeah, and I think some market forces are at work there. If you go into Circle Ks today you'll see a whole section of bottled water and things you didn't see a number of years ago. You'll see the same thing in schools, because that's what kids are looking for. That's what schools are trying to move kids into that direction, that the companies are moving into that direction.

>> Michael Grant:
Does the product not move?

>> Chuck Essigs:
Yeah, it does. I don't have the numbers on it, but possibly that information could be gathered. I think there is a lot of water being purchased in schools. There is a lot of juice being purchased in schools. There is a lot of changes that have taken place over the last few years. One thing and I mentioned it earlier, in 2006-2007, every school district in Arizona who is part of the federal lunch program will have a wellness plan in place, which addresses a lot of these issues, and maybe rather than the State trying to move in a different direction, they see how that's implemented and what kind of progress is made there and then decide if anything else needs to be done.

>> Michael Grant:
Mark any other action procedurally or does it go to the floor?

>> Mark Anderson:
It goes to the health committee and then the full house for consideration.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Mark Anderson, thank you for joining us. Chuck Essigs, our thanks to you as well.

>> Michael Grant:
Today is the first new moon on the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar, which makes it Chinese New Year's day. Happy New Year. It is also Chinese week, marked by a series of events celebrating the rich and diverse ethnic heritage of china. A three-day celebration of culture and cuisine will pay tribute to the valley's Chinese community and Phoenix's sister city Taipei, Taiwan. Merry Lucero previews what's in store this weekend at the Chinese New Year festival in Phoenix.

>> Merry Lucero:
These colorful dancers are performing a traditional Chinese yo-yo demonstration. This is one of many activities this weekend at the Chinese New Year celebration. The Chinese Zodiac names this year the year of the rooster.

>> Tony Kwan Chuen Tang:
Many people ask me do I believe it, no, but the Chinese it's a very polite way to ask people's age. With that I can guess within 12 years, right? If someone is 12 to 24, you can tell the difference. It's a polite way to ask people what their age is without offending them.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
You can find out your own sign at the festival. The cultural center is a commercial gathering place featuring Chinese architecture, shops, restaurants and a traditional garden and pond. In addition to food and live performances, the festival will be an opportunity to see arts, crafts and learn about creations long celebrated in Chinese culture. There will be demonstrations of Chinese inventions, such as the abacus, which dates back to 1200 A.D.

>> Tony Kwan Chuen Tang:
This little box with the beads is called an abacus. It's the first calculator. In fact, we have a little write-out in an invention booth area, which shows people how to use the ABACUS. You'll be surprised, some kid comes in within 5, 10 minutes, and they can use it.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
Ink block printing will be on display.

>> Tony Kwan Chuen Tang:
This was done by the Chinese a long time ago, around 700 AD.

>> Merry Lucero:
And the extraordinarily precise Chinese bronze casting will also be shown in this bronze water bowl.

>> Tony Kwan Chuen Tang:
It's very popular. A lot of kids love to play this.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
The goal of the event, to bring awareness to authentic Chinese heritage and the traditions and customs of Chinese culture. A children's Pavilion will provide kids with a fun and educational day.

>> Tony Kwan Chuen Tang:
We have 10 or 12,000 students registered, coming here to go through the event, and we have all kinds of things for children's Pavilion, Chinese invention booth, and we create a new area called the Chinese culture theater.

>> Merry Lucero:
Organizers hope the event will give people an opportunity to celebrate this gift of a holiday from the Chinese community and to wish everyone a happy Chinese new year, the year of the rooster.

>> Michael Grant:
Joining me now is Wen Chyi Chiu, spokesperson for the Chinese Cultural Center, and Lin Ling Lee, chairperson for the Phoenix Sister Cities Taipei Committee. Welcome to you both and happy New Year.

>> Wen Chyi Chiu:
Happy New Year.

>> Lin Ling Lee:
Happy New Year to you.

>> Michael Grant:
We talked about the arts and crafts and you've got some illustrations of what sort of arts and crafts will be available.

>> Wen Chyi Chiu:
We've provide different arts and crafts each year, followed by the Chinese Zodiac sign. This year is the year of the rooster, so we have different levels for different age groups. We have the happy hen.

>> Michael Grant:
They look very happy.

>> Wen Chyi Chiu:
And we have the year of the rooster, and it's for kindergarten all the way to high school and even college students that come by and kind of have a little hands on and do some nice little activities. For kindergarten, we do Chinese colorful fans, so this way it's very easy for them, and they feel very accomplished. Each one has different meanings. And we wish everybody a happy New Year with these items.

>> Michael Grant:
Outstanding. Lin, the year of the rooster, that is a function of the Chinese Zodiac, is it not?

>> Lin Ling Lee:
Yes, we have 12 animals represented each year. These 12 animals alternate for 12 years, and this is the year of the rooster.

>> Michael Grant:
And each one of them signifies some different things about what to expect?

>> Lin Ling Lee:
Each one represents different characters. The 12 animals start from the rat, and the dogs and then tiger, and then rabbit, and then

>> Michael Grant:
I jumped ahead.

>> Lin Ling Lee:
The dragon and then horse and then snake and then sheep and then monkey, rooster and then dog and then bore.

>> Michael Grant:
I was really off on the list. Lin, tell me more about the Chinese cultural center.

>> Wen Chyi Chiu:
We're having our Chinese week being held at the Chinese cultural center. It will be a cuisine festival. We brought in artists and entertain enters. We have a wonderful yo-yo group that you have seen in the previous, and we are doing some unique techniques. We have items for everybody. Like we sit down and teach you about the Chinese games, we teach you how to do the family reunion type of games and activities, and we teach about culture. We'll have a demonstration about the Chinese wedding, the Chinese paintings and calligraphy. So a little bit for everybody.

>> Michael Grant:
The Chinese cultural center is on 44th street?

>> Wen Chyi Chiu:
The address is 668 North 44th Street.

>> Michael Grant:
I understand that the festival has been growing in popularity over the years?

>> Wen Chyi Chiu:
Yes, especially with the students, because during this time, they study china, and the teacher will want them to have a hands-on experience learning about the Chinese language and about the Chinese culture. So the teachers will bring in their students and they show them what is the lion dance, what is a dragon dance, so they can see it visually enhanced and being able to hands-on make those arts and crafts. So the kids enjoy it.

>> Michael Grant:
And as authentic as possible?

>> Wen Chyi Chiu:
Yes, we try to have it as authentic as possible. Each year we have a different theme. This year is the year of the rooster. We have a yo-yo demonstrations. In the past we brought in dramas, we brought in puppets. So it gives you a little bit of feeling of home for those that come from overseas and allow us to help teach about the tradition and about how we celebrate Chinese new year.

>> Michael Grant:
Lin, what is the Phoenix Sisters city Taipei committee?

>> Lin Ling Lee:
As it the Chinese week for the cultural event. Taipei send a delegation, also performing group to support Chinese week event on January 24th, which was the acrobat performance. It was a great success, and this year it's very special. Chinese week is having 15th annual event. City of Taipei and City of Phoenix are celebrating the 25th anniversary of good and long-lasting sister city relationship. Taipei presented two traditional Chinese dragon boat in honor of the 25th anniversary of sister city relationship, and this dragon boat will be displayed at the Chinese week event at the cultural center for three days.

>> Michael Grant:
Outstanding. Lin, again, happy New Year to you, and win, happy New Year to you as well. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
To link to the Chinese Cultural Center web site, go to our web site. That address is www.azpbs.org. Click on "Horizon." You can also see transcripts of "Horizon" and find out about upcoming topics.

>> Reporter Mike Sauceda:
Arizona health officials unveil a state plan to fight cancer. There is a bill in the legislature that would make it tougher to make a common cold medicine because it's being used to make an illegal drug. We'll tell you about changes in federal tax laws that will impact you this tax-filing season. That's Thursday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

>> Michael Grant:
Thanks for joining us this Wednesday. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one, good night.

school Nutrition


  • Will removing soda and candy from vending machines and school sales have a negative fiscal impact on school budgets?
Guests:
  • Mark Anderson - Chairman, K-12 Education Committee
  • Chuck Essigs - Director, Governmental Relations, Arizona Association of School Business Officials


View Transcript
> Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," will removing soda and candy from vending machines and school sales have a negative fiscal impact on school budgets? We discuss that plus 2005, or on the Chinese calendar, 4703, is the year of the rooster. Find out about the Chinese new-year festival and how to celebrate this year of courage and good luck. That's next on "Horizon."

>> Announcer:

"Horizon" is made possible by the friends of channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
According to the USDA, the percentage of young children who are overweight has more than doubled in the last 20 years. Among adolescents, it has tripled. Childhood obesity is now recognized as a national problem, which can eventually result in the earlier onset and increased rate of disease. But schools can provide an environment for setting health, nutrition and physical activity strategies. Conversely, schools can also be a place where children can have access to unhealthy food choices, namely from vending machines and snack bars. A bill at the state legislature deals with that issue. That legislation passed the house K-12 education committee today with an amendment that would exclude high schools. We'll talk more about that bill in a moment. First, Merry Lucero looks at the pilot study by the State Department of Education that prompted the bill.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
Candy, chips and soda pop. We all know they are empty calories. Adults can take responsibility for choosing junk food, but most parents expect their children in public schools to be served a nutritious lunch.

>> Tom Horne:
Some parents don't care if their kids eat sugar. They put candy bars in their lunch box, but most parents want their kids to be healthy and resent when the schools undermine that effort. They get to school and they are facing a vending machine and if the kids want, their lunch can consist of a candy bar and soda.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
Schools taking part in the federal lunch program have to follow nutrition guidelines, but school stores, vending machines and snack bars don't always offer healthy food.

>> Tom Horne:
It's the responsibility of this department to enforce federal law. So we have dietitians who go to the schools and see what they are doing and they have rules that they apply. It's a matter of balance. It's not like you eliminate all sugar or eliminate all fat, but there has to be a certain amount of protein and complex carbohydrates and the overall balance have to be good.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
Schools and districts make thousands of dollars from sales, some through contracts. The money pays for extracurricular activities like field trips and athletic events. So the state Department of Education conducted a five-month, eight-school pilot study to learn the financial impact of removing junk food and soda from schools.

>> Tom Horne:
None of the schools lost any significant amount of money, and some of them actually did better. An example is the Monte Vista school for which we have a chart. The blue area shows how much money they were making which is represented on the vertical scale showing the amount of money they were making selling unhealthy foods and then the red part shows that they made substantially more money selling healthy foods.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
But critics of the report say it was too brief and flawed. Some of the schools never offered soda before the study, others never had vending at all. The study is the basis for House Bill 2544, which would require schools to participate in the federal school lunch program and ban sodas and sweets at school. Some parents and educators are concerned about losing vending contracts and think decision about what is sold at their schools should be controlled locally, not by the state.

>> Michael Grant:
Here to talk about that legislation is the bill's primary sponsor, Representative Mark Anderson, chairman of the K-12 Education Committee. Also here is Chuck Essigs, Director of Governmental Relations for the Arizona Association of School Business Officials. Gentlemen, thank you for coming. Mark, give me the major points of your bill. We touched on a couple. Give me how you see it.

>> Mark Anderson:
The bill is designed to allow the Department of Education to set minimal nutritional guidelines based on federal standards that would be consistent across the state, that would ensure that at least as far as what the schools are offering to children, they are offering healthy and nutritious snacks, drinks and food, and the concept is very simple. We want our kids to be healthy. We don't want to create an environment where we're contributing to poor health on the part of students which is going to affect academic outcomes as well.

>> Michael Grant:
So the Department of Education itself would establish these standards based upon standards already in place by the federal government?

>> Mark Anderson:
Yes, the federal government has certain foods that they've listed as foods with minimum nutritional value, which is mostly candy and soda. The department would use their experts to really look at that in a much more broader level in terms of all of the kinds of foods and how they interact and how to make sure that kids get healthy nutritious food and snacks.

>> Michael Grant:
+ I want to go to an amendment today, but Chuck, let me draw you into this conversation. You and your organization and a lot of school districts are not too crazy about this idea. Why?

>> Chuck Essigs:
It's not that we're not supportive of kids eating good at school and eating healthy an developing good habits, but the question is should the state mandate rules or leave some of those decisions to local school districts to best implement those programs and decide what works best in their school districts. In Arizona, we have over 220 school districts that go from just a few students to 70,000 students, and the needs and the uniqueness of those districts need to be recognized. For the State to issue nutritional guidelines for schools, that's very acceptable for the state to mandate certain types of things where schools kind of raise the flag of local control and believe that they can do a better job locally than by the State dictating what needs to be done.

>> Michael Grant:
Local control issue bounces all over the place and in a wide variety of different context. In this particular context, though, if you want to -- if you want to have a uniform school system in the words of the Supreme Court, and if you accept the argument that nutrition should at least play some role in that, don't you want to have a system where regardless of where my child attends school, they are at least getting a nutritional content that's fairly consistent with someplace elsewhere they might have attended school?

>> Chuck Essigs:
I think you will start to see a lot of that. The federal government is mandated that in 2006/2007, every school on a lunch program should have a wellness plan in place to help promote healthy lifestyles for children, but the vast variety of things that exist in Arizona in terms of school districts just need flexibility, and school districts are making a lot of movement towards providing healthier food, but they need the flexibility depending on the uniqueness of their community and when you bring about local control, the state government doesn't like the federal government telling them what to do, that's local control, but the state telling local school districts what to do, they look at that a little bit differently. Schools are very concerned about what kids eat and their lifestyles, but they just believe that they need opportunities and flexibility in meeting those needs.

>> Michael Grant:
Mark strong government being for the government being most responsive, why not leave this up to local control?

>> Mark Anderson:
It's been in local control and they are just not doing it. There are some reasons why is they are not and it's financial. Up until now the schools and school district leaders have said we need that revenue from those vending machines. We need to get those sodas and candies sold so we can raise the funds and they are willing to make that compromise and say we'll compromise students' health for the financial side. We are a little bit removed from that pressure here at the legislature, and we can say what's in the best interests of children in the long run and work with the schools and develop some ways in which to develop some other revenue or as Tom Horne showed just by introducing healthier items doesn't necessarily mean you are going to lose revenue. There are solutions for this. I don't favor the status quo, which is continuing to provide sodas and candies when we have a serious problem.

>> Michael Grant:
What I think representative Anderson is saying while the school districts may be interested in childhood nutrition, but there's money there, and that overrides the interest in childhood nutrition and we need to take some steps to correct that.

>> Chuck Essigs:
First thing is a lot of that money that people talk about doesn't really go to school districts. It goes to student organizations and student groups. They use that as fundraisers to make monies for their trips and the different activities. So schools really wouldn't feel the brunt as much as some of those student organizations might feel the brunt of losing that opportunity.

>> Michael Grant:
But I have heard some numbers that some schools make as much as $30,000 to $50,000 on this, some portion of that may go to student groups, but some portion that have is also going to the school and the school district, is it not?

>> Chuck Essigs:
Those dollars would go to student organizations. Take a large high school with 1500 or 2000 students, they have a large number of student groups doing a variety of things during the year, but most of that money ends up helping and supporting student activities. And I believe schools have made a lot of progress and maybe the state would want to look a little bit more about what has changed over the last couple of years and chart what those changes are into the future. I think schools are very concerned about this, and so are companies, some of the major soda vending companies are taking steps where they won't put the vending machines in element industry schools anymore unless they have soda -- don't have soda, but water or juice products in them. A lot more progress has been made then people think.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Anderson, a lot of people questioning the reliability of the study conducted by the Department of Education. It had a very shortest period in front of the break point, not very many schools, perhaps a very good sample mix of schools. Do you put a lot of stock in that study or not?

>> Mark Anderson:
Well, Michael, it was not really designed to be a scientific study, to come out and categorically prove that every single school would generate more or equal or more income if they instituted healthy food, it was just so to show that if you do it, at least in a certain number of schools, you actually won't lose that much revenue. It's not the only study out there. I was shown today in 13 different states they've done the same kind of pilot-type program where various ranges of schools from large high schools to small schools also did similar concept of introducing healthy items in the vending machines and the cafeterias, again with similar results. Now, I can't guarantee you, and I don't think the study realistically says that, that it's absolutely guaranteed that you are going to make as much money with the healthy food, but to me, that's not really that important. There has got to be creative way that has we can raise funds for these student groups other than providing sugar and sodas to children when that's going to cause health problems. It just doesn't make any sense.

>> Michael Grant:
For one thing they could go door-to-door and sell chocolate bars and that way we would be damaging our health, but instead of damaging their health. If nothing else, Chuck, anecdotally, doesn't the study demonstrate that it is possible to make as much or perhaps more money selling healthy things as selling junk food things?

>> Chuck Essigs:
In a very limited population, which I don't think was representative of the type of situation that is existing -- high schools are your major issue. It's really not as large of an issue in the elementary level, because it's just not that kind of revenue generated and the study did not include high schools. I believe they had one alternative high school in Tucson, which was very, very small and they might have had a chart high school which was very, very small, but if they want to look at a realistic study, they need to look at larger middle schools and high schools with fairly large student populations and see what would work there.

>> Michael Grant:
Ironically, though, if I understand the statistics and what's been happening over the last 20 years, it's the teen adolescent group that is really suffering from the effects of obesity and overweight and the health impacts of that and the lifestyle impacts of that. From that standpoint, don't you need it more at the high school level?

>> Chuck Essigs:
I agree. I think a lot of high schools have taken steps in that area, and they can certainly do more, but I think it's very important that there be the flexibility and the local decision-making on how best to do that, and the State might want to over the next couple of years track what kind of -- certainly schools have things that they can do and some have done a lot of things to improve their situation, but maybe look at what will happen over the next couple of years on a voluntary manner rather than mandating something that may or may not work.

>> Michael Grant:
We have come full circle almost. The committee passed an amendment exempting high schools. Are you pleased with that?

>> Mark Anderson:
No, I wasn't. I was not really happy because I think it should be mandated to high schools as well, but the political realities were in order to get the bill out today we had to make that compromise. We are willing to work with schools. That amendment and delaying tout a full year in order to give them a chance to renegotiate contracts or to work out how they are going to make the change from unhealthy to healthy food in the vending machines. We really do want to work with the schools to make this happen, but frankly, if you don't have sort of the pressure coming from the State and the health people, the schools are quite happy with the status quo in terms of just bringing in the revenue with the candy. It's the easiest way out, and I think even just having this kind of legislation gets the ball rolling and getting changes out there.

>> Michael Grant:
Were supporters of the amendment to exempt high schools arguing essentially financial issues, other issues?

>> Mark Anderson:
That and I think they were also arguing that many of our high schools are open campuses, so that children or kids could leave the campus, go to the Circle K, go to one of the fast food places nearby, and so therefore -- and also the fact that they should be able to have a little more maturity in making choices regarding their nutrition, which is debatable, but those were the main arguments.

>> Michael Grant:
Chuck, could part of this problem be solved by how the schools approach this subject? Perhaps broadening the bid base that they look to in various areas, inviting water bottle companies in as well as soft drink companies, other kinds of nutritional bars instead of just M & Ms or Snickers? Has that been tested very much?

>> Chuck Essigs:
Yeah, and I think some market forces are at work there. If you go into Circle Ks today you'll see a whole section of bottled water and things you didn't see a number of years ago. You'll see the same thing in schools, because that's what kids are looking for. That's what schools are trying to move kids into that direction, that the companies are moving into that direction.

>> Michael Grant:
Does the product not move?

>> Chuck Essigs:
Yeah, it does. I don't have the numbers on it, but possibly that information could be gathered. I think there is a lot of water being purchased in schools. There is a lot of juice being purchased in schools. There is a lot of changes that have taken place over the last few years. One thing and I mentioned it earlier, in 2006-2007, every school district in Arizona who is part of the federal lunch program will have a wellness plan in place, which addresses a lot of these issues, and maybe rather than the State trying to move in a different direction, they see how that's implemented and what kind of progress is made there and then decide if anything else needs to be done.

>> Michael Grant:
Mark any other action procedurally or does it go to the floor?

>> Mark Anderson:
It goes to the health committee and then the full house for consideration.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Mark Anderson, thank you for joining us. Chuck Essigs, our thanks to you as well.

>> Michael Grant:
Today is the first new moon on the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar, which makes it Chinese New Year's day. Happy New Year. It is also Chinese week, marked by a series of events celebrating the rich and diverse ethnic heritage of china. A three-day celebration of culture and cuisine will pay tribute to the valley's Chinese community and Phoenix's sister city Taipei, Taiwan. Merry Lucero previews what's in store this weekend at the Chinese New Year festival in Phoenix.

>> Merry Lucero:
These colorful dancers are performing a traditional Chinese yo-yo demonstration. This is one of many activities this weekend at the Chinese New Year celebration. The Chinese Zodiac names this year the year of the rooster.

>> Tony Kwan Chuen Tang:
Many people ask me do I believe it, no, but the Chinese it's a very polite way to ask people's age. With that I can guess within 12 years, right? If someone is 12 to 24, you can tell the difference. It's a polite way to ask people what their age is without offending them.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
You can find out your own sign at the festival. The cultural center is a commercial gathering place featuring Chinese architecture, shops, restaurants and a traditional garden and pond. In addition to food and live performances, the festival will be an opportunity to see arts, crafts and learn about creations long celebrated in Chinese culture. There will be demonstrations of Chinese inventions, such as the abacus, which dates back to 1200 A.D.

>> Tony Kwan Chuen Tang:
This little box with the beads is called an abacus. It's the first calculator. In fact, we have a little write-out in an invention booth area, which shows people how to use the ABACUS. You'll be surprised, some kid comes in within 5, 10 minutes, and they can use it.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
Ink block printing will be on display.

>> Tony Kwan Chuen Tang:
This was done by the Chinese a long time ago, around 700 AD.

>> Merry Lucero:
And the extraordinarily precise Chinese bronze casting will also be shown in this bronze water bowl.

>> Tony Kwan Chuen Tang:
It's very popular. A lot of kids love to play this.

>>Reporter Merry Lucero:
The goal of the event, to bring awareness to authentic Chinese heritage and the traditions and customs of Chinese culture. A children's Pavilion will provide kids with a fun and educational day.

>> Tony Kwan Chuen Tang:
We have 10 or 12,000 students registered, coming here to go through the event, and we have all kinds of things for children's Pavilion, Chinese invention booth, and we create a new area called the Chinese culture theater.

>> Merry Lucero:
Organizers hope the event will give people an opportunity to celebrate this gift of a holiday from the Chinese community and to wish everyone a happy Chinese new year, the year of the rooster.

>> Michael Grant:
Joining me now is Wen Chyi Chiu, spokesperson for the Chinese Cultural Center, and Lin Ling Lee, chairperson for the Phoenix Sister Cities Taipei Committee. Welcome to you both and happy New Year.

>> Wen Chyi Chiu:
Happy New Year.

>> Lin Ling Lee:
Happy New Year to you.

>> Michael Grant:
We talked about the arts and crafts and you've got some illustrations of what sort of arts and crafts will be available.

>> Wen Chyi Chiu:
We've provide different arts and crafts each year, followed by the Chinese Zodiac sign. This year is the year of the rooster, so we have different levels for different age groups. We have the happy hen.

>> Michael Grant:
They look very happy.

>> Wen Chyi Chiu:
And we have the year of the rooster, and it's for kindergarten all the way to high school and even college students that come by and kind of have a little hands on and do some nice little activities. For kindergarten, we do Chinese colorful fans, so this way it's very easy for them, and they feel very accomplished. Each one has different meanings. And we wish everybody a happy New Year with these items.

>> Michael Grant:
Outstanding. Lin, the year of the rooster, that is a function of the Chinese Zodiac, is it not?

>> Lin Ling Lee:
Yes, we have 12 animals represented each year. These 12 animals alternate for 12 years, and this is the year of the rooster.

>> Michael Grant:
And each one of them signifies some different things about what to expect?

>> Lin Ling Lee:
Each one represents different characters. The 12 animals start from the rat, and the dogs and then tiger, and then rabbit, and then

>> Michael Grant:
I jumped ahead.

>> Lin Ling Lee:
The dragon and then horse and then snake and then sheep and then monkey, rooster and then dog and then bore.

>> Michael Grant:
I was really off on the list. Lin, tell me more about the Chinese cultural center.

>> Wen Chyi Chiu:
We're having our Chinese week being held at the Chinese cultural center. It will be a cuisine festival. We brought in artists and entertain enters. We have a wonderful yo-yo group that you have seen in the previous, and we are doing some unique techniques. We have items for everybody. Like we sit down and teach you about the Chinese games, we teach you how to do the family reunion type of games and activities, and we teach about culture. We'll have a demonstration about the Chinese wedding, the Chinese paintings and calligraphy. So a little bit for everybody.

>> Michael Grant:
The Chinese cultural center is on 44th street?

>> Wen Chyi Chiu:
The address is 668 North 44th Street.

>> Michael Grant:
I understand that the festival has been growing in popularity over the years?

>> Wen Chyi Chiu:
Yes, especially with the students, because during this time, they study china, and the teacher will want them to have a hands-on experience learning about the Chinese language and about the Chinese culture. So the teachers will bring in their students and they show them what is the lion dance, what is a dragon dance, so they can see it visually enhanced and being able to hands-on make those arts and crafts. So the kids enjoy it.

>> Michael Grant:
And as authentic as possible?

>> Wen Chyi Chiu:
Yes, we try to have it as authentic as possible. Each year we have a different theme. This year is the year of the rooster. We have a yo-yo demonstrations. In the past we brought in dramas, we brought in puppets. So it gives you a little bit of feeling of home for those that come from overseas and allow us to help teach about the tradition and about how we celebrate Chinese new year.

>> Michael Grant:
Lin, what is the Phoenix Sisters city Taipei committee?

>> Lin Ling Lee:
As it the Chinese week for the cultural event. Taipei send a delegation, also performing group to support Chinese week event on January 24th, which was the acrobat performance. It was a great success, and this year it's very special. Chinese week is having 15th annual event. City of Taipei and City of Phoenix are celebrating the 25th anniversary of good and long-lasting sister city relationship. Taipei presented two traditional Chinese dragon boat in honor of the 25th anniversary of sister city relationship, and this dragon boat will be displayed at the Chinese week event at the cultural center for three days.

>> Michael Grant:
Outstanding. Lin, again, happy New Year to you, and win, happy New Year to you as well. Thank you.

>> Michael Grant:
To link to the Chinese Cultural Center web site, go to our web site. That address is www.azpbs.org. Click on "Horizon." You can also see transcripts of "Horizon" and find out about upcoming topics.

>> Reporter Mike Sauceda:
Arizona health officials unveil a state plan to fight cancer. There is a bill in the legislature that would make it tougher to make a common cold medicine because it's being used to make an illegal drug. We'll tell you about changes in federal tax laws that will impact you this tax-filing season. That's Thursday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

>> Michael Grant:
Thanks for joining us this Wednesday. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one, good night.

What's on?

Content Partner:

  About KAET Contact Support Legal Follow Us  
  About Eight
Mission/Impact
History
Site Map
Pressroom
Contact Us
Sign up for e-news
Pledge to Eight
Donate Monthly
Volunteer
Other ways to support
FCC Public Files
Privacy Policy
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Google+
Pinterest
 

Need help accessing? Contact disabilityaccess@asu.edu

Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University    Copyright Arizona Board of Regents