Whether intentional or not, a website about raising chickens in DC public schools, created by our office of the state superintendent of education (OSSE), is as interesting as it is informative.
Among other things, the website contains a document created by OSSE and the DC Department of Health called the “Chicken Management Plan Template,” which the agency (without apparent irony) refers to as “The Plan.”
According to the website, there is a surge of interest in having chickens at our DC public schools, which the OSSE website notes is a boon for our city kids:
“Egg-laying female hens (referred to herein as “chickens”) are a great way to engage students in the school garden . . . Chickens often attract students that are otherwise not interested in gardening and generate excitement among the entire school community.”
As the OSSE website notes, “The Plan” was created to address myriad issues involved with caring for those chickens in DC public schools. The website laments the fact that even though many resources exist about how to care for chickens, “surprisingly few address the specific challenges of managing chickens in a school setting.”
Happily, The Plan addresses those issues in detail, down to training to care for the birds; construction and maintenance of coops; and breeds of chickens.
(This isn’t a minor issue: For those who say that DC doesn’t have what it takes to be a state, including agriculture, The Plan puts that to pasture.)
Still, I was unable to find out from OSSE how many schools (or chickens) we are talking about here: One? Several? An even dozen?
The Plan also doesn’t address the raising of male chickens, only females, continuing DC’s (possibly illegal) foray into public school gender sorting.