Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Who Says There's No Such Thing As a Free Lunch?

Whomever coined the phrase "There's no such thing as a free lunch" apparently didn't have children in the Milwaukee Public School District.  MPS is looking to provide Free and Reduced Lunch Service to ALL kids attending their schools--regardless of need.  That would mean kids who come from families that can afford to pay for hot lunch will not be asked to contribute to the cost of the program anymore.

As you might expect, this is part of the Obama Administration's continuing effort to get as many people enrolled in Government entitlement programs as possible.  The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (which is responsible for the reduced portions that leave many high school kids hungry all afternoon) contains something called the Community Eligibility Provision--which holds that if you have enough students already in the Free and Reduced program, you don't have to have parents fill out those pesky eligibility forms to prove they are actually in need of government help.

Not surprisingly, the extra federal funding for the Community Elegibility Provision would not be enough to actually cover the cost of just putting all kids in a school district on the free lunch program--so taxpayers would have to foot some of the bill.  That would lead the educated voter to question why that expense wasn't being borne by the parents who could actually afford to pay for their kids' lunches--as it had been before.

Well, officials have a great answer for that.  You see, they believe that there is a "stigma" attached to being in the Free and Reduced program--so if everyone is getting lunch for free, nobody feels bad about themselves.  Jim Degan--President of the Wisconsin School Nutrition Association-- is quoted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as saying "In schools, more discrimination occurs between students who have stuff and students who don't have stuff."

What amazes me is that 80% of MPS students are in the Free and Reduced program already--so how can a vast majority like that feel "stigmatized" when their condition is the norm in the school?  You would think that those kids whose parents are paying for their meals would feel like they are missing out on something almost everyone else is getting for free.

Fiscal Conservatives are usually portrayed as being "cold and heartless" when they call for reductions in entitlement and other government program sprending.  But all we are saying is that we could probably provide more effective assistance--with less money--if we only provide it to those that actually need it.

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