Feeding Our Children

Senator Rich Crandall, an Arizona state senator, is sponsoring a bill to allow public schools to opt out of the federal school lunch program. This federal program gives public schools money and food and requires them to serve nutritionally balanced meals. It also allows for free or reduced price lunch to low-income families. All schools K-8 are required to participate, but high schools are not. Crandall says his motivation behind the bill was based on worry that new federal lunch requirements will hurt schools financially. When asked how he believes poor kids would fare under his bill, Crandall said that children who attend schools that decide to do away with the lunch program could just change schools if they need free lunches. I don’t know how it works in Arizona, but as far as I know, if a student chooses to go to a school that is outside of their district, the parents have to find a way to get that student to and from school. If a family is poor enough that they cannot afford to feed their child lunch, it is highly unlikely that they would be able to drive their children to and from school every day.

Serving what the federal regulations define as healthy food will cost Arizona state schools a little more. Schools will be required to serve fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. This change will cost six cents a lunch more than the lunches they are already serving. Crandalls bill would open up schools to private lunch providers that can offer a cheaper alternative and serve less healthy food to kids. I mean, who needs fruits and veggies when tater tots and corn dogs will do? This bill is outrageous when you consider that Arizona is in the top five states where children are going hungry.

One in four children in Arizona is suffering from food insecurity. In other words, they have a lack of food in sufficient quantities on a constant basis. millions of children are simply going without food during their most important developmental years. This can affect cognitive development in younger children. What makes me the most angry about this proposed bill is that Governor Brewer of Arizona recently bragged about a $600 million budget surplus. Providing free nutritionally balanced lunches to all low-income children in public schools would cost only a small fraction of this.  I just don’t understand how feeding U.S. children doesn’t come before a $600 million surplus. If this bill passes it will show only the worst of this country.

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Comments

  • riccija  On February 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    2011 Census Data showed that 96% of poor parents said there children were never hungry. It is obvious that the school programs are working fine, and taking them away would definitely be detrimental.

  • hartwe60  On February 5, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Agreed the greatest thing about America is that everyone is offered a chance to do great things that is provided by getting a education. However not everyone is born into the same situation and how can you excel in school if you can’t eat? The bill shouldn’t be passed it would hurt children and I agree no surplus of funds can make up for that.

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