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by Karen Schroeder, Advocates for Academic Freedom
Reminiscent of the Boston Tea Party of 1773, American children are dumping plates full of federally- regulated school meals into the garbage. Meanwhile, adults quake under fear of being punished by the federal government through loss of federal dollars. These adults seem to have forgotten that those federal dollars were taken first from taxpayers in their communities.
School boards across the United States are working on budgets and analyzing their expenditures including the cost of school lunches. The Rice Lake, Wisconsin, school district is a microcosm of districts across America. While the federal program requires schools to provide less protein and to submit all recipes for approval by the federal government, students are tossing the approved cauliflower, broccoli and fruits.
Corn, one of the few vegetables enjoyed by most children, earns disapproval by the federal government because it is high in carbohydrates. Does the government prefer to use corn to alter gasoline or to feed children?
Parents complain that children are starving by the end of the school day. When the federal government takes control, an inordinate amount of money is spent typically; but the goal is not fulfilled.
The Rice Lake school district serves 2,320 students in four-year-old kindergarten through grade twelve. School boards across America are hesitant to walk away from the $350,000 to $400,000 federal dollars they would lose if the district contracts with a private group to provide more child-friendly lunches.
What has happened to the American adult? Unreasonable government control angered our founders so much that they left homes, family, and country to travel to an unknown land to make their own decisions.
With confidence like that of our founders, our school board members would tell the federal government to respect that Americans care about the good health of children and can manage without government control.
The federal dollars used to support the school lunch program AND the dollars collected to pay for the bureaucracy to control and monitor school lunch programs originated in the states. School boards should demand that the federal government stop taxing citizens for money to manipulate school lunch programs. If the federal government taxed our citizens less, that money would be available at the local level for schools to provide high quality lunches for our children.
During the 1950s, school lunches were prepared on site. Children enjoyed the smell of bread baking and meats roasting. Favorite menus offered Jell-O filled with fruit, hot dishes containing a variety of vegetables, sweet potatoes and ham smothered in raisin sauce, big chunks of chicken with gravy over mashed potatoes. Fresh vegetables and fruit were also served. Many popular recipes were repeatedly printed in local newspapers.
Federal concern about weight problems among children should include support for additional physical education time with a focus on exercise and games that burn calories. Schools would find that time if they could actually implement local control.
The school lunch program is one more example of abusive federal overreach.