August 11 2014

Another School Says No to School Lunch

Julie Gunlock

A Cincinnati, Ohio school has announced it’s dropping out of the federal school lunch program. Citing the draconian calorie limitations and restrictions on the types of foods that can be served to kids, the school superintendent decided it was time to gain some independence from the federal government.

That’s good news for the kids attending this school. It means that the people closest to the kids—the teachers, the school administrators, and parents will have a greater say in what kids eat. 

Yet, a local newspaper frames this as reason to worry (emphasis mine):

Lunch at Fort Thomas Independent Schools may include more French fries, fewer vegetables and larger portions this year. One thing that won't be on the menu: federal dollars.

The Campbell County district is opting out of the federal school lunch program, forfeiting hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funding.The reason: Kids didn't like their healthful lunches.

I love how the story suggests that by opting out of the federal school lunch program, the school will immediately revert back to unhealthy fries and fewer vegetables. How insulting. Clearly this reporter believes that without the guiding hand of federal bureaucrats and the first lady, local school officials are incapable of preparing healthy food. Are we to believe only the federal government cares about the health of chilren?

The reporter’s lede also suggests that school meals had improved after Michelle Obama’s reforms. According to tweets (by actual eye witnesses to these school meals—the kids eating this food!) rounded up by another publication, there hasn’t been much improvement although there has been one very visible change: there’s simply less food on the trays. I guess that’s one method of make kids lose weight—just withhold food.

Here’s just a sample of those tweets from dissatisfied kids:


 


 

Is it any wonder schools are opting out of this broken program?

Democrats love to use the term “it’s for the kids” except when it comes to protecting entrenched entitlement programs – like the school lunch program. It’s time for serious reforms to this program: privatization and means testing are just some ideas that would help make this program work better so that it can actually serve those kids who really need help getting a healthy meal.

I’m glad to see some schools take that important first step. Let’s hope the press catches on to this innovation.

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