RICE LAKE, Wis. – 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 the fear of being punished by the federal government through the loss of federal dollars if the district rejects the federal guidelines for menus.
These adults seem to have forgotten 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. The Rice Lake 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 prove that they would rather go hungry than eat what the government insists they should eat.
While complaining that children need more fruits and vegetables in their diets, the federal government places ideology above dietary concerns. Corn, one of the few vegetables enjoyed by most children, was limited by the federal government because it is too high in carbohydrates. Some school cooks wonder whether the real reason is that the federal government wants the corn to be used to alter gasoline rather than to feed our children.
Meanwhile, parents complain that their children are starving by the end of the school day. This is a typical consequence when the federal government takes control of anything. An inordinate amount of money is spent, ideologies interfere with practicality, and the promised goal is not fulfilled.
The Rice Lake school district serves 2,320 students in 4-year-old kindergarten through 12th grade. The local school board is hesitant to walk away from the $350,000 to $400,000 in federal money they would lose if the district contracts with a private group to provide more child-friendly lunches.
When a federal government imposes a bad policy enforced by federal tax dollars, the tools of that government become bribery, manipulation and intimidation.
What has happened to the American adult? Why would we allow the federal government to use our tax dollars to subjugate us? This level of government control angered our founders so much that they left homes, family and country to travel to an unknown land for the freedom to make their own decisions.
With confidence worthy of that held by our founders, our school board members would do what is right for the children and tell the federal government to stay out of their food-service programs. They would tell the federal government to respect the fact that Americans care about the good health of our children and we can manage without federal control.
School boards across America need to remind the federal government that the dollars used to support the school lunch program and the dollars they skim off the top 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 to gain money for government 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 aroma of baking bread and roasting meats, which whetted their appetites. Favorite menus included 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, and creamed tuna on shoe string potatoes.
All meals were served with fresh vegetables and fruit. The menus were so popular that many recipes were repeatedly printed in local newspapers.
If our federal government really cared about the weight problems facing our children, they would lower federal taxation for states that implement additional physical education time with a focus on exercise and games that burn calories. School administrators would find that time if they could actually implement local control of their school.
Federal intervention in the school lunch program is one more example of abusive federal overreach.
Schroeder is President of Advocates for Academic Freedom, a member of Gov. Scott Walker‘s Educational Communications Board, an experienced public school teacher and an educational consultant. She may be reached at [email protected].
Authored by Karen Schroeder