Should schools provide students with free lunches? | The Tylt
Should schools provide students with free lunches?
Providing all students with a free lunch is not a radical idea. Schools already provide free or reduced lunch to many students, but this process requires applications, deadlines and bureaucratic work. When parents run up debt on the lunches, schools often have to go through debt collection to notify parents of late fees—adding even more administrative work. It quickly becomes a mess.
Without CEP, schools must collect applications and determine many low-income students' individual eligibility for free- or reduced-price meals based on family income. (In most states, the threshold for a family of four is $44,955 for reduced-price meals and $31,590 for free meals). That puts a considerable administrative burden on high-poverty schools, which may have to chase down applications and partial payments from thousands of children. On top of that, advocates say, restricting school breakfast to the poorest kids stigmatizes the meal.
Student advocates say giving free lunch as the default would remove the bureaucracy and ensure students don't go hungry. "Lunch-shaming" would stop being an issue and we can be sure that no child goes hungry. The Des Moines Register's editorial board argues lunch is an essential part of a a child's education:
This country is long overdue in reconsidering how it feeds millions of schoolchildren each day. Every child in a K-12 school should receive a free lunch. All of us should share in covering the expense the same way we fund many other costs of education, from heating school buildings to paying teachers.
Critics say a completely free lunch program is an inefficient use of taxpayer's money. Reducing the stigma of a free lunch is not a good enough reason to to waste taxpayers' hard-earned money on subsidizing on student lunches. Critics say those who are able to pay for lunch, should pay, and the government should help those in need. Nothing is truly free in this world.
Despite these successes, however, CEP is not universally beloved. The program has attracted particular ire from House Republicans, who attempted to reform the program in their version of last year’s Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill. They believe CEP unfairly subsidizes the meals of kids who could afford to pay full price, at enormous cost to taxpayers, and have advocated for a 60-percent threshold to determine a school or district's eligibility. Although they were ultimately unable to raise the CEP threshold in the last Congress, they now have a Republican president, in addition to a congressional majority.
“We are arguing that Congress should address CEP before passing any child nutrition reauthorization bill,” Daren Bakst, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said in an email. He has previously described CEP as “welfare for kids who come from the middle class.”
@VicBergerIV@Gavin_McInnes Why are there so many people who hate free lunch programs? Public school is paid for by taxes, why aren't lunches free for all students?