Finally, we are getting water, drinkable water, in schools. Apparently, up until now, we were only serving beer and wine in our school cafeterias. Public schools in the United States of America were literally deserts when it came to drinkable water. Finally, thanks to the foresight and brilliance of our leaders, we have mandated that water be provided to our children. This kind of catering to the lowest common denominator is simply the latest in a line of debilitating social programs. This legal mandate of drinking water is a symbol of just how bizarre our code has become and how common sense has been abandoned. If we must have Congress make potable water a necessity for schools, we are truly on the road to oblivion. But, don’t worry, it gets even worse. Let’s start with water first.
SEC. 203. WATER.
Section 9(a) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1758(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
`(5) WATER- Schools participating in the school lunch program under this Act shall make available to children free of charge, as nutritionally appropriate, potable water for consumption in the place where meals are served during meal service.’ S.3307 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010
This is truly amazing.
Have we finally come to the point in our nation’s existence when we must provide, by law, access of our schoolchildren to potable water. Have we really gotten to such a place where if water isn’t mandated by federal law, it won’t get to children?
My question is, why would this even be an issue? Were we serving malarial swamp water to children in Texas? Did we give agricultural run-off to kids in Illinois? Was there a case of New Jersey schools denying children water while they ate their lunch?
Have we lost all sense of proportion? Are we really traveling down a road where even the most fundamental of human needs has to be addressed by the United States Congress or it will not be remediated?
This water requirement is merely a blip in this school lunch bill. This new law will turn our public schools into soup kitchens. If you want to know why public schools are failing the public that funds and relies on them, just take a little gander at some of the things required by this new legislation for schools.
IN GENERAL- A qualifying school may use a grant provided under this section-
`(A) to establish, promote, or expand a school breakfast program of the qualifying school under this section, which shall include a nutritional education component;
`(B) to extend the period during which school breakfast is available at the qualifying school;
`(C) to provide school breakfast to students of the qualifying school during the school day; or
`(D) for other appropriate purposes, as determined by the Secretary.’
According to this, school breakfast programs are not extensive enough. We need to really work hard at getting schools to provide a healthy breakfast to its students and expand its hours of service. Breakfast is an important meal, but are we really focusing so much on serving breakfast, we lose sight of the purpose of schools; to provide the public’s children with an education.
Nope. Breakfast is apparently very important. But, so is dinner.
IN GENERAL- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the Secretary shall
(i) issue guidelines for afterschool meals for at-risk school children; and
(ii) publish a handbook reflecting those guidelines
Let’s keep this in perspective. First we introduced hot school lunches so students could have a meal that didn’t come in a bag. Then, we started making these meals free or at reduced prices so some students from poor families could get this meal in spite of economic difficulties. Then, we realized some kids came to school hungry and we blamed their poor performance on growling stomachs. So, we started school breakfast programs. Fine. We don’t want children to go hungry and do poorly in school.
But, now we are providing supper as well? Are we just creating a string of publicly funded restaurants that provide all the nourishment a child will need without ever going home? Of course we are. Because here’s another part of this absurd law.
`(12) SUMMER FOOD SERVICE SUPPORT GRANTS-
`(A) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall use funds made available to carry out this paragraph to award grants on a competitive basis to State agencies to provide to eligible service institutions–
(i) technical assistance;
(ii) assistance with site improvement costs; or
(iii) other innovative activities that improve and encourage sponsor retention.
So, now we are going to have schools provide food throughout the year. What started as an attempt to help poor students achieve more in school, has turned into a full-blown attempt by social service advocates to feed children from morning to night, every day of the year. Gone is any attempt to link these programs with educational achievement. Kaput are arguments that empty stomachs distract learners. This is just communitarian feeding of children whose parents don’t have to worry about buying their own groceries.
And we are still giving these people food stamps and other food programs. Why? What are these parents responsible for? Who’s actually looking out for these children? We know that parents are not feeding them, according to the social service advocates. So, are these children failing because there is just no support for them at home? Has school just become a convenient babysitting enterprise for poor parents? It gets even worse.
Our catering to the lowest common denominator in schools is spreading throughout these children’s lives. They are learning nothing about priorities or sacrifice. They are not understanding self-reliance or even self-control. The liberals and collectivists who are ‘trying to help’ are not better at missing this important point. Read this little paragraph from the StarTribune on the Minneapolis School district’s problems getting students to learn algebra.
“In schools in more affluent neighborhoods, students are expected to buy the calculators, which often cost around $90. Some schools and districts rent them out, but many students are forced to try solving problems with cell phone calculators, Martinez said.
“In an ideal world, all kids would have access” to graphing calculators, Vanderwerf said.” From Corey Mitchell’s article, ‘Schools find teaching algebra is a math problem,’ StarTribune November 29th, 2010.
Now, I don’t know who is more stupid in this article, teachers Vanderwerf and Martinez, or the reporter, Mitchell. But, to me the obvious answer to this dilemma is that students whose parents can afford to give them cell phones should reallocate their resources to buying the necessary learning equipment, the calculator, $90 or not. Perhaps instead of the designer jeans and Hello Kitty backpacks, these parents should feed their children. Instead of just blaming society and our funding priorities, these people should prioritize the needs of their flesh and blood first. It’s a novel concept, but one that has worked for millennia. Parents take care of their children because they are in the best place to do so. For us to take away that necessity is to diminish the responsibility of the people who are the children’s best advocate, their caregivers.
But, at least schoolkids have a constitutional right to drinking water. Right?