Popcorn shrimp, pizza, chocolate milk and government day care
J.G. NASH, Of Cabbages, Of CabbagesNo, that's not what I'd order, but it's exactly what my taxes are paying for.
Published: September 26, 2012
Published: September 26, 2012
I think it's well past time to limit free school meals to the really needy (which is clearly not now the case), as well as to make those meals nutritious, rather than just filling, enjoyable, and fattening.
Yes, I dislike government control of anything, including our children's menu while at school, but if I am forced to pay for that (as I am), then I want it to be given only to the unquestionably needy, and then to be of the lowest possible cost consistent with good nutrition.
Beans and greens are high in essential nutrients, and low in the calories that make indolent children obese, so those foods should be first and most obvious on the cafeteria line. Plain, 2 percent milk is an ideal drink to supplement those food choices, which should never be followed by such as chocolate brownies, banana cream pie, nor cookie laced ice cream.
As menu variants, our children could be offered beans and rice with smoked sausage, or sauteeded chicken breasts with spiced, boiled rice, but never, ever, pizza nor popcorn shrimp.
The bottom line is, except for perhaps 1 percent of the legal residents of the U.S.A, there is no justification for the present, readily-available free lunches at our schools. We should enforce that limitation rigorously, and then provide only healthy meals for those that unquestionably qualify.
And while we're on the subject of public schools, let's take a minute to think about what they should be accomplishing, what they're actually doing, and what, if anything, can be done to improve that unacceptable condition.
Firstly, they should be preparing our children to become productive citizens, rather than government-dependant consumers. Graduates should be able to read and write (in English), know enough arithmetic to balance a check book and operate on a fiscal budget, have a fundamental understanding of historic, moral and ethical principles that made our nation great, along with a basic appreciation for the World we live in.
Facts are: high school grads usually need remedial courses in English and math when they arrive at college; it's also shamefully obvious that far too many of them have little or no foundation of moral codes or guiding principles.
As has been, once again, clearly demonstrated — during the on-going teacher's strike in the corrupt political capital of the U.S. (Chicago) — an apparent majority of parents consider public school to be more of a fee-free, child care facility than a constructive educational activity.
They become outspoken, impatient, and demanding when, due to such as a teacher's strike, their 4-year-old must remain at home, instead of being fed, housed, and entertained all day at tax payer expense; at the same time, they have no idea what subjects their teenager is studying, or how he's doing with those courses. If teachers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, or Atlanta weren't providing day care with free meals, perhaps 80 percent of the parents wouldn't give a damn if they went on strike, and stayed there forever.
The only way that our deplorable public education system will get fixed is if a majority of parents begin to act responsibly, by becoming deeply and continually involved in their children's educations; while simultaneously demanding the best possible performance from both their children and those responsible for teaching them.
That's unlikely to happen, because parents won't act responsibly, when they don't know how or why they should or could, and when what they're really most interested in is free child care. We need an educated base of parents before we can have any hope of changing our inefficient, corrupt, and sociologically-destructive public school systems; how to accomplish that is a worrisome conundrum.
Perhaps our best hope lies in the election of a concerned, involved, and intelligent, government, with the moral backbone required to take politically risky actions to clean up the mess. Ain't gonna happen!
Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated column by j.g.nash. He welcomes pertinent comment, which may be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.