(Warning, this is the beginning of a multi-part diatribe in progress. I will rant. I will rave. I will invoke a fiery doom upon evildoers. )
On January 23, Iowa Representative Steve King, introduced Bill 610. This Bill touched the heart of every teacher with the icy fingers of fear. These icy fingers squeezed a death grip when Betsy De Vos was appointed Secretary of Education on February 2. ( The ground hog said nothing about that!)
Now, I often have an inmates-running-the asylum-feeling, especially since I teach sixth grade, but this change at the national level is terrifying. Tim Curry in a clown suit terrifying.
Bill 610 is” To distribute Federal funds for elementary and secondary education in the form of vouchers for eligible students and to repeal a certain rule relating to nutrition standards in schools.”
The certain rule relating to nutrition standards is the No Hungry Kids Act. What is that? It’s legislation regulating the nutritional quality of school breakfasts and lunch. (Because, that’s not important. In fact, it’s laughable. It must be funny because NO ONE IS TAKING THIS SERIOUSLY.)
I have one student who I know for a fact that the only time she knows she will eat is at school. Fortunately for her, our school lunch is a buffet of salad, raw veggies and baked potatoes. There is also soup, usually vegetable based. I have seen this child eat four bowls of soup and three giant plates of salad. Sometimes she takes crackers home for later.
I know this is not a unique case. This is not the only child in the country who does not have enough to eat. (There are documentaries and studies available on many media platforms. There are even programs in place that feed these children over the summer and when school is out.)
For a country that believes the children are our future (I think Whitney Houston had something to say about that. Oh and I think Jesus was also a big fan of children as well.) we suddenly consider acceptable to stop caring about what they eat. I bet Mr. King and Ms. DeVos feed their pets and themselves the highest quality of chow.
When I was in Graduate School, a fellow student talked about spending almost half of her paycheck every week feeding her pre-k students so they would be alert enough to learn. Pre-K students are between 4-5 years old. I’m not a doctor or nutritionist or any thing that requires math and chemistry as part of the degree plan, but even I know that tiny children need special nutrition so they can, I don’t know, think, grow and eventually be a part of society.
Why is this even a consideration?
Whoever you voted for, how can we, as a country take food out of the mouths of our children?
We’re about to see.