Many big cities already provide their students with free lunch, and New York City may be next, thanks to public advocate Leticia James. James wants to provide all of the students in New York City with free lunches because she believes that students do not sign up because they are embarrassed, and then the kids do not receive their nutrition for the day.
There is the idea that there is a poverty stigma behind signing up for free lunch, and that not enough children are signed up because of this. However, statistically, the percentage of kids that receive free or reduced priced lunches exceeds the percentage of families in poverty. For example, 58% of kids in California receive free or reduced price lunches, while only 23% of the population is in poverty. The amount of kids that need this kind of help receive it, ruling out the poverty stigma.
And when we get down to providing a “nutritious” lunch, exactly how nutritious is it? And how much money is it going to cost to make it nutritious?
A study found that students who frequently ate school lunch were 29% more likely to be obese, and in a separate study, it was seen that more than one in three middle school students who frequently get school lunch are more likely to be overweight or obese (WebMD.) If we start supplying this to everyone, our children will be extremely unhealthy.
Under new regulations set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, schools will be required to serve more fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and higher grade meats. Due to this, meals are going to cost substantially more; school breakfast will be 25 cents more, and lunches will be over seven cents more. According to republican Duncan Hunter, total compliance will cost over 6.8 billion dollars by 2016, and this will fall straight onto schools and the state (Washington Times.)
With these new regulations, it is practically impossible to provide free lunch for everyone! While there…