Warning: The first link in this OpEd has a D.C. Weather Loop. Like most items in D.C. it operates slow and will eat up your time with waiting. If you must verify the source – ensure you grab something to drink first. I provide it for verification that yes indeed the information is true.

Washington D.C. schools, you know the ones that are not good enough for POTUS and FLOTUS offspring, have a new plan for the most economically challenged residents. Jobs? No. Less Governmental interference? No.  “Free” food – in fact 3 meals a day formulated by a chef for their delicate little palates:

D.C. joins 13 states which serve three meals a day at school – and to the tune of $5.7 million. Officials here have embraced the program because they realize healthy, well-fed kids learn better.

“We’re reaching 10,000 kids a day at 99 of our 120 schools,” said Anthony Tata, Chief Operating Officer of D.C. Public Schools.

That’s about 25 percent of the student population. And another big benefit of the after school dinners are that more kids are enrolling in after school programs where they can get some academic help as well.

Or at least that is the rosy picture being painted in this article. What the money spenders would have one believe.

Let’s face it folks – Children are going hungry in this Nation and it is not their fault.

At the tender young age of 4, our Nation has determined that it is necessary to bus off children for 10.5 hours per day to ensure that they meet the social standards and get a “Head Start” on life. Countless billions of dollars have been spent shaping their future by ensuring they can get along with other children the same age and follow directions to ensure an “educated workforce”.

For this discussion, let us use the much debated figures of how much is being spent per year in Federal Funding for children in the Washington D.C. district as costs vary across the States. According to the Digest of Education Statistics the cost per child is about $15,000 for the most recently compiled data from ’05-’06. If one chooses to take into account the CATO Institutes numbers that cost is actually over $28,000 per student. Either way that per year cost is equivalent to an upper end college degree per year with the major difference being college students are expected to feed themselves.  This image shows in blunt graph form what the reality looks like today:

That means that each D.C. child is costing the federal taxpayer (on average) as much to attend one year of school from K-12 as our current Commander-in-Chiefs alma mater per year. Shocking isn’t it?

According to Wiki :

The program was established as a way to prop up food prices by absorbing farm surpluses, while at the same time providing food to school age children

One can find the disturbing History of the entire program at the .gov website which goes into detail of why America as a Nation decided that this program was needed – to fight poverty. In 1894 it was determined that spending to subsidize “penny lunches” in public schools would help raise this first generation out of poverty and allow their children the freedom to advance above their parents hardships. We as a nation are still waiting.

Children are going hungry in this Nation and it is not their fault.

Then where does the fault lie? It is not monetary funding as one can see from the data below:

The increase from 1965 until present day outpaces inflation by 400%, so it’s not the increased operating cost in line with “capital expenditures” or “union salary” excuses. What justifies this dramatic increase? One can see from the past 4 decades that this is across party lines and blame for accountability is to be found in all sectors of public servants.

The fundamental problem is found in today’s Washington Post article:

“A lot of these kids have never seen a pear or held a plum,” said David Strong, culinary director for Fresh Start, the catering arm of DC Central Kitchen, which prepares from-scratch meals at seven public schools as part of the District’s food overhaul. Stong recalled a back-to-school night last month at Kelly Miller Middle School, also in Northeast Washington, when he asked an audience of parents if they’d had a piece of fresh fruit in the past two weeks.

“Maybe two or three people raised their hands,” Strong said.

Remember in 1894, 116 years ago, we supposedly began the process of feeding school children to increase their ability to focus on education thereby lifting them out of poverty. Somehow that process has gone horribly wrong. We have arrived at a point where children don’t even know what a piece of fruit looks like and their parents don’t regularly consume fresh foods.

In parents defense, how can they compete against the Federal Government (who remember developed this program to purchase “surplus” farm food to lift children out of poverty) when they lack adequate funds to purchase in the bulk necessary to afford the same “salmon cutlets, freshly squeezed orange juice and locally sourced vegetable relish” which their children will be dining on in the school cafeteria while mom and dad pick up a burger at a drive thru?

Children are going hungry in this Nation and it is not their fault.

Most importantly it is not food that Washington D.C. children and their parents are lacking, it is the ability to achieve an education level to allow them to rise above the poverty that perpetuates their lives.

I propose a different idea. It is my woefully under-educated public school opinion that either the Federal Government get out of the school system and allow local interested parties to administrate on a best case scenario through Vouchers, Charter Schools, etc. or take the children of Washington D.C. parents away. Give them “Three Hots and a Cot” beginning at age 4. House them in much the same way that criminals are housed, after all the National recidivism rate for those incarcerated is 67.5% – about the same as those who will not graduate High School in Washington D.C.

Now please don’t believe that this is such a radical idea. At least we haven’t proposed sterilizing our teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17.

Last week, an intriguing proposition was mooted by Government minister Dawn Primarolo.

Teenage girls, she said, could be steered towards what is described as “long-term contraception”.

This is now possible thanks to the development of contraceptive jabs and implants which can last up to five years.

In other words, there is a way of effectively sterilising girls for a lengthy period of time.

At what age? Well, doesn’t 12 until 17 sound rather sensible?

This would have the advantage of bringing down the teenage pregnancy rate, so high in this country it makes us a disgrace among the nations – the worst offenders in Europe.

Nor have we reached Jonathan Swift’s  “A Modest Proposal” status either. His fictional solution (to poverty and the “burden” of Irish children) is thought of throughout the world as the classical satirical discussion on “just what do we do with the little buggers” (quite an interesting read):
I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance
in London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year
old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether
stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it
will equally serve in a fricasie, or a ragoust.I do therefore humbly offer it to publick consideration, that of
the hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed,
twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one
fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep,
black cattle, or swine, and my reason is, that these children are
seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded
by our savages, therefore, one male will be sufficient to serve
four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year
old, be offered in sale to the persons of quality and fortune,
through the kingdom, always advising the mother to let them suck
plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump, and
fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an
entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, the
fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned
with a little pepper or salt, will be very good boiled on the
fourth day, especially in winter. 

I’ve meandered through this thought process because the solution to students hunger – whether intellectual, physical or spiritual – lies not within the purview of the Federal Government. No matter how many dollars one throws at the problem, how many hours one requires a child to toil at the desk of mediocrity, how many delicately balanced flavors are contained within the “free” sustenance placed upon the plate of that child –  that child will still hunger.

Why? Because we aren’t willing to do the “hard things” to help them become successful. Ask any person who has overcome the cycle of poverty and oppression how they achieved their goals. What you are likely to hear is that they continued, whether encouraged or not, to strive. Very few will explain how the lottery ticket they found on the corner became their stepping stone to success.

Our public education system is not designed to help children succeed and advance out of poverty. It is designed to have all children provide the same answers to the same questions in an orderly fashion. In essence Same Sh*t Different Day – all for the price of a Harvard Education.