Free??

A front page story published in the local newspaper on Labor Day bragging that all Binghamton students will eat free meals this year should take taxpayers appetites away.

Properly written, the lead line should be: Beleaguered taxpayers disprove the old adage that there is no such thing as a free lunch by purchasing them for all Binghamton students regardless of need.

Binghamton school superintendent Marion Martinez tells readers, “..the main point is children are able to get the nutrition they need at no cost to them.” Senior food service director for Broome-Tioga BOCES, Mark Bordeau goes on to say, “..studies have shown student’s eating regular meals at school concentrate more and achieve better grades.”

It seems school officials are unaware that families qualifying for the free meal program also quality for and likely receive food stamps, which takes into account the familial, daily nutritional needs of kids. Food stamp recipients have the capabilities to prepare their own kids a breakfast before school as well as a bag lunch. Apparently Martinez does not have much faith in the strength and self-sufficiencies of the families her district educates. Perhaps if a greater focus was placed on actual education within the school, less social engineering might free up resources for improving Binghamton’s abysmal drop-out rate and test scores.

Bordeau tells us of “studies” that justify regular school meals because kids achieve better grades. That is great news however I would like to know, from these studies Bordeau touts, just how much of grade improvement can we expect? We ought to see measurable improvement because of this program, and we ought to see it in the next year, that is according to the “studies” but I doubt we will see any positive change and if anything, the outlook and outcomes will grow dimmer. If grades stay flat or go down, excuses will dismiss any real accountability and never will a program like this go away once it is thought of as an entitlement. And these same folks wonder why the traditional nuclear family is breaking down or is all but gone in the poor community? It’s in large measure because they and their social experiment policies have eradicated pride, need and accountability in this demographic by attempting to replace productive people with responsibility robbing policies.

A single parent with two or three school age kids will see their weekly responsibility for providing meals decrease by 50%, but I’ll bet the farm that no corresponding reduction in food stamp benefits will take place. And why shouldn’t it? The financial pressures for food are being reduced by half. Then these same folks will look the other way when the under-ground economy is turning excess food stamp credit into cash that buys the votes that fosters this advancement of bad policy, marching those caught in it into the abyss of hopelessness.

How much longer do you think the 30% of us paying for lunch are going to carry the 70% who expect it for free?

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