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And this is a general issue, everywhere. The fact that a free lunch is good for education is even an important insight in development economics.
Part of the problem here is that the schools have been such a political pawn for so long. My whole life I've been reading and hearing the right wail about how the schools in poor areas are 'wasting' money.
I admit that here in California in the '70s, there was a small nugget of truth in the complaints -- a lot of 'liberal' programs had been instituted which were clearly ridiculous.
There were various new ways of teaching reading and math that were dismal failures, but, worse, many 'alternative' programs that... well, let's just say a goodly amount of the people I knew in the LA punk scene had been subjected to Scientology and EST in high school.
However, most of that was short-lived. The real problems started with the dismantling of the safety net. Schools suddenly had to provide food, medical care, and policing. Of course the budgets ballooned. For the past 25 years or so, almost everything I've read about schools, usually in the interest of pushing vouchers or charter schools, has been a load of crap.
I was on a committee for an inner-city school for awhile, deciding how to allocate a federal grant they'd gotten. Almost all the money was going to social services. Teachers have long known that hungry kids don't learn well. When this school got its grant, we fully funded the lunches and added in breakfasts.
Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
My son's suburban school and mine both run breakfast clubs for year 6 during SATs week.
At his school, we will get the menu, choose his cooked breakfast, choice of cereals and juices, number of slices of toast-and send in a cheque. The school cooks are paid for the extra shifts.
At my school, the breakfast club is funded by the staff. We feed them toast and jam and juice, paid for out of the head teacher's own pocket. The rest of us come in early and unpaid, bearing our own domestic toasters and reliant on the goodwill of friends looking after our own children before school. Some of us even make muffins.
To be taken up by those who really need it, a breakfast club would have to be free. We know we need one-a lot of our children don't eat breakfast. But it takes quite a few of us to make and waitress all-you-can-eat toast and jam to just sixty kids in the time available. And the paid-for-by-the-staff model isn't exactly sustainable over the long term. :(
Almost pointless to try and educate hungry or malnourished kids.
She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
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