Service of Equality: Free School Breakfast, Lunch and iPads

September 9th, 2013

Categories: Equality, School, Taxes

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I want my taxes to cover the breakfast and lunch of children whose parents can’t afford to feed them. Currently in NYC, according to Stan Brooks on 1010 WINS radio, NY:  “The free meals are only available in a quarter of city schools, and only one-third of eligible students are eating them. On Wednesday [August 21], the City Council passed two resolutions by a vote of 42-2, asking the state legislature to take action.”

WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb reported: “‘Currently, only 34 percent of New York City schoolchildren who qualify for free or reduced lunch eat breakfast at school. When compared with other big cities across the country, Newark, for example, at 87.2 percent or Houston at 79.1 percent, our performance in abysmal,’ City Councilman Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn) said at an education committee hearing on Wednesday.” Lamb quoted Levin as saying because we don’t spend it we return $50 million to Washington. He also wrote that NYC Mayoral candidate Christine Quinn reported that: “Only about 28% of elementary school students, 15% of middle school students and 12% of high school students participate in the school breakfast program.”

healthy breakfastWhile Mayor Bloomberg thinks all the children should have a free breakfast, the Mayor is concerned about overfeeding the some 40 percent of obese NYC children. Wouldn’t this be an opportunity to teach the children about eating healthy food by serving it to them?

However, I think that the children whose parents can afford to pay for breakfast and lunch should do so.

kids using iPadsSimilarly, I have a bone to pick with politicians such as NYC Mayoral candidate Christine Quinn who feel that every child in public school should be given an iPad. It’s happening in LA to help erase the divide between rich and poor. If it’s imperative for every child to own a tablet, there’s nothing wrong with a Nook or a Kindle both of which have access to email and apps, a savings of hundreds of dollars per child.

Should the adults who’d like a tablet and can’t afford even one of the cheaper ones pay taxes for kids to get the luxury version? Won’t there always be a colleague, team member, neighbor or relative who has more goodies than you? Is it up to the government to even up such inequities? Should we not spend tax money to teach kids so they can become the ones who can afford the equivalent of the iPad if they want one rather than giving them a fancy gadget and expect it to do the work?

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6 Responses to “Service of Equality: Free School Breakfast, Lunch and iPads”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    No one should go hungry, and schools should provide appropriately via a voucher program, with parents who can afford it, paying into the system.

    It’s wrong to pass out luxury items to anyone at taxpayer expense. Hopefully any candidate who feels differently will get the message loud and clear tomorrow.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    Here here!

    California is having economic woes and one wonders why. Someone said to me that the kids would no doubt receive specially made iPads at lesser cost than the some $700 consumers pay. If that’s the case, then a similarly tricked out tablet by Kindle or Nook that costs under $200 normally might still come in at a far cheaper price.

  3. Gibbon Redux Said:

    Edward Gibbon spent a thousand pages discussing the downfall of the Roman Empire, not a few of them describing the contribution thereto caused by the need of Rome’s masters to provide bread and circuses to keep its population docile. He also wrote, “Corruption [is] the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty.”

    I’m dubious about enabling anyone working in the government of New York City to buy either bread (school lunches) or circuses (electronic gadgets) for the citizenry. The only good I can see coming out of it is that you will be creating yet another class of new rich.

    As to their kids learning reading, writing and arithmetic, pencil, paper and books did just fine for me. Last time I looked, the City’s fine library system was grossly under used.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Gibbon,

    I see what you mean about the government, purchases and the new rich. I just came from voting in the primary where the city brought out the old voting machines: Worked just fine. We’ll be back to the new an UNimproved voting method for the November election.

    This is a model of how to get rich by bamboozling the government to buy your stuff, in this case, paper, pencils and a cockamamie antiquated copier similar to a fax and computer system. The newer version, as I wrote about when I first used it, takes us back to the wild west when people signed their names with x’s and it uses reams and reams of paper, enriching the paper manufacturer and the storage companies that keep the votes for goodness knows how long.

    That said, I can’t think of another way for hungry children to be given clean food on a regular basis unless someone sets up a charity to support giant restaurants around the city located next door to schools where children pay either with cash, if their parents can afford it, or with tokens paid for by the charity, if they can’t.

  5. JBS Said:

    Several schools in our area are giving the tablets to children whose family income is very low …. those who have more income can buy a tablet at a huge discount, $30. My granddaughter’s school is not included, although she certainly would get a free one because her mother makes $8.75 an hour … and only gets 25-30 hours of work per week. (Yes, she continues to look for a better job.) I’m strongly in favor of these programs and eager to pay my share.

    According to recent studies, kids who have an iPad to help them learn test much higher on standard tests and “enjoy” learning much more. Some of these kids would end up as delinquents and in prison, which is far more expensive than the cost of an iPad. I’d far rather see the state spend my tax money on an iPad than on prison.

    I don’t have an iPad and I’m no expert, but since studies show that it helps kids learn …it doesn’t make it easier from what I understand… I’m certainly in favor of providing them, although I don’t believe they need the most expensive model. (I understand that Apple is providing them free of charge to some school systems. My regret is that Jordan’s school system is not one of them.) From what I understand, the iPads help kids learn, it doesn’t do the work. My own children’s school system (30 years ago) got free computers from Apple to help them learn … it was the first time my son took much interest in school.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Apple’s iPad and Barnes & Noble’s Nook or Amazon’s Kindle do the same things with the exception of taking pictures–which the iPad does [and I think you can get this option as a Nook add-on]–and the iPad no doubt offers more apps but how many apps can a person use after the first few hundred thousand?

    I know that kids want the right jeans and sneakers touting the appropriate brands and that Apple has paid to win hearts and minds that there’s nothing like the iPad—my 11 year old niece swears by them and her father can afford to give one to her–but my bet is that rather than nothing, children would do fine with other tablets that would better fit a school’s budget.

    Hooray for Apple for giving their products to schools. That’s an altogether different matter.

    In some ways we are all losing pieces of our brains with all this helpful technology. I don’t remember phone numbers because I simply have to punch “Call Homer” on my phone and I have a choice of which number, “home, office, voicemail, mobile” and voila!

    When we visited Williamsburg, Va. and the computers went down in the entire historic district nobody could figure out how much we owed for a cookie and a soda without the cash register to do the math. [Perhaps they passed out pocket calculators after that as all the gift shops were stymied as well.]

    Of course tablets are important and if they intrigue children to learn, I too am all for them. A Chevrolet gets me to the same place that a Bentley does, with no leather seats or handsome silhouette, perhaps. But I’ve not been in an industry that generates the kind of income to cover the cost and maintenance of the latter. I would resent it if I had to pay taxes for a school’s Driver’s Ed program that insisted that children needed a Bentley to learn to drive carefully, without texting or driving while intoxicated because it was more fun to do so. I’ve given an extreme example to make my point, but in the hundreds of thousands, the difference in cost between a less known and better loved tablet brand is significant so I vote for the less expensive option. It’s up to the teachers to make learning fun.

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