A commentator thinks the expansion of free meals at schools is "disappointing" for several reasons.
On Tuesday, First Lady Michelle Obama and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the expansion of a pilot program that gives more students, regardless of income, free breakfast and lunch.
The program was initially aimed at students in 11 states, but beginning this July, it will include 22,000 schools across the country where more than one-third of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
"It's disappointing to see the expansion of a program that has so obviously failed to provide good and healthy meals for kids," says Julie Gunlock of the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF). "The reforms that happened in 2010 -- there have been many, many press reports that have said that kids are refusing food; they're throwing it away; there is massive waste. Some school districts have even gone so far as to refuse to participate in the program."
Gunlock thinks America is getting to a point where parents are no longer involved in their child's nutrition, so schools are filling that role.
"More and more kids are eating in these sort of institutional settings, when research shows that the best way to keep kids healthy is to make sure that parents have an active role in what they eat," she states.
The White House and other supporters of these types of programs have claimed this would help reduce the stigma for children who are eating for free or at a reduced price. But Gunlock poses that is something parents can do by teaching them basic manners -- like kindness.
"They always try to get rid of sort of the symptoms about tackling the real issues here. Part of taking away parental involvement also encourages parents to just check out of other things," the IWF spokeswoman concludes.
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