Betsy deVos, feeding children is not a joking matter. She says “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Betsy DeVos is in charge of a system that literally serves millions of free lunches. She opened remarks to the ultra-conservative CPAC on Thursday with a joke about free lunch.
Feb—24—2017 02:11PM EST
The new secretary of education stepped to the mic at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, and warmed up the crowd with a joke that played well in that particular room.
“I’m Betsy DeVos,” the secretary, who arrived at the job with no experience in the public school system, said. “You may have heard some of the wonderful things the mainstream media has called me lately. I, however, pride myself on being called a mother, a grandmother, a life partner, and perhaps the first person to tell Bernie Sanders to his face that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Hahaha, Bernie Sanders. Whatever on that. It’s a speech at CPAC, where he’s an obvious target, and this was an apparent reference to DeVos’ back-and-forth with Sanders during her confirmation hearing last month. And maybe DeVos just didn’t consider the impact of the phrase “free lunch” in the context of her new job. But here’s the problem: She’s now in charge of a school system that serves free and subsidized lunches to more than 30 million students every day. While the Department of Agriculture actually pays for this program, DeVos’ tone-deaf joke made her appear oblivious to the fact that free school lunches are often the only thing that keep many low-income kids from going hungry.
According to government statistics, 15.8 million, or 12.5 percent, of U.S. households were “food insecure” in 2015, meaning they were unable to acquire enough food to meet the needs of all family members. Multiple studies have shown that hungry children struggle in school, with demonstrably lower math scores, and a greater likelihood of having to repeat a grade.
I spent three years teaching in a public middle and high school in Brooklyn, and saw this play out on a human level: If a kid eats, he or she has a chance to be engaged in class. If a kid is hungry, he or she will probably stumble through the day, a weak and grumpy zombie, head down on desk, no chance to learn.
But as LeVar Burton would say, don’t take my word for it. Here are some facts that might help the billionaire secretary realize that there is, in fact, such a thing as a free lunch, and it’s important.
The National School Lunch Act came into being in 1946,Betsy deVos, feeding children is not a joking matter. She says “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” | Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog: