There Really Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
The school system feeds hundreds of thousands of kids who would otherwise go hungry. These students receive free lunch at school cafeterias. As Frank has noted provision of basic services is vital to our country. Making sure that children receive solid educations (and yes can read and think not just take a bloody test) just might lead to little things like jobs, reduced likelihood of going to jail, not to mention possibly participating in the political process. But I digress.
Frank Pasquale, Greg Lastowka, I and others having been looking at reputation online. The New York Times brings home a simpler, pernicious aspect of reputation: just plain old coolness. Apparently many students who receive free lunches choose not to take them or try and hide the fact that they get them because it is just not cool. This fact reminds me of a line in a film called the Moderns when an American artist in 1930s Paris says “It’s ok to be broke in Paris in America it is down right immoral.”
One thing that must stop in the United States is the stigma of poverty. I just finished Bill Strickland‘s book, Make the Impossible Possible: One Man’s Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream Bigger and Achieve the Extraordinary. Strickland’s point that treating people like human beings, giving them clean, nice places that show them that the world can be a good place, AND then demanding of them the same high quality of dedication and work that is asked of people who are better off, yields tremendous results. We are talking impressive high school graduation rates, college matriculation rates, and job placement records (adults tend to become sous-chefs, lab technicians, graphic artists) that most cities would love to have.
The Times article notes that some schools are thinking of moving to a debit card or code system so that it is harder for kids to determine who is getting the free or subsidized lunch and who is not. So maybe things will change on that small front. I hope so.
Hat Tip: John Scalzi
License: Public Domain