Congress Education

House Republicans Consider Kicking Millions of Kids Off Free School Lunch

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

As one does on any given day in this Congress, Congressional Republicans will consider a proposal to bring back shame for poor kids.

Just because House Republicans were unwilling to affirm Speaker Ryan's disastrous budget does not mean they won't try to incrementally implement the worst parts of it.

The House Education and Workforce Committee will consider legislation that would force over 18,000 schools to tighten or maintain their current eligibility standards for free lunch.

From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

If this proposal becomes law, 7,022 schools now using community eligibility to simplify their meal programs and improve access for low-income students would have to reinstate applications and return to monitoring eligibility in the lunch line within two years. These schools serve nearly 3.4 million students. Another 11,647, schools that qualify for community eligibility but have not yet adopted it would lose eligibility.

The community eligibility program prevents exceptionally poor students from being stigmatized by providing free lunch to all students in high poverty districts. If every student receives a free lunch, no one is singled out or shamed for receiving free lunch.

I'm sure they would say this is only about process or "waste," but in real terms they're talking about a process that leaves kids hungry. There's no waste in feeding kids.

  • Rufus Lowgun

    How soon they forget that the whole reason we have a school lunch program in the first place is because so many men were unfit to serve in World War II due to malnutrition growing up that it became a national security issue. It does fit the conservative mindset that if THEY aren’t getting something then no one else should be getting it (whatever “it” might be) either, though.

  • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker

    It’s not in republican’s priorities to care for people.
    They’re busy ensuring that we can kill people.
    Big difference.

  • Georgie
  • Victor the Crab

    At this point, you can’t really shame this collection of stinking turds. So the best thing to do is to slap them silly and continuously until some sense is knocked into them.

  • Pathological assholes. If there’s an issue, any issue, you can bet the R’s are on the wrong side of it.

  • Draxiar

    All part of perpetuating the same terrible cycle.

  • muselet

    Community eligibility is effective at improving students’ nutrition, the costs are low, it reduces burdensome paperwork requirements on both parents and school districts, and it benefits students—and families—in high-poverty areas.

    No wonder the Rs want to scale the program back.



  • I work for a company that makes the software that allows State Depts of Education to manage USDA funds for programs like CEP. This legislative change would be a disaster, particularly for the poorer school districts. The administrative cost of accepting applications and checking as they go through the lunch line will result in a net loss but not at the Federal level, just on the local level. For Republicans this is a win-win. They get to shrink the Federal Budget AND put the hurt on the public educational system all at the same time. Never mind they’re actually increasing the cost that taxpayers will have to pay in the end, or that kids will go hungry or that this kind of thing only makes Charter Schools look more attractive (which is one of the shittiest GOP boondoggles ever). And I’m not saying any of this because my employer will lose money because we really won’t. This is a lucrative niche market that most people are completely unaware of and there are so many other programs that we work on, it will only be a ripple in the water for us. I’m opposed to getting rid of CEP because it is just plain bad public policy.

  • Ken Kohl

    I’m guessing this “free lunch” may be the only hot, full meal a lot of these kids get. We’ll spend hundred’s of millions of $$ on fighter planes that don’t work, but deity forbid we feed children… bastards

    • You are correct. In communities where they use CEP, it is often the ONLY meal they get all day. And then they wonder why poor kids perform worse on standardized tests. They’re starving, that’s why. I’d like to see how well those GOP fatcats in Congress would do on standardized tests after having lived on 1 meal a day for a year.