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Federal taxes now feed ALL Detroit public school students


Great news: your tax dollars are now being used to feed ALL Detroit Public School students breakfast, lunch and snacks:

All Detroit Public Schools students from kindergarten through 12th grade will get free breakfast, lunch and snacks starting this fall under a federal pilot program, the district announced Tuesday.

Michigan's largest public school district said the program's goal is to "ensure all children receive healthy meals, regardless of income."

Aside from feeding kids at the local level, the federal program also hopes to make free lunches the norm so as not to stigmatize kids who already receive the lunch assistance:

The free meals are part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Community Eligibility Option Program, the district said. Michigan is one of three states selected to participate in the pilot program for the 2011-12 school year...

"One of the primary goals of this program is to eliminate the stigma that students feel when they get a free lunch, as opposed to paying cash," said Mark Schrupp, the district's chief operating officer. "Some students would skip important meals to avoid being identified as low-income. Now, all students will walk through a lunch line and not have to pay. Low-income students will not be easily identifiable and will be less likely to skip meals."

The district said it still encourages parents to fill out family income survey forms because other services and funding to the district are still linked to income. They include tutoring, after school programs, extra teachers' aids, and classroom technology.

This situation once again reminds me of Benjamin Franklin's sage advice for society:

"I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."

The jury is still out as to whether society can still rely on parents to feed their kids the one remaining meal of the day, but give it time -- I'm confident a public school's dinner program must be in the works somewhere.

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