Who knew that a lunch could create such controversy? If you are a mom, and you are active on the internet at all (and I’m assuming both, since you are reading this), I’m pretty sure you have seen this story. Apparently a federal agent was in a public school in South Carolina and informed a four year old that her lunch was not “healthy” because it did not include milk. This has set off a firestorm regarding the merits of the home packed lunch or the school lunch that the little girl was given to replace her “unhealthy” lunch.
We could argue the relative merits of both lunches all day long. My kids eat home lunches, my kids eat school lunches. But, my friends, this is not about food.
This is about power.
I think too many of us forget that our public schools are, first and foremost, a government agency.
While the primary purpose of our schools may be to teach the three Rs, the other purpose of public schools is to create model citizens. And, sometimes, the government gets too big, and forgets how much power it has.
Friends, remember this, when you enroll your child in a public school, you are, in fact, giving up a little bit of your parental authority. During the hours that your child spends in that school building, that child is not under your authority, but the school’s. This goes for private school students as well…and do not be fooled, the government is almost just as involved in the private schools as in the public schools.
Every benefit has costs.
As citizens we need to be aware, that every “benefit” has “costs”, some are obvious, some are less so. For example, in order to receive WIC benefits, you must subject your children to blood tests to check iron levels and regular weight and growth screenings. You also are required to purchase the items from a very specific list. Now, the benefit is that you get scads of free-to-you milk, and formula and cereal and fruit, etc. The “cost” is that your child is placed under extra scrutiny, and you may be “judged” if health or growth or development does not fall under certain norms. Some people are fine with this, others are not, so they decline the benefit; and still others will complain rather loudly about how unfair the system is for “judging” their diet or their child’s growth.
So it is with the school systems, flawed as they are. When we pack off our little blessings every day (and I do, and I am generally pleased with the experience) I realize that I have little or no say over the curriculum. For example, my kids have learned about the theory of evolution. This goes against our belief system. However, we have chosen to send our children to the schools funded by our tax dollars (public school is hardly free). We teach our children our beliefs, teach them to be respectful at school and treat it as it is…a theory. I could get all up in arms, however, really, would it do any good? No. Half of the teachers don’t believe it either, but they do what they are told. Our classroom teachers do not determine the curriculum, just as the “school lunch ladies” do not select the menu at school…the government has a pretty heavy hand in those lunches.
In short, I know that the benefits of my kids going to the public schools are going to have a “cost”, and that cost is them learning something that I personally would not teach them. The alternative, of course, would be to home school them, and trust me, as much as I am tempted at times, the education that they ARE receiving outweighs the “costs” incurred.
This is all a very long story, to point out a very simple truth. Sometimes the truth gets buried in the story. Just like today Planned Parenthood tried to lead their followers into thinking that the HHS mandate and the Church’s opposition to is misogynistic and against contraception and against women’s voices in general. But it is not…it is about freedom of religion. Which, in my mind, is way more important than freedom of school lunch.
Chime in! How do you deal with the costs vs. benefits issues? Do you feel like we are treated fairly as consumers of information?