Thursday, January 19, 2012

Get rid of your kids for only 60 cents a day

Health Advisory: As you may have noticed, about a year ago I started adding "jump breaks" in my blog posts, i.e. in order to continue reading a post, you must click on "Keep reading" at the end of the introductory blurb to see the rest of the post. If you feel your blood pressure rising during the first paragraph, and decide to click through to read the rest of the post anyway, please be advised that you are doing so at your own risk to your health and mental well-being. The author of this blog assumes no responsibility for fits of rage, stress, high blood pressure, or getting your underwear in a twist over what you read here.

Tempe Elementary Schools put our tax dollars to good use again this week when they mailed us a glossy ad package, which included a DVD, claiming that parents would not find a "better educational alternative" than their schools anywhere

Wow, such boldness made me doubt our humble homeschooling efforts (ha!), so I went online to see what was so special that I could not provide. 

Immediately, the "Breakfast & Lunch Menus" caught my attention. Not at all what I had come to the website for, but being interested in healthy eating, this piqued my curiosity. I know much has been done in recent year (at least around here) to make the food served in schools appear more nutritious and healthy. You know, kind of like McDonald's sells oatmeal for breakfast, but fast food is just fast food no matter how you package it (in case you don't know, school lunches are comparable in quality to fast food).

I must admit, I was surprised at the many options they provide. Whoever makes the meal plans, designs the menu, includes dietary information, etc. is sincerely trying to do a good job with it. Having near unlimited funds, I guess that can be expected of them - I was just surprised to actually see them doing it.

What surprised me even more, though, was the price. $1 for breakfast, and $1.85 for lunch. Wow! Even at that low of a price, right on the menu, parents are encouraged to apply for reduced lunches: 

Your child may be eligible for free or reduced meals. Stop by your school’s office to pick up a lunch application.
Oh, and I also liked this: 

In the operation of the child feeding programs, no child will be discriminated against because of race, sex, color, national origin, age or handicap. If you believe you have been discriminated against, write to the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250.

"Child feeding program"? That sounds like animal feeding at the zoo. And I am sure some bureaucrat in D.C. really lays awake at night because your child was discriminated against. 

Reduced breakfast is only 20 cents, lunch is 40 cents!! Now I was really curious. Just how much money can you earn in order to still qualify for the reduced meals? 

For our family, that means we could earn almost $78,000 per year and still have each child fed two out of their three meals for $.60 per day. By the way, this is true year-round, as Tempe Schools also offer free summer school, and continue the school lunch program during most of summer break. 

Add to that the fact that free, all-day Kindergarten starts at age 4 here, and I could have four of our six kids babysat and fed all day for only $2.40. In addition, families with qualifying incomes can take advantage of the Tempe Preschools starting at age 2, so based on the above income guidelines I am taking a wild guess and thinking that their definition of "low income" is equally ridiculous. I could probably get Becky in that for free, too.

And all these years I had been wondering why the school bus picks up kids on our street at 7:20 am, not to bring them home again until 4:20 pm, when school starts at 9 am and they do five hours of instruction per day in elementary school. Now I know.

Of course, nothing is "free" or "reduced" about these lunches. The money to cover the difference is coming from somewhere. Specifically, from our exorb
.itant property and sales taxes. In Tempe, we now even pay sales tax on food. The tax rate for merchandise has recently crossed into the double-digits - we are more than tithing to our local government on purchases alone. This is socialism at its best - taking large amounts of our money from us, then spending it in "our best interest", and letting us live off the government's room, board, and allowance (i.e. housing and food assistance).

I hate to break it to you, but we spend quite a bit more than $.60 cents/day to feed each child breakfast and lunch, since we provide organic whole foods and not subsidized fast food. We also do not get any tax credits or write-offs for homeschooling, even though our doing so saves Tempe about $10,000 per child per year. If I had the house to myself for 9 hours every day, I could take on many more translating assignments, and earn a small fortune without ever leaving the house. Like other moms who have their kids babysat by the government, I could clean my house once the kids leave, and then goof off on the internet for the rest of the day, hang on the phone, watch TV, or pursue other entirely worthless activities.

Truly, I can see the temptation in doing all of the above. Until I remember that the true price parents pay is having their children's minds and hearts corrupted, and their lives permanently put on the wrong track. They pay for it when their teenage daughter winds up pregnant, when their son tries drugs or alcohol, when they care more about their peers at school than their own siblings, when they end up living in fornication, when they have an abortion because of inconvenience, and many other like scenarios. Sure, there will be exceptions to this rule, but these will be just that - exceptions.

Even though I am sure that our home life is secure and strong enough to make our children able to weather going to public school, we'll just pay extra to spare them from having to do so. All other factors aside, we only get to have our children for a few years - why would we send them away for the majority of their waking hours? 

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.


  1. What is a Bosco Stick? I've never heard of that, and I'm a grandma.

  2. That is what I always think, why would you give the best years of your child's life to a stranger? Other than the weekends you would see them for dinner and then bed time. My friend that stays home and home schools her kids now, says she used to be a nights and weekends mommy. Basically that is what it is.

  3. I can't understand how over $55k a year for a family of 6 considered low income. Maybe it's because I'm a tightwad or something but we live on less than that and I don't consider us poor and if my kids did go to public school, I wouldn't be taking advantage of that because I would leave it for kids who were truly in need. I'm sorry but if you make that much income and can't provide lunch for your kids you seriously messed up priorities.

  4. I don't think teenage girls not being pregnant is the exception. At least among the teenage girls I know, (many, since I have a 14 yo girl and a 15 yo girl.) As to the drugs and alcohol, I have to agree with you that not trying them is an exception.

    How on earth are they feeding children 2 meals on .60!? I cook entirely from scratch and .60 wouldn't feed one of my children 1 meal, never mind 2!

    Your children are so blessed to have you.

    in His peace

  5. :)

    Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law."

  6. In my state of Florida, the more students on the reduced/free meal program, the more funding they get for underprivileged (my interpretation)students. EVERYONE is encouraged to apply even if they don't think they will be approved because they want their percentage to be higher. Again, that is my interpretation of their reasoning.

  7. I've known schools where some of the kids who attended had parents who were highly dysfunctional and just couldn't be bothered at all- so school food was the only chance the kids had at eating for the day. Better than nothing I guess, but it is very, very sad that there's a need for it.

  8. " Like other moms who have their kids babysat by the government, I could clean my house once the kids leave, and then goof off on the internet for the rest of the day, hang on the phone, watch TV, or pursue other entirely worthless activities. "

    I really had to chuckle at this because that is exactly what I did today! The snow is falling here in PA, with temps in the 'teens. I completely took advantage and curled up on the sofa with a quilt and the remote control. I even called the hubs and asked him to bring pizza home for dinner! (blush). Thank goodness, that is not my normal routine, but I do admit to having my fair share of lazy days.

    Since there is not much you can do about taxes, would it make you feel better to know that children who don't get fed/looked after properly at home are being cared for/fed while in school? Maybe that would help a little?

    Complain or not, paying taxes is something we all have to do, so might as well shine the best light on it, right? ;-)

  9. Personally, I think taxes that go towards ensuring that kids get fed are taxes well spent :)

    When I was a kid, nearly all our food was bought with food stamps. To save on gas, we only took one trip to the grocery store per month on the day our food stamps were issued. This meant we bought a lot of canned foods and frozen foods; fresh food was more expensive and spoiled quickly so we almost never wasted money on fresh veggies, fresh meat, or dairy products. Most of the time, the food we had in the house wasn't food I could carry in a brown paper bag and eat at school. Dad didn't always have the extra money on hand for lunch money (and even if he did, six dollars a day is a lot when they're threatening to shut off your heat and it's January in Cleveland) so my siblings and I went hungry a lot at school. I certainly wish a reduced price had been an option back when I was in school; it's a really bad feeling to be a kid and have to choose between going hungry or freezing in the winter.

  10. Your "disclaimer" sure did give me a laugh!

    I heard so many worrying stories about our local high schools last week! Shocking, what passes for education! I'm SO glad that my children are not in public school.

    I was so surprised when a few months ago, our Pastor's wife told me that her children went to "Christian school". I was surprised because, I have NEVER heard of any in Ireland. When I enquired a little further a few weeks later, I found out that they attend CATHOLIC public school!

    Great post!

  11. The junk they feed the kids is exactly worth 60 cents. You would vomit if you saw the big truck backing into school to drop off the "airplane food". It's disgusting stuff for sure. It probably only costs 60 cents to produce and the rest gets pocketed by the school district, the feds, and the food processors. It's a racket.

    Sadly, for a lot of kids at our school, it's the only food they eat all day. Not everyone likes their own offspring, nor cares whether their children eat at all. A lot of the kids have no parents and the other parents are just dirtbags. They're incarcerated or on drugs or they just don't care. I mean, they literally don't care about the kids they brought into this world. It makes me sick when I'm at school. I've cried for months over it.

    If it weren't for that disgusting horrible free food and "daycare" the school provides, and the gigantic ridiculous bureaucratic food system, which robs the wealth of the middle class and transfers it to the corporate fat cats, the little boy who never asked to be born, and who sits next to my child at school, would go hungry and uneducated. It's not a perfect system by any means, but for some of the kids, it's the only stability and warmth they receive. The only people they've ever encountered in their short, miserable lives, who have ever given them an encouraging word or glimpse of hope or love, is a teacher at school. Home is nothing but abuse, neglect, and indifference. It would break your heart.

    I put up with a lot of stuff at public school because I know in my heart that every one of those children deserves a chance. Even if I have to pay for it. And I know in my heart my children are better people for being exposed to these children and these teachers who dedicate their whole lives to the unwanted. (Even if I have to put up with the jaded librarians along the way.)

  12. Oh, yes. And I will definitely count myself in as one who wastes time on the internet, lunches with friends, and takes leisurely shopping trips when the kids are off at school/government daycare. It's insanely fabulous. I have to pinch myself sometimes because it's THAT GREAT! Too bad I'm getting a part time job to mess it all up. Darn food bills! You would not believe how fast those six hours go. It's like I blink, and they're back home. They are awake 14 hours a day, so I still have them 8 waking hours a day. And they only go to school 180 days a year. They're off Monday again. I'm like, SERIOUSLY? I want my SIX HOURS! I'm behind on my blog reading.

  13. I do not understand why homeschoolers feel the need to belittle public education, aside, perhaps, from their own insecurity. Public school is an optional resource that is available to parents at their own discretion, made possible by teachers (like my own parents, for example) who put in long, underpaid hours because they care about the children in their charge. Without it, the literacy rate in this country would plummet. In nations where public education is not available, children beg for food on the streets.

    But I could be wrong. You could be right. Darn those greedy socialist politicians, using our hard-won tax dollars to feed children less fortunate than your own, Z. How dare they? What would God say?

  14. "I could clean my house once the kids leave, and then goof off on the internet for the rest of the day, hang on the phone, watch TV, or pursue other entirely worthless activities."

    You mean worthless activities like goofing off on the internet, looking up information about the services of a school you have no intention of sending your children to, searching out federal income guidelines for free lunch, and then writing a lengthy blogpost about greedy socialist politicians who waste our tax dollars making sure less-fortunate children don't go hungry? Is that what you mean, Z?

  15. Bonnie said everything I was thinking.


Your KINDLY WORDED, constructive comments are welcome, whether or not they express a differing opinion. All others will be deleted without second thought.