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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 11:37 AM
Original message
School lunches- Who thought THAT was a good idea???
Edited on Sat Feb-28-09 11:39 AM by underpants
President Harry S. Truman began the national school lunch program in 1946 as a measure of national security.

He did so after reading a study that revealed many young men had been rejected from the World War II draft due to medical conditions caused by childhood malnutrition. Since that time more than 180 million lunches have been served to American children who attend either a public school or a non-profit private school.

In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson extended the program by offering breakfast to school children. It began as a two years pilot program for children in rural areas and those living in poorer neighborhoods. It was believed that these children would have to skip breakfast in order to catch the bus for the long ride to school. There were also concerns that the poorer families could not always afford to feed their children breakfast. Johnson believed, like many of us today, that children would do better in school if they had a good breakfast to start their day. The pilot was such a success that it was decided the program should continue. By 1975, breakfast was being offered to all children in public or non-profit private school. This change was made because educators felt that more children were skipping breakfast due to both parent being in the workforce. +
http://www.educationbug.org/a/the-history-of-the-school...

In 1906 two books were published: Poverty and The Bitter Cry of the Children. These two books were the first to examine the link between poor nutrition and the resulting negative impact on learning and productivity. By 1913, School Lunches were operating in 30 cities and 14 states. However by 1918 and the beginning of WWI, the realization of how desperate the youth of America was painfully obvious. Enormous numbers of young men could not enter the military due to poor physical condition related to malnutrition. By 1919 2930 schools were now receiving hot lunches.
http://ilunchbox.com/articles/history-of-the-school-lun...

The first school lunch program in the United States started in New York, in 1853 serving meals to students attending The Childrens Aid Society of New York a vocational school (http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdenutritran/download/pdf/SE... ). In 1904, Robert Hunter wrote a book Poverty. This book had a strong influence on the citizens of the United States who felt there was a great need to feed hungry, needy children. Hunter was greatly concerned about academic performance of children in schools. Teachers became alarmed at the number of students arriving at school without a nutritious meal because many students came from poor families who could not afford breakfast meals.

At the time of World War II, enlisted soldiers were showing signs of under weight and malnutrition. During these findings, the doctors who were examining these potential soldiers denied enlistment because of malnutrition. The Truman Administration attempted to address this problem of malnourished recruits along with other concerns about federally funded school lunch programs along with the lack of commodities providing assistance after their agreement during World War II. Congress and President Truman noticed parallels between malnutrition with young men and school lunch programs.
http://www.healthmad.com/Nutrition/History-Policies-and...

In 1941 America was barely more than twenty years from the First World War. People were toughened by the struggle for survival in the 1930's Depression. In 1940, 40% of draftees were rejected, most of them because of malnutrition, bad teeth and eyesight--all results of the Depression. Many new soldiers came from farms in rural America where a familiarity with guns was necessitated by subsistence hunting.
http://www.museumofworldwarii.com/HomefrontSpeech.htm

The National School Lunch Program

During World War II, many U.S. draftees were found to be malnourished to such an extent that they were turned down for military service. The realization of this low nutritional state of the general population led to the passage of the National School Lunch Act (NSLA) in 1946, which established the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in elementary and secondary schools. This landmark legislation, although amended many times, continues in force today, with its original objectives still in place. These objectives are "to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation's children, and to encourage the domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities and other food."
http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2395/School-...


A complete history of providing food in schools (in the US) is here
http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Lunch/AboutLunch/ProgramHis...

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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
1. thanks for the history -- hard to understand why there are folks here who think
school lunches are a bad thing.
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. A little more here-another post by me :-)
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. It's even harder to identify those folks
Seriously... is there anyone here who thinks that the free and reduced price school lunch program is a bad thing?

The only dissension I see is a debate over whether people who can afford it should get it for free.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. The only dissension I see
is a debate over whether a sandwich, fruit and milk is a nutritious free lunch for kids of parents who won't sign the paperwork to get a free lunch, or have failed to call the school about their financial situation.
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tanngrisnir3 Donating Member (665 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Exactly. I see no one suggesting that kids getting meals is a bad idea.
Only distraught emotionalism in regards to Chicken Little worries about ostracization.
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #15
28. yes, people have suggested just that
that schools shouldn't be in the lunch-serving business anyway.
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tanngrisnir3 Donating Member (665 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. Fine, the extreme minority. Nevertheless, it's not really an issue.
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #7
27. not just free and reduced lunch, but all lunch programs
This was a hit and run bit of flamebait, but I saw a few posters in some of the normal cheese sandwich threads saying essentially the same thing: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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stray cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
2. When did we start charging students for school lunchs instead of using taxes
Edited on Sat Feb-28-09 11:45 AM by stray cat
to pay for all of the students regardless of income? I always brought my lunch to save money so I know it was before the 1970s. I suspect there has always been an income cut off but maybe not?
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. School lunches were subsidized but we still had to pay
a ridiculously low amount of money for them in the school cafeteria. I seem to remember the first school cafeteria charging a quarter for them in the late 50s. The alternative was bringing something from home.

Schools I went to without cafeterias often didn't even have lunch rooms. We'd bring a nickel a day for our carton of milk and teachers would wheel a cart from classroom to classroom, half pint cartons on top. We'd eat at our desks, preparing us for life in the working world.

I hated milk, so "I forgot" was my constant refrain. I spent the nickel on a Baby Ruth bar on the way home.

Unfortunately, we live in a country that has a gilded class and their imperial military. Because of those things, we need to make hard choices about who can afford to defray some of the cost of school lunches and who can't.

I sincerely hope we can make better choices in the future.
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norepubsin08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. Sounds like you went to a Catholic School
We had to eat at our desks always too. The nun would collect the milk money at the beginning of the week. Candy bars when I went were 10 cents a piece...two weeks of milk money gave me a candy bar every other day...because I hated milk also. In the sixth grade, I sold candy at a profit to kids who rode the bus and couldn't buy their own candy on the way to school, til the nun put a stop to my exploits.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. I went to Catholic School in 1st grade
I vaguely remember that we ate outside on benches. It was California and warm. I think on rainy days and in the winter we ate at our desk. We went to public school pretty quickly after that though. My dad grew up in St Louis and I think the Catholic Schools must have been more negotiable on tuition. That or he just decided it was stupid to pay so much when we could get the same education for free, not sure which. And it was pretty much the same education back then.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. In the 60s, kids worked in the lunch room
to get a free lunch. Everybody else had to pay or bring one from home. We got one hot lunch a year on Thanksgiving. It was my parents special treat to us. The rest of the year we got a bologna sandwich, 4 cookies, and milk in a thermos. Lots and lots of us grew up being humiliated with a sandwich at lunch. :crazy:

Also, in the 60s, there wasn't any food stamps, or WIC, or free breakfast and lunch. I imagine the implementation of some of these other programs probably changed the way they did the lunch program.
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cherokeeprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. I used to work in the lunchroom, but it was a privilege for working hard in class.
Same with the Service Club, which was responsible for delivering projectors to classrooms.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. Like being a hall monitor
or crossing guard?

I read that they have new cafeteria monitor type programs and that they are "privilege" based. They didn't used to be. Everybody knew the poor kids worked in the kitchen and the geeks delivered the projectors. Maybe you went to school in the 80s or something.
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cherokeeprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #17
22. Nah. I'm 47, went to elementary school in the 60's, and was by all accounts a geek.
Maybe they do/did it differently in So. Cal.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. Well we're all geeks now, lol
I'm 50 lbs heavier and am currently sitting with a big old plastic thing on my ear after surgery yesterday. So attractive. Every time I turn my head, I know what the doggies with the cones on their heads feel like. What I wouldn't give for the simplicity of taped glasses to deal with, lol.
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WolverineDG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 09:12 PM
Response to Reply #12
33. When I was in school, almost everyone brought their own lunch
If you had the school lunch it was either one or more of the following:
(1) It was Hamburger Day
(2) your parents were out of town
(3) your mom was sick
(4) you qualified for a free lunch

To think that most parents (including my own) felt it was their responsibility to make sure we had a lunch or the money to pay for it! If you didn't bring it, didn't pay for it, didn't qualify for a free one, you got nothing! :o

And to add to our humiliation by sandwich, we were made to be excited about it by getting to chose our own lunchbox!! :wow:

So forgive me for not getting tied up in knots over a free cheese sandwich that the parents didn't make or pay for.

dg
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Numba6 Donating Member (355 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
3. Yep, sounds like communism to me... jsut like
8-hour day

Minimum Wage

Social Security

Medicare

Vet's Hospitals

Civil Rights

Equal Rights

& all those other things that ruined America

:rofl:
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Metta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
4. They don't like anything their friends can't make money from plus they're phony Christians.
No on deserves help unless it brings money to *them*. Happy karma.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
6. Truman was a Democrat. All this does, sadly, is prove to the Republics that
school lunches are a socialist plot since Democrat = socialist in their minds.
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Cerridwen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Then we should tell them about Nixon.
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #6
29. that's fine -- let 'em argue that school lunches are a socialist plot, and see how
far that gets them with the public :rofl:
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cherokeeprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 12:17 PM
Response to Original message
10. Truman wanted to feed the children in order to make them better suited to be soldiers? n/t
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Cerridwen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. That was one justification given.
It's not quite that simple, however.

It was also to help out farmers and there was an acknowledgement it would help those in poverty which took on some racist/racial undertones during the day - and since.

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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #10
23. A long winded answer
Edited on Sat Feb-28-09 01:14 PM by underpants
From the time the first "bad ass" got the best house (soon referred to as a "castle") feeding the population was necessary. The reasons are self evident: sustaining power (no food riots), production of sustenance for the population,production of goods to sell/trade (makes the "bad ass" richer), healthy population from which the strongest can be selected to sustain the "bad ass"'s power.

The modern application contains those elements but we have moved beyond this. In the links on the OP there is the fact that the School Lunch Act of 1946's chief proponent was George C. Marshall. He had observed the European system that was unable to regenerate a healthy fighting force in France after WWI as well as reflection on lessons learned from our involvement in WWII-namely the diluted pool of draftees as noted in the OP.

There is of course the economic element. The food production system that was used in WWII (both for domestic production workers and GI's) elevated the agriculture industry and without supplement it would decline, plus the roaring economy of the 50's required more food for a healthier and more educated (GI Bill) population. There is also a more cynical view too-namely a more educated population leads to more production and higher wages---higher wages leads to more tax revenue.

So it wasn't just for better soldiers, better soldiers are a result of a healthier population.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
19. The only bad ideas about school lunches,
Were the ideas concerning what was served for lunch some days. Most of the food was OK, but some of it, like the pizza drowning in grease, was atrocious. Luckily most of the time they served a couple of choices, and with a pre-printed menu, I could select days when I would pack a lunch.

Other than that, I always have thought that school lunch was a good idea. Frankly I think that we could offer all kids free school lunches and do away with this whole silly debate altogether. It would benefit kids and farmers alike :shrug: And it wouldn't cost that much. Close a couple of corporate tax loopholes, and voila, free lunch for all kids.
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Food choices mostly stem from what the USDA subsidizes
namely
Wheat
Corn
Soybeans

Fruits vegetables and even beef is barely subsidized so it doesn't get to the school lunch room

I agree about food choices but a lot of that decision also comes from what is cheapest (USDA subsidized). I think local farmers should be more able to sell to schools but I think there are some liability issues-these could be partly underwritten by the state or Fed goverments.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Oh I understand that,
But damn, they could at least have drained the grease off the pizza.

There are actually some interesting experiments concerning school lunches going on, schools bringing in chefs, nutritionists to help prepare healthy, nutritious and tasty lunches, schools buying locally, organically, etc. I would like to see these experiments go national.
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. I would too
Edited on Sat Feb-28-09 01:12 PM by underpants
the local/organic crowd (we are very into this) not only grows just what it can sell they would LOVE to bring what they know to the school kids and not just for cynical reasons of making more money. You can't fake really feeling it like they do.


I highly recommend "Food Fight" by Daniel Imhoff-it was to do with the agriculture bill of 2007 but it is very informative
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-01-09 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #20
36. We CAN buy from local farmers. The problem is supply.
I have to have a reliable supply of goods - if I have green beans on the menu, they'd better be available the day I need them. I Colorado, we don't grow a lot of beans. It's far too dry. Plus, I don't have the labor to prep them. So we have to rely on processed beans. With more money, I could do more. But at 2.59 per lunch reimbursement, my options are severely limited.
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
25. "by 1975 breakfast was being offered to all children"
Well I was 13 then, so I missed that. I am guessing that by "children" they mean those in the grades K-6. None of my schools ever offered breakfast, unless they just did it for poor kids without me knowing about it. In my grade school we had milk tickets which would get you a half pint of milk at about ten o'clock. One price I remember was $1 for a milk ticket with fifty punches on it.

One thing that I notice has changed, and I am not sure when it did, but in K-6, I walked home for 99% of my lunches. My dad came home from work for most of them too. Now my local school does not even allow that as an option.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #25
31. My kids' schools rarely offered breakfast
The middle school and high school, where I currently live, just started offering lunch a few years ago. I don't know for sure whether breakfast is served here or not. So it wasn't everywhere in 1975, not by a long shot. I didn't know they stopped letting kids come home for lunch, maybe cold weather problems or something. I know a lot of high schools closed campuses so kids couldn't get high at lunch. Not that I would know anything about that, lol.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 09:00 PM
Response to Original message
32. In initial draft, nearly 40% were rejected because of effects from malnutrition. nt
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blueworld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-01-09 10:16 AM
Response to Original message
34. Great, great history thanks but...
Can you add the Conservative School Lunch Wisdom of St. Reagan who realized that catsup should be considered a vegetable (probably because poor families used it to make soup)?
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Toucano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-01-09 10:32 AM
Response to Original message
35. Thank you for this valuable post. n-t
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