What is Really More Fattening -- Chocolate Milk, or Government Dependence?
The Los Angeles Unified School District Board voted this week to eliminate sugary, flavored milks from its schools' lunchrooms -- largely on the advice of celebrity chef and "Food Revolution" giant turned savior of school lunches, Jamie Oliver -- and, why not? If Eva Longoria can consult with Barack Obama on immigration reform, why not allow a celebrity chef to dictate school lunch.
At first blush, it's tempting to cry "Nanny State" for the put upon children of Los Angeles, forced to forsake one of the last great childhood rights of culinary passage -- popsicles dripping from elbows, and hot chocolate piled high with melting marshmallows can't be far behind. And what's the harm really in a relatively small dose of chocolate, infused with a healthy dose of vitamin D and Calcium, before afternoon classes in revisionist history, and victimhood?
But in the case of LAUSD, taxpayers may be -- should be -- shouting "ban, baby, ban!" from the tops of the milk coolers.
The LAUSD is the largest public school district in California, and the 2nd largest school district in the U.S., with more than 700,000 students; over 70% of whom qualify for free or subsidized school lunch -- an industry that costs national taxpayers $10 billion dollars annually. Though LAUSD has put commendable metrics for achievement in place over the last year, the graduation rate among its students is still only 55%. Only 28% of its secondary students are proficient in math. And that's with a budget of over $7 billion dollars, and state-of-the-art schools, some built for upwards of $500 million dollars on expansive, lavish campuses. For a school district wrought with teacher, budget, and student issues, it seems the hue of student's milk would be a rather moo't point.
Of course, larger than the issue of soft dairy tyranny is one persistent lesson -- what the State giveth, the State can taketh away -- even if it's only as innocuous as prying pretty pink milk from the hands of pigtailed schoolgirls. It's the State-subsidized lunch in the most free-spending school district in the country that is 'Nanny' in and of itself -- allowing bureaucrats and celebrities the role of altruistic nutrition police at enormous taxpayer expense. Talk about an obesity epidemic.
Of course, all too many parents willingly endorse the State's control of their children. Denying them some colored milk seems a fair tradeoff considering the perks, especially if you're an illegal immigrant in what is one of the largest concentrated populations of illegals in the country.
It's the never-ending conundrum of a Left that proclaims itself the remedy to the very misery it creates -- whether its attempting to multiply prosperity by redistributing it; heralding the individual while endorsing government dependence; or, undermining the tools that prevent poverty, even obesity. It's a Left that champions nutrition by taking decisions out of the hands of parents and students, competition out of sports in the name of self-esteem and fairness, eliminates recess in schools, and promotes promiscuity and indulgence in teens; destroying two-parent families, morals, individualism, Christianity, and Capitalism in its wake -- all of the proven means to avoiding the obesity that is government dependence.
Of course, human nature is human nature, and when chocolate milk is the enemy, kids will eliminate milk altogether, and go straight to Hershey shooters. When the government comes for the squeeze bottle, students and their voting parents may finally see the real cost of the free salad bar for the trees. But don't hold your breath.