Michelle Obama's school lunch group: Americans 'clearly support' new rules

How deluded is Michelle Obama's school lunch organization "Let's Move"?  A press release issued in advance of the new school year claims that kids love the new standards, and Americans "clearly support" what they're trying to do.

Washington Free Beacon:

“Let’s Move” attempted to get ahead of negative press about the lunches with the start of the school year, by posting a poll that claims 86 percent of Americans support the first lady’s healthy rules. But when schools began to reopen across the country over the past week, students resumed posting photos of unappetizing fare and meager portions in the lunchroom, with the hash tag #ThanksMichelleObama.

“As the school bells begin to ring welcoming in the next school year, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation released a new national survey demonstrating that Americans clearly support keeping school meals healthy,” Let’s Move said.

“[T]he American public has noticed and appreciated the healthier school meal standards as the survey shows that 67 percent say the nutritional quality of food in their local schools is excellent or good, which is up from only 26 percent in 2010 before the standards were put into place,” they said.

The 86 percent figure came from a question that asked in general terms whether fruits and vegetables should be served in school.

“As you may know, there are requirements such as providing fruits and vegetables and whole grain-rich foods that all meals served in public school cafeterias have to meet,” the survey read. “Do you think these requirements should be strengthened, kept the same, or lowered?”

Another question contributing to the survey’s favorable view of Mrs. Obama’s rules asked: “Would you say it is very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important to serve nutritious foods in schools to support children’s health and ensure they are ready to learn and be successful?”

Only someone educated in public schools would be unable to see through this push poll.  The facts are a little different.

1. More than a million kids have dropped out of the school lunch program.

2. Food waste – that is, the weight of food thrown out by kids who refuse to eat the unappetizing fare – is up 56%.

3. Eighty percent of school districts report having financial problems because fewer kids are in the program.


The report by the School Nutritional Association reports nearly seven of every 10 respondents say the strict health standards begun in 2012 have been harmful to their program’s financial health — and 80 percent of districts have had to take harsh steps to offset their financial losses. 

Forty-eight percent of school districts said they reduced staffing by reducing hours, imposing layoffs or deferring hiring. About 41 percent of districts said they cut their reserve fund to cope, over 35 percent said they chipped away at menu choices, and about 32 percent deferred or canceled equipment investments.

At the heart of the problem, the survey finds, is that kids don't like the food.

"Enough already," one association member writes of the strict rules, according to the report. "A lot of damage has been done. Now, every group in our high school has taken on the sale of all kinds of things. Classroom pizza parties are everywhere and often. The intention may have been honorable; the results are not."

According to the report, there's a "strong consensus as to the leading reason for the decline in lunch [average daily participation]: decreased student acceptance of meals," noting that reason cited by nearly 93 percent of the districts that had a dip in the numbers of children eating school lunches.

The survey also finds high on the list of pressures squeezing a lunch program's bottom line is "increased per meal food costs," a factor cited by 70 percent.

Publishing propaganda is one thing.  We fully expect government to do that.  But when the propaganda veers off into fantasyland while deliberately and intentionally push-polling results that fly in the face of known facts, you have to accuse the government of massive dishonesty and cynical manipulation. 

"Let's Move" the leaders of that group and disband it.

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