GAO report: So, a bunch of kids dropped out of the school-lunch program last year…

posted at 6:41 pm on February 28, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

And just when we were all getting so excited about the First Lady’s positively groundbreaking nutrition-label revisions, too. Straight from the GAO’s summary:

Nationwide, student participation in the National School Lunch Program declined by 1.2 million students (or 3.7 percent) from school year 2010-2011 through school year 2012-2013, after having increased steadily for many years. This decrease was driven primarily by a decline of 1.6 million students eating school lunch who pay full price for meals, despite increases in students eating school lunch who receive free meals. State and local officials reported that the changes to lunch content and nutrition requirements, as well as other factors, influenced student participation. For example, almost all states reported through GAO’s national survey that obtaining student acceptance of lunches that complied with the new requirements was challenging during school year 2012-2013, which likely affected participation in the program. Federal, state, and local officials reported that federally-required increases to lunch prices, which affected many districts, also likely influenced participation.

School food authorities (SFA) faced several challenges implementing the new lunch content and nutrition requirements in school year 2012-2013. For example, most states reported that SFAs faced challenges with addressing plate waste–or foods thrown away rather than consumed by students–and managing food costs, as well as planning menus and obtaining foods that complied with portion size and calorie requirements. SFAs that GAO visited also cited these challenges. However, both states and SFAs reported that they expect many of these areas will become less challenging over time, with the exceptions of food costs, insufficient food storage and kitchen equipment, and the forthcoming limits on sodium in lunches.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided a substantial amount of guidance and training to help with implementation of the lunch changes and program oversight, but certain aspects of USDA’s guidance may hinder state oversight of compliance.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I have zero problems with the First Lady of the United States championing a family-oriented cause like childhood obesity, because it is a problem, and a costly one at that. Raising awareness, courting charities and nonprofit donations, using some of that star power to nudge businesses and school districts in the right direction, etcetera? It’s all golden, but liberals’ chosen methods for dealing with perceived problems — i.e., federally-led, top-down legislation that interferes into the tiniest details of local governance — is likely to result in a lot of unintended consequences, inefficiencies, and general impotence. For instance: Parents sending their kids to school with bagged lunches instead because they feel they aren’t getting enough to eat, and the payments into the program subsequently shrinking; kids dumping their quinoa and grapefruit salads in the garbage uneaten (and perhaps doing some black-market junk-food trading on the side); and school districts having trouble finding a way to pay for all of this more expensive food — all of which the GAO report essentially concludes were among the direct results of the like the 2010 Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act that created these new school-lunch nutrition standards. I’m sure it was all done with the loveliest of intentions, truly, but is it actually going to produce results in the long run that will make the added expenses worthwhile? The GAO thinks participation numbers might pick back up sometime in the future, but so far, it’s not looking too good. Perhaps economic growth — i.e., the one thing that truly spreads affluence around and thereby helps promote a culture of health-consciousness and frees up the time and money to afford it — should be the number-one order of the day, no?


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Wow … FLOTUS drove ‘em off.

listens2glenn on February 28, 2014 at 6:44 PM

I wouldn’t want to eat cardboard masquerading as food either.

My kids elementary school once tried telling parents we weren’t allowed to send things like cookies or chips in our kid’s brown bags, they actually got to the point of confiscating them.

Their grand scheme lasted for about two weeks before the doors were blown off the district administrator’s office and he got a face full of very pissed off parents.

Bishop on February 28, 2014 at 6:44 PM

Still thinking about the pizza burgers and turkey in gravy on mashed potatoes that were served in junior high in the lunchroom. Mmmm good. Of course, that was after a morning of swimming class and running between classes. There was one fat girl in our class of 500…I still remember her name.

Ah, the good ol’ days,

2L8 on February 28, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Trying to force kids to eat, and/or behave, in ways counter to the way they are raised (at their home) is in most circumstances doomed to failure as a fool’s errand. If they’re being fed crap at home, and allowed to behave like crap at home, there’s no amount of cajoling and ‘leading ‘em to water’ that will make them ‘drink’ what you’re offering.

Parents need to lead the way. Train up your children to eat well and behave like ladies/gentlemen. Stop pondering how cute it is that your little Julie/Johnny/Shaniqua/Isabella is 350 pounds (baby fat…how cute!) and throwing a fit for another night eating fast food out. Take charge and responsibility, like my wife and I do with our six healthy, respectful kids.

xNavigator on February 28, 2014 at 6:46 PM

EAT YOUR PEAS!!!!11

John the Libertarian on February 28, 2014 at 6:48 PM

Their grand scheme lasted for about two weeks before the doors were blown off the district administrator’s office and he got a face full of very pissed off parents.

Bishop on February 28, 2014 at 6:44 PM

.
That just proves you ‘damn peasants’ don’t know what’s good for you.

listens2glenn on February 28, 2014 at 6:48 PM

Easy fix: Stuff one pound of tofu down their little throats as they march in lockstep to lunch. Plug both ends and as the gas builds up, siphon it off to power DC.

vnvet on February 28, 2014 at 6:48 PM

The First Lady Big Gulp is going to be madder than anyone when she reads about this in the paper.

Flange on February 28, 2014 at 6:49 PM

Let’s move!

Murphy9 on February 28, 2014 at 6:52 PM

If this doesn’t illustrate the “law of unintended consequences”, what the HANG does ?

listens2glenn on February 28, 2014 at 6:52 PM

My kids were some of them. They were coming home starving. I was paying $4.00 for my son’s lunch and he was getting two chicken tenders and a salad for a 15 year old. Then I was spending a fortune feeding them after school. They were stuffing themselves and when dinner came around they wouldn’t eat. So we went back to the old fashioned paper sack lunch. Inconvenient, but it saves money, and at least they eat a decent amount of food- and YES IT IS HEALTHY..

melle1228 on February 28, 2014 at 6:52 PM

I wonder what the Obama girls eat at their school? What if they don’t like their lunches? Seriously, do they ever get tired of having to be the example? Especially when their own mother is the woman responsible for all this and she eats like Marie Antoinette.

ImmigrantsWife on February 28, 2014 at 6:53 PM

“Eat like me! Look like me!”
– flotus

crash72 on February 28, 2014 at 6:53 PM

Looking at her extremely broad posterior, it’s clear that MOOchelle does not practice what she preaches. Not that this is anything new of the left in general, and ultra control freak Nanny-State libs in particular.

ConstantineXI on February 28, 2014 at 6:56 PM

So we went back to the old fashioned paper sack lunch.

melle1228 on February 28, 2014 at 6:52 PM

If you live in a blue state, don’t tell the school. They might confiscate your kids’ lunches and bill you for the privilege.

xNavigator on February 28, 2014 at 6:59 PM

melle1228 on February 28, 2014 at 6:52 PM

Right there too. Kids all over are complaining about being hungry, and my daughter took pics of her lunch during the week, it was a joke; little spoonfuls of chow, bird sized portions, tiny to the point of laughable.

Bishop on February 28, 2014 at 6:59 PM

If you live in a blue state, don’t tell the school. They might confiscate your kids’ lunches and bill you for the privilege.

xNavigator on February 28, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Nope, I live in good ole’ Tennessee. ;)

Right there too. Kids all over are complaining about being hungry, and my daughter took pics of her lunch during the week, it was a joke; little spoonfuls of chow, bird sized portions, tiny to the point of laughable.

Bishop on February 28, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Yeah I went to lunch at my daughter’s school and the food is nasty. Bland, and they don’t even give them the option of salt. Yuck.

melle1228 on February 28, 2014 at 7:04 PM

Just looking at the slop they try feeding to the kids is enough to make your stomach curdle. Can you blame them? Because of course, parents don’t know how to make a nutritious lunch for their own children.

onesheep on February 28, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Typical Democrat feel-good efforts through foolish government imposing solutions, without regard to unexpected or unplanned consequences.

Techster64 on February 28, 2014 at 7:07 PM

I know how to fix this…implement a Shared Responsibility Payment on all public and private school students, enforced by the IRS and Child Welfare Services.

They’ll f**kin’ eat their nutritious government approved food then, won’t they?

BobMbx on February 28, 2014 at 7:07 PM

I just looked at Sidwell Friends school lunch and I must say wow, they eat better than me!

https://www.sidwell.edu/mobile/index.aspx?v=c&mid=375&t=Lunch%20Menus

ImmigrantsWife on February 28, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Maybe Mooch’s school lunch diktats will end up a roundabout way to get parents to feed their own damn kids?

slickwillie2001 on February 28, 2014 at 7:13 PM

Just another in a long line of abuses in the Republican’s War on Children as well as the failure of free-market capitalism …

ShainS on February 28, 2014 at 7:13 PM

My kids were some of them. They were coming home starving. I was paying $4.00 for my son’s lunch and he was getting two chicken tenders and a salad for a 15 year old.

melle1228 on February 28, 2014 at 6:52 PM

One-size-fits-all is the Obama model, isn’t it? My son carried his lunch everyday and it was hard to come up with a lunch that was large enough. A submarine sandwich, fruit, over-sized muffin, bag of peanuts, two energy bars, two lemonades, and a sweet– and he could not put on weight, no matter how hard he tried. If he had the pitiful chicken tenders and a salad, he wouldn’t be able to function in any of his afternoon classes or sporting events. He ate around 6,000 calories a day during sports season and still couldn’t keep weight on.

obladioblada on February 28, 2014 at 7:15 PM

One-size-fits-all is the Obama model, isn’t it? My son carried his lunch everyday and it was hard to come up with a lunch that was large enough. A submarine sandwich, fruit, over-sized muffin, bag of peanuts, two energy bars, two lemonades, and a sweet– and he could not put on weight, no matter how hard he tried. If he had the pitiful chicken tenders and a salad, he wouldn’t be able to function in any of his afternoon classes or sporting events. He ate around 6,000 calories a day during sports season and still couldn’t keep weight on.

obladioblada on February 28, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Take a look at this. I wonder if Mooch has run the calorie and fat numbers on this menu?

I just looked at Sidwell Friends school lunch and I must say wow, they eat better than me!

https://www.sidwell.edu/mobile/index.aspx?v=c&mid=375&t=Lunch%20Menus

ImmigrantsWife on February 28, 2014 at 7:08 PM

slickwillie2001 on February 28, 2014 at 7:21 PM

I wonder what the Obama girls eat at their school? What if they don’t like their lunches? Seriously, do they ever get tired of having to be the example? Especially when their own mother is the woman responsible for all this and she eats like Marie Antoinette.

ImmigrantsWife on February 28, 2014 at 6:53 PM

It’s very chi-chi, but I doubt there is any problem with palatibility or amount of food at Sidwell Friends. They show the menus on their web site.

For Monday, for instance, here’s the menu for the middle and upper school students:

Lentil spinach soup
Cobb salad
Corn and pepper salad
Philly cheese steaks
Ciabatta veggie melts
Roasted spaghetti squash
Pears

Alana on February 28, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Alana on February 28, 2014 at 7:25 PM

That’s my point. No meager chicken nuggets and spoonful of salad there.

ImmigrantsWife on February 28, 2014 at 7:31 PM

Just say no… to fat Moochelle.

viking01 on February 28, 2014 at 7:43 PM

metaphor alert

tmitsss on February 28, 2014 at 7:44 PM

My heart really goes out to the truly poor children. For many of them school breakfast and lunch are the only meals the get- their parents having sold the monthly EBT for half or less its value.

frank on February 28, 2014 at 7:52 PM

Take a look at this. I wonder if Mooch has run the calorie and fat numbers on this menu?

I just looked at Sidwell Friends school lunch and I must say wow, they eat better than me!

https://www.sidwell.edu/mobile/index.aspx?v=c&mid=375&t=Lunch%20Menus

ImmigrantsWife on February 28, 2014 at 7:08 PM

slickwillie2001 on February 28, 2014 at 7:21 PM

Yes, but that’s for the children of “elites” like the Obamas. People who can afford the $35k per year tuition (not including thousands more in fees, of course).

They’re better than you and me, so of course they get to eat better. That’s the way of “social justice,” peon.

AZCoyote on February 28, 2014 at 7:53 PM

Lunches so awful that the government can’t even give them away.

The Democrat Party: We can predict what the world’s climate will be 100 years in the future and determine which energy sources we should be using, but we can’t make a lunch a 10-year-old wants to eat.

Socratease on February 28, 2014 at 8:03 PM

Yep, it’s good to be king.

ImmigrantsWife on February 28, 2014 at 8:16 PM

If a Republican first lady’s signature project was crashing and burning like this, it would be leading the news on every network and in every democrat rag. Every left-wing pundit would be mocking her mercilessly — along with the fancy foods her privileged daughters eat at the most prestigious private school in America. We have a president and first lady whose every move is so entirely mock-worthy, and not a peep from the usual suspects.

Rational Thought on February 28, 2014 at 8:41 PM

Maybe every time a new story comes up about FLOTUS’s over reach on chilhood obesity, failed school lunch programs, or her jaunts to a rib joint, we should post what Sidwell Friends is having for lunch that day. I think it would be a great public service to highlight the “lunchroom disparity” that plagues American children today.

ImmigrantsWife on February 28, 2014 at 9:14 PM

Hmm. Inedible food that just gets thrown away, insufficient food for growing and active children, and higher prices for the privilege of contributing to Michelle Obama’s vanity program at the expense of your children.

Nope, just can’t understand why that’s not working.

And then there’s this:

the forthcoming limits on sodium in lunches.

So we finally get confirmation of what people have been more and more realizing, that a low-sodium diet is NOT more healthy, and the schools are set to enforce a lower sodium diet.

So glad I don’t have to deal with these bureaucrats. So sorry for those of you who still do.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 28, 2014 at 9:50 PM

…I don’t understand the low comment count on such a good thread…

KOOLAID2 on February 28, 2014 at 11:29 PM

I said it at the time (when the misnamed “Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was passed & signed, deliberately making kids hungry).

Some things are of national importance, some thing are of state importance, some things are of local importance.

If you think School Lunch Menus are the province of the Federal Government, what “less important” things do you leave for the states or local governments? Anything?

Why not Federal roadkill cleanup and Federal pothole filling? Aren’t those as important as deciding if Tuesday will be Salisbury Steak or of that will be Thursday?

If this is appropriate use of the Federal Government’s power… where would that end?

gekkobear on February 28, 2014 at 11:30 PM

It’s obvious that the solution to food wastage is to have armed lunch tray monitors in the lunchrooms.

Let’s see how much food the little buggers dump if they’re looking down the barrel of a .45.

schmuck281 on March 1, 2014 at 1:23 AM

Salt is essential to our bodies. The talk of hypertension was a lot of hyperbole.

We sweat salt when we are working out in the heat. Salt tablets help remove heat related cramps.

Salt is loved by animals for its ability to resolve many of their conditions. It should be loved by us as well.

Salt gets pounded by the left, but it was one of their original meme targets… like plastics, like plastic bags, like DDT, like WiFi causes allergies, like Cellular causes cancer.

They try and try for these memes, and some get through. Well Salt was an early success and it is sad.

Did you know we used to pack meat into salt barrels for long-term storage of the meat? Why is humanity not dead!!! Oh the horrors!

OregonPolitician on March 1, 2014 at 4:21 AM

Do I get this right?
First we force feed them what they consider to be yucky stuff and we then fret about waste and throwaway?

Don L on March 1, 2014 at 6:38 AM

Salt is essential to our bodies. The talk of hypertension was a lot of hyperbole.

You know not of what you speak. I can kick my BP up with a pizza 16-20 points, though I have to say that at an earlier age salt was no factor.

I suppose if we can obtain the aid of the nanny state government in celebrating the benefits of smoking grass, then it ought to keep its nose out of our salt and other (watch this liberal word) ingestion choices.

Don L on March 1, 2014 at 6:43 AM

I strongly urge parents to get their kids out of public education and all that goes along with it. This system is completely broken. It will warp any children sacrificed at its altar.

kpguru on March 1, 2014 at 8:00 AM

I remember going to elementary school in a small town in Oklahoma. One of the “lunch ladies” made cinnamon rolla a couple times a week. Great big cinnamon rolls that extended far beyond the dimensions of the “dessert” section of the tray. The cinnamon rolls were so good, I still remember them. They were so good that people would hire her to make them for private parties. Imagine that. People wanting school cafeteria food for their private party.
I can see why Michelle would want to put a stop to something like that. After all, with that sort of child abuse in my past I ended up a conservative.

yetanotherjohn on March 1, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Hey!!! Cardboard is high in fiber!

Brock Robamney on March 1, 2014 at 9:27 AM

This decrease was driven primarily by a decline of 1.6 million students eating school lunch who pay full price for meals, despite increases in students eating school lunch who receive free meals.

Let me interpret for you dumbby heads in Washington: People who pay full price stopped because their kids did not want to Eat Michelle Obama’s food.

Fleuries on March 1, 2014 at 10:05 AM

I strongly urge parents to get their kids out of public education and all that goes along with it. This system is completely broken. It will warp any children sacrificed at its altar.

kpguru

I Second the motion. Please help your kids to learn at home or find them a private school, it will help your family life an enormous amount.

I want to vote for pizza every day at public school. Also, tiny sandwiches and tiny burgers, made by a local mom and pop shop. This would be good for everyone. If it comes on a Sysco Truck from big Obama campaign donor, Aramark and is served by people with SEIU on their shirtsleeve, beware.

Fleuries on March 1, 2014 at 10:08 AM

She puts the heft in heifer.

Murphy9 on March 2, 2014 at 9:02 AM