by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Heritage Foundation’s Daren Bakst, a former legal and regulatory expert for the John Locke Foundation, writes for the Daily Signal about First Lady Michelle Obama’s misguided school lunch campaign.
Michelle Obama thinks she knows what your children should eat. She’s adamant about promoting her nutrition policies for kids, even the new and disastrous school meal standards implementing the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.”
In a recent MSN interview, Michelle Obama revealed her own struggles with getting her kids to eat properly before she came to the White House. This apparently led to a major realization: “I thought to myself, if a Princeton- and Harvard-educated professional woman doesn’t know how to adequately feed her kids, then what are other parents going through who don’t have access to the information I have?”
This motivated her to take on childhood obesity. She set her sights on schools because “the most important place to start tackling this issue is in our schools.”
But attending Ivy-League schools doesn’t magically make someone better parent material than an individual who attended a public university, or, dare it be said, someone who didn’t attend college. It also doesn’t mean that she should be a co-parent to your children. Make no mistake; the underlying assumption is that federal technocrats and educated individuals such as her need to act on your behalf to meet the best interests of your children.
This arrogance is on display in the current controversy over the new and restrictive federal school meal standards. Since the 2010-11 school year, participation in the school lunch program has fallen dramatically after more than a decade of growth. Most of the decline occurred in the 2012-2013 school year, when participation fell by over a million students. This just so happens to be the first year that the standards were in effect.
Schools are incurring massive costs to comply with the standards. Some schools have reportedly transferred money out of their teaching budgets to cover the food costs. There’s massive plate waste, food storage and equipment costs, and little flexibility for local schools to meet the needs of their students.