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Scoot's Blog

Tune in to "The Scoot Show" for lively, candid discussions about news, politics and culture with WWL's "Radical Moderate!"

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Scoot: Why is healthy food for school kids a political issue?

Any plan to require that school lunches be healthier for students should be a bipartisan plan, one that has only the best interest of the young students as its motivation.
However, First Lady Michelle Obama’s effort to make school lunches healthier has turned ugly, and demonstrated that even attempts to help children in America can easily evolve into a political game.
Last Thursday, a House committee voted for a Republican-backed measure that would allow schools to opt out of the standards passed in 2010 to reduce sodium and increase whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables for school lunches.
The initiatives of First Ladies of the United States often become political pawns in the hands of the opposing parties; Michelle Obama has been a piñata for the Republican Party.
Ms. Obama has publically denounced the House committee’s vote allowing schools to opt out of the new healthier standards for school lunches by saying the vote amounts to the embracing of junk food. The reports from school districts on reaction to the new standards for healthier school lunches are mixed, but the reports about the rejection of the healthier food items and Ms. Obama’s plan seems to be getting more attention than the success stories.
In a school district in New Mexico, families condemned the whole-wheat tortillas. In Georgia, there was resistance to removing fried chicken from the school lunch menu. Flaky white country biscuits were replaced with whole-grain biscuits - that was rejected by students in Tennessee.  In Arkansas, a school district reports that students piled the containers of applesauce into the cafeteria garbage cans. School districts that criticized the initiative to make school lunches healthier all reported that many of the healthy food items – like fruit and vegetables – suffered the same fate.
The plan to make school lunches healthier, supported in full by the White House, has turned into a battle between Republicans and Democrats, urban and rural school districts, and big food companies and health advocates. We should never be surprised that politicians turn a simple idea into political warfare.
Large companies that sell millions and millions of dollars worth of food considered less healthy to the schools – like frozen pizza and French fries – support the plan that allows schools to opt out of the healthier plan. And the strong lobbying group – School Nutrition Association – is fighting for the healthier plan. Rejection of the plan to provide healthier choices is being used by those who want to attack and reject anything President Obama or the First Lady touch. And that political side is supported by the big companies that sell less healthy food to the schools.  The idea that the healthier choices end up in the garbage can creates a strong visual of taxpayers’ dollars being wasted.
The other argument is that if students have only healthier options – then they will eventually adapt. Some school districts have seen a change in attitudes from the moment the healthier plans were introduced, and say that while young students may have rejected the healthier choices at first, they ultimately accepted and appreciated the new healthier choices.
Presenting healthier school lunches for students that will reject the healthier choices could be a symptom of poor eating habits at home. If students are not taught by parents to eat properly, then providing healthier school lunches is not going to change their poor eating habits.
I’ve made the same argument with prayer in schools. A school-led prayer at the beginning of a school day is not going to change a young student who is not getting any prayers or religious education at home. If only it were as simple as requiring a prayer at the beginning of each school day to turn bad kids into good kids!
I understand both sides of this debate.  The government cannot force students to be healthy. Being healthy overall is a virtue taught and supported at home. But since there are school districts where students initially rejected the healthier choices and then accepted them – then there is wisdom in the idea of not giving young students the less healthy choices.
Most children will select candy or something sweet over fruits and vegetables – but if fruits and vegetables are the only option – would students eventually eat what is available?
Children cannot be given too many choices and need guidelines from parents. Send a child into a grocery store to pick out what they want to eat and I doubt their free will would yield many healthy choices in the grocery basket.
Americans should not look to the government to raise children – whether instilling religion with a school-led prayer or forcing healthier food items during school lunches.
The growing presence of the “nanny state” mentality is the direct result of the loss of personal accountability in America. If we are not responsible for our behavior and decisions, and expect the government to be responsible for us and our children – then we are further cracking the foundation this nation was built upon, and we edge ever closer to government control over individuals.
I think back on the school lunches I had at East Jefferson High School, and I’m not sure anyone really gave much thought to the nutritional value of what we were eating – but that was a different time when choices were not treated as constitutional rights. I remember red beans & rice on Mondays, shepherd’s pie, meatloaf, green beans and a square of a sweet peanut butter treat that probably would not meet nutritional standards today!
But America didn’t depend on the schools to make us healthy – that was the responsibility of parents.
I support giving students healthier school lunch choices with the understanding that students will not always choose what is best for them. But if the less healthy options are no longer available – then they could adapt to what is.
However, I also understand that good eating habits come from the home – not the school.
Do you remember your school lunches?

Photo via anotherlunch.com, Flickr

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Topics : Education
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Locations : ArkansasGeorgiaNew MexicoTennessee
People : Michelle Obama

06/02/2014 9:18AM
Scoot: Why is healthy food for school kids a political issue?
Please Enter Your Comments Below
06/02/2014 9:54AM
Answer: With Obama and the Democrats EVERYTHING IS POLITICAL.
Get a clue Scooter. They don’t think any parent is competent to raise their own children.
06/02/2014 9:58AM
Scoot’s solution is to just cave to the Nanny State rather than allow people
to be responsible for their choices. People don't want to work let them die of starvation. Most will get busy. Democrats want to be lazy and live off the labors of others and engage in all manner of deviant sexual behavior with no consequences. There is no liberal utopia Scooter. Time for you to grow up.
06/02/2014 10:02AM
Michelle Obama's Control-Freak Lunch Program
Look out, everyone: The nation's school lunch lady, Michelle Obama, is mad. With her federal nutrition program under fire across the country and now on Capitol Hill, Mrs. Obama put out a "forceful" call to arms this week to "health activists," according to The Washington Post. As more schools look to withdraw, you can bet on the White House to ramp up the Republican-bashing rhetoric. Mrs. Obama's advocates have already taken to social media to complain about Big Business special interests. But let's remember: Mrs. Obama has been working the food circuit since 2005, when the wife of newly elected Sen. Barack Obama was named to the corporate board of directors of Wal-Mart processed foods supplier TreeHouse Foods Inc. -- collecting $45,000 in 2005, $51,200 in 2006, and 7,500 TreeHouse stock options worth more than $72,000 for each year. Waste, failure, lies and special interest ties. If federal food policy were really about the children, the East Wing would be embracing change. But this is not about protecting the kids. It's about protecting Michelle Obama. Her thin-skinned response to criticism is telling: Hell hath no fury like a Nanny State control freak scorned. She's cracking the whip. Her orders are clear: There must be no escape. The East Wing and its sycophants zealously oppose any effort to alter, delay or waive top-down school meal rules. Big Lunch must be guarded at all costs.
06/02/2014 10:18AM
Michelle Obama is a BIOTCH married to a serial liar.
No one should take advice from this pair morally bankrupt clowns.
06/02/2014 10:34AM
Michelle Obama behaves like a welfare queen with a stolen credit card.
She is a leech.
06/02/2014 10:38AM
Once again Scoot gets it wrong.
Mrs. Obama’s heart might be in the right place, but the administration’s mandates are impractical, create waste and are costly to the local school districts. So Congressional Republicans are proposing a measure that would allow school districts to temporarily opt out of the nutritional standards. The House bill would give schools 12 months to comply. Yet Mrs. Obama and the administration refuse to provide flexibility to schools that might not be in the best position to make the transition. The process for schools can be expensive and some school districts are forced to choose where to spend their funds: the classroom or the cafeteria. [READ: Schooling Kids on Healthy Eating] Providing a waiver for these schools should be just as easy as the waivers that President Barack Obama granted to the big corporations on the Affordable Care Act. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services granted waivers to approximately 1,200 companies as a sign of its flexibility to the new law. But President Obama and the administration are being completely inflexible and refusing to give waivers to our schools. Talk about a double standard. School districts should also be allowed to decide the nutritional standards for their own local schools based on cultural preferences, cost effectiveness and healthy options that students will actually eat. Allowing flexibility to local school districts to set their own nutritional standards and having parents involved in the process is a win-win for the students.
06/02/2014 10:45AM
Michelle is simply and tyrant wanna-be like her husband ... arrogant and hateful.
According to a report from the National Resources Defense Council, close to 40 percent of food in the U.S. is never eaten, which is approximately $165 billion in waste. Liberals should be outraged, but Mrs. Obama and the administration’s mandates are adding to the problem of more food being thrown away at the schools. In her recent New York Times editorial, Mrs. Obama even picked a fight with the beloved potato (my daughter’s favorite vegetable). She argues that “many women and children already consume enough potatoes.” Really? Are mashed potatoes that bad for you? Speak for yourself, Mrs. Obama. It is stressful enough for families these days, especially single moms who are working, raising children and figuring out what to make for dinner every night for their children. Women do not need the first lady or the Obama administration to tell them what and how to eat. The Republicans simply want to provide flexibility to low-income women who receive WIC benefits so that they are in charge of making food choices for their families.
06/02/2014 10:53AM
The Obamas are hypocrites and liars.
Scoot is a Democrat. Nothing new here.
06/02/2014 11:01AM
Some advice for Michelle.
While Mrs. Obama has used her bully pulpit for promoting good nutrition and exercise, American women understand the message of providing healthy options for their families; however, they don’t need the first lady to make our schools and our families’ nutritional decisions. The last time I checked the White House chef prepared the first family’s meals – not an option for American moms. My advice to Mrs. Obama and the administration is to stay out of our kitchens and stop unnecessary wasteful and costly mandates for our local schools.
06/02/2014 11:57AM
Michelle needs to spend more time working on her fat àss.
The rest of us will be just fine without her BUTTING in.
06/02/2014 12:17PM
While Michelle stuffs her face at White House Parties she plays the Food Nazi.
She would have made a good Nazi prison guard.
06/02/2014 12:26PM
The truth is: Bergdahl was a deserter.
Obama traded five terrorists for a deserter to get the VA scandal off the front page ... Obama is incompetent.
06/02/2014 12:30PM
Yea, soliders were killed looking for Bergdahl.
06/02/2014 12:34PM
Susan Rice out lying again.
06/02/2014 4:20PM
I think if the first lady said don't hit your head with a big rock most of you would do it out of hate...what is wrong with the idea that kids should eat right.
06/02/2014 6:43PM
scooter will hit his head with a rock.
06/02/2014 6:50PM
Yea! No Scooter tonight.
LSU baseball! !!!!
06/02/2014 6:56PM
Michelle shove a potato up you azz.
Raise your own children.
06/02/2014 7:11PM
If Obama told Scoot to jump off a cliff
He would.
06/02/2014 7:42PM
Michelle does NOT care about anyone but herself.
She is a self -righteous biotch.
06/02/2014 7:55PM
Michelle is using the power
Of the feds to FORCE her views on others. If she wants to give talks and PSAs then fine. Scoot supports the government raising everyone's children.
06/02/2014 9:17PM
Obama will not negotiate with Congress but will negotiate with terrorists. Obama is a walking load of feces.
06/02/2014 9:44PM
Obama thinks he is a king.
The rectum boys will be here soon to defend their Lord and Savior Obama .. funny and sad.
06/02/2014 11:05PM
Great funny blog.
Scoot must be enjoying the attention since is just a local show host.
06/03/2014 9:42AM
Poor little Scooter Boy
He loves to lecture, mock, and insult but cries like a baby when his lunatic rants are rejected. Wwl needs to get rid of this clown.
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