Sonny Perdue has only been Secretary of Agriculture for one week, and he’s already getting the Betsy DeVos treatment.
Secretary Perdue visited two schools today here in my hometown of Leesburg, VA, to introduce an interim rule that allows “regulatory flexibility” to the National School Lunch Program. You’ll remember school lunches as being the pet project of former First Lady Michelle Obama; as was noted by Neil Stevens a year ago, her program was a big, fat fail and did nothing to reduce obesity in any age group.
According to our local paper, LoudounNow, the new rule relaxes “some of the federal guidelines that regulate school meals.” This means there will be a delay in implementing Tier 2 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act championed by Mrs. Obama in order to give Mr. Perdue and his team time to study its potential impacts. It also means that public schools nationwide can once again serve chocolate and strawberry flavored 1% milk. And there was much rejoicing by schoolchildren everywhere!
I knew that the liberals in my ‘hood would be ballistic about any reductions in “regulatory flexibility” and, of course, the return of yummy milk to
cafeterias nutrition centers. So I decided to stop by the protest they were holding outside the elementary school at which Perdue was lunching on chicken nuggets with 5th graders and signing the interim rule. (Note: The signing did not take place with any schoolchildren present.) The crowd was a mix of retirees and moms in capri pants, with a smattering of Young Democrats and bewildered children. Lots of police were patrolling the area.
The protestors had very little knowledge about what exactly was in the new rule, but there seemed to be an agreement that schools were going to be required to reduce nutritional standards. Silly me, I thought Michelle Obama had already taken care of that.
Sodium seemed to be the main concern of many. One lady told me that while she had no clue what was in the rule, she had heard sodium levels in the food would definitely rise. A local Democrat candidate for Congress was certain the new rule would lead to vending machines returning to schools and poor choices being made by students.
I asked several of the protesters if it wouldn’t be a good thing if the rule led to our school system having more control over meeting our kids’ needs, especially the needs of students who get free or reduced-price lunches, and was told unequivocally it would not be a good thing. Consensus was that the school lunch program would go to hell – a salty, salty hell – without minimum standards being set by the federal government.
Here’s the thing, though, as noted by Mr. Perdue himself. Kids aren’t eating the Michelle Obama-endorsed meals, and tons of uneaten food is ending up in the trash. Poor kids aren’t getting nutrition through the public schools because the food is unpalatable. It’s not #caring to force this crap on poor kids, despite all the pretty placards out there today.
This lady admitted she was there because Donald Trump “is harming our children”:
She thinks schools are serving real food:
And then there was this lady, the professional protester, who screamed, “You’re not welcome at our demonstration!” in my face: