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As I See It

Why is there no such thing as a free lunch?

Scott Robert Shaw

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They say there is no such thing as a free lunch, but why not? Study after study has shown that students learn best when they are not hungry. But hunger remains a real problem among students. So why isn’t a free lunch something schools provide, just like textbooks and computers? That is what the director of nutrition for the Holmen School District is wondering. He is calling for The United States Department of Agriculture to cover the costs of providing free breakfast and lunch for students across the country. That makes sense. The USDA has been covering the cost of meals for students since the start of the pandemic, and Michael Gasper would like to see that continue long-term. He is among a growing number of people calling for Congress to permanently expand the school lunch and breakfast programs at no charge to parents. The Holmen School Board also passed a recent resolution calling for the state Legislature to increase reimbursement for meal costs. That rate has been stuck at just 15 cents per meal for nearly a decade, even as costs have risen, as has the number of meals provided. Without more help, even more students could go hungry. If we really want to help students succeed in the classroom, we will work to reduce hunger. We already know they learn better when their bellies are full.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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