Food For Kids and Education

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe school where my son attends includes many kids on free and reduced lunches.  Over the years, the number has increased of families who are provided with these meals.  And, many of these kids also get care packages of food to take home each weekend.

It has been startling to see this change in my city from a thriving place of numerous jobs to fewer and fewer each year.  This is, however, the reality, and one that we are trying to deal with.  I am glad that our schools, our churches, and our community are working together to feed these children.

Children must have their bodies nourished before they can learn and have their brains nourished.  If their stomachs are growling all day, it is very hard for them to focus on math problems, or write sentences.  It is also hard to absorb what they are being taught if they are both hungry and thirsty.

My dad taught for several years in a poor community where this struggle was alive and well.  He saw first hand the problem of hungry kids struggling to keep up with school work and learning.  So, that district also provided food for them at a discounted price or full gift.

Many of the families in both communities were and still are the working poor.  They work for minimum wage and do try to provide for their families. They aren’t just lazy and uncaring about their kids as some may think. They do want to provide but often struggle to make ends meet.

Now it seems that there is talk of taking these programs away.  Perhaps some things could be changed, I don’t know.  But you know who will be harmed the most with drastic removals of money and food?  The kids.  Are we not supposed to be providing for our families and our children?  They are our responsibility from birth until they become adults.  And, shouldn’t we be helping others?

I am not saying that no changes should be made or that money may not need to be trimmed back.  The thing that bothers me is to say the poor don’t care about their children, shouldn’t be helped in feeling them, and then turn that into action of eliminated programs.   I see families each day doing their best for their children.

My hope, prayer, and voice will be that before these programs are just gutted, something will take their place that will continue to help our nation’s children.  The idea of hungry children in America is heartbreaking to me.  Is it to you as well?  Let’s help to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Public Schools Rock!

Playground.5The vote this week to confirm someone as the Secretary of Education who has no experience in the public schools had me dumbstruck and confused.  Why, oh why would the Senate do this?  They almost didn’t but a first ever tie-breaking vote was made to approve her.

I want to give her a chance and see if she can bring something new to the discussion about education.  I hope and pray that she does.  I just am not sure and am concerned.

I want her to listen to the thousands of teachers, principals, superintendents / directors of schools, school boards, PTO and PTA members, parents, and others who have been working and supporting our nation’s public schools.  I also want her to understand the importance, value, and need of the public schools.

I come from a long line of public teachers and am proud to say so.  My grandparents taught in the schools as well as one of my great-grandmothers. My grandfather worked with special needs students and all students to have what they need to learn.  My parents both taught.  My sister is a teacher.  I also have aunts and uncles, friends, cousins and others who are teachers or have taught. I have one thing to say to all of them, thank you!

I am a graduate of a public high school that provided wonderful classes and information.  I went to a public elementary school, a public junior high, and a public high school.  My school district was and still is one of the best around.  I hope they continue to be.

Now, I am involved again in the public schools with my son now being a student.  He loves his school, he loves his teachers, and so do I.  They all want what is best for him and work hard to teach him, help him, and encourage him when he has struggles. They not only teach academics, but also life skills and values, and recite a pledge each morning to be kind, work together, give no put-downs, and do their best.  This is said after the Pledge of Allegiance.

As you are aware, I am also active in his school’s PTO.  I very much enjoy working with the school staff, administration, teachers, and parents to help our students.  I will continue to do so as long as he is at this school.

Those of us who love our public schools should continue to fight for our students.  May we be positive and support our teachers, our students, our principals and vice principals, our staff members, our superintendents and directors of schools, and our school boards.  May we continue to have a wonderful public education.