Over the weekend, Republican Congressman Scott Kingston of Georgia riffed on the failings of the federal school-lunch program in a speech at a Jackson County Republican Party gathering, saying: "Why don’t you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch? Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria." Kingston followed that by saying he realizes the concept is an "administrative problem" and would definitely lose money if instituted — most likely because someone would have to custom manufacturer all those millions of tiny push brooms.
When pressed for explanation, Kingston’s spokesman fired back that it was "sad that trying to have a productive conversation about instilling a strong work ethic in the next generation of Americans so quickly devolves into the usual name-calling partisan hysteria." He added: "Having worked from a young age himself, Congressman Kingston understands the value of hard work and the important role it plays in shaping young people."
Of course, that explains nothing, except that Kingston thinks plain-old primary school isn’t hard enough work without a little hard labor thrown in. Making low-income students into janitors while richer kids snack on with their deluxe Lunchables could just be the beginning. There’s potential for a tiered labor system here, one in which students with poor sweeping skills only merit mini milk cartons, while would-be Mr. Cleans are rewarded with ten-piece nugget meals. Dumber things have already been happening over a couple cents on the dollar, so maybe it’s only a matter of time until back-to-school circulars start featuring the latest in protective knee pads and radical new scouring sponges.
Rep. Jack Kingston Proposes That Poor Students Sweep Floors In Exchange For Lunch [HuffPo]
Related: Middle School Students Were Refused Lunch for Really Dumb Reasons
Related: Middle-School Worker Forces Kids to Throw Away Meals They Can’t Pay for But Should Have Received