The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

5 August 2005

Feed the children already

Mike at Okiedoke is alarmed by statistics which show that nearly 83 percent of students in the Oklahoma City school district qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. (The comparable figure for the larger Tulsa district is 78 percent.)

This might be less alarming in the context of where the Oklahoma City school district actually is: right in the middle of town, with an arm extending into relatively poor areas in the northeastern part of Oklahoma County. Much of the city proper is actually served by suburban districts: Putnam City, Edmond, Moore, Mid-Del, Western Heights, and 18 others.

Superintendent Bob Moore doesn't seem to be perturbed:

We have schools such as Monroe Elementary with 57 percent of their students eligible for the free and reduced lunch program with an API score of 1291 out of a possible 1500. That puts this school among the top ranking 35 elementary schools in the metropolitan area. Other top ranking schools with a large percentage of students qualifying for the free and reduced lunch program include Westwood Elementary, Ridgeview Elementary, Wilson Elementary, Rancho Village Elementary, Van Buren Elementary, Linwood Elementary, Johnson Elementary and Hawthorne Elementary. All of these schools have an API score of 1200 or higher and a free and reduced lunch student population of 60 percent or more.

Monroe, incidentally, is right down the street (two blocks) from me. It's not a poor area by any means — we're talking less than a mile west of 50 Penn Place — but still 57 percent of the students qualify for the lunch program.

Mike thinks this is a sign that the economy isn't all it could be, and of course it isn't, but it's not a sign that we're on the edge of collapse.

Posted at 9:02 AM to City Scene

Just to let folks know, being eligible for the school lunch program does not mean somebody is in the poverty bracket. When my kids were in public school (for 1 bad year) we qualified for the school lunch program & I was pulling in $34k. I know that may be poor by some Edmond or PC (where we lived in a duplex) standards, but hey, we did what we had to do. & we didn't take advantage of the school lunch program.

The feds have made it easier & easier for kids to qualify for school lunch in order to extend the reach of the feds into the home as well as to propogate the 'nanny state'. Heck, who turns down a free lunch? (we do).

So rather than panicking that all of our kids qualify for free lunch, maybe we should be checking as to what the qualifications ARE, and see if those are not unreasonable.

Posted by: Dwayne "the canoe guy" at 9:31 AM on 5 August 2005

I just want to agree with Dwayne-my kids were eligible for reduced lunches from elementary thru graduation-tho I never filled out the paperwork.

Posted by: wamprat at 4:58 PM on 5 August 2005