LAUSD: A Rind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Here’s the feel-good story of the week: according to the Los Angeles Times, “students” in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) throw away at least $100,000 worth of food every day, mostly fruits and vegetables they’re required to place on their trays by federally mandated lunchroom regulations championed by Michelle Obama and her ilk, I mean…yeah, I mean her ilk. And even the Times admits that $100,000 a day (or about 10% of LAUSD’s total food spending) is probably a very conservative estimate. 

Know what $100,000 a day adds up to over the course of a nine-month school year for the supposedly cash-strapped LAUSD?  (OK, if you’re a graduate of the LAUSD system, you can use a calculator.) Eighteen million dollars a year! And the national figures for Michelle Obama’s Waste-A-Palooza?  (No, not her far-flung vacations, I mean her food OCD thing). How does ONE BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR wasted on food U.S. school kids throw in the trash every year grab you? 

Great Scott Walker, that’s almost as much as California is planning to throw in the trash every year for something else nobody wants or needs: the “bullet” train.  You know, the one that’s slower than air travel yet costs more, but is conveniently much less convenient? Yeah, that one!  Gee, I wonder if the bullet train has a dining car that forces passengers to make healthy lunchtime eating choices.  

This preposterous lunch charade only goes to prove the old adage: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him eat broccoli. It’s also clear that even though the Obamas can force us, under penalty of law (without even a hint of constitutional authority to do so, regardless of what John Roberts said) to purchase health care plans we don’t want or need, even they can’t make a kid eat gray, disgusting turkey burgers and apricots that taste like…well, like apricots. 

Still, federal regulators believe they can make anything happen if they just keep talking about it long enough. You know, the way ObamaCare gets more popular the more President Obama talks about it? OK, bad example. 

Despite vast expanses of evidence to the contrary, federal busybodies continue to insist that, quote, "…repeated exposure to fruits and vegetables eventually leads children to eat more of them." Spoken like someone who has never actually met a child, much less tried to teach, feed, or (God forbid) raise one.  

In case you’re wondering, here’s how the uneaten food ritual works. In order for the school to qualify for some of the $11.6 billion dollars annually disbursed through Michelle Obama’s Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010, kids going through the lunch line are requited to select three items, at least one of which must be a fruit or a vegetable. Which has one obvious benefit: there’s at least the possibility that the 1-to-3 ratio might help (otherwise math-illiterate) LAUSD students grasp the concept of fractions. 

The kids are then free to practice their jump shots with the apple, tomato, carrot, rutabaga, kumquat, or other foreign, unpalatable item they were forced to place on their tray. Before you know it fruits and vegetables are raining down from Three-Point Land into nearby trash containers--nothing but bin!--as the still-hungry kids trot off to the snack counter to purchase their actual lunch of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, a Red Bull, and some Pop Rocks, content in the knowledge that thanks to Michelle Obama L.A.’s landfills are a little fuller and its tax coffers a little emptier.  Which is what they call in Washington, D.C. a “win-win-win.”

Now, far be it from me to tamper with what appears to be a perfect system for wasting time and resources, if not an actual perpetual motion machine of hubris and government waste, but I do have one question: Why do the children in U.S. schools have to waste valuable classroom time selecting and then throwing $1 billion dollars worth of food every year into the trash? Shouldn’t they be spending that time out behind the gym smoking? Or, if they prefer, putting condoms on the cucumbers they didn’t eat during lunch yesterday? 

I say, why not cut out the middleman (sorry, I mean middleperson) by having school administrators, vice principals, school board members, teacher’s aides, counselors, affirmative action/Title IX compliance inspectors, facilitators, mentors, or some of the dozens of other non-teachers drawing fat salaries at the average school every day throw the fruits and vegetables into nearby trash bins for them? Wouldn’t that teach the kids valuable lessons about efficiency, time-management, and the wonders of federal bureaucracy getting involved in local matters like public education?  

Then again, who am I to split hairs? If you think your kids are wasting a lot of fruits and vegetables in the LAUSD every day, you should see how much time they’re wasting in school every day not learning anything.


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