On Monday, disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner released his “Keys to the City” blueprint for New York City. The plan details 64 “ideas” Weiner says will improve the city, and provides a clear indication that Weiner is seriously considering a run for mayor later this year. One of Weiner’s “ideas” is to use public schools to educate kids about the federal food stamp program and enlist them to enroll their parents.
The Department of Education should be stuffing the back- packs of kids with information and using school offices and lobbies to help parents apply for SNAP. The federal government has successfully used this strategy to increase participation in the Census.
The Food Stamp program has exploded under President Obama. Currently, more than 46 million Americans collect Food Stamps, an almost 50% increase in just 4 years. The federal government spends more than $80 billion a year on the program.
Weiner, presumably, thinks these numbers should be much higher. Whether or not that is the case, it seems a little Orwellian to use school children to promote the program to their parents. Teachers and school administrators have enough to do educating kids to take out time acting as food stamp benefit advocates. Carving out classroom time to “teach” kids about the federal food stamp program doesn’t just take away from education, but reeks of indoctrination.
Hopefully, Weiner’s trial balloon for a political comeback will settle back to earth.