[Ed. – Ha! Made you look. And yes, the headline is true to the original. But precisely. Emphasis added — for reasons that will become obvious.]
Under the new Community Eligibility Provision, public schools that serve a high number of impoverished children will be allowed to discard the [National School Lunch Program] enrollment formalities altogether and provide free lunch and breakfast to all of their children, regardless of income. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 11 states and around 4,000 high-poverty schools have already gone forward with implementing this Community Eligibility Provision.
Surprisingly, this rather significant change in the program has largely flown under the radar of the national political discourse. Given the recent spate of Republican outbursts regarding free school lunch, it’s a wonder conservatives haven’t yet blasted the plan as emptying out the souls of children, à la Paul Ryan, or demanded that children affected by the expansion be forced to do janitorial work to earn the lunches, à la Jack Kingston. But for the time being, at least, the anti-poor malice that tends to rally the troops on the right against stuff like this has somehow been kept in check. …
One of the ugliest side effects of living in a society that hates its poor is that the recipients of free school lunch are often denigrated by their peers. Either through their parents, the media or other sources, schoolchildren come to learn that their peers with the special card are poor and further that being poor means they are inferior trash. The stigma that follows from this is so great that some kids choose to go hungry rather than be associated with the program.
Ensuring that everyone receives free school lunch eliminates this source of humiliation and stress.
[So, to sum up: damn that Paul Ryan. – Ed.]