At least these kids are not afraid to tell big brother that enough is enough. Hopefully through this rather innocent event they learned that just because somebody is trying to make a difference in their lives doesn't mean it's always good, and neither should you accept it. Maybe this will inspire them to bring their own lunch, and be independent, rather that tolerate the vile socialism that is being shoved down their throats.
If you knew how many calories school lunches had in the spring of 2012, you would have to be a policy wonk on a very high level. The major problem is that no one fighting these calorie changes have produced any evidence that the school lunches were bigger. "Hey, they used to be this, and now they're 850 calories."
We do know, thanks to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, that "Nightline" became very impressed based on a YouTube video from a Kansas school to do a story on the new 850-calorie high school lunch. Wonder how many stories "Nightline" did on the unhealthy nature of school lunches.
The above comment was in response to last week's story on the school in Wisconsin. This seems typical of the reaction I've read online, not just from Wisconsin and Kansas, over why these new rules are so terrible.
The video from the school in Kansas featured elementary school children, who are limited to 650 calories, and middle school kids, who have a 700-calorie limit. So far, the focus hasn't been on the younger kids, just the high school children. We haven't heard complaints from the smaller children, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.
We also that the parody song in the Kansas video was written by an English teacher. So the idea that this is just about the children isn't quite true.
None of these excuses the perception that kids think they are hungrier after these school lunches than they were last year. But why do they think that?
The research shows that students are being offered a similar amount of calories between last year and this year. The breakdown is vague and the amount of calories that students actually take is less than what is offered. As Jon Stewart noted, kids can get extra fruits and vegetables to make up the difference.
We also found out that some school districts were offering more calories and extra servings of higher-calorie items. So those school districts were "going rogue" in the spirit of former Alaska governor and GOP Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
To paraphrase Paul Simon, last year's floor is this year's ceiling.
These students are upset that the new rules don't allow the extra calories that were breaking the rules in the first place. The long-time rules allowed for approximately the same number of calories the students currently get, but they're complaining about that number of calories.
The complaint is about "big brother" and "vile socialism that is being shoved down their throats" yet the differences aren't as significant as the hype that surrounds the protests.
We would be majorly disappointed if students weren't protesting the new rules. Despite the theatrics and the clear adult participation, there is a core issue, but not the one that we are hearing about.
The kids are also complaining about the healthier foods and how the more unhealthy foods have disappeared. Those complaints would make sense. But they aren't phrasing them that way. They say, "Oh, we're complaining about that, too. But we're really upset about the 850 calories."
Why the focus on 850 calories? Because the complaint sounds less like whining and ties it to the First Lady trying to ruin the lives of innocent schoolchildren.
"Our food is too healthy." That is a complaint that wouldn't be taken seriously. So they don't emphasize that. But it would be a honest complaint.
The 850 calories talking point attracted the "Nightline" crew and drew interest from The Daily Show. The problem is the facts don't support the argument.
We have said on many occasions that school lunches shouldn't be political on either side. These kids are either uninformed or being manipulated; we're leaning toward the latter with a mix of the former.
We should have an honest discussion about the future of school lunches. As long as kids harp on the 850 calories talking point, we'll have to wait a little longer for a lot more honesty.