U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was considered a controversial addition to President Donald Trump’s cabinet, and if her recent comments are any indication, people are right to be upset with her being in her position right now. The Conservative Political Action Conference was held this week, and various top members of the Republican party took part in the event, including the president himself.
However, Betsy DeVos also took part in the event and made some questionable comments regarding children and getting free lunch from schools. During the first minute of her speech at CPAC, she made a joke that many found to be distasteful and understandably wrong regarding the lunch program at schools across the nation.
“I’m Betsy DeVos. You may have heard some of the ‘wonderful’ things the mainstream media has called me lately. I, however, pride myself on being called a mother, a grandmother, a life partner, and perhaps the first person to tell Bernie Sanders to his face that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Contrary to this quote from Betsy DeVos, there is such a thing as a free lunch and it is employed every year for millions of children all across the United States. In fact, 31 million kids used the school lunch program in 2012, and numbers are still strong today. It has been used for children that come from homes where parents or guardians make a lower income. At times, this is the only meal that some kids may get all day long.
It is a problem for a lot of children, and this program provides children with a place to not only get an education, but a meal that they very much need. In fact, according to a nonprofit program No Kid Hungry, about 13 million kids struggle with hunger all throughout the United States. A school lunch program that provides a reduced or free lunch for them would be tremendous, which was why the program was introduced decades ago.
Of course, Betsy DeVos is not alone when it comes to being a bit critical of the School Lunch Program. In April of 2016, the House of Representatives introduced a bill that would scale back the number of free meals offered at schools in the U.S. However, poverty has not reduced the last number of years. From 2000 to 2013, poverty in the United States went from 17 to 22 percent for people to somehow get through.
This being known, the school lunch program is more valuable to children now more than it ever was. There is hope that job growth will happen under the Donald Trump administration, which would possibly reduce poverty levels. As of now, however, these levels are too high to risk cutting a valuable program that children use five days a week all across the country.
Many people have assumed that the joke Betsy DeVos made was just that, and not from a bad place, however others have not taken to it the same way. The reason might be due to the fact that Mrs. DeVos already has a bad reputation before she even got started in her position, another reason might be due her not having experience with the public school system.
Regardless of why Betsy DeVos made the comment, educators and parents are worried that children will possibly lose the school lunch program due to the House already attempting the move. With the Secretary of Education joking about the possibility, in real, jest, or otherwise, many are up in arms over it. Social media has been all over Mrs. DeVos since her speech, with the hashtag #freethekids becoming a popular trend out of it.
With Betsy DeVos being very new to the job she’s taken on as the Secretary of Education, her first and only responsibility is to make sure children are properly educated. However, multiple studies have shown that hunger restricts the brain’s ability to learn at its highest capability. Meaning, if children go hungry they cannot properly learn and do well on tests and school work. This very point would need to be reviewed closely by Betsy DeVos due to her job being all about making sure children are properly educated.
[Featured Image By Evan Vucci/AP Images]