To Close Or Not To Close

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Seems like the school board has figured out a way to offer hungry students a life lesson — after reading news of the Wall Street bailout.

Bear with us on this.

So the Payson School Board is pondering whether to require that freshmen and maybe even sophomores stay on campus during lunch. Why?

To make them buy lunch in the cramped cafeteria instead of down the road at some fast food place.

Granted, some board members have also made dark references to shoplifting and fender-benders — without presenting so much as a fig leaf of evidence for this curious indictment of their students.

But let’s get serious — the whole issue came up after the district had to shell out $100,000 to cover the operating losses of the company that dishes up school lunches.

No one has claimed the partial closure would boost test scores or serve any educational purpose. More over, freshmen reportedly have a lower post-lunch tardy rate than their older classmates — who would remain free to jet off in search of fast food and loose talk during lunch.

School administrators have spoken against the idea — saying they couldn’t enforce the rule on the unfenced campus without making teachers give up their lunch and prowl the perimeter like so many prison guards.

So it comes back to the $100,000 subsidy for the school lunch program, since kids would rather walk to the fast food joints on the highway than dine in.

Now, the free market solution would involve inviting McDonald’s, Burger King and Subway to bid on the school lunch contract.

But that’s apparently not the Econ 1 lesson at hand. Instead, some board members figure maybe they can turn a profit by turning the kids into a captive audience.

Which brings us back to the Wall Street bailout bill —and the discovery by those supposed paragons of the free markets that going on the government dole has certain advantages.

And hey, it could work. The board could close campus and make the kids read discussions of quasi-socialist free markets while they’re standing in line for their sloppy Joes with cauliflower.

Might as well turn a little unimaginative kid manipulation into one of those teaching moments.

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