December 14, 2013

Food Shouldn't Be a Barrier to Better Education

Photo Credit Alcousin
I live in a small town, with a poor, badly managed public school with a horrid bullying problem. Last school year we had two teen suicides. The school has a bad habit of kicking students out over health-related problems. The teachers and administration are some of the biggest bullies. The high school has a very high dropout rate.

The only option for many of us is online school. Oregon has 2 great statewide public (AKA free) online schools - Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA) and Insight (K-12).

However, so many impoverished students can't enroll in the school. Not because of lack of access to technology - but because the local high school's free lunch program is their main source of food. Foodstamps, SNAP, doesn't provide enough food money to feed growing teenagers who are home all day.

And without proper nutrition, students can't be expected to succeed in education.

So many students must stay in the local school - enduring bullying, harrasment from teachers, a subpar education, and most likely not finishing high school - just so they can eat.

The best suggestion I have is that the online public school's should provide a SNAP credit to students who qualify for the free and reduced lunch program.

What do you think?

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