The Instigator
Fritz
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
TheCommonMan
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

Should every student have access to free school breakfast & lunch?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
TheCommonMan
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/28/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 997 times Debate No: 41378
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

Fritz

Pro

First round is acceptance.

I support free school breakfast and lunch for every student, regardless of economic status; I believe that, although it may be expensive, it will be a great investment for our failing education system.

Good luck to whoever accepts. May the voters decide who wins!
TheCommonMan

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Fritz

Pro

Thank you for accepting. I am excited to debate this topic.

Hunger is erased.

By offering free breakfast and lunch for every student, regardless of economic status, hunger can and will be erased from our schools. Sure, those students who cannot afford lunches currently can apply for free and reduced meals - but, many do not apply for a number of reasons. One reason is because many parents forget to fill out the paperwork. Another reason is because of some sort of language barrier - many parents cannot understand the paperwork and, therefore, do not fill it out. Other reasons are because the student is too embarrassed to mention the program to his/her parents - or, in some, cases, parents aren't even made aware of the option.

"About three-quarters of Boston’s 57,000 students last year qualified for a free or a reduced-price lunch. A discounted lunch cost just 40 cents, compared with the full price of $2.25 in elementary schools and $2.50 in middle and high schools.

School officials say more students would have qualified for the perk if their parents had filled out an application.

Parents fail to do so for a variety of reasons, such as the forms being printed in a language they cannot read — more than 100 languages are spoken among Boston school families — or getting lost in a mountain of paperwork and notices that students bring home."

This is from a Boston-based article that I will cite at the end of this argument.

School faculty - or debt collectors?

In many instances, school faculty such as cafeteria workers, teachers, principals, etc. are put into awkward situations when it comes to a student that cannot afford to pay for his/her food. In many cases, school faculty use their own money to afford a student's meal - or they set up a special account for students that can't afford to pay.

My argument is that having to pay brings many awkward situations that can otherwise be avoided.

"Because many schools are reluctant to turn away students if they do not have the money, cafeteria workers charge the lunch to an account set up for the family. A principal or another school employee will eventually seek payment from parents or guardians — putting them in the awkward position of becoming bill collectors...“We are caught between a rock and a hard place,” said Michael Peck, the School Department’s director of food and nutritional services. “Many principals have told me, ‘The family doesn’t have the money; what do I do?’ ”

Also from that article, which I will cite at the bottom of this debate round.

Class divide.

Students who eat breakfast and lunch from home are often considered well-to-do and well-cared for, while those who receive special treatment in the way of free and reduced meals are often considered poorer.

"The change, Boston school officials say, is a natural outgrowth of a decision last school year to offer all students free breakfasts. It eliminated an awkward socioeconomic divide that unfolded in some schools every morning, where low-income students would receive free milk, pastries, or other items in their classrooms, while more affluent students often went without."

Pulled from a Boston Globe article, which I will cite at the bottom.

Eliminating prices on school meals will eradicate the shame that goes along with having to receive special treatment.

Nutrition.

If every student has free access to a healthy meal, imagine what would occur as a result. Our younger generation could eat food with good nutrition at least twice a day. It may not eliminate childhood obesity, but students would surely benefit from it.

Students are better equipped to learn.

If every student was full from breakfast and lunch, without the shame of having a free-and-reduced meal, they would be better equipped to learn. Better-nourished students are more likely to learn and focus on the lesson.

Many studies have shown that students who eat breakfast are more likely to do well in school. I will provide an article at the bottom to prove this. The same logic can be used for lunch: if every student has access to a free lunch, regardless of economic status, they are more likely to do better in school. Instead of thinking about where their next meal will be coming from, they can focus on the lesson entirely, certain they will at least receive two meals to nourish them throughout the day.

All in all, there are more benefits to free lunch than cons. I would like to state that I support a parent's right to prepare their child's lunch. I am one who brings my own lunch every day to school; I think this should remain an option. I just believe that if everybody had access to free lunch, we would benefit as a whole and our education system would improve drastically, especially in areas that are poorer.

http://www.bostonglobe.com...

http://articles.philly.com...

TheCommonMan

Con

To be fair, I will only offer arguments for my case in this round and I will not offer rebuttals to what my opponent said.

Argument Number One

If the school were to offer free lunches to students, it would have economic and financial drawbacks for the schools. Yes, the parents and students would not have to pay for their meals at school. However, the school would still have to cover that cost. This idea would best be explained by the economic principle of "There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch" (no pun intended).

http://ccplbusiness.wordpress.com...

"TINSTAFFL: There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

Anyone remember this from Economics 101? Basically, it means that in economics, you"re just not going to get something for nothing.

Even when you"re doing something that appears free (you attended a free business event at the Library, for example), it wasn"t really free. Tax dollars or donations funded the library, the meeting space, the equipment, the time of the presenter, the staff people who planned the program, promoted it, and set up the room and broke it down again when the program was done. If you consider these costs, the program just wasn"t really free."

In a nutshell, the money that parents and students pay to the school for meals covers the costs of the actual food, the labor put into making the food, cooking supplies (capital), and all the other factors of production that are involved with producing food for students at school. If school lunches were to become free for everybody, the school would have to pay for all of the factors of production that are put into the production of food for students. Since school are on a budget, they would obviously have to cut back on some things. Therefore, making lunch free for students would cause the following two things.

Sub-argument Number One: Unemployment

With less money coming in to fund school meals, one thing that schools would have to do is cut some people to pay less money to laborers every year. Therefore, there would be a lot of unemployed people. Let's take a look at the math.

http://www.census.gov...

There are 14,000 school districts in the United States alone. So, suppose that it becomes mandatory that schools must provide free meals for their students and schools would have to cut back on their employees within the food department. If an average of one person was laid off by every school district in America due to the new budget, then there would be 14,000 new unemployed people in America. Likewise, if an average of two people were laid off by every school district, there would be 28,000 new unemployed people. That number could easily add up really quickly if more and more people would become laid off.

Sub-argument #2: Lower Quality Food

The current system for providing free lunches for only those who are in need still allows schools to provide nutritious food and allow students to get all nutrients and food from all food groups. However, if the school had less money to provide food due to free lunches for all students, that would likely change. The school would have to find the most low quality, unhealthy foods. Due to that, students may not have enough food to stay "full", students may be eating something unhealthy enough to cause weight/health problems, and students may not get enough of all their essential nutrients.

Argument Number Two

The purpose of providing free school meals is so PARENTS IN NEED of financial assistance can provide meals for their students in school. However, there are many parents who are not in need and can afford lunch for their students. Let's do some math.

I'm going to use my opponent's lunch costs of $2.25 for elementary students and $2.50 for middle/high school students. In a 180 day school year, lunch for a year would cost $405 for an elementary school student and $450 for middle/high school students.

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu...

The average American family has about 2.3 children, which we'll round down to two. So, the average American family would pay $900 for two middle/high school students to eat at school for one school year, $855 for a middle/high school and an elementary student, and $810 for two elementary students. So, on average, the American family must pay $855 a year to allow their kids to eat school meals. Most American families would be able to pay under a thousand dollars a year to provide money for school lunches for their kids. Therefore, providing free lunches for students wouldn't be wise, considering that a lot of American families would be able to pay the money for school lunches.

Summary:

I have showed that free lunches for students would have a harsh economic cost on schools all around America. I have also showed the negative effects that would happen due to the harsh economic cost. Lastly, I have explained why free lunches for all students would be pointless.
Debate Round No. 2
Fritz

Pro

Fritz forfeited this round.
TheCommonMan

Con

Since it is now round three, I will offer rebuttals to his 2nd round argument.

Rebuttal Number One:

The following three "statements" are reasons that my opponent is for providing free meals for all school students.

Hunger is erased.
Students are better equipped to learn.
Nutrition.

When you think about it, free lunches for all students wouldn't help any of these three issues at all.
It wouldn't erase hunger anymore than it already has. In the current lunch policy where free lunch is available to those in need, you can either purchase your lunch or get free lunch if you qualify. However, whether or not the lunch is free, the students still get a lunch. Therefore, free lunches for all students wouldn't erase hunger.
Once again, it wouldn't better equip students to learn. As previously stated, students still get lunch with our current policy, regardless of whether or not they pay for it. So, every student still gets their food, which helps them do better in school. Therefore, free meals for all students wouldn't help equip students to learn.
It's the same with nutrition intake. In the current system, every student gets meals, regardless of whether or not they pay for them. Therefore, every student gets the nutrients they need. So, free meals for all students wouldn't help kids get their nutrition intake.

Rebuttal Number Two:

"Sure, those students who cannot afford lunches currently can apply for free and reduced meals - but, many do not apply for a number of reasons. One reason is because many parents forget to fill out the paperwork. Another reason is because of some sort of language barrier - many parents cannot understand the paperwork and, therefore, do not fill it out. Other reasons are because the student is too embarrassed to mention the program to his/her parents - or, in some, cases, parents aren't even made aware of the option."

While this is a problem, making lunches free for all students is not the most logical solution to the problem. As I've stated, making school meals completely free would have disastrous economic effects on schools nationwide. So, in order to fix this problem, we must find a solution that would have a less disastrous economic effect on schools nationwide. Here are some examples of problems that would be less economically disastrous.

Ex. 1 - Bring more awareness to parents that they can apply for free or reduced meals for their children (makes parents aware of the option and doesn't put embarrassment on student to ask their parents).
Ex. 2 - Automatic consideration for free or reduced meals.
Ex. 3 - Alert non-English speaking parents of the free or reduced meals in their language (breaks the language barrier).
Ex. 4 - Remind parents to fill out the application (parents won't forget to fill out paperwork).

Rebuttal Number Three:

The following are two of my opponent's arguments.

School faculty - or debt collectors?
Class divide.

I'll admit that the only solution to these two problems is to make school meals free for all students. However, doing so will cause other problems. Let's look at the negative consequences of each.

Consequences of Keeping Meal Policies the Same:
Awkward Situations
Class Divide

Consequences of Making School Meals Completely Free:
Unemployment
Low Quality Food
Wasted Profit For Schools

As you can see, there are more consequences of making school meals free than keeping meal policies the same, the consequences of making school meals free are worse than keeping meal policies the same, and more people would be negatively affected by making school meals free than not doing so. Therefore, making school meals free because of class divide and awkward situations would not be wise, considering the costs far outweigh the benefits.

Summary: I have showed why all of my opponent's arguments are invalid.
Debate Round No. 3
Fritz

Pro

Fritz forfeited this round.
TheCommonMan

Con

There's nothing else to say.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dtaylor971 2 years ago
dtaylor971
FritzTheCommonManTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Due to forfeit, CON wins.