And i think you reek of poverty denial and are floundering badly in terms of offering up any actual argument against feeding the poorest children in the poorest schools with your crocodile tears about all the other kids. You are using that as a barrier to progress.
After your baby boomer nostalgia and inflated hysteria over the cost you actually offer nothing to the debate.
Very ironic being accused of “floundering badly in terms of offering up any actual argument”, Bradbury has been short on argument and long on inflated criticisms. He has avoided answering questions, responding instead with abuse.
I have tried to debate on facts but they are hard to come by.
How many hungry kids?
The Feed the Kids fact sheet quotes a common number:
Using official household income statistics, it is estimated that 270,000 (25%) children live in poverty…
That is an often quoted figure, but it’s based on statistics and does not measure how many kids go hungry. And the website makes no attempt to quantify it.
Because of that level of poverty many children go to school without a proper breakfast and lunch.
Frank Macskasy’s Daily Blog post Why Peter Dunne won’t “Feed the Kids” was as vague.
Many are going to school without breakfast or lunch.
That’s a major omission in their argument. The Community Campaign for Food in Schools does put a figure on it:
…an estimated 80,000 children regularly arriving at school hungry…
I don’t know what criteria or research that is based on. It’s a lot of kids, but far less than the poverty figure.
How many kids go to school?
According to School Roll Summary Report: July 2011 there were 2,548 schools with 758,094 enrolled children.
That makes an estimate of 10.5% of hungry children.
How many in decile 1-2 schools?
Decile 1-2 schools are 20% of schools but have only 14.8% of children at school – higher decile schools tend to have have bigger rolls. That’s about 112,000 children.
How many hungry kids in decile 1-2 schools?
I can’t find any breakdown on that, but it must be less than the estimated total of 80,000 hungry kids but it will be higher than the 10.5% (which would be 11,580).
How much is the Feed the Kids policy?
Mana have costed their policy at $100 million per year. That’s $890 per year per child, or $17 per week.
Assuming that less then half of decile 1-2 children are ‘hungry’ that is $34-$50 per week per hungry child.
Is the money best spent across all children who go to the schools? Or would it be better targeted at families who would benefit the most?
Just a start?
A number of people say the policy is just a beginning. Bradbury:
We need universal food schemes like they run in most developed country’s around the world.
MANA policy priorities are to:
Provide healthy meals for all children at school.
If Feed the Kids was extended to all schools the cost would $600-700 million per year.
Is feeding all kids in schools the best way to spend this amount of money?
Is this what parents want?
I think more information and more debate on this is necessary.
Abusing anyone who questions whether the Mana bill is the most sensible approach will condemn the bill to failure, and will discredit the motives of the bill’s supporters.
And that won’t help any kids.
Perhaps there will be some more immediate assistance anyway, this year’s budget will be revealed on Thursday.
For the record – I’m interested in exploring options and discussing/debating the hungry kids and poverty issues. I don’t hate kids. I don’t want poverty to get worse. I don’t want kids to starve. Frank, Martyn et al – how about some mature debate?
More information: Hunger for Learning brochure