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This may be worth moving to the top(51 posts)

This may be worth moving to the topOldEdScott
May 15, 2003 9:18 AM
Way down-page in the muddle, I said this in answer to a question Doug asked about how to get kids motivated and convinced they're not doomed to in poverty or crappy jobs or whatever. Doug replied in ballpark agreement, them Steam jumped me like a methed-up lobbyist for the Teachers Union, an odd experience -- getting blindsided from the Left by Steam.

Anyway, here's the orginal post:


"The answer to almost every social problem"

Posted by: OldEdScott May-15-03, 09:20 AM


is, a great and universal system of free public education, which, in a perfect world, would include postsecondary education (trade school or college).

The problem with that answer is, public education is broken in this country, and needs badly to be fixed. More money in some places will help as patchwork, but money won't correct the fundamental underlying flaws. We need to completely and utterly rethink what 'education' is and how we go about delivering it. We need to redefine what a 'teacher' is, and how teachers are trained (and if they should be 'trained' at all -- that's something we need to look at too, those miserable 'colleges of education'). Just start from scratch.
peasants under glass again?DougSloan
May 15, 2003 9:25 AM
I'm almost doubting you really think this, but are going for one of those "focus group" things. That sounds far too conservative to really be you. Either that, or we're doing the role reversal thing and I missed my cue.

Doug
Nope, I'm pretty radical about education.OldEdScott
May 15, 2003 9:48 AM
And I don't believe it's a conservative radicalism either. You'll note I still want free, universal public education, and would even extend that to postsecondary ed.

Plus, I'm not attacking 'waste' and 'throwing money at problems,' I'm attacking what I think are fundamental flaws in how we think of schools, education itself, and teachers. We're just DOING it wrong.

I have no interest in privatization, vouchers, all those nifty conservative panaceas. It's like saying take aspirin instead of Tylenol for colon cancer.

Nope, no focus group here, because I don't even have a constituency in my own party for this kind of revolutionary upheaval. I'd be like Mao: Close the damn schools and send kids to the countryside if we can't do it better than this.
good luck with thatmohair_chair
May 15, 2003 9:44 AM
Who could disagree with what you say? The problem is that there is too much inertia to overcome to do anything about it.

Education is the great battleground in this country, because everyone has an opinion on it. Mostly it's because people of certain beliefs want to indoctrinate kids to believe as they do. Best example is the Christian Right, who wants our kids to pray in schools and learn "Creationism."

The other big problem is standardized tests. Test scores have become practically the sole measure of success these days. And why not, since much in the world of education is basically intangible. People, parents, and politicians want numbers to prove that their kids are being educated. Numbers, numbers, it's all about numbers. Forget whether their kids can think critically or not, forget if they can write a sentence, forget if they are inspired to seek out knowledge solely for the sake of knowledge. All that matters is can they score highly on tests? And when funding and teacher pay/promotion is tied to test scores, what ends up being taught is how to prepare for and do well on the test.

The tail is wagging the dog here. Good luck. I'm glad I got out many years ago.
And what <i>about</i> the left?Kristin
May 15, 2003 10:33 AM
Its the left who want to dictate to my children when they can and can not pray--even if they are praying of their own initiative and not involving anyone else? It is okay to practice religions such as Islam and Hindu within the walls of a public school, but not Christianity? What's up with that anyway?

So many people are pointing fingers at the Christians saying we are so bad because we are forcing everyone to be like us. Did I sleep through some major event? How exactly are Christian public students doing this? Honestly, there is a TON of discriniation going on against Christians right now and I'm angry about it. It is exasperating to be innocent and find that your accuser is committing the very crime he charges you with. I want to be free to believe in God and pray to him whenever I choose. And you should be free to believe whatever you want about God, and about me. Why should I and my children be afforded fewer rights than anyone else in this nation? Simply because I believe that Jesus was the Messiah?
You've been listening to the right wing nuts, Kristin ...OldEdScott
May 15, 2003 10:40 AM
Let me just say this plainly: The left doesn't give two sh!ts when and where your kids pray. The left cares whether the State -- i.e. the schools -- can MAKE your kids pray, and pray the KIND of prayers the state wants them to pray.

The Left is HAPPY if your kids want to pray in school. THEY HAVE THAT RIGHT AND THEY SHOULD HAVE IT. But the State -- the school, the teacher -- cannot be allowed to dictate it.

It's really simple. The right muddies the situation by saying the sorts of things you just repeated, unknowingly thinking they were true. They are NOT true.
not sure that is correctDougSloan
May 15, 2003 10:46 AM
Whether it's the "Left" or just rogue individuals, there are plenty of lawsuits brought to *prevent* kids from praying (out loud, at least) at school or school events, whether directed or sanctioned by school officials or not.

Doug
Well all the people bringing the chargesKristin
May 15, 2003 10:53 AM
would align themselves with the "left" in a heartbeat.
Have to see specifics, butOldEdScott
May 15, 2003 11:01 AM
I'm sure there are gray areas, where it's not clear whether the prayer is school-sanctioned or school-encouraged with a wink and a nod or not.

The basic point, though, is that no one on the Left gives a rat's ass if your kid bows his head in prayer three hundred times a day, in class, wherever. There's no law that says he can't, and WE DON'T CARE. I promise you. It's the last thing in the world I worry about.

The conservatives try to make it out that we're anti-prayer, period. Not so. We're against the State shoving a specific religion down the throats of your kids, and it seems to me that's a VERY conservative view. How the right, which hates government, came to support state-mandated religion is beyond my comprehension.
gray areasDougSloan
May 15, 2003 11:10 AM
The valedictorian at commencement wants to say a prayer as part of his or her speech. This would typically be banned, or would be sought to be banned. This is the kind of thing that is being fought about.

There are two parts to the "establishment clause," and sometimes people forget the other part -- "nor prohibit the free exercise thereof..."

Doug
I don't believe that's a gray area at all.OldEdScott
May 15, 2003 11:21 AM
The commencement is an official school function, and carries the State's imprimatur. Of COURSE non-establishment would trump freedom of exercise there.

HOWEVER, if individual kids want to pray silently, asking God to get them through the boring ceremony so they can rush off and get drunk, more power to them.
well, that shows that it isDougSloan
May 15, 2003 11:32 AM
See, I think the individual, who earns the right to get up on stage by virtue of scholarship, not religious association, has a right to say a prayer if he or she wants to. No one on the planet would think it is the school/state telling the student what to say or that this constitutes "establishment of religion." It's an individual exercising freedom of speech. To call that "establishment" is stretching the establishment concept to its illogical extreme. It belies reality.

I think we all agree that the state cannot prevent students from praying silently, which is really just "thinking," isn't it? No, we can't control what anyone thinks. To argue that, in effect, "be happy you are free to think all you want or whatever you want, because we can restrict what you say," isn't much of a consolation, nor required by the First Amendment.

The Left does want "non-establishment" to equal "intolerance." They cannot tolerate even hearing a student mentioning "God" in a commencement speech, can they?

Doug
I suppose by your formulation the student has earnedOldEdScott
May 15, 2003 11:39 AM
the right to get onstage and call for impeaching George Bush and hauling DIck Cheney off in legs iron for crimes against humanity. But the school would never tolerate that. And the school has control, and can enforce it.

If the school tolerates a prayer from its valadictorian, it is giving tacit endorsement to the message, and so represents State endorsement of religion.

Sure it's splitting hairs but:
A)That's what the law IS: Splitting hairs. It turns on tiny things. And
B) Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice ...
splitting hairs -- that 's why I said it was a gray areaDougSloan
May 15, 2003 11:48 AM
I'm sure they not only can, but have called for impeachment or made other "un-American" comments. ;-) I'm also sure that those types of comments would not only be tolerated, but supported by many school administrators.

I don't think it is tacit endorsement. Let them do a disclaimer like tv and radio stations do before an editorial expressly stating that the views of the speaker are not necessarily those of the station. Problem solved, right?

Liberty? Why can't I have the freedom to say what I want, and you have the freedom to ignore it or stick your fingers in your ears, rather than you having the freedom to shut me up and control what I say (along the lines of the example discussed)?

Doug
Oh. I don't like that. I think we should have the ability to shut some people up.Kristin
May 15, 2003 11:58 AM
My next door neighbor plays his music too loud. Fingers in ears don't work. Cotten neither. He plays boy bands and Celine Dion. If that's not a crime against humanity, I don't know what is.
You could probably sell your house to Jon.sn69
May 15, 2003 1:21 PM
He likes Celine.

Seriously, I think the common sense approach is that the marketplace of ideas is grand, provided the assurances of one's rights don't impinge upon the rights of another (mitigated, of course, by a sensible theory of "reasonableness"<--poetic license to invent words).

Your neighbor has the right to play abhorrent music provided it does not affect your right to tranquility, quiet, and/or freedom from Satan's Spawn (Celine). The theory is no different than that of public smoking. Should an addict with a problem that, by the very physics of the act, affects the health of others within close proximity be allowed to do so? Should the onus be on the others to physically relocate themselves? And so on and so forth.

Most laws governing civic behavior in this country strike me as being honestly founded on the premise of ensuring health and wellfare. Take, for example, motorcycles. There are those who argue that motocycle helmet laws are tantamount to Krystalnaughct and the Brownshirts' rise to power, yet the truth is simple and far removed from such melodramatic, misconstrued symbolism. If you fall off and go boom without a helmet, you also go splat. The helmet at the very least provides for an open casket, and at best just might save one's life.

Symantics and the "sea lawyering" nature of a litigious society, however, can give rise to an endless cycle of "what-if's" and "what about's." Thus the concept of common sense....

OBTW, this is a GUY playing Celine and boy bands?! Gay or strait...it doesn't matter. Bad taste is still bad taste.
I'm gonna take a guess here. Tell me if I'm correct.Kristin
May 15, 2003 11:47 AM
The left wing accuses the right wing of secretly devising plans to brainwash America's children into praying to their god, so that they can build a great Christian empire that will squash all other religions and evolutionists. And the right wing accuses the left wing of devising plans to ban religeon and abolish god from the universe--which would eventually lead to christians being beaten and beheaded. By making these claims, the extreme members of each party create a fissure that forces Americans choose a side, rallying support for the parties. All the while, neither accusation is true. Everyone really just wants to live the life they choose unrestrained.

Did I state this accurately?

Of course, the real goal is a joint conspiracy perpetrated by both parties to keep Moderates from coming into power where they would teach the Isreali's and Palisitians to live together in harmony; usher in world peace; provide a stable, loving environment for every man, woman and child; solve the power crises; prove there is no hole in the ozone layer; cure Aides, cancer, birth defects, and allergies; discover good tasting, low fat foods; and invent a pavement that won't cause road rash.
pretty much sums it up, you skeptic ;-) nmDougSloan
May 15, 2003 11:50 AM
Wasn't there an attempt recentlyKristin
May 15, 2003 10:51 AM
To abolish the national day of prayer? This is a holiday like flag day and grandparents day. You can participate if you want to, but no one is required. So why the great need to do away with it.

And you say, "The left cares whether the State -- i.e. the schools -- can MAKE your kids pray, and pray the KIND of prayers the state wants them to pray."

What kind of prayers does the state want our kids to be praying in school? I've never heard of a public school that forces kids to pray. EVER. I have friend who teaches 5th grade AND is a Christian. She's scared Sh!tless just be herself around her students. She's always gaurded and careful so she doesn't "offend" anyone. That is the result of school (read: government) administration. I don't see any vast conspirasy here to convert your kids into mindless worshippers through the public school system. That's what Sunday school is for. ;-)
Wasn't there an attempt recentlyDougSloan
May 15, 2003 10:54 AM
In some places you'd probably be suspended for saying "God bless you" when someone sneezes. Seriously.

There is non-establishment, then there is total intoleration of religion. We are rapidly moving toward the latter in some places.

Doug
Lots of school-sanctioned prayer were I attended and taughtDale Brigham
May 15, 2003 8:13 PM
Yes, good ol' West Texas, which seems to be the worst-case scenario for many transgressions of civil liberty. In Monterey H.S., Lubbock, TX, every day on the old intercom speaker started with a student-led prayer, every athletic event had a prayer before kick-off, and about half of all assemblies had a religious motif. Just about the same in Spur (TX) H.S., where I taught.

And were these non-denominational appeals to a non-specified diety? Hell no! These were prayers made to an explicitly Protestant Gawd (likely Southern Baptist), invoking Jeesus as personal savior ("Ya mean I get my very own Savior?") to deliver us from exams, the opposing team, and the scourge of recreational drugs.

That's the abuse of rights that the Constitution exists to protect. Just because you don't see it in your town today does not mean it won't raise its head tomorrow if left unchecked.

BTW, I attend church (a local Veteran's hospital chapel services, actually, where my wife and I constitute about 25% of the choir), am all for religion as a great guide to ethics for kids and adults, and try to figure out my relation to the Eternal on an ongoing basis. I just don't think it's fair to impose my beliefs on anyone else. And I sure as heck don't want anybody imposing their beliefs on me.

Dale
Wow. I've never encountered anything like thatKristin
May 16, 2003 6:45 AM
I've never even heard of anything like that. But then again, I was raised in Connecticut, where people look at you like you have two heads if you admit you attend church. From there I moved to Chicago. I've never lived in a place where Christianity was over-bearing. It amazes me that a public school would even consider doing that. And you're correct, its seriously wrong to do that. If it was a private school, it would be a different story.
I grew up the same way. In the South, especially,OldEdScott
May 16, 2003 7:09 AM
it was common for teachers to shove very specific Protestantism down the throats of school kids. I hated it as a kid (I had two Jewish classmates in grade school and one Catholic, and they were always very bothered by it) and I jusr can't stand the idea of it happening again.
My H.S.: Out of 2,000+ students, just 2 Jewish kidsDale Brigham
May 16, 2003 7:30 AM
I wonder how they really felt about the big Christmas assemblies, "Easter Break," and denominational morning prayers? Of course, nobody thought it would be a problem with our Jewish friends back then. And, we never asked them their opinion.

I'm sure it's a bit different now (I graduated H.S. in '74, and taught H.S. '79-80) but I'd be very surprised if the dominant religion (Protestant Christianity, preferably Southern Baptist) is still not evident in the hallways and classrooms in Lubbock and Spur (TX) public schools.

As the tourism folks say, Texas is a whole 'nother country!

Dale
"Flyover Country" -- The Cultural divide in the U.S.Dale Brigham
May 16, 2003 7:14 AM
Kristin:

You have been blessed (or cursed, depending on perspective) to live in parts of the U.S. that are relatively cosmopolitan, diverse in population, and at least cognizant of differing ethnic backgrounds, religions, and lifestyles. Even if difference is not embraced, it is at least tolerated.

Most of the U.S. is not like that. Outside of the coasts (West and East) and larger cities, diversity means not necessarily getting a white Ford F-150 pickup, but maybe getting a blue one. I'm kidding a bit here, but my experience in rural areas and smaller cities (less than 250,000 population where I have lived is that difference is crushed, if at all possible.

Whether it's religion (or lack thereof), sexual orientation, or even just being an adult who rides a bike, there is generally not a supportive environment for those who deviate from the norm. I'm not being judgemental about this; just sharing my experience of nearly five decades of life in the hinterlands, aka "Flyover Country."

When I hear blather on the cable news or radio talk shows about how PC radicals, "libbrul elites," the ACLU, and the "gay agenda" are taking over, I realize how isolated those folks in the studio are from most Americans. NYC, Chicago, D.C., and San Fran are a different world from West Texas, Mid-MO, and Central PA.

Now, Let us pray.

Dale
OldEdScott said it better than Imohair_chair
May 15, 2003 10:57 AM
I'm not anti-Christian, I just thought the prayer in school "issue," largely advocated by the Christian Right, was the best known example of pushing an agenda on school children. The left tends towards multi-culturalism and political correctness to the point where history is muddied up and makes almost no sense. I'm still not sure when Christopher Columbus became the antichrist!

If you want to pray in school, by all means, do it. But do it on your own time, at recess or lunch, or before or after school. My point is that I don't want to see class time at a public school used for religious purposes. (I don't want to see it used for anti-religious purposes either.) If you want to use a classroom for a prayer meeting after school, I'll give you the keys.
Okay, I'm good with thatKristin
May 15, 2003 11:19 AM
It sounds as if those of us who have flesh and blood are in agreement. We all want to be free to believe what we want and we don't desire to hinder anyone else in their freedom. I agree with everything you said. And likewise, I would never force anyone to pray. First of all its pointless; and secondly, its overbearing and cruel. Since public school is for everyone, then it needs to be void of religeous focus. (Though I don't have any issues with creating a class that would teach about what religion is. You can't really learn history without learning about the role of religion in society. But it would be general--something akin to a philosophy class.)

But no one has answered my biggest question. What is this agenda that you are accusing the right wing conservatives of? I've not heard one piece reliable or substantial information about some plan to force prayer on children in public schools. Its so perposterous it must be imaginary. So talk to me like I'm a kindergartener and tell me the specific plan the conservatives have to force our kids to be mindless worshippers?
years ago, there wasDougSloan
May 15, 2003 12:24 PM
A US Supreme Court case in the 60's struck down a state law, Ohio, I think, that required a certain prayer to begin each school day. That was 35 years ago, though, and I don't think anyone even consideres such a thing anymore.

Doug
An example of 'left drift.'OldEdScott
May 16, 2003 5:27 AM
When you say 'no one even considers that anymore,' I think you're mostly right. People nowadays understand the problems of a State-mandated prayer. The inexorable movement of American history is to the left, as I've said.

Don't believe the hard-core Christian right understands the problem though. I believe they would, given the opportunity, go back to those days happily
agreeDougSloan
May 16, 2003 6:52 AM
I think it's not so much a matter of people having become enlightened as much as their having accepted the Supreme Court's rulings. Resistance is futile.

Along that line, I think the courts have done far more to further "left" policies than the legislatures. Think about most of the changes we have seen the last 60 years or so, and about 90% of them resulted from court decisions, not legislative actions.

Whatever the "hard-core Christian right" really is, I have no doubt they would re-institute prayer in schools immediately if they could. That's what they believe. As a practical matter, too, it wouldn't hurt anyone. I'm not for it, though.

Doug
It it mandatory prayer or ...Live Steam
May 16, 2003 7:22 AM
a mandated time to pray if one so chooses, that the RR would like to see back in schools?
Is Christianity not a proselytizing religion?czardonic
May 15, 2003 12:54 PM
I realize that there are many Christians (possibly the vast majority) who do not want to push their religion on others. But these are not the Christians pushing for prayer in schools. Presumably, they find time during the other 18 hours of the day to pray.

Right Wing conservatives are not interested in religious freedom. They are interested in Christian primacy. Since the vast majority of Americans are Christian of some sort, they know that by getting prayer into schools, they will be exposing a captive and impressionable audience to their particular ideology.

Note the way that they cast creationism as some kind of equivalent to evolution. Does that not suggest their interest in "teaching" Christianity to students the same way that we teach them the sciences?
Man you must be on some powerful stuff! nmLive Steam
May 15, 2003 6:54 PM
I have only met one person who would be considered right wingKristin
May 16, 2003 7:27 AM
Based on your description, the only person I know who would fit that category is my boss. If Pat Robertson ran for president, he'd camp outside the polling place. Although he can seem like a pillar of virtue, I find his way of thinking reminiscent of WWII Germany; and its frightening. Mostly because he see's himself as pure and innocent and entirely correct about everything. But when you boil off all the "stuff" all you find is a man who feels so insecure that he needs to be in control of absolutely everything.

I don't think that Christianity is the threat though. The threat is manipulative, controlling individuals who embrace certain causes in an attempt to gain power and control. These include the likes of Osama Bin Laden, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Hilter, my boss, etc... (of course, to varying extremes.)

Is Christianity a proselytizing religion? That would depend on your definition of proselytize. The New Testaments say this, "Go and tell the good news..." Admittedly, I've seen people expand on this direction, and get pushy. But that's not about Christianity as much as it is about that particular persons insecurities. Some people "need" others to accept Christ in order to validate their own faith. That's not the way it's suposed to be. The verse is simple. Set about the business of telling people. So I can tell you that I've encountered God and He's good. (I have and I believe that He is.) After that, the ball is out of my court.
basicsDougSloan
May 15, 2003 10:26 AM
Teach basics first. Reading, writing, math, history, geography, government. Students who master those subjects can then move on and take feel good classes; those who can't get votech.

Pull all the social engineering stuff, like "Jack has two mommies," "diversity training," or creationism out of public schools. Parents or churches can do that. None of it for anyone, so we won't have to fight much about curriculum.

We do need testing, or we have no way of knowing if what we are doing is effective.

Get rid of tenure. Teachers and administrators should be on annual contracts or employeed at will. If you want to keep your job, you'd better perform like most everyone else. No more getting by for 30 years on lesson plans you did as a student teacher in college.

I do agree that public education should be free through high school, and then for college or votech school if minimally qualified. However, that doesn't mean we pay for everyone to go to the "best" schools necessarily. That means community college and then a regional state school, usually.

Doug
I'll go along with that. Further:OldEdScott
May 15, 2003 10:34 AM
Disperse the schools. I was only half kidding about Mao and the countryside.

Schools should be SMALL and close to home. No more warehouses teeming with thousands of faceless kids. 40 or 50 years ago, a wave of 'consolidation' swept the coutryside, closing small neighborhood schools in the interest of efficiency. Consolidation was a colossal blunder. There should be no school larger than 500 kids. 300 or less would be optimal. Everyone should know everyone else.

It's gonna get expensive ...
Expensive is okayKristin
May 15, 2003 10:38 AM
Sometimes, you just suck it up and pay more in order to receive quality. You wouldn't buy a Huffy would you? I think that strong education for all kids is a great investment.
no problemDougSloan
May 15, 2003 10:50 AM
Give me the line item veto pen, and I'll have smaller schools and classrooms, better educated students, for less money. Administration is really top heavy, at least here.

Doug
All righty. But I'll save you a ton of money upfrontOldEdScott
May 15, 2003 11:08 AM
by closing down every wretched College of Education in the country. Every damn one of 'em. If you want to teach, you get a regular degree in a recognizable discipline, or you bring some great life experience to the table and say" "I KNOW this stuff, I want to teach it."

Apprenticeships will take the place of Colleges of Education.
not a bad ideaDougSloan
May 15, 2003 11:21 AM
In other words, you get a degree in mathematics, for example, rather than education. Same institution, just different degree.

Wouldn't be a bad idea to at least have some classes available on teaching methods, though.

Doug
'Methodology' is the scourge of modernOldEdScott
May 15, 2003 11:28 AM
colleges of education. I want to stamp it out. You leave any trace, it will grow like cancer and voila! you have degrees in education again.

No, that's what apprenticeships will be for. You will learn methodology on the job. You will learn SUBJECTS in college.
But the history taught...94Nole
May 15, 2003 10:54 AM
should be what really happened and not some version re-cast to move forward some political agenda.

True history versus revisionist's history
All history is revisionist...TJeanloz
May 15, 2003 11:05 AM
I bet amongst the group of us we couldn't really agree on what happened in the recent Gulf War - and that's less than a month old. There is no such thing as true history.
Yep. The winners get to write it. nmOldEdScott
May 15, 2003 11:09 AM
recent revisionism, thenDougSloan
May 15, 2003 11:12 AM
Instead of teaching the history that's been taught for 100 years, social engineers want to revise it to focus on the ills of America's youth (as a country). I think that is largely the issue.

Doug
Politically correct history is nuts. ButOldEdScott
May 15, 2003 11:24 AM
history that ignores huge aspects of our national experience is nuts too. Somewhere in there is a balance no one has found yet. But it'll happen. I see that as a minor problem that will self-correct.
what about sex ed?shawndoggy
May 15, 2003 11:45 AM
Is "teaching" possible procreators how their bodies work part of a social agenda? Or teaching that reliable (though certainly not foolproof) methods of thwarting how their bodies would otherwise work (i.e. birth control)?
Like OldEd said: apprenticeship.128
May 15, 2003 11:49 AM
We had Health class where that was covered. And should be.
Does that class come with a lab too? nmKristin
May 15, 2003 1:06 PM
Apprenticship. Tired teacher.
Couldn't agree more. And let's add a sensible lunch program128
May 15, 2003 11:39 AM
too. Will that fit into the budget? Can't learn on an empty stomach. Free lunch through high school.

Another problem, along with top heavy administration, is the power weilded by parents who generally don't know jack sht and complain that the teachers are not doing an adequate job. That's a longer rant but for the policy reasons under consideration here, the point is that the conflict between parents and teachers in the public setting leads to innaction and mediocrity. How do we resolve that power struggle. We want parents involved, but not running the show...
Couldn't agree more. And let's add a sensible lunch programBikeViking
May 16, 2003 7:39 AM
Aren't there parents that need to be feeding their own kids instead of Uncle Sugar? If parents are neglecting to feed their children, that is a State issue for child neglect, not a call to have taxpayers like me (who DOES feed his kids) to pick up the slack for some moron who shouldn't have had children in the first place.

There's no such thing a a "free" lunch