No Free Lunch

Our royal archivist, MBernadetteE, came up from the Castle basement the Friday morning, which was a source of great relief because nobody has seen her for three weeks. If you didn’t know, she has been diligently archiving, indexing, and filing our historical artifacts—in exchage for Australia or something, whenever we take over—and she is probably up to about 180 BC by this point.

Anyway, she wrote the Czar a wonderful letter and handed it to us at the lobby bar. The Czar asked why she bothered, since we were standing right there, but she went on for a bit about the dying art of epistemology, and went on to order a Bosco and Rumplemintz and we enjoyed watching Sleestak as the bartender try to open one of those cocktail umbrellas with his oversized claws. But here is what she wrote:


Excellence. I commend thee, and such. While attending public schools (preK – 12), I did not qualify for a subsidized school lunch. Many students in my school district did. (I can tell you that state of Ohio has determined that 42.5% of students in my former school district are “economically disadvantaged”.) It’s relatively easy to find such information about school districts, and even individual school buildings within districts, from the state’s department of education. I wonder if your readers are aware of this! For example, Ohioans can conduct a simple search by district here and gain access to standardized test reports, passing rates, graduation rates, etc. NY residents (of which I am currently one) can access similar information here and I happened to find that NY tends to report demographics in much more detail than OH. Moving on….

I recently discovered (for a class assignment) that a local school close to my place of residence has nearly 80% of students who qualify for a free lunch, and also a free breakfast. That’s a pretty high number. Then this news emerged: Turns out a new federal government pilot program means that every student in the city school district gets a free lunch (caveat: we all know there ain’t NO SUCH THING).

Here is an excerpt from the piece linked above: “Last year, the district’s food service budget was roughly $11 million, all but $600,000 to $700,000 of which was reimbursement from federal and state governments.” Continuing on… “(Note to Syracuse parents: Warner said the district is still asking families to fill out the free- and reduced-cost meal eligibility applications. The district needs that information to report to the state and it is important because much government funding for the district is based on its student poverty level, Warner said.)”

Thought I’d throw this to your attention. I hadn’t heard of the e-rate nonsense ’til you wrote about it, so thanks for the enlightenment!

As always, archivally and alliteratively,

Well, now you see why. The Federal government is encouraging schools to game their own system—the Fed wants the kids eating their approved gruel and whey, and the schools need the money. To them, it is a free check—all you have to do is get the poorer kids to sign up, and more and more even the unpoor kids will count, too. No one cares.

But some of us are watching.

About The Czar of Muscovy

Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia by upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.