Democrats fight for public schools and free school meals. Republicans cut funding but spend millions to block kids from learning about hunger.
"Congress made school meals free for 2 years. Now, Republicans don't want to extend the program. Congress extended the program once in 2021, ensuring that the nearly 12 million children who didn't have enough to eat at some point in the pandemic could get food at school... Mitch McConnell and Republicans opted not to renew the universal program" - Business Insider
Several Democrat led states continue to provide free school meals with state funds. Colorado residents will vote on it in November.
Free from hunger. Free to learn.
The same lawmakers who have denied our classrooms resources and demanded sacrifices of our teachers are now stoking fears about our schools, trying to dictate what teachers say and block kids from learning our shared stories of confronting injustice to build a more perfect union. They push for outdated and inaccurate lessons, redlining the realities of our history in order to justify the harms of our present. What a good teacher knows is we can’t just avoid or lie our way through our challenges; we must find age-appropriate ways to tell hard truths about our country’s past and present in order to prepare our kids to create a better future. - ASO/We Make The Future
Highlight Republican hypocrisy
- Present the facts and let the reader judge for themselves.
- Details on hunger in schools from the National Center For Education Statistics.
- Data from Journalist's Resource on free school lunches. It curates research on newsy public policy topics and is a project of Harvard Kennedy School's Shorenstein Center and the Carnegie-Knight Initiative.
- World Population Review provides details on which states limit their students' freedom to learn. is an independent organization without political affiliations that makes demographic data more accessible.
- Aaron Berger at the University of Minnesota study about child nutrition provided more insights.
- Details on the Democratic Keep Kids Fed Act from Congress website.
- ASO Communications and We Make The Future provides suggestions on framing the importance of and honest education.
How can all this information be presented so it is easy to spot the hypocrisy? We first prepared the data about free meals at schools and restrictions on free education in a spreadsheet which was then mapped with ArcGIS Online. This map lets readers compare the number of children in a state eligible for free or low cost meals and the states where Republicans have or are planning to censor education on social justice. The map can be freely shared with this link or embedded in a website with this line of code.
< iframe src="https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/d4e75e117fd249c7b58b2ef93e2f697a" width="100%" height="500px" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen allow="geolocation"></iframe>
Tell hard truths
Whatever our color, background, or zip code, we want our children to have an education that imparts honesty about who we are, integrity in how we treat others, and freedom to pursue our dreams. But for years, certain politicians have denied some children the resources needed for a quality education based on what they look like or where they live. Now those politicians want to censor the truth of our history, passing laws to ban learning from the mistakes of our past and erase leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. who stood up to racism and changed our country for the better. By joining together and speaking up at school board meetings, contacting our elected leaders, and voting to fully fund our schools, we can make this a country where every child has the freedom to learn, grow and thrive. - ASO/We Make The Future
Freedom To Learn
By large margins, Americans support fully and equitably funding our public schools so that every child gets an accurate and honest education, providing them with critical thinking skills and the freedom to pursue their dreams. The majority of voters believe that funding for public schools should be increased in their state, and that this funding should be distributed not according to the wealth of each community but rather to ensure that “each child, regardless of zip code, has an equal right to a quality education.” With respect to curriculum, Americans overwhelmingly say that we should teach “both our best achievements and our worst mistakes,” rejecting the competing claim that we should “focus on what makes this country exceptional and great.” - ASO/We Make The Future
TakeAway: Support public education. Vote to give students freedom from hunger and the freedom to get an honest education.
Image credit: Aaron Berger
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