Progressive busybodies in North Carolina lost ground this week in a win for both school reformers and privacy advocates.
As part of the Fellowship’s continuing coverage of the political war zone, we are happy to report some bit of good news (if you are unaware of the story, read this).
These liberal do-gooders have pulled out all the stops to punish the school board. They opened federal investigations into gender discrimination. Then they got accrediting authorities to look at stripping away the district’s educational accreditation, meaning graduates would not have a real high school diploma.
When that didn’t work, they finally got the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to investigate the school board for accusations of hurting poor minorities.
The goal of all this is to stall reform until the next election and then find some way – any way – to go back to diversity busing.
Most recently they concocted a plan to use “socioeconomic factors” in place of skin color. Translation: we’ll make the poor kids and the rich kids switch places.
However, this can’t be done unless they have data on who is rich and who is poor. They can look at general trends from census records, but that doesn’t help them pinpoint specific neighborhoods.
So progressives decided to seize data from school lunch programs to identify kids who applied for free lunches. The theory goes something like this: you’re a poor family in the slums of Raleigh. You apply for little Bobby to get free lunch at school. The school board identifies exactly who Bobby is, where he lives, and how much money you have – so they can decide on your behalf if Bobby should attend some school farther away.
Yes, it sounds absurd and intrusive when you put it like that. It might make parents think twice if they think Bobby will be singled out. It might make them fearful that free lunches become a scarlet letter, whereby Bobby is carted off to a preppy school and everyone can figure out exactly why he is there.
In short, it might make Bobby afraid to sign up for free lunch.
Do progressives care about that? Heck no.
Fortunately, the Department of Agriculture feels bad for Bobby. That’s the arm of the government that handles free lunch programs. And it told progressives it refuses to release personal information about kids who signed up.
Reformers are rejoicing over the news.
However, parents really need to understand how big of a bullet they dodged here. This is what happens when you rely on the government to give you free stuff. It’s not about charity. It’s about finding a way to barge into your business so they can control you. If progressives are willing to snoop at your child’s name on a free lunch program so they can play God with school assignments, trust me, please, they will snoop on other things to control you somewhere else.
The USDA protected you for now. But you might not be so lucky next time. Remember that the next time you’re offered a bribe from some government bureaucrat.