The Corner

School-Lunch Fiasco: Only the Beginning

Drudge today links a student protest video objecting to Michelle Obama’s school lunch regulations, and stories about school-lunch complaints are cropping up everywhere. This one from the Christian Science Monitor is a case study in the perils of over-regulation: one-size-fits-all, conflicting goals, rising prices, and failure to see the big picture.

The school lunch issue offers a tiny taste of what’s in store for America once Obama’s massive regulatory agenda begins to hit in a second term. Lunches are the least of the problem. Still, famished students and funny videos do remind us that once the reality of Obama’s carefully back-loaded regulatory agenda hits, we’re going to see a grassroots rebellion in this country.

I just came back from a conference where I heard a mom from Indiana named Heather Crossin describe her battle against Obama’s Common Core. Her child happened to attend one of the first schools in the country to use textbooks created to teach Obama’s new national curriculum. Most Americans have no idea that the president has circumvented the legal and constitutional prohibitions and imposed a national school curriculum on the states. Nor will they wake up to this disturbing fact until a second Obama term. The timing, of course, is intentional.

Crossin’s son came home from school one day with a “fuzzy math” problem. The question was, if one bridge is 790 feet, and the other is 730 feet, which bridge is longer? Crossin’s son replied that the 790 foot bridge is longer because 790 is great than 730. This was incorrect, because the child hadn’t arrived at the answer through the tortuous path required by the text. Crossin was furious and quickly educated herself about Obama’s Common Core.

The Common Core dumbs down standards, and in a misguided effort to “level the playing field” makes it tougher for parents to help their kids with their homework. Here’s an example of how this ridiculous process works when teaching the Gettysburg Address.

Crossin has successfully galvanized Indiana’s tea-party groups into fighting the Common Core. It’s a taste of what’s going to happen across the country once Obama’s new national school curriculum hits the ground. Angry parents like Crossin will be multiplied many times over, and they won’t just be making funny protest videos. They’ll be marching on state legislatures and giving the federal government an earful as well.

Obama’s outrageous changes to America’s school curriculum could easily spark a new tea-party uprising in a second term. And that’s not to mention Obamacare itself, which will only set off more protests once the provisions the president’s been saving for his second term become reality. Then there are Obama’s regulatory interventions on housing, driving, and land use that virtually no one has a clue are coming. I cover it all here. Unfortunately, we tend to get up in arms only when regulations actually bite.

The school-lunch fiasco is just an appetizer. Yet by withholding the impact of his ambitious regulatory agenda until after the election, Obama may just get away with it.

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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