According to Missouri State Representative Cynthia Davis, hunger is a motivator. She is against subsidizing summer lunch programs for low-income children in her state, even though 1 out of every 5 kids in Missouri goes hungry.
As I’m sure that Representative Davis’ SEVEN children are at the top of their classes, I’m wondering if she used this type of “motivation” to help them in their studies.
I work with low-income children and I can tell you, hunger is NOT a motivator. Hunger is a basic need that all children (and adults) must satisfy before any learning can take place. I wonder exactly what kind of motivation Ms. Davis is referring to. Perhaps it’s the motivation to fall asleep in class or perhaps throw chairs across the room. These are the only things I’ve seen hunger motivate children to do.
Representative Davis needs to get her act together here. Perhaps she should visit some low-income children over the summer and tell them that they won’t be fed this summer because they need to “get motivated.” Yeah, that ought to do the trick. I bet they’ll even thank her.
UPDATE: After reading the original text of her comments linked above, I have given her responses some thought. Here’s the passage in its entirety:
Anyone under 18 can be eligible? Can’t they get a job during the summer by the time they are 16? Hunger can be a positive motivator. What is wrong with the idea of getting a job so you can get better meals?
Tip: If you work for McDonald’s, they will feed you for free during your break.
I’ve come to the conclusion that she is advocating here for one of two things:
1. Lowering the legal age of an adult to 16. By her reasoning, anyone who is old enough to work is old enough to be an adult. They no longer qualify as a child and therefore shouldn’t receive government “handouts” designed for children. If we play out this scenario, 16-year-olds would be legally allowed to smoke and are old enough to join the military. I wonder if she would also want to lower the legal drinking age to 18?
2. Denying children food because they are legally allowed to work. In this scenario, Ms. Davis’ logic is that even though they are still considered children, they are on their own. Their 15-year-old brother may qualify for lunch, but because they turned 16, they shouldn’t be given food. I suppose it never crossed her mind that the unemployment rate in this country is at a 26-year-high and that 16-year-olds probably aren’t at the head of the line of unemployed adults. Nor do they have training or experience that those adults have. Just sayin’.
I’d like to know which of these she is supporting. I bet her constituents would like to know, too.