Let the Kids Walk to School

There's been an awful lot of whining about the state trigger cuts that eliminated money -- about a quarter billion dollars -- for getting California students to school. In rural districts, people are saying that students who ride more than 30 miles to school in some cases simply won't go. In the big Los Angeles district, where hour-long bus rides to schools on the other side of town are common, school leaders are threatening to sue to block the cuts.

What a bunch of wimps!

Think of it as an opportunity to get tough. Back in the day of people like Gov. Jerry Brown (who pulled the triggers), before kids got weak (and before little things like desegregation and the slowing of school construction in the name of saving money and cutting taxes), kids walked to school, dammit.

Wouldn't that be a good idea now?

For one thing, we have an obesity crisis in this country, and obesity starts at a young age. Depending on which study you prefer, a fifth or a third or half of American school-age children are obese. Let's say those kids live in Hollywood and have to walk over the hills to Sherman Oaks to go to school every day. Would they be obese doing that every day? No way.

A few sniveling critics will point out that if you had to walk 20 miles to school every day, you might show up late, since the walk would take several hours. Bah, humbug! You'd just need to start early, like at 2 am, which wouldn't be so hard since you wouldn't get home til 10 pm or so. With that kind of schedule, there wouldn't be time for video games or TV or the other mindless distractions from education.

If a school district decides that's simply too much walking, well fine: they can build more schools closer to kids. Since there's so much money out there for schools. Or they can do what Gov. Jerry Brown suggested and simply cut other programs to keep their school buses moving.

You know, the sort of programs that make it worth going to school in the first place.

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