Will federal deregulation extend to school lunch programming?
- The School Nutrition Association has released a set of recommendations for federal lawmakers to consider changes to national guidelines promoting and rewarding healthier school lunch options in K-12 districts, implemented during the Obama Administration.
- Laws advanced by former First Lady Michelle Obama to reduce childhood obesity — by mandating certain nutritional requirements and awarding more money to schools meeting certain benchmarks — could be in jeopardy from advocacy groups and supportive members of congress who considered the laws to be government overreach.
- While many of the plans did not yield changes in school lunch participation, opponents of the current legislation say that districts and parents should have more choice in what children eat.
While there is a case to be made about the value of schools providing healthy meals for children who otherwise may not have access to better choices because of food deserts or lack of resources, there are also considerations districts must make along political lines. If superintendents show favor for one measure, what lines could be drawn by parents or advocacy organizations on subjects of standardized testing, laws concerning gender self-identification, and other hot topics in the K-12 sector?
Leaders should carefully promote the benefits, costs and alternatives to lunch programs to parents in an open forum, so that it becomes clear that healthy options are not a matter of politics but an option for consideration to every household.