Nutrition & School Lunch

Illustration of a child looking into an empty refrigerator.
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Student Well-Being Opinion I Lived Off School Lunches as a Kid. Here’s How to Make the Program Better
It will take more than school meal programs to end food insecurity for students and their families.
Shari Walker, October 4, 2021
4 min read
Empty school cafeteria
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Education Funding Feds Pump $1.5 Billion Extra Toward Schools to Address Cafeteria Food Shortage
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced funds to help schools more easily purchase U.S.-grown foods amid widespread supply shortages.
Mark Lieberman, September 29, 2021
1 min read
Stacked Red Cafeteria trays in a nearly empty lunch room.
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Student Well-Being Students Are Going Hungry, Cafeteria Staffing Is a Mess. Here’s Why
Supply chain shortages, COVID-19 fears, and complicated virus protection protocols are causing financial and logistical headaches in cafeterias.
Mark Lieberman, September 28, 2021
4 min read
Food service assistant Brenda Bartee, rear, gives students breakfast, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, during the first day of school at Washington Elementary School in Riviera Beach, Fla.
Food service assistant Brenda Bartee, rear, gives students breakfast, last month on the first day of school at Washington Elementary School in Riviera Beach, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal How a Big Federal Spending Package Could Affect School Meals and Student Poverty Counts
Legislation to expand access to free school meals highlights a persistent concern: how to improve the ways we identify students in poverty.
Andrew Ujifusa, September 23, 2021
6 min read
Kejuan Turner, 8, eats a burger from a free bagged lunch provided by the Jefferson County School District on the back of his mother's truck with his brother, Kendrell, 9, outside their home in Fayette, Miss.
Kejuan Turner, 8, eats a burger from a free bagged lunch provided by the Jefferson County school district on the back of his mother's truck with his brother, Kendrell, 9, outside their home in Fayette, Miss., in March.
Leah Willingham/AP
Student Well-Being The Pandemic Brought Universal Free School Meals. Will They Stay?
Relaxed rules during the COVID-19 pandemic have allowed schools to serve universal free meals. Some in Congress want to make that permanent.
Evie Blad, June 1, 2021
8 min read
Jefferson County Elementary School children sit at desks and eat their school-supplied breakfasts in Fayette, Miss., on March 3, 2021. As one of the most food insecure counties in the United States, many families and their children have come to depend on these meals as their only means of daily sustenance.
Jefferson County Elementary School children sit at desks and eat their school-supplied breakfasts in Fayette, Miss., on March 3, 2021. As one of the most food insecure counties in the United States, many families and their children have come to depend on these meals as their only means of daily sustenance.
Rogelio V. Solis/AP
Student Well-Being Citing Pandemic, USDA Waives School Meal Regulations Through June 2022
The USDA has extended regulatory waivers that will allow schools to more easily serve free meals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Evie Blad, April 20, 2021
2 min read
Marilyn Linares, a bus driver with the Montgomery County School District, helps load a bus with bags of food to be donated to residents on July 10, 2020, in Derwood, Md.
Marilyn Linares, a bus driver with the Montgomery County School District, helps load a bus with bags of food on July 10, 2020, in Derwood, Md.
Julio Cortez/AP
Federal USDA Extends Free Universal School Meal Service for Children Through the Summer
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended waivers of some school meal rules through Sept. 30, giving schools more flexibility to feed children through summer.
Evie Blad, March 10, 2021
1 min read
A sign advertises a program that allows food stamp recipients to use their EBT cards to shop at a farmer's market in Topsham, Maine on March 17, 2017.
Food stamps can be used in some farmers' markets, as at this one in Topsham, Maine. New research shows a link between timing of the aid and student performance on key tests.
Robert F. Bukaty/AP
Assessment Timing of Food Stamps Can Affect Students' Test Scores, Study Finds
Hungry students don't test as well, say researchers who found a link between food stamp disbursements and students' exam scores.
Stephen Sawchuk, February 19, 2021
5 min read
Elementary students in Brownsville, Texas, eat a socially distanced lunch in the school cafeteria. Experts say there are ways to mitigate the risk of contracting COVID-19 even when kids take their masks off to eat.
Elementary students in Brownsville, Texas, eat a socially distanced lunch in the school cafeteria. Experts say there are ways to mitigate the risk of contracting COVID-19 when kids take their masks off to eat.
Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald via AP
School & District Management Is Lunchtime the 'Weak Link' in School Reopening Plans?
It's risky when students are inside and unmasked, experts say. Here are five ways to mitigate that risk and make in-school meals safer.
Sarah Schwartz, February 18, 2021
11 min read
The Washington family receives free meals at Dillard High School amid the virus outbreak and school closings on March 16, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A family receives free meals at Dillard High School amid the coronavirus outbreak and school closings on March 16, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Brynn Anderson/AP
Federal Biden Signs Executive Order to Boost Food Benefits for Children Missing School Meals
The order is designed to extend nutritional benefits that his administration says would benefit children.
Andrew Ujifusa, January 22, 2021
2 min read
Karina Galan, a school bus driver with Mt. Diablo Unified School District, carries several bags of pre-packaged meals to distribute to a family in Concord, Calif. The district is stressing to parents the importance of filling out applications for participation in the free and reduced-price meals program at a time when the number of formal applications have dropped off.
Karina Galan, a school bus driver with Mt. Diablo Unified School District, carries several bags of pre-packaged meals to distribute to a family in Concord, Calif. The district is stressing to parents the importance of filling out applications for participation in the free and reduced-price meals program at a time when the number of formal applications have dropped off.
Brittany Hosea-Small for Education Week
Budget & Finance Districts Anxious About Plunge in Meal-Program Applicants
Free and reduced-price meal data is a key proxy for school poverty. But administrators say a drop in applications paints a false picture and could threaten funding.
Daarel Burnette II, October 28, 2020
6 min read
Greta Hinderliter and her labradoodle Finnegan meet with two students from Kelly Walsh High School this month in Casper, Wyo. As the homeless liaison for the Natrona County School District, Hinderliter delivers supplies, conducts wellness checks, and mentors and tutors the district’s several hundred homeless students.
Greta Hinderliter and her labradoodle Finnegan meet with two students from Kelly Walsh High School this month in Casper, Wyo. As the homeless liaison for the Natrona County School District, Hinderliter delivers supplies, conducts wellness checks, and mentors and tutors the district’s several hundred homeless students.
Cayla Nimmo for Education Week
Student Well-Being Shielding Students From the Economic Storm
The numbers of homeless and low-income students will likely surge in the months ahead. School leaders will need to be ready.
Daarel Burnette II, September 16, 2020
6 min read
Equity & Diversity Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the week that you may have missed.
September 9, 2020
8 min read
Kindergartner Andres Vazquez works at a plastic table under a gazebo where his teacher gives a class at a municipal athletic park in Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down school buildings throughout the island, some children in Puerto Rico like Andres had been left out of school for nearly a month after an earthquake forced school closures earlier this year.
Kindergartner Andres Vazquez works at a plastic table under a gazebo where his teacher gives a class at a municipal athletic park in Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down school buildings throughout the island, some children in Puerto Rico like Andres had been left out of school for nearly a month after an earthquake forced school closures earlier this year.
AP Photo/Carlos Giusti
Student Well-Being Hurricanes, Earthquakes, and COVID-19 Make a Dire Trio for Puerto Rico's Schools
The pandemic is just the latest massive disruption for the U.S. territory's educational system, and has left students and teachers wondering how much they've lost and what comes next.
Andrew Ujifusa, May 27, 2020
11 min read