Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Federal

Spending Bill Would Allow Some Schools to Wiggle Out of New Nutrition Standards

By Alyson Klein — May 19, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

By guest blogger Evie Blad. Cross-posted from Rules for Engagement.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture would have to grant schools a waiver from some strengthened school nutrition standards for the 2014-15 school year if they can demonstrate that compliance created an economic hardship, under a bill crafted by the House of Representatives panel that oversees the school lunch program.

The language, included in spending legislation released Monday, would require waivers for districts that can demonstrate “a net loss from operating a food service program for a period of at least 6 months that begins on or after July 1, 2013.”

There have been rumors flying about the proposal for weeks, and nutrition groups have already staked out their positions. Groups like the School Nutrition Association argue that the new meal standards, created as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, strain schools with costly requirements and compliance issues. But organizations who advocate for the new meal standards contend that they are an effective tool in the fight against childhood obesity, and that schools’ concerns about compliance can be handled through agency regulation, not congressional intervention.

Under the proposal, schools with waivers would not have to comply with 2012 meal pattern standards that require schools to “increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat fluid milk in school meals; reduce the levels of sodium, saturated fat and trans fat in meals; and meet the nutrition needs of school children within their calorie requirements. “

The School Nutrition Association, which represents 55,000 school nutrition professionals across the country, supports the proposal. From a statement issued by the organization:

School nutrition professionals have been on the front lines working to improve school menus, offer a wider variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and encouraging students to make healthier choices in the cafeteria. However, since these standards took effect, more than one million fewer students choose school lunch each day, reducing revenue for school meal programs already struggling to manage the increased cost of preparing meals under the new standards. A temporary waiver would ease the burden on school meal programs, preventing more schools from dropping out of the National School Lunch Program altogether, until Congress can fully discuss these challenges as part of Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015."

The Pew Charitable Trusts child nutrition initiative issued a statement in opposition to the proposal:

Promoting the health of the nation's children must remain the top priority of the National School Lunch Program, just as it is for the vast majority of voters, who support strengthening nutrition standards in schools. We know that strong school nutrition standards are an effective strategy to prevent childhood obesity and the lifelong health problems it can create. We urge the House Appropriations Committee to drop this provision from the bill so that we may continue the progress that so many schools have made. Ninety percent of schools already report that they are meeting USDA's updated nutrition standards for school lunches. Turning back now would be a costly mistake."

The proposal is far from a done deal. The bill still must be passed by the House Appropriations Committee, and the full chamber, plus win approval from the U.S. Senate and President Barack Obama.

Related Tags:

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal White House Launches Hispanic Education Initiative Led by Miguel Cardona
President Joe Biden said his administration intends to address the "systemic causes" of educational disparities faced by Hispanic students.
2 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona writes down and draws positive affirmations on poster board with students during his visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits students in New York City at P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school in the Bronx last month.
Brittainy Newman/AP
Federal Feds Add Florida to List of States Under Investigation Over Restrictions on Mask Mandates
The Education Department told the state Sept. 10 it will probe whether its mask rule is violating the rights of students with disabilities.
3 min read
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal How Biden Will Mandate Teacher Vaccines, Testing in Some States That Don't Require Them
President Joe Biden's COVID-19 plan will create new teacher vaccination and testing requirements in some states through worker safety rules.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela administers a COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site for at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa.
Matt Rourke/AP
Federal Biden Pushes Schools to Expand COVID-19 Testing, Get More Teachers Vaccinated
President Joe Biden set teacher vaccine requirements for federally operated schools as part of a new effort to drive down COVID's spread.
7 min read
President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Washington. Biden is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.
President Joe Biden in a speech from the White House announces sweeping new federal vaccine requirements and other efforts in an renewed effort to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrew Harnik/AP