The Trump administration announced that it will Make School Meals Great Again by rolling back former First Lady Michelle Obama’s signature school lunch and summer programs.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will “… put local school and summer food service operators back in the driver’s seat of their programs, because they know their children best.”
Under the school meals proposed rule, school nutrition professionals have more flexibility to serve appetizing and healthy meals that appeal to their students’ preferences and subsequently reduce food waste.
“Schools and school districts continue to tell us that there is still too much food waste and that more common-sense flexibility is needed to provide students nutritious and appetizing meals. We listened and now we’re getting to work,” said Secretary Perdue.
“Our proposed changes empower schools to give their very best to our children nationwide and have the potential to benefit nearly 100,000 schools and institutions that feed 30 million children each school day through USDA’s school meal programs. Providing children with wholesome, nutritious food is part of our motto at USDA, which is to ‘do right and feed everyone.’”
The USDA previously stated that most states are reporting they’ve seen a decrease in student participation in school lunches, as nationwide about one million students choose not to have a school lunch each day.
This impacts schools in two ways: The decline in school lunch participation means reduced revenue to schools while they simultaneously are encountering increased costs.
Astronaut High School in Titusville, Florida had to take the extreme step of banning students from bringing in outside food in order to stop the student-customer hemorrhaging and resulting revenue loss.
The school administration tried to justify the ban based on nutrition:
“This is a very important announcement regarding policy related to food being brought or delivered to school by students and families. State of Florida policy prohibits bringing outside meals from vendors into the school that does not meet nutritional regulations. This would include pizza deliveries, fast food such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s, and other restaurants.“
But Astronaut High School students were quick to point out on social media that, when it comes to making a buck for themselves, school administrators and teachers throw the nutritional concerns for students out the window during fundraisers on campus and off-campus partnerships such as McTeacher’s night.