Each Friday I compile a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the news that week and why you should care about them.
Here’s your list for the week of Feb. 13:
1. Will Trump take aim at immigrants receiving school lunch?
In leaked drafts of executive orders, the Trump administration is considering a crackdown on immigrants who use federal aid, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Medicaid. The draft language states: “Our country’s immigration laws are designed to protect American taxpayers and promote immigrant self-sufficiency. Yet households headed by aliens are much more likely than those headed by citizens to use Federal means-tested public benefits.” The draft executive order, which provides no qualification to the statement on immigrants’ use of federal aid programs compared to non-immigrants, also seek to “deny admission to any alien who is likely to become a public charge,” and develop standards for “determining whether an alien is deportable…for having become a public charge within five years of entry.”
The drafts don’t explicitly state federal aid in the form of free or reduced priced meals, but some advocates fear it could expand to include just that.
According to an article in the Washington Post, “Depending how broad the reach of his order, he could deport kids who have received reduced lunches in school.”
Read more: Will Trump target the school lunch program?
2. Breakfast participation increased 4% last year in schools
Participation in school breakfast programs increased 3.7 percent last year, according to a new report released by FRAC. That increase is similar to previous years. West Virginia, New Mexico, District of Columbia, Tennessee and Maryland were the top five states (DC is considered a state for the purpose of this report) in morning meal participation.
3. Oregon police stop free pizza giveaway to dining employees
Dining employees at the University of Oregon are no longer given a free shift meal, and some student activists didn’t take kindly to the move. They set up a table to hand out free pizza to dining hall workers, but university police stopped the giveaway—it seems the students didn’t have a permit to set up the table.
4. Proposed law would require take-home meals from schools
West Virginia is working to ensure no child is hungry. They’ve made a point to increase breakfast participation (see item No. 2 above), and now a proposed law would require schools to provide take-home meals to students upon request beginning in the 2017 school year. The law would append the Feed to Achieve Act (link here: http://www.food-management.com/k-12-schools/free-meals-all-not-so-fast). It did not specify how this would be implemented or if funding would be available.
5. Focus of reality TV show, West Virginia district fights back
Several years ago, a new reality TV show hit the airwaves with the premise that famed British chef Jamie Oliver would turn around the unhealthy lunch program at Cabell County Schools in West Virginia. I never saw an episode of the show, but from media reports, it did not paint a positive picture of the school nutrition program at Cabell Schools. I tried desperately to get the district’s foodservice director, Rhonda McCoy, to speak with me, but she declined, citing the negative press the district had received from participating in the show. Now, it seems McCoy and the program are getting their revenge—by doing what they’ve always done: produce good food for kids. The read is an interesting look at how the TV show affected, and in some cases didn’t affect, the school nutrition program and how the image of school food is viewed by the larger world.
Contact Becky Schilling at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @bschilling_FM