by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Championed by First Lady Michelle Obama and passed in 2010, The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was designed to provide more nutritious school meals for public school children. In North Carolina, this well-intentioned piece of legislation has been a catastrophe, sort of like New Coke.
This week, the N.C. State Board of Education will hear an overview of new federal rules and regulations for school nutrition programs. The following is a summary of North Carolina’s implementation of the law provided by N.C. Department of Public Instruction staff:
Just to summarize, The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act raised costs, increased waste, discouraged participation, and made it more difficult for food service employees to do their job.
Way to go feds!
On the other hand, the legislation may actually achieve its goal in a perverse way. Public school children may become healthier as they eat less food, that is, throw away many of the calories provided on their tray. And those who opt out of the school lunch program may bring healthier lunches from home.