The Improving Child Nutrition & Education Act Does Anything But That

If the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act gets approved, it will literally snatch food from thousands of poor children’s plates.

The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act introduced in the House of Representatives by Indiana Republican Todd Rokita has yet to be approved, but if done, the implications will be dire.

H.R. 5003 would slap eligibility restrictions on public schools, restricting their ability to take full advantage of the free and reduced-price lunch program. Federally subsidized food to thousands of schools and millions of impoverished students is likely to be cut.

That itself defies the “improving the children’s nutrition” part.


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What’s more, public schools are still reeling from years of budget cuts.  

Twenty percent of American children live in poverty and more than 15 million children live in food-insecure households. Almost one in five schools is now classified as a “high poverty” school and hunger levels among children are at a record high.

Child nutrition programs play an essential role in providing healthy meals to kids both in and out of schools.

The current program allows schools in the poorest areas to bypass a long application process in order to make meals accessible to working-class families. The new bill would force schools to reapply individually under far stricter conditions.

In addition to the school lunches, the bill will also cut the number of children who parks and recreation agencies feed during the summer and enforce high costs on summer meal programs.

The ones to suffer the most from all the budget cuts in the education system will be poor black and Latino students. 

The bill imposes over-the-top verification requirements on low-income, immigrants and homeless families, making it almost impossible for children belonging to these families to access free and reduced-price meals. 

Malnourished children experience developmental delays, weight loss, illness and issues like attention deficit disorder, memory deficiency and learning disabilities, among other problems.

How does one expect underfed and malnourished children to do well in school or even grow up to be healthy and able human beings?

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Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Suzanne Plunkett

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