Log In or Register
HomeLocal NewsState NewsSportsOpinionObituariesAgriculture
Quick Links
  Home
  My Bulletin
  Contact The Bulletin

Marketplace
  Display Ads
  Classifieds
  Dir. of Advertisers

Opinion

Councilman Lee: Help stop closure of downtown post office

Mail: 'Oops, not true'

More opinion

Ag News

Bull Buyer's clinic rescheduled

Bull Buyer's clinic cancelled

More Ag News

NorthPlatte Weather


Email Article | Print Article
Opinion - Opinion
 
Smith: Students need nutritious, healthy meals Tell North Platte what you think
 
Courtesy Photo­Image
Courtesy Photo­Image
Adrian Smith

During a recent visit to Wilber-Clatonia High School, I was approached by a number of students and staff regarding new school menu requirements.

NebraskaLand National BankYou've got a
facebook Request!
CLICK HERE!

The new rules, while well-intentioned, are leaving many students hungry and squeezing already limited school budgets.

I recognize the need to address health issues associated with childhood obesity and diabetes, and I applaud efforts to continually find ways to improve school meals. But we must focus on addressing these concerns without undermining the number one priority of the school meal program -- feeding hungry children.

For many students, school meals are their primary source of nutrition, and reducing the size of meals could affect the overall health and wellness of these and other students.

The new school meal requirements stem from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. This legislation gave the USDA authority to set nutritional standards for all food regularly sold in schools, including cafeterias, school stores and vending machines. The legislation failed to adequately consider budget limitations faced by school lunch providers, and gave no credit to schools already taking steps to offer students healthier choices. The result for many schools has been a lose-lose scenario -- decreased meal sizes and increased costs.

Uniform policies and one-size-fits-all approaches rarely work in a nation as large and diverse as ours.

Why should the same strict dietary requirements be applied to children with vastly different needs, levels of activity, and lifestyles? For example, athletes have different needs than non-athletes, and children working on a farm likely need more energy than those living elsewhere.

If states and local school districts were given more flexibility to comply with the rules, they would have a greater ability to manage their budgets and meet the unique nutritional needs of each student.

The same is true of federal education policies in general. Unfunded mandates and strict national requirements have limited the ability of teachers to do their jobs and for school boards to spend limited resources as they see fit. Decisions on what is taught in the classroom and what is served in the cafeteria are better made at the local level.

In light of the feedback I have received from officials, parents, and students across Nebraska surrounding the implementation of the new meal standards, I wrote a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsak expressing my concerns.

In my letter, I encourage Sec. Vilsak to review the current guidelines and consider abandoning the bureaucratic and burdensome approach to school meal planning.

I am also asking for local officials to be given more flexibility in implementing the guidelines, and for the USDA to conduct a thorough evaluation of cost and participation rates across the county.

Allowing for more flexibility in the new requirements would help school districts manage their budgets and importantly, nourish their students with adequate, quality and healthy meals.

We can all agree on these goals, and I hope the USDA will reconsider the new school lunch regulations.


Editor's Note: The Bulletin reported problems with school lunch requirements in our Sept. 5 print edition. We published it online Sept. 21.


Like this story to send to your facebook

The North Platte Bulletin - Published 10/5/2012
Copyright © 2012 northplattebulletin.com - All rights reserved.
Flatrock Publishing, Inc. - 1300 E 4th St., Suite F - North Platte, NE 69101
 
Hide Talk Back
 
 
Login to post Talk Back
Close


Click on the cop Report Talk Back Abuse to report Talk Back abuse and misuse
 
 
 

Copyright © 2003 - 2014 northplattebulletin.com
All rights reserved.

Flatrock Publishing, Inc.
1300 E 4th St., Suite F
North Platte, NE 69101

 
Your Ip Address - 23.23.9.5
North Platte, Nebraska