The State School Board is scheduled to meet today, and on the agenda is an item that would allow schools to go around new federal directives mandating that only healthy food be served in school. Specifically, school groups and clubs, including bands and sports teams, could raise funds by selling now verboten items including Chick-Fil-A biscuits and ice cream, for up to half of the 180 day school year.
The healthy food requirements are a result of the Healthy, Hungry Free Kids Act of 2010. Passed in the final days of Democratic hegemony in Congress, the bill re-authorized the National School Lunch Program, which provides federal reimbursement of about $3.00 for each free lunch served to qualifying children. The entire program cost U.S. taxpayers a bit over $10 billion in FY 2011.
A front page story in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution highlights the desire by some on the State School Board for more independence from federal regulations, and the counter-argument that better nutrition in school makes for less obese students.
While state education leaders criticize the new regulations as an overreach by the federal government, food nutrition advocates argue they’re needed to stem the spiraling childhood obesity rate in Georgia, where one in three children is obese.
“Somewhere we have somebody in a corner office in Washington D.C. that has decided they know what is best for children all over the United States of America,” said Larry Winter, a state school board member critical of the new federal nutrition regulations. “There’s something desperately wrong about that.”
I’m going to borrow Jessica’s Liberty Drum and venture the opinion that the provisions of the “Smart Snack Law” go beyond what the federal government should be doing. If I’m wrong, tell me in the comments.