Guidance, policy updates and actionable resources for schools & districts focused on nutritional standards and access to school meals.
AASA strongly supports the enactment of comprehensive services and programs that encourage children to be healthy. Research demonstrates that learning is enhanced when children feel safe and have their physical, mental and social and emotional needs met in a healthy school environment. This includes access to healthy foods. In some districts, public schools are the lifeline for children to have access to substantial and healthy meals that they may be lacking at home. Through the COVID-19 pandemic and the USDA authorization of Universal School Meals, we were able to see what student success looks like without hunger hindering a student's ability to learn.
What did we observe through access to healthy school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Reduction in school lunch debt shaming
- Districts ability to afford quality ingredients for scratch cooking
- Alleviated administrative burden on processing Free and Reduced Price Meal (FRPM) applications
- Increase in overall student happiness
AASA's Position & Priorities
The guiding principles for federal education policy stem from equity and the important role the federal government stands to play in creating equitable learning opportunities for all students. AASA is committed to advocating for better access to school meals and reasonable nutrition standards for students in the public school system.
AASA's priorities are to:
- Ensure that licensing and certification requirements for school nutrition workers are a state responsibility
- Support universal school meals on the contingency that such policies do no harm to eligibility for and enrollment in existing federal funding streams serving schools, and fully cover costs associated with the program
- Refrain from increasing the administrative burden related to nutrition eligibility verification
January 19, 2022Updated Guidance on Implementing ESEA Programs Without Complete NSLP Data
January 09, 2022USDA Announces Adjustment to School Meal Reimbursement Rate
December 29, 2021USDA Distributes $1.5 Billion to Strengthen School Meal Programs Amidst Supply Chain Disruptions
November 22, 2021Details on New Version of the Build Back Better Act
U.S. Department of Education Resources
- Public school students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch
- Back to School 2022-2023: HOW TO PRIORITIZE THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF STUDENTS, SCHOOL PERSONNEL, AND FAMILIES
- Free or Reduced-Price Lunch vs. Direct Certification: Understanding School Lunch Eligibility in the Common Core of Data
- Nutrition Standards for School Meals (Source: USDA)
Resources to Support School Nutrition
- Measuring Student Poverty (Source: Urban Alliance)
- Model Estimates of Poverty in Schools (Source: Urban Alliance)
- Toward a Better Measure (Source: Data Quality Campaign)
- Is Free and Reduced-Price Lunch a Valid Measure of Educational Disadvantage? (Source: Domina, Pharris-Ciuriej, and Sanabria. . Educational Researcher.)
- Food Insufficiency During COVID-19 (Source: Food & Research Action Center [FRAC])