Regular readers will know that I take a pretty dim view of the Trump administration’s Department of Agriculture and many of its anti-science, anti-farmer, and just plain mean-spirited actions over the past three years. The administration is also getting a lot of things (very) wrong in its response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). But last week, the USDA got something right when it moved to help two states facing serious virus outbreaks ensure that schoolchildren can access free and reduced-priced meals even when schools are closed during this emergency. Unfortunately, schools and the children they serve across the nation are likely to need a lot more of this support in the weeks and months ahead. Read more >
March 4, 2020 6:47 PM EDT
I’m not a purist about much when it comes to parenting, and that’s by design. And so, I confess: on occasion, our family indulges in a fast food meal, mostly out of what feels like necessity—think ill-planned long car rides or exhaustion after a stomach bug that started at 1 AM. Read more >
February 18, 2020 11:43 AM EDT
Life comes at you fast, and so does the Trump administration’s ongoing assault on children’s health. Over the last many months, my colleagues in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Center for Science and Democracy have been hard at work rounding up stories of action or inaction, at agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and beyond, that put the nation’s children in greater danger. Their report and related not-really-for-kids-storybook came out last week, and I encourage you to read them both.
But sadly, the tally is already a bit out of date. Even as our report was in press, the administration was jumping on a few more opportunities to put kids at risk.
January 23, 2019 2:05 PM EDT
As if the Trump administration’s recent rollback of school lunch nutrition rules weren’t bad enough, the president’s ill-conceived, peevish partial government shutdown (now at 33 days and counting) is further endangering schools’ ability to provide healthy meals for the nation’s children. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which subsidizes school meal programs, has assured local school districts they would receive funding for those programs through March. But school administrators around the country are looking down the road and wondering whether they’ll have to dip into rainy day or emergency funds, cut afterschool programs, or raid money from summer programs to make ends meet if the shutdown continues beyond that. Read more >
December 14, 2018 9:00 AM EDT
Last week, the Trump administration finalized a rule that will weaken nutrition standards governing what kids are served in the school lunch line. This rollback had been in works for more than a year—Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue first signaled his intention in May 2017, just weeks into his new job. But now, one key component of the final rule is different from what he proposed back then. And you probably won’t be shocked to hear that it’s worse, not better, for children’s health. Read more >