« DeVos: 'Teachers' Unions Are the Only Thing Standing in the Way' of School Choice | Main | Betsy DeVos Releases Proposed Guidance on School Spending »

Shutdown's Looming Impact on School Meals to Be Focus of House Hearing

Bobby-Scott-blog (2).jpg

UPDATED

President Donald Trump announced Friday that he had reached a deal with Congress to reopen the government until Feb. 15 while lawmakers and his administration negotiate over border security. This will at least temporarily alleviate concerns about federal funding for school meals, although if the government shuts down again after that date, concerns about money for school meals could reemerge. 

The U.S. Department of Education might be open, but for his first hearing as chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., has chosen to focus on the government shutdown's potential effects on schools.

On Jan. 31, the panel will consider and hear testimony about the impact that the National School Lunch and breakfast programs could feel as the shutdown continues. The lunch and breakfast programs feed about 30 million children each day in schools. The Trump adminstration has said the programs have enough funding to last them into March. But the House Democrats now in charge of the committee said in a statement Friday that the shutdown will "soon imperil the health and well-being of students, families, and workers across the country." The hearing will also highlight the shutdown's potential impacts on the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which provides nutrition assistance to families.

School meal programs tend to operate on strict budgets and separately from other district programs.  

If the shutdown ends before the hearing date, it's reasonable to assume that the hearing won't proceed. But if it does take place, a lot of people will likely tune in, if for no other reason than it's the first time Democrats will hold the gavel on the committee in about eight years. It's unlikely that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would appear at the hearing, since her department does not oversee federal school meals programs (they're run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture). Yet Scott's demeanor, the way he runs the hearing, and how other Democrats handle any Trump officials who testify could be closely scrutinized.  

Some political pressure is building around this issue in the education community. Earlier this week, the School Nutrition Association urged federal officials to end the shutdown before the meals are affected. And groups like the National PTA, the two national teachers' unions, and several groups representing school administrators made a similar arguement in a letter this week


Don't miss another Politics K-12 post. Sign up here to get news alerts in your email inbox.

Follow us on Twitter at @PoliticsK12. And follow the Andrew Ujifusa half of Politcs K-12 @AndrewUjifusa.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments