Back in August we sneak-peeked the Dallas Independent School District's new-n-improved school menus, which offer a few more healthier alternatives than in recent years. But the district has long said this is just the beginning of the beginning, pointing to the passage of the $4.5-billion Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 -- which gives the feds more say-so in what schoolchildren eat, among myriad other tighten-ups put in place -- as the real change agent, fingers crossed.
Well, this morning at Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Washington, D.C., President Obama signed the bipartisan-supported bill into law. At which point it issued a press release full of endorsements from the likes of U.S. Secretary Of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, U.S. Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), Mike Huckabee and Dora Rivas, DISD's executive director of Food & Child Nutrition Services. Says Rivas, who, in March 2008, had testified before the House Education and Labor Committee on improving school nutrition:
"The provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will support efforts already underway in Dallas. The additional funding will help with continuing to improve our school meals and creating a healthier school environment. We appreciate the fact that child nutrition has been placed as a high priority by the First Lady and the President. New USDA meal patterns and professional standards will assure improved quality child nutrition programs for our children which in turn will support student academic performance in the classroom."