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Charter schools' choices: Good food, free food, no food

Para Los Niños, a charter elementary and middle school in downtown Los Angeles provides free breakfasts, lunches and snacks, largely thanks to federal government funding.  On the menu one recent day: 1% milk, chicken salad, corn and beans, a banana and a whole-wheat roll.

Cafeteria food at traditional public schools has long had a bad reputation, but at least children from needy families can count on a meal that's free.

Mealtime is more complicated at the more than 900 publicly financed charter schools in California. Unlike traditional campuses that must follow state nutrition regulations for schools, charters can make independent decisions about what's for lunch.

Some charter school officials decide not to serve it at all, even if that might mean that the nutritional  needs of some of the state's poorest children are not met.

"Charter schools are about family choice," said Phyllis Bramson-Paul, director of nutrition services for the state Department of Education. "On the other hand, there is a lot of hunger in California, and we know children who are hungry don't learn as well."

Read the full story here.

-- Mary MacVean and Alexandra Zavis

Photo credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times


Comments () | Archives (4)

I hope that someone reviews the legal case from Chula Vista and the cheese sandwiches for those that can not afford full meals.

Our federal government is ignoring how bad the situation is in California, my wife and I buy supplies for all the kids in my daughters class, she takes a lunch everyday, but when I drop her off at 7:30 every morning, the cafeteria is always packed with kids.

They are being bussed in from other locals, and I was not aware of how bad it was until I spoke with a bus driver and one of the cafeteria workers. Its a major problem.

MR. PRESIDENT, come and surprise visit one of LAUSD schools.

It's all the lazy parents who won't get their rear ends out of bed a little earlier to make their child a grilled cheese sandwich...it's not that difficult to scramble an egg and toast an english muffin...they'd rather spend 10 more minutes in bed then rush to dump their child at school and rush to Starbucks then rush to work.... they figure their child will just get fed at school anyway.

Don't have kids if you can't afford to feed them.


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