More on School Lunches; #PorgyPorn; DC Teacher Union Heads Denounce Walmart for Helping Teachers; Feds Expand Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships

This guest blogpost is by Kevin Kosar, author of Failing Grades: The Federal Politics of Education, who edits the Federal Education Policy History website and is a senior fellow at the R Street Institute.

On Tuesday, I wrote about the school lunch program. What I did not mention is that status of the program’s reform. Legislation has moved this year to amend the program. The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry unveiled its bill back in January, which makes some adjustments to the school lunch program and the Child Nutrition Act. (Good Congressional Research Service on the legislation and school nutrition programs can be found here and here.) The House has its version of the legislation, and hopefully this autumn the two bills will be passed and reconciled. But that is far from a certain development, not least because each bill may face amendments to attach more-fish-on-lunch-trays amendments, at the behest of members of Congress from Alaska and Washington.

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Speaking of fish, here is a porgy I caught at Locust Point in East Hampton this week on a hook, minnow, and bobber. #PorgyPorn

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Half of politics is learning to pick one’s battles, a lesson lost upon some teacher union leaders. Perry Stein of the Washington Post reports:

“Retail giant Walmart is running a back-to-school promotion this summer, encouraging customers to nominate their favorite teachers to win school supplies and a $490 gift card — the estimated amount public school teachers spend out of pocket each year on their classrooms.

On Friday morning, members of the Washington Teachers’ Union slammed the competition as ‘deceitful’ and ‘bogus.’ They argued that the Walton Family Foundation, the charitable organization started by Walmart’s owners, has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into backing charter schools, which they say are undermining traditional public schools. ‘It’s a cynical coverup,’ WTUP President Elizabeth Davis said at a news conference outside Moten Elementary School in Southeast Washington.”

Union leaders, of course, often say over the top things to prove to membership that they are fighters and not appeasers. But this is just silly. So what is the Walton Foundation funds school choice? Encouraging kids to nominate their teachers for a chance to get extra cash for school supplies is an unalloyed good. Too often, teachers must reach into their own pockets to buy the things they need to get the job done. So, kudos to Walmart and brickbats for the top brass of the Washington Teachers Union. This stunt only makes it look bad.

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Let’s end things on a happy note today: EdWeek’s Andrew Ujifusa reports the feds “will allow students to apply for federal aid to enroll in ‘non-traditional’ training programs that partner with colleges and universities, as part of a broader effort to increase their ability to enroll in higher education. The department invited eight institutions of higher education to participate in the Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships (EQUIP) experiment, along with organizations ranging from online educational programs and computer coding courses to General Electric.” This is an interesting development, and you can read more here.

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