AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, the AFT has long supported universal school meals as a way to address food and nutrition instability, increase access and equality in our education system, and to reduce systemic barriers to school meals; and

WHEREAS, hunger creates poor outcomes for students of all ages, including less ability to concentrate, graduate and more likely to have health issues; and

WHEREAS, having access to meals at school will support students’ academic success; reduce childhood hunger; decrease childhood overweight and obesity; improve child nutrition and wellness; enhance child development and school readiness; and support learning, attendance and behavior; and

WHEREAS, in other areas, students and families have accrued hundreds of dollars in school lunch debt because they are unable to afford to buy school meals, demonstrating that too many students fall through the cracks and are not receiving free- and reduced-price school meals; and

WHEREAS, prior to COVID-19, about 15 million children in the United States—21 percent of all children—lived in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, who struggle to afford basic necessities like food; and United States Department of Agriculture data showed that nearly 12 percent of households were food insecure; and

WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic relief included issuing a waiver authority to the USDA, which effectively created universal school feeding for students and families for a limited time; and

WHEREAS, for the last few years, students and families have become accustomed to receiving free school meals; and

WHEREAS, School Meals for All will help eliminate paperwork, collections on unpaid meals debt, and increase federal reimbursements as well as allow the continuity for students, especially for those with families with unstable incomes:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will advocate for and support federal and state legislative actions that all students—regardless of income—have unimpeded access to school meals; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work with community groups, nutrition groups and other education groups to continue our advocacy; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will create lobbying and advocacy tools to help individuals and communities advocate for school meals for all.

(July 16, 2022)