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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Federal Development of the National School Lunch Program: From an Agricultural Support to a Child Welfare Program
by Radday, Karl, Ph.D., Notre Dame of Maryland University, 2020, 488; 27961118
Abstract (Summary)

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally funded program that provides support and guidelines for meal programs in public and nonprofit schools as well as childcare institutions. The program is currently the nation’s second largest and oldest food assistance program, operating in all states and virtually in every public school. It is tasked with providing nutritious meals to schoolchildren and at a free or reduced rate for children who qualify.

This historical research examines the development of the program in the federal government in order to determine how the NSLP came to be administered by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). This study shows that the need of the federal government to find an outlet for agricultural surpluses led Congress to initiate support for the NSLP which had, until the 1930s, been provided by private charities and local governments. By 1946, when the National School Lunch Act passed, the nation’s security was of paramount importance and therefore the stated purpose of the law was to provide an outlet for surplus commodities to improve children’s health, in order to protect the nation’s security. The children were not a primary factor in the program’s development although protecting children’s health was used as justification as it increased the nation’s security. The research shows why the NSLP came to be administered by the USDA without any involvement by the Department of Education, which could have focused the NSLP on the best interests of children.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Spratt, Evelyn
Commitee: Thrift, Gary, Spratt, Donald
School: Notre Dame of Maryland University
Department: Department of Education
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education history, Public policy, Education Policy
Keywords: Department of Agriculture, National School Lunch Act, National School Lunch Program, National security, Surplus commodities, Welfare
Publication Number: 27961118
ISBN: 9798662397835
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