Changing the Future of School Food: Jesse Ruiz, Chair, Illinois State Board of Education
May 26, 2009
One of the reasons that healthy school food is so important is because, very simply, it helps students learn. Schools have every reason to provide meals that give students the energy they need to study and the nutrition they need to focus on their schoolwork.
In the national dialogue about healthy school food, we often hear from leaders in the culinary world, from advocates for health, from champions of sustainability. As we consider these voices, it is important to also take a moment to consider the voices of the teachers, principals and school leaders around the US who explain why healthy meals are important to their work of educating tomorrow’s leaders. That’s why it was so significant to hear Jesse Ruiz, Chair of the Illinois State Board of Education, lend his voice to the call for more resources for healthier school food, particularly in light of the health disparities facing Latino communities in Chicago and beyond. Ruiz spoke at HSC’s May 5 briefing in Washington, DC:
After bringing Ruiz, high school student chefs and other Illinois leaders to DC for this event, we’re meeting this week in Chicago with national leaders – including Janey Thornton, Ph.D., SNS, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition & Consumer Services at the USDA – about the importance of healthy school food in light of the tremendous health disparities facing students in so many urban Latino and African-American communities.
You can lend your voice to this effort by sending a letter in support of healthy school meals and an adequately funded reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.