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Progressives Say Goodbye to Hunger and Hello to Learning: Free School Meals.

When Minnesota’s students go back to school after Labor Day, they won’t need to worry about having enough money to pay for their meals. This is thanks to a sweeping education bill passed by progressives in the Minnesota Legislature during the 2023 session and signed into law by Governor Tim Walz.

Minnesota is the third state in the country to provide Universal School Meals. Under this new legislation, Minnesota will pay the gap between federal funding and the meal cost regardless of a family’s income, providing free school lunch and breakfast for all students.

Gov. Tim Walz & progressives are looking out for Minnesota’s students

Universal free meals will have a more significant impact on our students than just in the cafeteria. When families across the country struggle to pay for their students’ meals at school, they begin accruing school lunch debt. These  meal debts have had the potential to prevent Minnesota’s students from attending field trips, participating in sports, or receiving their cap and gown at graduation. This issue also disproportionately impacts marginalized families, like those living in poverty or who are undocumented.

The physical toll of a financial hardship like school meal debt is a heavy burden on students. In New Mexico, some children suffer from stomach cramps or dizzy spells. The stress of food insecurity causes kids to feel anxious and angry.

Under Minnesota’s new program, all students can focus more on learning in the classroom.

Conservatives tried to stand in the way

Even though 1 in 6 Minnesota students experience food insecurity, conservatives in the Minnesota House and Senate opposed the bill and argued that there were more pressing issues to address.

During a Senate floor speech, conservative Sen. Steve Drazkowski said he has “yet to meet a person in Minnesota who is hungry.”

The truth is that one in six Minnesota students are food insecure. Of those students, 25% are from households that don’t qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Hungry students not getting the nourishment they need also struggle to focus in class, resulting in lower math scores and having to repeat a grade.

Progressives overcame this conservative roadblock and fought for free breakfasts and lunches to help Minnesota’s students reach their full potential in the classroom and beyond. 

Join the fight for our students

Every student in Minnesota deserves a world-class education. We won’t let conservatives get away with shortchanging our schools and worsening educational disparities. 

As the school year marches on, be sure to keep in touch with ABM for updates and action alerts. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Together, we’ll work to ensure that Minnesota makes the grade on education. 

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