The White House has made major changes to former First Lady Michelle Obama's public school nutrition regulations. Meanwhile, the administration is reportedly retaining one of her most prioritized educational programs after an earlier memo indicated that President Donald Trump's administration might discontinue "Let Girls Learn."
According to The Hill, Mr. Trump is trying to ascertain “where money is being wasted [and] how services can be improved.”
Three public school lunch requirements championed by Mrs. Obama went on the chopping block, reports NPR. States will be allowed exemptions from mandates to offer students whole grains, while reduced sodium requirements will be delayed for at least three years. Instead of only being allowed to serve plain milk, schools will again be allowed to serve sweetened, flavored dairy.
The fate of "Let Girls Learn," Mrs. Obama's program to provide education and other support to adolescent girls in developing nations, is up in the air after conflicting reports suggested first that it would be discontinued and later that it would remain in place.
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"There have been no changes to the Let Girls Learn program," White House spokeswoman Kelly Love said of the initiative, which the former first lady started in 2015 with her husband, former President Barack Obama, according to CNN. "The Administration supports policies and programs to empower adolescent girls, including efforts to educate them through the completion of secondary school. We are committed to empowering women and girls around the world and are continuing to examine the best ways to do so."
But according to an earlier email document that was procured by CNN on May 1, the former first lady's 2015 initiative geared toward educating young girls in developing countries had been halted, effective immediately.
"Moving forward, we will not continue to use the 'Let Girls Learn' brand or maintain a stand-alone program," Peace Corps Acting Director Sheila Crowley reportedly wrote in an email sent to employees. "'Let Girls Learn' provided a platform to showcase Peace Corps' strength in community development, shining a bright light on the work of our Volunteers all over the world. We are so proud of what 'Let Girls Learn' accomplished and we have all of you to thank for this success."
"Let Girls Learn" seeks to change the way that communities, schools and individuals view young women while providing them with quality education and life skills, notes the program's website.
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"Building on U.S. government expertise, Let Girls Learn elevates existing programs and invests in new efforts to expand educational opportunities for girls -- including in areas of conflict and crisis," the site says.
As of late 2016, 44 Peace Corps countries were participating.
"You have told me that whatever obstacles these girls face -- whether it's school fees, or violence or cultural beliefs that girls simply aren't worthy of an education -- you've said that these problems will not be fixed from on high," Mrs. Obama said to a crowd of activists upon launching the initiative, according to NPR. "That these are community challenges that call for community solutions."