Education analysts have recently discovered that the amount of students who are consuming free breakfast has greatly risen.
Why this is so important may not jump off the page, however, it is basically an indicator that there are more and lower income households across the nation.
Considering the fact that minimum wage has not increased in ten years, this is not surprising.
The federal breakfast program has also shifted to reach more children.
The program currently feeds only 2/5 of the students who meet the eligibility requirements.
While this seems like it is less than it should be, the program feeds 7.7 million low income students each year.
The state with the highest increase of low-income breakfast eaters is New Mexico.
58% of low-income students are eating breakfast in this state.
While the increase of breakfast eaters has increased, state officials would like to see more children taking advantage of the free breakfast program.
In fact, state officials spent close to a half million trying to boost participation in the program.
It is a well known fact that students learn more and perform at a higher rate when they are not hungry.
It is for this reason that the free breakfast program was implemented in the first place. Too many children were coming to school with empty bellies and throughout the morning there was decreased focus and inability to function as well as they would have been with some food in their tummies.
Clearly, the free breakfast program is not the only solution to fight against distraction and inability to function, however it is a step in the right direction for America’s schools.
West Virginia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Oregon, Vermont, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Georgia and Mississippi all have a great number of participants as well.
Louisiana also saw a big drop in participation, close to 12%.
This was most likely because of Hurricane Katrina.
The breakfast program is actually run by the Agriculture Department which reimburses schools. The average cost of each breakfast is $.30.
The school breakfast program is important because many families do not have time or money to spend on adequate breakfasts. Also, nutrition is typically lacking in the breakfast meal because of time.
The school breakfast program provides nutritional and inexpensive breakfasts for children who are in low income households; however, it also provides inexpensive breakfast for all children who wish to enroll. This is a great way for parents to provide their children with healthy breakfasts during the week.
The breakfast program is also a good thing because so many children are not hungry before they leave for school. However, some children do not get to eat their lunch until 12:30 and the morning can become quite low.
Students who eat right when they get to school tend to be able to last longer until lunch time.
Low income housing is considered to include families whose income is between 130 and 185 % of the poverty level.
For a family of three, the income necessary in order to be eligible for free and reduced lunch was between $21,580 and $30,710 per year.
Schools participating in breakfast programs are also quite high. More than 3 out of 4 lunch serving schools currently serve breakfast.
It has also been shown that breakfast can dramatically improve students’ performance and participation in class.
Many teachers would highly recommend eating breakfast to each of their students as hunger can often be distracting.
Children who skip breakfast are less able to distinguish among similar images and show increased errors. Also, without breakfast children and adults tend to have slower memory recall.
Learning with hunger tends to lead to lower math scores.
Children who are hungry are also more likely to have emotional, behavioral and academic problems in school.
Children who are hungry are also more likely to be hyperactive and disruptive.
Children who are undernourished receive poorer scores on cognitive tests.
Also, children who are hungry tend to have a greater likelihood to repeat a grade.
Children who eat breakfast regularly, on the other hand, are more likely to be successful and make fewer mistakes. They also tend to make fewer mistakes and perform better.
The school itself also benefits from the program and tends to have lower rates of absence and tardiness.
It is essential for children to eat breakfast and millions of schools are making that possible. It is also important for parents to encourage their children to eat breakfast and take advantage of the free breakfast that may be provided for them.