Philly to grade principals on breakfasts

In annual report cards, Philadelphia principals will be graded on attendance, math and reading scores — and how many students eat breakfast at school, reports the Inquirer.

Philadelphia’s public schools have made all 165,00 students eligible for a free (tax-funded) breakfast, but only about a third show up to eat it.

Many studies have shown that breakfast boosts student performance and health.

District officials say principals will be held to different breakfast participation rates depending on estimates of how many children in their area eat at home.

In theory, school breakfasts are nutritionally balanced. The Inquirer’s commenters complain the breakfasts are high in fat and sugar. They also don’t want to pay to feed other people’s children or see their own kids pushed into eating a second breakfast at school.

Studies show “more children eat when breakfast is served in the first class of the day,” reports the Inquirer.  Most schools serve breakfast in the cafeteria before school to avoid wasting instructional time.  But the Pennsylvania Department of Education has opened the door to counting in-class breakfast as instructional time. That means Philadelphia principals will be pressured to order teachers to devote part of the first class period to serving, eating and clearing breakfast.

This will be done in the name of improving student performance.

Update: In other news, cost-cutting Harvard no longer serves hot breakfasts in most dorms.

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