Breakfast at school — and at home

When all students get a free breakfast in their classrooms, instead of a cafeteria breakfast for low-income students who arrive early, they’re likely to eat it, reports the New York Times. In Newark, the number of students eating breakfast in school has tripled since the switch from cafeteria to classroom breakfasts. But 21 percent eat breakfast at home and at school, says the New York City health department. Breakfast in the Classroom is on hold in the Big Apple because of fears “all those classroom Cheerios and cheese sticks could lead to more obesity.”

Outside Public School 180 in Harlem, one of the schools that offer breakfast in classrooms, several parents expressed surprise on Thursday that their children might be eating two morning meals. Abraham El Bey said his son, Noah, 8, usually eats breakfast at home, but Noah immediately volunteered that he ate breakfast at school, too.

. . . Anne Morrison, whose son, Jude, 5, attends the same school, said she had adjusted what she fed him at home, knowing he would eat again at school.

“At school, it’s usually a muffin, a cheese stick and juice,” she said, adding, “I’m not so happy about the juice.”

About 40 percent of elementary and middle school students in New York City are overweight or obese, according to Linda I. Gibbs, the deputy mayor for health and human services.

The city is under pressure to add more high-poverty schools to the Breakfast in the Classroom program.

About Joanne


  1. This simply can’t be the mandate of public education. It’s unsustainable.

  2. You have overlooked one important factor, the company that provides the breakfast includes a nice little kickback to the school district for hiring them and forcing the teachers to administer the program, something on the order of 25 to 50 cents per meal.

    • Hmmm, I wonder what the real story is?

      I assume you’re engaging in your usual misrepresentation since you haven’t provided a link to substantiate the charge.

      In any case, this story does put the lie to one of the previous excuses why kids in poor, urban schools don’t learn – they come to school hungry.

      Now the schools are shoveling food down all the kid’s gullets, the test scores haven’t improved a whit and we learn that schools are contributing to the cause du jour, childhood obesity.

      • Well Allen I work in a school that does breakfast in the classroom, and we’re are flat out told the school district is getting money for each breakfast served.

        But of course, I know better than to think you’d believe someone who is actually there and has 20 years teaching experience, that’s why you’re so uninformed about anything. I assume you get your news from FoxNews.

        • You have no idea how ironic your post is, Mr. If-it’s-not-peer-reviewed-it’s-bullshit.

          • Yes, Norm in the world of “reform” teachers’ observations and experiences are to be dismissed by people who haven’t set foot in a classroom since they were last in one as a student.

            I made no claims of having conducted a “study”, I merely pointed out my own experiences.

            I did not published a “working paper” which has not been reviewed but has been released to the press as gospel.

          • Yeah, you’re insinuating fraud on the basis of …..

            Oh yeah, nothing.

            There’s nothing in the story to indicate nefarious capitalists are at the heart of the policy; you just decided that was the case in New York on the basis of your unsupported word about what’s supposed to have happened in your school district.

        • Roger Sweeny says:


          Is that a kickback from the company providing the breakfasts, or is it some sort of “overhead” or “administrative fee” paid by the state or federal government?

          If it’s a disclosed rebate that goes to the district from the company, it’s essentially a reduction in the contract price–which sounds like a good thing for the district because it now has more money to spend on things like your salary 🙂

        • Hey Mike, when I ask where you work that answer’ll be responsive. Since the question was where your information comes from to support the charge of kickback you, as usual, dodged.

          So probably Roger’s on the mark but since you won’t provide any support, other then your unverified and unverifiable assurance that your a fount of veracity I guess we’ll have to chalk this up to another of your baseless attacks on anything that undercuts the district status quo.

          By the way Mike, I read that the Texas Senate just voted to raise the charter cap. Sadly, Texas isn’t quite as willing to free kids from the parasitic district system as is Michigan, by raising the cap by no more then ten schools a year, but someone’s got to take lead speaking up for the kids.

          • Roger and Allen,

            We were flat out told the district was getting money on each breakfast served. It is now an additional part of my everyday duties to see that every child gets a breakfast and each breakfast is accounted for.

            Allen, I fail to see how the Texas Senate could vote to raise the charter cap, given the fact the Texas Senate is not in session, but please feel free to continue to delude yourself.

            BTW Allen, here’s a link to the front group for the business people pushing charter schools in Texas. Surely THEY would have an article proclaiming the good news you claimed.


            But HERE is a link to a news site that states the charter cap was NOT raised;


          • The bill passed the Senate but the stalwart defenders of all that’s good, and which the parents of tens of thousands of Texas kids would happily dispense with, managed to hold the line.

            Hurray for keeping kids in lousy schools!

            Dodged a bullet there, didn’t you?

            As to your “flat out told”, you mean you’ve got nothing to back up your implication that there’s a kickback scheme in operation.


          • Roger Sweeny says:

            It is now an additional part of my everyday duties to see that every child gets a breakfast and each breakfast is accounted for.

            Ouch. I sometimes complain that a lot of what we do is more daycare than education. I don’t like getting more to complain about.

        • Mike, “We are told” is NOT describing your observations and experiences; it’s describing the bias of your news source–or else your own obfuscation. You might as well have written “My cousin’s boyfriend’s neighbor’s used-car-salesman said…”

          It’s just not a credible statement, and your 20 years of service, which I respect and honor, doesn’t make it any more credible. Probably makes it less credible, actually, since you’re blindly committed to the system and quickly disparage anyone or anything that contradicts it–whether it is a study or merely another’s opinion. Hence my initial comment.

  3. Hmmm… The idea of having breakfasts available in the classroom sounds good in one important sense. If students have breakfast available to them and they finish their breakfast in class, then there’s a higher likelihood that they’ll be able to focus in class (on the assumption that they won’t be hungry). Should all students receive a free breakfast though? Probably not. Who should? Either the parents who pay for it or parents who cannot afford to pay for it (assuming some government funding is allocated toward such a cause).

    The downside of eating breakfast in class is that is itself a distraction. Perhaps, the distraction resulting from eating breakfast in class will be less than if that student were hungry in class. At the same time, it could also just be required that students arrive early to eat breakfast, whether in class or in the cafeteria. Not sure what difference it makes whether breakfast in the classroom or cafeteria if the student finishes the breakfast before class starts.

  4. Kirk Parker says:

    We’re all familiar with the stereotype of folks in NYC who who have no idea what the rest of the country is like, but apparently there are also people in Texas who think their situation defines the universal, too.

  5. The bill passed the Senate but the stalwart defenders of all that’s good, and which the parents of tens of thousands of Texas kids would happily dispense with, managed to hold the line.