You probably already know that Breakfast After the Bell is one of our key legislative priorities this year (and it’s not exactly new – we’ve been working on it for a while and so have many of our progressive food champions in the legislature). What you may not know is why BATB is so important to us. Here are 10 reasons that serving breakfast in the classroom to all students just makes sense.
- Breakfast After the Bell programs increase the number of students who eat breakfast each day. According to research by the Food Research and Action Center, 85 percent of principals whose schools instituted BATB programs said that breakfast participation increased after the programs were implemented.
- In the same survey, 46% said they noticed an increase in student attentiveness after BATB started, and 22% said fewer children visited the school nurse.
- Only half of the students who qualify for free or reduced price meals under the National School Lunch Program also eat breakfast at school, even though they qualify.
- Serving breakfast in the classroom to all students regardless of income level reduces the stigma associated with getting free meals, and increases the number of students who eat breakfast.
- Kids who eat breakfast do better academically by all measures, including better grades and better retention of information.
- Kids who participate in BATB programs have better nutritional intake over the entire course of the day.
- Some schools that implemented Breakfast After the Bell programs have seen increased attendance rates and decreased truancy rates.
- Schools with a high breakfast participation rate often find that federal reimbursements for the meals offsets any costs associated with the program, and can increase school food revenue.
- Massachusetts ranks 33rd in school breakfast participation. We can do better for our kids.
- No child should go hungry!
You can learn more about the Breakfast After the Bell legislation at Rise and Shine Ma, and find out if your local school will be affected by the BATB currently under consideration in the MA Legislature here (spoiler alert: if your kids go to school in Worcester, this legislation will make sure that they’re served school breakfast for free every morning, regardless of income).