News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

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Participation Rate Stalls For Breakfast Program

The proportion of eligible students from low-income families participating in the National School Breakfast Program stagnated last year for the first time in more than a decade, a report says.

About 6.7 million students, or 42.3 percent of the estimated 16.7 million students eligible, received free or reduced-price breakfasts through the program in the 2002-03 academic year, according to the "School Breakfast Scorecard" released Nov. 6 by the Food Research and Action Center.

While that number amounted to an increase of about 200,000 students over 2001-02, the percentage of eligible children taking part in the program did not increase for the first time in 12 years, said Nicole Woo, a senior policy analyst for the Washington-based advocacy center.

"We are concerned it might be stagnating," Ms. Woo said of the proportion of children participating.

Estimates of the total eligible student population, a source of contention in the past, were based on participation in the National School Lunch Program, she said. The Department of Agriculture administers both programs.

The breakfast program was established as a pilot project in 1966 and made permanent in 1975. Congress is scheduled to reauthorize the federal breakfast and lunch programs next year.

—Sean Cavanagh

Guidance on Title I Aid In Private Schools Issued

The Department of Education has issued guidance that answers an array of questions related to the provision of Title I compensatory education services to children in private schools.

Private school students have always been eligible for services under the $11.7 billion Title I program for disadvantaged students. Those services are provided by local educational agencies.

The Oct. 17 guidance notes that the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, a reauthorization of the law that includes Title I, "strengthened" the federal requirements for ensuring that private school officials are consulted in arranging the services, and it discusses that process at length. It also spells out how a school district should go about allocating money for services to private school students, as well as issues related to parental involvement, teacher professional development, and standards and assessments.

—Erik W. Robelen

Vol. 23, Issue 12, Page 24

Published in Print: November 19, 2003, as News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
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