Student Well-Being

Federal Breakfast Program Feeds Record Numbers

By Adrienne D. Coles — November 22, 2000 2 min read

More schools than ever participated in the federal school breakfast program last year, but some 2 million children at risk for hunger are not being reached, a report says.

For More Information

Read the report “School Breakfast Scorecard,” or order copies from the Food Research and Action Center. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

“The School Breakfast Scorecard: 2000,” an annual report released by the Washington-based Food Research and Action Center, found that more than 71,000 schools offered the subsidized breakfasts and that the average number of poor children served daily rose to 6.3 million in 2000, almost double the 3.4 million served in 1990.

The increase is due to a combination of factors, said Lynn Parker, FRAC’s director of child-nutrition programs and a co-author of the report.

To begin with, Ms. Parker said, “state education agencies have been much more supportive in helping to expand the program.” At the same time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the federal government’s school nutrition programs, has eased the burden on states by allowing students whose families receive food stamps to be certified for free school meals without having to file additional applications for meals.

Special provisions also allow schools to provide free meals to all students. That has reduced paperwork and softened the stigma that discourages some students from participating in the free or reduced-price meals program, according to FRAC.

Lorita Myles, the director of child-nutrition services in the Ohio Department of Education, has seen a remarkable increase in student participation in the breakfast program since her state first piloted a universal free-meals program in several districts.

Starting that program, Ms. Myles said, “has been tremendously positive for children.”

States Ranked

Still, across the nation, too many poor children are not benefiting from the federal breakfast program, FRAC says.

Researchers at the nonprofit organization estimate that an additional 2 million needy children could be reached. The researchers say that more than $300 million in federal aid is available to provide school breakfasts for those children.

The breakfast program has an annual budget of about $1.35 billion.

One reason students are not receiving available food is that some schools still don’t offer the breakfast program, Ms. Parker said. “Local school districts often don’t make an effort or don’t know how to let their local community know that these programs are available,” she said.

In addition to its national findings, FRAC ranked the states on how well they delivered school breakfast programs.

The top three performers were Arkansas, Kentucky, and West Virginia. In those states, about 55 percent of the students who get federally subsidized lunches also receive school breakfasts.

The three lowest- performing states were Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Alaska. About 25 percent of students who receive school lunches in those states also get school breakfasts.

Congress established the breakfast program in 1966 as a temporary measure to help schools provide nutritious morning meals to children. The program received permanent authorization in 1975.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the November 22, 2000 edition of Education Week as Federal Breakfast Program Feeds Record Numbers


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
How Schools Can Implement Safe In-Person Learning
In order for in-person schooling to resume, it will be necessary to instill a sense of confidence that it is safe to return. BD is hosting a virtual panel discussing the benefits of asymptomatic screening
Content provided by BD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Districts Are Centering Relationships and Systemic SEL for Back to School 21-22
As educators and leaders consider how SEL fits into their reopening and back-to-school plans, it must go beyond an SEL curriculum. SEL is part of who we are as educators and students, as well as
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being 'Growth Mindset' Linked to Higher Test Scores, Student Well-Being in Global Study
The first global study of "growth mindset" found both academic benefits and better well-being among students who think intelligence is not fixed.
4 min read
Conceptual image of growth mindset.
Student Well-Being Opinion Why Venting When You Have Problems Feels Good—and Why It Doesn’t Work
When you keep talking about what’s bothering you, it keeps the negative emotions alive. Here’s what research says to do instead.
Ethan Kross
2 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Student Well-Being What the Research Says How Does Sending a Child to School Change a Family's Risk of COVID-19?
In-person schooling that doesn't lead to outbreaks can still raise the risk of kids bringing the virus home, especially in poor families.
3 min read
On Sept. 24, 2020, distance learners are seen on a laptop held by teacher Kristen Giuliano who assists student Jane Wood, 11, in a seventh-grade social studies class at Dodd Middle School in Cheshire, Conn. A new study finds a family's risk of infection rose if they had a school-age student when schools re-started in person instruction.
Students, assisted by their teacher Kristen Giuliano, work remotely and in-person in a hybrid classroom earlier this year at Dodd Middle School in Cheshire, Conn.
Dave Zajac/Record-Journal via AP
Student Well-Being Teens Are Starting to Get Vaccinated. That's a Big Deal for Schools
Educators are now encouraging their oldest students to get the vaccine, with the hope that it will help normalize school operations.
10 min read
17-year-old cancer survivor Jordan Loughan receives a Pfizer vaccination at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.
Seventeen-year-old cancer survivor Jordan Loughan receives a Pfizer vaccination for COVID-19 in Atlanta on March 23.
Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP