The Chicago board of education adopted a sweeping new program last week to offer free breakfasts in the classrooms of all of its public elementary schools. The move expands a federally funded initiative aimed at giving students from low-income families a healthier start to the day.
The program is already offered in about 200 district schools, representing nearly 21 million meals of cereal, milk, fruit, and scrambled eggs. In February, officials will begin rolling out breakfasts to the other elementary schools, reaching about 500 schools in all.
The proposal doesn’t have universal support, however. Over 1,000 parents signed a petition opposing the plan to serve breakfast during class time out of concern that the 10 to 15 minutes the meals occupy at the beginning of the day would disrupt learning.
Another critical issue for the 410,000-student district is its share of financing for the $41 million program.
A version of this article appeared in the February 02, 2011 edition of Education Week as Chicago Expanding Free Breakfast to All Students