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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: United Way

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January 31, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Guests: To help more kids succeed, serve breakfast after the bell

Corrected version

This piece was written by Sara Levin and Katie Mosehauer.

When a student ends up in the school office because of a fight, “Did you have breakfast?” is probably not the first thing a principal asks. But maybe it should be. Kids who start the day hungry are nearly twice as likely to have conflict with peers and to fall into behaviors like fighting, unruliness and bullying that disrupt school for everyone.

Today, one in four Washington families struggles to keep enough food on the table, and teachers report record numbers of students showing up hungry for class.

The answer might seem straightforward: Get kids into existing school breakfast programs. After all, those in free-and-reduced-price lunch programs already qualify. But school breakfast programs reach only a third of eligible children in Washington, putting us a dismal 41st out of 50 states.

Why is this? In Washington, breakfast is usually served before school in the cafeteria, and if you’re “one of the poor kids” who takes part, there can be stigma. Plus, kids would naturally rather be outside with others socializing and having fun.

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Comments | More in Guest opinion | Topics: breakfast after the bell, nutrition, United Way

January 7, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Got breakfast? Thousands of Washington kids don’t

McClatchy Newspapers

McClatchy Newspapers

In a state considered relatively progressive in combating social ills, it may come as a surprise that Washington ranks 39th in the nation for getting free breakfast into the bellies of kids who need it.

Though combating childhood hunger has long been a priority for advocacy organizations and elected officials, a report released Monday by United Way of King County finds that fewer than half of students eligible for free-or-reduced-price meals are eating breakfast at school.

Meanwhile, the number of children qualifying for those meals has jumped by 153 percent since 2000, growing at nearly 14 times the rate of the overall student population. In Snohomish County, the rate has almost doubled.

“Despite the evidence that need has dramatically increased in Washington state, school breakfast programs, as currently utilized, are not responding to or meeting that need,” the authors note bluntly. “Many children [are] receiving no breakfast at all.”

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Comments | More in News | Topics: health, poverty, United Way