The Case for Free School Breakfast

The USDA has a couple of new reports out on school meals. One looks at the dismal rates of participation in the School Breakfast program. Only about 30 percent of those eligible actually get breakfast. How come? Kids are more likely to eat the breakfast when it is served in the classroom (rather than the lunchroom) and when they are given time to eat it.

The second study also proves the obvious: kids who eat breakfast eat less junk food and are likely to be better nourished (and, therefore, behave and learn better).

I know the USDA has to do these studies in order to satisfy taxpayers' investment in the programs, but shouldn't our society ensure that all hungry kids are fed decently? So many of the financial problems with the school meals programs could be solved if they were made universal (and we didn't need to spend all that money to determine eligibility and make sure no kid gets a meal she isn't entitled to).

Universal school meals would also take away the poverty stigma. And yes, let's serve breakfasts in classrooms and give kids time to eat. After all, the research backs up those ideas, no?