It's harder for hungry students to learn. Let’s make breakfast part of the school day for Maryland’s kids.
Three in five Maryland teachers regularly see kids come to the classroom hungry, according to a recent survey by Share Our Strength. The same study showed that nine in 10 teachers also say that breakfast is key to academic success. They credit breakfast with increased concentration (95%), better academic performance (89%) and better behavior in the classroom (73%).
A recent study by Deloitte showed that schools with a Breakfast in the Classroom program have up to a 7.2 percent lower rate of chronic absenteeism and their students are up to 12.5 percent more likely to pass state standardized math tests.
Many students do not participate in the School Breakfast Program due to tight morning scheduling, cafeteria capacity, and fear of being stigmatized. The Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA) program reduces these barriers by making breakfast free for all students in the classrooms of select, high-need schools. Of the 813 schools that are eligible for MMFA, only 271 schools participate in the program due to a lack of funding in the state’s budget.
About Maryland Meals for Achievement
Thanks to Governor O’Malley’s support of programs like
Maryland Meals for Achievement, and other state-wide school breakfast
initiatives, more schools are participating in MMFA and more low-income
children are eating breakfast at school than ever before. On January 16, Gov. O’Malley once again
demonstrated his commitment to ending childhood hunger in Maryland by asking
for an additional $1.8 million for Maryland Meals For Achievement in the FY 2014 budget. The additional funding would allow the state to serve an
additional 57,000 students in-classroom breakfast.
Now, the Governor’s
budget moves to the General Assembly. We urge the members of the Maryland General Assembly to support this increase so that more Maryland children start the day with a healthy breakfast. Updates on this issue will be posted here.
Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA) is an innovative Breakfast in the Classroom program administered by the Maryland State Department of Education. Schools where 40 percent of students or more qualify for free and reduced-price meals are eligible to apply for MMFA. Through MMFA, all students can eat a free breakfast at their desk which helps remove barriers to student participation in breakfast such as the difficulty of getting to school early for traditional breakfast and the stigma of being singled out as being in need of free or reduced priced assistance.