Tufts Nutrition reports that a study of the Breakfast in Classroom program shows that it increased participation in the National School Breakfast Program. Stephanie Anzman-Frasca studied a large urban school district where about 58 percent of schools had newly implemented Breakfast in the Classroom programs. “The other schools in the district continued to offer breakfast before school in the cafeteria.”
The results suggest that serving breakfast in class did improve participation in the National School Breakfast Program, with about three quarters of students participating, versus 43 percent in the other schools. Schools that offered Breakfast in the Classroom also had slightly better attendance. But the students at those schools did not better on standardized math and reading test than their peers at the other schools.
Why did the author consider it necessary to study math and reading tests? Isn’t it enough to provide nutritious food and perhaps increase the happiness of the students? “The authors note that academic performance might be better assessed after the programs have been up and running for more than a few months.”
Why did the author even try to assess math and reading test results after only a few months? The obsession with testing is apparently leading to an epidemic of tunnel-vision in the researchers given access to schools.
This study was published in JAMA Pediatrics, January 2015. The journal also published an editorial entitled “Continued Promise of School Breakfast Programs for Improving Academic Outcomes: Breakfast is Still the Most Important Meal of the Day.”
My grandfather, Joel J. White, who was a Navy doctor, often said that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Having been taught this from an early age, I am a bit skeptical of some recent news reports citing evidence that breakfast is not really the most important meal of the day.