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Public Statements

National School Breakfast Program

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of House Resolution 1013, expressing the sense of the Congress that providing breakfast in schools through the National School Breakfast Program has a positive impact on classroom performance.

The National School Breakfast Program was created in 1966 to help schools serving breakfast to "nutritionally needy" children. Made permanent in 1975, the program focuses on those schools where assistance is needed to provide adequate nutrition for students.

The School Breakfast Program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service through State education agencies, in agreement with local school food authorities, in nearly 84,000 schools and institutions.

In fiscal year 2006, over 9.7 million children participated in the School Breakfast Program daily. Of those, 7.9 million received their meals for free or at a reduced price. In my home State of Illinois, more than 223,000 students received free and reduced-price breakfasts daily.

Public or nonprofit private schools serving K-12 and public or nonprofit private residential child care institutions may participate in the School Breakfast Program. School districts and independent schools that choose to take part in the breakfast program receive cash subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for each meal they serve. In return, they must serve breakfasts that meet Federal requirements, and they must offer free or reduced breakfasts to eligible children.

Many States that have implemented school breakfast programs have seen encouraging outcomes. Maryland has seen an increase in standardized test scores 17 percent above the State average, an 8 percent reduction in tardiness, and a reduction in referrals to the office for discipline by 20 percent.

Unfortunately, the problem persists that millions of children go to school hungry each day, even though breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The Federal child nutrition programs can offer a great deal in the promotion of nutrition and wellness, especially in terms of assisting those children most in need. That is why I stand in support of this resolution, encouraging every child to start the school day with a nutritious breakfast in order to learn, grow, and develop to their fullest potential.

I ask for my colleagues' support.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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