Report: Half of Teachers Say Student Hunger Is a Serious Problem in Their Classes

U.S. K-8 teachers are spending on average $37 per month on food for students in their classrooms, and principals are spending on average $59 per month on food for students in their schools, claims Share Our Strength’s Teachers Report 2013.

The survey, which was commissioned by the No Kid Hungry campaign, asked more than 1,000 K-8 public school teachers and principals about hunger on their campuses. In this year’s survey, teachers and principals expressed increased concern about this topic. Here are some of the report’s highlights:

  • Half of teachers surveyed say hungry children in their classroom is a serious issue
  • 73% of teachers say they teach students who regularly come to school hungry because there isn’t enough food at home
  • 87% of principals say they see hungry kids in their schools at least once a week
  • 90% of educators say breakfast is critical to academic achievement
  • When children are hungry, 88% of the teachers surveyed agree that students can’t concentrate; 82% agree that students lack energy and show poor academic performance; and 67% agree that students who are hungry cause discipline problems.

Research shows school breakfast has a dramatic effect on student achievement. Unfortunately, many kids have a difficult time getting a free or reduced-price breakfast in the morning, even though they qualify for the meal. Of the number of low-income students who eat school lunch (21 million), only half currently eat a school breakfast (about 11 million.) Barriers such as late bus schedules, conflicting priorities and stigma associated with eating in the cafeteria while other kids socialize, stop many students from getting this meal.

There is a solution, however. Schools have found that moving breakfast out of the cafeteria and making it a part of the school day (breakfast after the bell) ensures more students start their day with a healthy meal.

Read the report.

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