Hunger Is Common in Classrooms, Teachers Say in Survey
Three out of four public school teachers responding to a recent survey said their students regularly come to school hungry. And 93 percent of responding teachers said they worry about the long-term effects of hunger on children's education.
Those findings come from an online survey, which was released today and administered in January to a sample of 600 teachers, 200 principals, and 200 school support staff on behalf of No Kid Hungry, an advocacy group based in Washington.
They come shortly after the release of a report that showed that, for the first time, more than half of public school students in the United States qualify for free and reduced-price meals. The survey also comes as schools take on new efforts to tackle hunger through initiatives like offering afterschool meals, and partnering with community organizations to send food home with hungry students on the weekends.
Of the educators who reported regularly seeing hungry students at school, 81 percent said it happens at least once a week, the survey says. And that hunger has a range of effects on student learning, they reported.
To tackle the problem, No Kid Hungry recommends more schools serve breakfast in the classroom. Offering students meals at the start of the school day (rather than before the bell rings) reduces the stigma of coming in early, and eliminates some logistical challenges that keep students from eating breakfast at school, the organization says.
A recent report found that more low-income children are eating free and reduced-price breakfasts at school, either in the classroom or in the cafeteria.
Graphic from Hunger in Our Schools 2015 by No Kid Hungry.