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Letter: For children, a critical meal

As early childhood educators, we want to encourage one step that will help the young children in New Hampshire to thrive.

According to the 2013 Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Report, New Hampshire is regarded as an outstanding state in which to live and raise a family. But despite this overall excellence, New Hampshire ranks 50th among states for the past two years in the use of the school breakfast program.

How important is breakfast? We have seen firsthand what the research shows: that breakfast can help improve children’s classroom performance, attendance and mental and physical health. New Hampshire Kids Count and its partners, the New England Dairy and Food Council, the state Department of Education and the School Nutrition Association of New Hampshire, have challenged New Hampshire’s schools to improve their student participation rate by 25 percent over the next two years. In October 2013, this partnership launched the New Hampshire School Breakfast Challenge and a website,, which helps schools with resources, personalized assistance and funding opportunities. In order for the challenge to be successful, both schools and students have to acquire new habits. Students must commit to eating breakfast every school day. Schools must pilot innovative breakfast delivery models and menu options to redefine how breakfast is served in school.

New Hampshire’s poor national school breakfast rank is an opportunity for improvement. Schools can champion children by ensuring every student begins the day nourished and ready to learn. We urge schools to evaluate their breakfast programs and, if needed, formulate a plan to increase student participation. New Hampshire Kids Count and our partners are ready to assist schools with developing more productive classrooms --- beginning with breakfast.



(Patricia Cantor is a professor and chairwoman of early childhood Studies at Plymouth State University. Maureen Salo is director of the Learning Center at Concord Hospital. They are board members of NH Kids Count.)

Legacy Comments42

How about parents feeding their own children?? What a concept!! Just about everyone who applies to the SNAP program is awarded some level of benefits. As of this writing, some 47 MILLION American receive some kind of food stamp benefits. Are some parents so incompetent/uncaring that they can't even provide their children breakfast cereal and milk before school? It started with "school lunch." Now, there are those who want "school breakfast" and "school dinner." At what point do we just absolve parents of the responsibility of raising their children?

school systems want those school food program enrollments high because it increases the amount of other federal money flowing to the school

Please cite your source to defend this "fact."

The basic principles of Title 1 state that schools with large concentrations of low-income students will receive supplemental funds to assist in meeting student’s educational goals. Low-income students are determined by the number of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. For an entire school to qualify for Title 1 funds, at least 40% of students must enroll in the free and reduced lunch program.....That is what they call as SCHOOLED !!!!

Currently, the federal government administers roughly 80 means-tested poverty-assistance and welfare programs, on which it spends $750 billion a year — that’s a larger cost than defense, Medicare, or Social Security. U.S. has spent $3.7 trillion on welfare in the past five years, with virtually nothing to show for it. It takes a lot of gumption for any person from the 47% that don't pay taxes to accuse those of us that pull the weight that we are the "most heartless mean spirited group"

Once more you repeat a falsehood--that those who don't earn enough to pay income taxes pay no taxes, when they pay nearly every other tax you pay. The portion of their income they pay in taxes is likely higher than the 13% Mitt Romney and other well-to-do individuals pay. And many of those whom you claim are "pulling their weight" do so as rentiers--coupon clippers and inherited wealth who add little of real value to the economy--not unlike our Wall St casino banksters who also add little of real value.

I know may Republicans who care deeply about children and if they get to eat every day. But not the ones who post on here. They seem to me to be the most heartless mean spirited group, with not one of they saying, "yeah maybe kids shouldn't starve,"

No kid should starve. And no responsible lower income working parents should have struggle to pay their school tax bill and feed their kids and everyone elses too. The school bill is over $70 million in Concord per year. Parents have always been responsible for feeding their kids breakfast, not the school. There was no breakfast at school when we were growing up..what changed??

And you keep voting for the party who sells you the "no new broad base taxes!" snake oil. Well, okay then.

"There was no breakfast at school when we were growing up..what changed??" This is a trick question, right? What changed, the 70's, 80"s and more. Divorce became more common, the days of the stay at home wife was replaced with 2 working parents, single parents or parents with multiple jobs. That is what happened. People became so entrenched in living the dream, they lost track of just what that dream was costing. Latch key kids.

Correct and don't forget technology, breaks up families, opens opportunities for both men and women to cheat and have more options to do so.....don't forget women pursuing careers like men used to exclusively do, screws up families. Single parenthood often is related to mid-life crises, etc. Two working parents was a LBJ thing, few people realized that the government saw that as an opportunity to create more tax income. The YOU 80's generation is another cause. Latch key kids, don't get me started on that one.....I agree

Well we finally agree. Don't get me wrong on the dual income issue, I have no problem with women working, but it did shift the family unit and usually not for the best. The issue isn't only about the poor, I know many wealthy working couples and their schedules don't really help the children. Google affluenza, don't know which is worse too little or too much money.

I know women belong in the home. Things have never been the same since they gave them the vote.

One of the biggest lies foisted on women of the 70s and 80s was that told by the Women's Libbers when they told young women, "You can have it all." The fact is no one can have it all. Yes, you can have the career and the kids, but your kids will be "latch key kids" with the very real possibility they will be as screwed up as a soup sandwich.

and all of that was caused by TAX TAX & TAX more and spend democrats

What has changed? Drugs have changed the landscape. Take a look of the parents today and tell me that 50% of them aren't on drugs. They're feeding drugs into themselves and not feeding their kids. If it weren't for us the taxpayers providing these kids with meals they wouldn't have breakfast.

that's certainly not a fair statement Tillie. I know I resent it. Maybe if the left wouldn't throw so much of other people's money away, you would get a different opinion. Democrats just don't seem to know how to responsibly use their resources.

I think feeding children is a responsible way to use resources, probably better than giving subsidies to oil companies or billionaires Maybe if you read some of your fellow right wing posters you will know whether it is a fair statement or not.

"sunsidies to oil companies" make it sound as if money is given to these companies. The "susidies" you mention are tax incentives for developing alternative energy, etc. The real fantasy is that so many chilren are starving. Have you seen the childhood obesity statistics.

Actually I have, Remember when we were all having a discussion about Michelle Obama's nutrition program? As I remember, you were against it.

Rhetoric, hyperbole, generalization, stereotyping and insulting I may add.

Nobody wants anybody to starve. That is why we have all these govt programs. We are tired of the excuses why these programs keep growing. Nobody gets off the dole. Just the opposite. More govt programs and more folks sign up. At some point these programs cannot be sustained unless we all pay 75% of our income toward taxes. At that point why work?

If more parents used birth control then there would be fewer kids raised by incompetent parents who can't provide breakfast for them. Simple enough. Oh yeah . . . some people think birth control is a "sin." Apparently to them it's a worse "sin" than malnutrition.

EXCUSE ME, before you bust your britches, I meant school breakfast.

Britches already busted.

Then lose some weight.

Not on school food.

I can see why Republicans are not big on science. I do not see any reason to believe that because we are 50th in school lunch we must be first in feeding kids at home. More likely we have more kids getting no breakfast at all.

I grew up dirt poor. I ate breakfast every morning before school. Parents are and should be responsible to give their kids breakfast before school. I am living proof it can be done.

Maybe you were lucky to have responsible parents. Many children wake up to cold pizza (if that) and parents who are still sleeping it off. You make the same assumption that I see many right wingers do on here, if it hasn't happened to them it doesn't happen..

The question for me is why do we enable lousy parents to continue their lousy parenting? If their kid has reading issues, the school provides a tutor. That way the lousy parent does not have to go to the library get free books and read with their kid. If their kid has behavior problems, we provide a behavior specialist. If the parents do not feed their kid or make a lunch, we provide that. So where does the lousy parent come in? Simple, they do not have to. They can continue their behavior and others will take over for them. The difference between now and when I was a kid is that lousy parents would not get any help. so they managed. It might be a ketchup sandwich for lunch, or a neighbor helping. But those lousy parents faced the folks who helped them. And they knew the help was temporary. Not so now. They do not have to try, face the folks who do their job or anything. The check comes in the mail, and you do not have to tell the neighbor who helped you that you are trying. No pride issues, or any desire to get out of your situation. Then their kids repeat the pattern they see at home. Basically we enable lousy parenting. If you do not feed your kid, or make sure they are washed, then in my book that is child abuse.

Ketchup sandwiches huh? All this concentration of whether the parents are getting away with something not focusing on whether the children are eating or not. Republicans worry about children when they are in the womb but after that they will have to fend for themselves.

"why do we enable lousy parents to continue their lousy parenting?" possibly because the state doesn't want birth control, or abnortion and then doesn't want to take away the children from their parents and support them. As for back then familes stayed in the same towns all of their lives and had great suppot systems. Not so much anymore. Families move and lose that support.

So your two solutions are....government control or return to simpler times, a progressives dream, small towns, windmills and railroads. Of course it had nothing to do with women's liberation, politics, etc, right? I could care less about "abnortion", whatever that is.

Last time I checked, the state of NH has 6 Planned Parenthood locations. I believe also that BC pills are pretty cheap at Wal Mart. Sounds like your post assumes that many lousy parents did not want their kids in the first place. So they have them and are lousy parents. We are seeing generational lousy parenting now.

Are those starving, breakfast-less children in any way related to the seniors eating dog food, or people choosing between medicine and food, or granny being pushed off of the cliff or those disenfranchised ficticious voters or those having back alley abortions or the folks that would have to resort to that if Republicans come into power. It is not society's business to raise children. That is the job of the family and people ought to stop lumping all parents into this "we need to fix it" mentality by progressives. Are there any "causes" that you folks don't believe that more money and taxes will fix? Any?

If you don't care about children, what do you care about besides getting richer?

tillie, I can assure you that you probably are better off financially that I am, for many reasons. It takes a family to raise a child, not a village. I am not my brothers keeper and progressives need to stop playing Donx Quixote and Robin Hood.

No Itsa, wrong again. Without going into private details I am sure you are much better off financially than I am. I really don't think whether s person cares about the well being of others is related to their financial position. You either have a heart or you don't. As I said before once when you said you were not your brother's keeper, you are identify yourself with one of the most reviled people in the Bible, which I find an odd thing to be proud of.

Is Obama his brothers keeper - LETS SEE - Obama's brother lives in a hut in Kenya on $1 a year. Multi Millionaire MA Senator Liawatha Warren's brother lives in poverty....way to go democrats

If we rank 50th in the use of the school breakfast program..then we must rank 1st in the parents are responsible for feeding your kid breakfast program.

Not hardly, but we are near the top with only about 14,000 children not knowing where their next meal is coming from. Feeding children doesn't strike me as a bleeding heart liberal cause. It is the tight thing to do among a civilized and so called christian society. Sure it's the patents responsibility in a perfect world, since it's not I'd rather pay a few bucks than to join your kind and say , let em starve. Sadly, a lot of people that never should have had kids did, in a society that makes it our responsibility.

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