School Breakfast Scorecard Shows Progress in the Mid South
February 17th, 2017
This week, the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) released its annual School Breakfast Scorecard. The Scorecard ranks states on the basis of participation of low-income children in the national School Breakfast Program. Overall, nearly all states experienced growth in the School Breakfast Program for school year 2015-2016, including the Mid South states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. However, there is still much progress to be made to increase participation and better support the outcomes for low-income children in the Mid South.
State Findings: School Breakfast Scorecard
The School Breakfast Program ensures that low-income children have adequate nutrition to learn and thrive in the classroom. Arkansas and Tennessee rank among the highest in school breakfast participation, collectively providing breakfast to nearly 500,000 low-income children in school year 2015-2016. Louisiana provided breakfast to over 240,000 low-income children, while more than 185,000 low-income children received school breakfast in Mississippi. In school year 2015-2016, the Mid South saw an average 3 percentage point increase in school breakfast participation (from school year 2014-2015). See Table.
Click to enlarge
Although progress has been made in school breakfast participation, opportunities exist to increase the number of children that are receiving a healthy, adequate breakfast. Much of the growth of the school breakfast program is largely due to the implementation of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). CEP allows schools in low-income communities to offer nutritious meals to all students at no charge. While CEP has encouraged schools to make school meals more readily available to children, opportunities exist for more schools to adopt CEP.
School breakfast participation not only provides much-needed support for low-income children and their families but also has a broad economic impact on local economies as well. It is imperative that the Mid South states continue to close the participation gap and increase the number of low-income children that can receive a nutritious, adequate meal.
Food Research & Action Center. (February 2017). School Breakfast Scorecard: School Year 2015-2016. Retrieved from http://frac.org/wp-content/uploads/school-breakfast-scorecard-sy-2015-2016.pdf