THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
TIPPER GORE ANNOUNCES PROPOSAL FOR SCHOOL BREAKFAST DEMONSTRATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Tipper Gore, wife of Vice President Al Gore, today announced in New Hampshire that the Clinton Administration will request $13 million from Congress to fund demonstration projects on providing free school breakfasts to elementary school children.
Mrs. Gore said the funding, to be requested under the Fiscal Year 2000 budget, will provide free breakfasts to all children in six school districts for three successive years. The breakfast pilot projects were authorized under the 1998 Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act in a provision written by Congressman Lynn Woolsey (CA) and Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD). The schools that will participate in the projects have not yet been selected.
"Teachers have told us for years that children who eat breakfast do better in school, both academically and socially," Mrs. Gore said. "There is research -- and common sense -- to support that notion. Clearly, hungry children cannot learn."
She made the announcement at Girls Incorporated, in Nashua, New Hampshire, one of the Nashua Public School Suspension Programs that provides learning and school lunches for children under suspension.
Mrs. Gore said the state of Minnesota conducted its own universal breakfast pilot project, and reported an increase in learning and achievement along with an increase in student participation. Researchers at Harvard University also reported that when school breakfasts were made available to low-income students, their attendance, grades, behavior and emotional development improved. And Tufts University, in a 1998 statement on nutrition and child development, cited "compelling evidence" that undernutrition impacts the behavior of children, their school performance and their overall cognitive development.
"The national demonstration project will examine the link between nutrition and learning, and will also address barriers that have held down participation in the School Breakfast Program" Mrs. Gore said. While the breakfast program has grown, it still serves only about 27 percent as many children as are served by the National School Lunch Program.
Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Shirley Watkins, who oversees the school meals programs, said that in addition to providing valuable data, the universal breakfast demonstrations will offer children a good nutrition lesson that will benefit them for years to come. "One of this Administration's top goals is to see that children get the educational skills they need to learn throughout their lives," said Under Secretary Watkins. "These demonstrations are a first step toward getting children into a lifetime habit of healthy eating."