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Classroom Breakfast Expanding Despite Some Complaints

Samantha Oltman | April 22, 2013

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In recent months, the teachers union United Teachers of Los Angeles has been criticizing Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) for delaying the start of instruction, among other things.

But Nicola Edwards, who works for California Food Policy Advocates, told LA School Report that a recent union survey doesn’t really reflect how most LAUSD teachers feel about the program.

“If you look at the survey and number of teachers who didn’t like the program, it’s a very small number [around 400 teachers] compared to the 10,000 classrooms it’s served in. When you look at the statistical significance of this, it’s very small.”

And the district actually plans to increase the number of schools offering the anti-hunger program that serves low-income LAUSD students breakfast at the start of every school day this year, going from 280 to more than 600 schools.

Breakfast in the Classroom was launched in 2011 at almost 300 LAUSD schools with the leadership of LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy and a partnership between the district, the LA Fund (whose members include LA School Report publisher Jamie Lynton) and other advocacy groups.

According to a UTLA press release, when the union recently gave its teachers a survey on Breakfast in the Classroom, half of the 729 teachers who responded said it creates sanitation issues in their classrooms and cuts into instructional time. Some of the teachers also complained that the food served is “not nutritious” or even “spoiled.” (Read the press release here.)

The survey did not address whether the breakfasts were alleviating student hunger, or whether serving breakfast in the classroom was having a negative impact on student learning.

In a LA Times article about the program’s controversy, LAUSD’s food services director, David Binkle differed directly with UTLA’s view. Breakfast in the Classroom, Binkle said, is a “smashing success.” He said the district plans to more than double the number of schools in the program this year.

Previous posts: Teachers Vote Against Deasy, For More Teachers; April Vote Will Highlight Union Factions

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