Setting a great example, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is taking the importance of its students seriously and is working to reduce hunger among children in the school system by offering “in-classroom breakfast to all students in participating schools at no charge regardless of family income.”
The future of any nation in the world is undeniably placed in its children. It seems obvious that success in the future can only be attained by investing in our students, but unfortunately not all states and school districts subscribe to this idea. Luckily for school-goers in The Old Line State, educational leaders in Maryland are keenly aware of how fundamental fulfilling the basic need of hunger is to thriving in the school setting. Thanks to MSDE investing in the Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA) program in its state, 240,665 students will have access to nutrition that they may not have been able to receive at home, prior to the school day beginning.
A quick Google search of “student hunger and learning” retrieves hundreds of links and articles all pointing to the same conclusion: that a hungry student is handicapped in their ability to focus and do well in class. Though the United States is one of the most developed countries in the modern world, children showing up to school hungry is a problem endemic across the nation, especially in poverty-stricken areas.
The “No Kid Hungry” organization states that 16.2 million children in the US “live in households that lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis. As a result, they struggle with hunger at some time during the year.” This is unacceptable for a nation that has the resources to prevent its future from going to school without the proper nourishment needed to become the well-educated citizens that will one day comprise our leaders.
To fight this problem effectively, schools need to be equipped with the proper funds and resources to address the issue effectively. Maryland should be seen as a model for educational institutions across the United States to combat hunger. States should monitor the progress being made by the MMFA program so that they can see the successes being made and adopt the same ideals in their own schools. Not only would this benefit the students, but the teachers and leaders in the community as well. School teachers and administrators across the state of Maryland have stated that the MMFA program has been active in “improving student test scores, behavior, and wellbeing.” Reducing the stress on teachers from behavior problems would be another step to creating the best educational environment possible for the students.
In the age of standardized testing that our country has now entered, one would think that any actions that could be taken to improve test scores would be readily enacted by all schools. Maryland is providing a simple solution to bringing scores up while at the same time improving the health and happiness of hundreds of thousands of children.