“Breakfast in the classroom has had a little bit of a rocky start,” Carmen Farina said. “In some schools parents really do not want breakfast in the classroom. They feel that the students should have breakfast before they leave the home.”
A de Blasio administration program to serve free breakfast in the classroom has gotten off to a “rocky start” and is disliked by many parents, Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina acknowledged Wednesday.
The city launched a $92.6 million program last year to give out breakfast in class — instead of in the cafeteria before school, which had required kids to come in early — aiming to expand to all free-standing elementary schools by next school year.
“Breakfast in the classroom has had a little bit of a rocky start,” Farina said. “In some schools parents really do not want breakfast in the classroom. They feel that the students should have breakfast before they leave the home.”
Another objection has been that serving the meal takes away from teaching time.
City Council members are also pushing for schools to offer universal free lunch.
“We want to make sure we have eliminated the issue of it’s interrupted teaching time. It shouldn’t, if you use breakfast in the classroom as a time to teach socialization skills,” Farina said. “It’s eating, breaking bread — it’s a social skill.”
Farina said some of the opposition came from “misinformation” and the city is going ahead with the rollout anyway. “We’re making adjustments to answer parent’s concerns,” she said.
Advocates have long pushed for classroom breakfast but former Mayor Mike Bloomberg refused, worrying it would worsen obesity because kids might eat twice.
City Council members are also pushing for schools to offer universal free lunch, instead of giving it only to kids whose families have low enough incomes are qualifying.
But the city is resisting, saying a pilot program in middle schools only increased lunch participation by 6%.
“We have an opportunity to make sure that 1.1 million children don’t have to worry about hunger, which would be huge,” said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan).
But Farina said it would have to show better results before getting expanded. “Our numbers are not reflecting this has made a major difference,” she said.