Be Informed!

The First Class Breakfast Program is being implemented in schools all over Houston. I am a very involved parent, but I have only one experience to share and one point of view. In an effort to share information and inform parents, I welcome comments and guest posts!

Forward this to all who might be interested. You need to be informed and aware of what is happening in your schools.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Do you know what is going on in your school?

Last December, the HISD School Board voted to implement a program that had been piloted in a few schools over the last couple of years.  It is called First Class Breakfast and is an attempt to provide a free breakfast to every student in Elementary and Middle Schools in HISD. 

Breakfast was already offered for free to every student and was available in the cafeteria before school.  The First Class Program moves this free breakfast from the cafeteria to the classroom and isn't served until the school day starts.  Hot and Cold carts are loaded with "meals" and rolled down the hall to each classroom, where the student lines up at the door and exchanges their "card" for a hot breakfast served with 1% milk and juice.  They return to their desk, eat breakfast and then throw away all the leftovers.  HISD has said this process should only take 10 minutes.  Actual implementation doesn't show the same results.

There are many arguments FOR this program.  Dr. Grier and the school board are fully behind it.  See his statement from March 24, 2010.  Basically, kids pay more attention and get better grades when they aren't hungry.  It is described as a program that is optional to students who want to participate.  But the truth is that by moving it to the classroom, it becomes and optional program that all students are forced to participate in by having to sit by and watch their classmates eat if they choose not to partake of the breakfast.

As many arguments as there may be for it, there are 2-3 AGAINST it. 
1. Questions about nutritional value
2. Lack of proper food groups being served
3. Mess in the classroom
4. Breakfast is already available for free - why change it
5. What do the kids who already eat at home do?  Eat twice?
6. There is no way it takes only 10 minutes
7. Availability of staff - after the much publicizes budget shortfalls and cutting of hours

There may be a need FOR this program for some students and some schools, but is this really a district wide issue?  The decision was made very quietly at the end of 2009.  Very little parent input was solicited or encouraged.  The administration implemented the program and as soon as a few parents started learning what was going on and complaining, it was placed in the hands of principals to implement on their campuses to best meet the needs of their school.  Principals may or may not support this, but we are all stuck with it. . . for now.  If there is enough parental involvment and objection, we may have a chance of significantly changing the way this program looks.  But until more people know about it, 10 schools will be added to the First Class Breakfast program every 2 weeks until all the Fall when all schools will have it in place.

Share this information with your friends at your school, at other schools, past students or parents of past students.  Opposition will need to come from all over Houston to be able to change this, so let's get started if you want something different than what is coming your way.


  1. Actually you can OPT-OUT...a school cannot, but we as parents and guardians are allowed simply so NO, I don't want my child(ren) to be allowed to eat the breakfast. HISD is a very diverse district; however, Dr. Grier himself said the following publicly, March 24, 2010.

    We have received some "push-back" from parents at several of our schools who oppose the First Class Breakfast program's being required districtwide. Some have expressed concern that this may be one of the first steps to "re-centralize" decision-making—major decisions being made by the central-office staff instead of at the school level. Nothing could be further from the truth. Others feel that a large percentage of the children in their schools already eat breakfast at home and should not have to sit by and watch other students eat breakfast in their classrooms or feel pressured into eating breakfast twice. We want to be clear that principals and teachers in each sch ool have the complete freedom to design their program to meet the needs of students in their school. No two programs have to look exactly the same. We are inviting concerned parents and teachers to visit schools across the district where the program has been successfully implemented.

    What gives HISD the right to pass down a ONE-SIZE-FITS_ALL program? We as parents in a community have the right to OPT-OUT. A simple state of NO, and please place in my permanent records is all it takes.

  2. We have been doing this for 2 years, and I don't understand where any gets off saying that this should take 10 minutes. It takes 30 at a minimum. This is even after I have gotten it down to a science. Don't even think about that time frame if cafeteria workers don't show up for work. For two days, we were short 2 cafeteria workers, and two people had to serve breakfast to 755 students. It was taking so long that Teacher's Aides/Assistants had to start serving the meals.
    I resent having to take 30 minutes away from my instructional day to serve breakfast. That's the time that I spend teaching SPELLING.