"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Thursday, March 7, 2013

National School Breakfast Week in the US

The first week of March in the United States is designated as the National School Breakfast Week. This year's theme is "Be a Star with School Breakfast":

Figure downloaded from
This reminded me of thoughts I heard from colleagues regarding Philippine basic education. One said, "In fact, another problem that has not been confronted adequately is the fact that many of the children are malnourished and go to school hungry. Many need eyeglasses." Another remarked, "I wonder if for all this talk about curriculum and K-12, the one solution to the education of Filipino children is a feeding program."

This may be surprising to some, but the United States also faces problems of childhood hunger. Deloitte recently released a white paper, "Ending Childhood hunger: A social impact analysis". Together with the "No Kid Hungry Campaign", the report highlighted the following facts:

Figure Downloaded from
And the following demonstrate the impact of providing breakfast to poor children on their attendance and performance:

Figure downloaded from
Providing breakfast to poor children in schools should not occur only in a week. Feeding children is a continuing commitment. Feeding programs, of course, come with costs. But the returns are very promising especially when spending on textbooks, school supplies, classrooms, teachers' salaries would not really matter since a hungry child cannot really focus on learning in school.


  1. the deped has programs that call for lots of local community participation:


    and http://www.pia.gov.ph/news/index.php?article=2091343958573

    its possible, but local govt has to step up. and it looks like they can.

  2. Where these feeding programs are very much needed, it should be obvious that these are poor communities. Poor communities do not have a local government that is rich in funds or resources.

    You should review how local governments in the Philippines get revenue allotment from the national government. States in the US operate very differently. Most charge income tax and schools are funded by real estate taxes. Other localities impose sales taxes. The states therefore collect revenue to support their schools. This is one reason why resources in US schools are likewise dependent on the economic status of their neighborhoods. The Federal Government steps in by providing additional funds to these impoverished districts. In the Philippines, most of the public funds are with the national government. That is why DepEd is in charge of the entire basic education system of the country because the national government holds not just the income taxes but also the foreign loans it gets to support and improve public school education in the Philippines.

  3. yes, its true that the budget for local govt comes mainly from the national govt.

    but once its transfered to the local govt, it is their responsibility to apportion it out along whatever its decides to do. the national govt no longer controls these funds.

    One of these choices, might be school feeding. Indeed, this is something that some local govts do, and that is a good thing.

  4. Read up on this so that you are not living in a fantasy land.


    Slide number 5 gives you a very good idea of the fiscal imbalance.

  5. borrowing from princess bride: I dont think slide 5 means what you think it means :)

    it means that locally RAISED income is smaller than income sourced from the national government. thats it.

    thanks for saying i live in a fantasy land. it does FEEL like a fantasy.

  6. Precisely, that is what it means. One then needs to do the math and see if the revenue allotment matches the functions and needs of a local government.

  7. i think we are talking past each other. if all you meant to say is "revenue allotment matches the functions and needs of a local government." then NONE of the LGUs will find that their revenue matches their expenditure requirements.

    if your point is "That is why DepEd is in charge of the entire basic education system of the country because the national government holds not just the income taxes but also the foreign loans it gets to support and improve public school education in the Philippines."

    my response is, education is NOT just the responsibility of deped, part of it lies with LGUs. both deped and LGUs get allotments from the national govt.

    and yes, these allotments (for either) are technically not enough.

  8. We will not talk past each other if we both understand what priorities mean. Malnourished children in public schools is a national priority. Defining a curriculum, figuring what textbook to use, and how teachers should teach are much lower in priority. Correct prioritization must begin at the national level.