Do after school programs or feeding children help them do better in school?

It’s weird to have to share a post like this.  It takes a special group of monsters to claim that feeding hungry children or providing them with quality after school programs should need evidence that they are worth funding.  Say this sentence to yourself in a mirror today: “Sorry Tommy, no dinner tonight, feeding you is just not getting results.”  Feel like a Bond villain?  Good, that means you’re human.

“Oh and Tommy, no healthcare either, my healthcare will just trickle down to you.”

But I digress, all of that is opinion on my part.  It is my opinion that hungry children should be fed no strings attached, but I promised you facts and primary research sources on this website.  So let’s for a second look at the “facts.”  This is what the Office of Management and Budget Director; and guy who desperately wants you to know he’s Irish, Mick Mulvaney said of after school programs and programs aimed at feeding impoverished students:

“If I shove enough shamrocks into my jacket pocket maybe I will be lucky enough to have no one call me out on my evil shit.”

“They’re supposed to be educational programs, right?  Guess what? There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually doing that. There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually helping results, they’re helping kids do better in school.”                                 – Mick Mulvaney

Guess what?  There is actually mountains of demonstrable evidence that after school programs and programs aimed at feeding impoverished students are helping kids do better in school.  Below I have compiled a list of some of the best studies or literature reviews on the topic along with a quick summary of each.  They are all good reads, feel free to whip them out next time one of your relatives says it’s not the role of schools to feed children for free.

This article from the journal: Child Development found that “attending a formal after-school program was associated with better academic achievement and social adjustment in comparison to other types of after-school care.”(Posner, Vandell, 1994) and also that “The time that children spent in these activities was correlated with their academic and conduct grades, peer relations, and emotional adjustment.” (Posner, Vandell, 1994)

This study conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute studies the effects a School Feeding Program (SFP) had on schools in Bangladesh.  Unsurprisingly they discovered that “Participation in the SF program increases test scores by 15.7 percent points. Participating students do especially well in mathematics.” (IFPRI, 2004)

Another study out of UC Irvine found that “regular participation in high-quality after school programs is linked to significant gains in standardized test scores and work habits as well as reductions in behavior problems among disadvantaged students” (Vandell, Reisner, Pierce, 2007)

There are so many more studies out there like this one published in the journal “Contemporary Economic Policy” which studied the effects of food insecurity on Kindergarteners and found that “Children in households with any signs of food insecurity score lower and learn less during the school year.”(Winicki and Jemison, 2003)

Moral of the story, and this may shock you, the Trump administration has once again lied to try to cover up something terrible that they are doing.  I’m still trying to process cutting NASA, the EPA, NPR, Public Television, and meals on wheels in order to build a wall, but I’ll save that post for another time.

Stay Educated! ❤ Keough

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