Lawmakers Aim for Well-Nourished & Successful Students

Olympia lawmakers are putting some thought into how food affects a student’s ability to succeed in school.  Dan Frizzell has more on that.

Hungry kids don’t learn as well as their well-fed counterparts. That’s something every teacher knows. Children fed a steady diet of junk food can be overweight and undernourished at the same time – again, not a recipe for success in school. It’s a longstanding problem, but Democratic state representatives are sponsoring several food-, nutrition- and agriculture-related bills with an overall goal of making sure kids are listening to their teachers and not to their stomachs rumbling from hunger.  Representative Monica Stonier of Vancouver is prime sponsor of the anchor bill, the Washington Kids Ready to Learn Act.

“The effort is broad.  One of the pieces of that broad effort that I’m taking on is making sure that kids have access to food in the morning before they start learning, in the middle of the day while they’re learning, and then continuing any other educational programs we can to give them access to anything we can do to give them access to anything we can to promote healthy kids in school so they can meet the demands we have for them in classrooms.” 

Stonier’s bill and another sponsored by Olympia Democrat Beth Doglio were heard in the House Education Committee Thursday morning. Doglio’s bill is designed to lower dropout rates by diverting at-risk students into agriculture classes – hence the food tie-in.  Others, as many as a dozen in all and many with bipartisan support, are moving through the Olympia pipeline as well and could be voted on soon.  In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.