Bearing Witness

by Billy Shore

Why NY Mayor de Blasio should lead, not just wait and follow, the national movement for school breakfast after the bell

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


           Yesterday’s NY Times editorial  ( urging NY Mayor de Blasio to fulfill his campaign promise and make available breakfast in the classroom was the culmination of the first phase of a campaign to raise awareness and put some pressure on the mayor. De Blasio’s own allies counseled that without some of the pressure that public attention brings, it’s very hard for such an issue to emerge from the multiple priorities competing for the Mayor’s attention.
The editorial  also helped to launch a second phase of even greater grassroots support that included the singer P!NK tweeting the editorial to her 25 million supporters as part of a broad based social media effort to ensure this common sense low cost solution gets implemented.
At a time much of the country is dispirited over the seeming failure of government to get things to work as they should Mayor de Blasio has a golden opportunity to demonstrate how a program that does work can catapult New York City from last to first in the nation in school breakfast participation, thereby making America stronger by making our kids stronger. And he can do so in a way that doesn’t cost NYC money but will instead bring millions of dollars into the city.
A national trend is growing in favor of breakfast after the bell.  Given the success of other large cities around the country, it’s probably only a matter of time before it takes hold in New York City.  At worst, the Mayor should follow this trend. At best, the editorial makes a compelling case for why he should help lead.  A strong New York requires strong kids – fit, fed, and ready to learn. A strong America demands no less.