Estimated effects of Breakfast in the Classroom on academic performance and human capital outcomes.
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Gutierrez, Emily K., 1989-
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There has been a movement in recent years within school districts to provide all students with breakfast in classrooms across the United States. In this quasi-experimental study, I investigated the effects of serving breakfast in the classroom on student achievement, attendance, tardiness, retention, and gifted and talented classifications. I used propensity score matching to find that providing students with breakfast in the classroom decreased tardiness and decreased math and reading achievement for fourth graders. Retention rates and gifted and talented classifications increased for fifth graders. Although propensity score matching attempts to control for negative selection present in data, persistence and unobserved characteristics unaccounted for in the model could have impacted the results. Given the consistent negative causal estimates across modeling strategies, policy makers should use caution when supporting the BIC program. There are currently too many unknowns about BIC's effect on students' human capital outcomes to uncritically back its adoption.