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O'Malley Takes on School Hunger at Northwestern

Panel discussion on hunger and education to include Gov. O'Malley and U.S. Secretary of Education.

Prominent federal and state officials, including Gov. Martin O'Malley and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, will be visiting Northwestern High School this week to lead a discussion about a problem which is creeping increasingly into the classroom: hunger. 

O'Malley and Duncan will be joined by Northwestern Principal Edgar Batenga and county school officials in a panel discussion about how hunger affects the way students learn. 

The discussion will be framed around the release of a new report on hunger and education by the Share Our Strength foundation.

The report surveyed more than 600 kindergarden through eighth grade public school teachers and found that more than 40 percent of teachers see hunger as an obstacle to a proper education. 

Nearly two thirds of those teachers told researchers that kids regularly aren't getting enough to eat at home. 

"For nearly half of K-8 teachers, on quarter or more of their students come to school hungry on a weekly basis" reads the report. 

Prince George's County Public Schools has increased the number of students enrolled in the school breakfast program. Now, more than 34,000 students, the vast majority of them from low-income families, take part in the before-school meal program offered at 45 county elementary and middle schools.  Participation is up 20 percent over last year. Two county schools were recognized by the state for having the highest participation rate increases over the last year.

The panel discussion takes place in the Jim Henson auditorium at Northwestern High School at 7000 Adelphi Road in Hyattsville. The event begins on Thursday, Aug. 23 at 9 a.m.

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