The change is part of a new wellness policy that also limits what can be sold in vending machines and student-run stores, which use profits to help finance activities like pep rallies and proms. The elaborate rules were outlined in a three-page memo issued at the end of June, but in the new school year, principals and parents are just beginning to, well, digest them.The bake sales are a critical part of fundraising in schools, which means that after school activities, including sports and recreation will be adversely affected.
Parent groups and Parent-Teacher Associations are conspicuously given an exception: once a month they are allowed to sell as many dark fudge brownies and lemon bars as they please, so long as lunch has ended. And after 6 p.m. on weekdays, anything goes. But at that hour, most students are long gone, and as far as the Education Department is concerned, stuffing oneself with coconut macaroons and peanut butter cookies at that hour is one’s prerogative.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has made both public health and public education centerpieces of his tenure, and the changes in the schools’ food are an outgrowth of his efforts to curb trans fats, salt and other unwanted additives.
Roughly 40 percent of the city’s elementary and middle school students are overweight or obese, according to the Education Department. The department also found a correlation between student health and performance on standardized tests, according to a survey it released in July.
The previous regulations limited sales to once a month and allowed them at any time during that day, but they were loosely enforced. Officials say they will do more to monitor the new regulations.
In other words, the very programs that can improve health and wellness are going to be adversely affected by the curbs on bake sales.
It's all about the unintended consequences.