American schools have suffered from funding shortages for a few years now, relying more and more on PTA’s efforts to raise money for necessities and teachers footing the bill for supplies.
by T.M. Burroughs
Now, with the implementation of Michelle Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, as of July 1, 2014 popular and successful bake sales are targeted for elimination.
Maria Koren states accurately in the National Journal that school bake sales are a “sacred ritual”.
I can remember as a child while attending elementary school in southern California how excited I was that my mom provided Shoo Fly Pie for our fundraising carnival. I was so happy I bought some at the event even though we had extra pie at home. My mom’s was the best.
Shoo Fly pie is a historic masterpiece of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) cooking, consisting of a regular pie crust filled with a molasses and crumb combination. The origin of this sweet, gooey, and utterly delicious dessert is ingenious. A Shoo Fly pie was a decoy to keep house flies away from the more labor intensive and more costly fruit pies left to cool on the window sill by homemakers. They represents a two-fold tradition for me: my ancestral heritage and annual childhood school events. Chicken pot pie and pickled beets were Penn-Dutch treats at our house, too.
Having said that, did my mother limit our meals to starchy, salt- and fat-rich foods? No! My mother was nutrition conscious and most meals were balanced and colorful, vegetable and fruit heavy. “Eat your colors,” was my mom’s motto. Spring and summertime were especially special, with watermelon, peaches, plums, corn-on-the-cob and other natural edible phenomena present on our dinner table.
So, I can sympathize with Georgia school children whose parents are protesting federal regulation of fundraising bake sales. Here’s a little more on this southern uprising.
Twelve states have established their own policies to circumvent regulations in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that apply to “competitive snacks,” or any foods and beverages sold to students on school grounds that are not part of the Agriculture Department’s school meal programs, according to the National Association of State Boards of Education.
Competitive snacks appear in vending machines, school stores, and food and beverages, including items sold at bake sales. Georgia is the latest state to announce an exemption to the federal regulations, which became effective July 1 for thousands of public schools across the country.
Its rule would allow 30 food-related fundraising days per school year that wouldn’t meet the new healthy nutritional standards, which call for more healthy options and less junk food that could contribute to the nation’s child-obesity problem. “While we are concerned about the obesity epidemic, limiting food-and-beverage fundraisers at schools and school-related events is not the solution to solving it,” said Georgia Department of Education spokesperson.
Educating the newer generations of parents is the answer. Put billions of dollars into teaching nutrition basics and some more into reinstating axed school programs and supplies. Then those ghastly bake sales won’t be necessary and parents can use that time and energy to take the proposed classes on nutrition and childhood obesity. If they don’t have to accompany their children on door-to-door fundraising, and man the tables at on-site bake sales, they may have time to cut up vegetables and pack a brown bag for their kids. And, on a rare and memorable occasion, moms and dads could make a recipe passed down from grandma.
Or, maybe the first lady should try reverse psychology. If Mrs. Obama insists that schools serve doughnuts and coffee for breakfast, and ding-dongs with whole milk for lunch, she’d get a protest of a different color–greens and reds and purples of fruits and veggies.
by T.M. Burroughs
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