We’ve been getting out our aprons and whisks for the “bake-in” planned at City Hall Park on Thursday.
We’re anticipating hundreds of parents joining us to protest the new Chancellor’s Regulation A-812, which prohibits home-baked foods from being sold at school fundraisers while requiring Doritos and Pop-Tarts instead. Yes, this regulation mandates that if we want to sell food to raise money for our schools, it has to be junk food that we buy through the Department of Education or at Costco! Home-baked cookies and banana bread aren’t good enough to help parents raise money for desperately needed arts, sports, and extracurricular programs.
At the bake in, we’ll have two tables set up: One will display the single-serving packages of Fritos, Pop-Tarts, and Doritos required under the new regulation, the other delicious, home-cooked food prepared by parents and their children. We’ll show off the ingredients of all the foods, so that parents and passersby can decide for themselves which treats are better for children.
We started thinking about holding a bake-in even before the regulation was approved last month. Since then, opposition to the regulation has grown, with two of the city’s three major newspapers lambasting it and the third collecting recipes for the bake-in. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has said he will attend the bake-in, as will City Council member Gale Brewer, who is planning to reintroduce a bill before the council on March 25 that would repeal the ban on home-baked foods in school sales and call for a public hearing on the issue.
The rally isn’t just about demanding homemade cookies at our school bake sales. It’s about asking Chancellor Klein to make parents part of the discussion about their children’s health. We want the chancellor to understand that parents, not Pepsi Cola or Kellogg’s (two of the major beneficiaries of the new regulation), know what’s best for our children.
We believe it’s critical for parents to come out and voice their opposition in City Hall Park with us for the following reasons:
- Our schools cannot become supermarkets where big food corporations, like Pepsi Cola and Kellogg, can advertise and sell their processed foods to our children.
- Our children cannot receive the message that junk food is healthier for them than foods cooked at home. This will only encourage a lifetime of bad eating habits.
- We cannot allow the DOE to get away with not consulting parents about issues regarding our children’s health and, instead, mandating that we buy and feed our children junk food.
We’re encouraging anyone who can to come to the bake-in (Thursday, March 18, 4-6 p.m., in City Hall Park). But if you can’t make it, please consider joining the more than 500 people who have signed our petition calling on Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein to repeal the regulation banning the sale of home-baked goods in our schools.
About our First Person series:
First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.