Tuesday, March 16, 2010

AssHolistic Wellness Program

The NYC DOE is venturing far afield from its core educational mission-focusing now on restricting bake sales in what its director of food services calls a, "holistic wellness" approach to feeding our 1.1 million school children. Please, give us a break. As the NY Times reports: "The rule, which school officials say is aimed at tackling obesity, allows PTAs to hold bake sales once a month or weekdays after 6 p.m. Otherwise only fresh fruits and vegetables and any of 27 packaged items that meet city Health Department guidelines on calories, fat and sodium can be sold at schools."

So, lets get this straight. A time honored way for schools to raise a little extra money-and get parents more involved with their kids education-is being scrapped because of an effort to slim down the students: "The battle over bake sales, a tenacious civic tradition, has struck a deep chord with home cooks and food historians. Whether in the chaos of New York City or in the quiet of a rural village, bake sales evoke a sense of comfort and trust through the intimacy of cooking, in slices of layer cake, lemon bars, tollhouse cookies, hermits, muffins, pies. (Or, in the case of some of the more ambitious New York City parent-cooks protesting this week, the empanadas, mini-spanakopitas, vegetable calzones and vegan chocolate cake.)"

This is, as the NY Post rightly points out, one of the DOE's "distractions," taking attention away from the still work in progress aspect of raising the educational level in NYC schools: "Last fall, DOE -- ostensibly worried that kids would buy too many sweets -- banned bake sales as fund-raisers for student groups. Officials later enacted a dizzyingly complex set of criteria that allowed the sale of Doritos and Pop-Tarts -- but not home-baked goods."

And the idea that packaged Doritos is an acceptable replacement for homemade anything is, well, whack-as the Times points out quite well: "But Laura Shapiro, a food historian and author, said the city’s argument was “exactly the kind of thinking that sent us down the road of packaged, industrial junk food in the first place.”

In our view, this is exactly the kind of nanny meddling that Mike Bloomberg is famous for-and it does distract from the main thrust of what the city's educational bureaucracy should be doing. Its implementation underscores just why bureaucracies of all kinds are deleterious to our overall health-too large, too expensive, and too plain stupid to be of much use.

And now DOE's "innovators," are experimenting with eliminating Styrofoam trays. As the Post opines: "Does Gotham's new-and-improved 59 percent high-school graduation rate -- announced last week to substantial self-applause -- get the job done? City educrats certainly seem to think so.How else to explain their sudden pivot from combating illiteracy to . . . Styrofoam trays? The Department of Education yesterday announced that, for one day every week, the classic lunch-holders citywide will be replaced by ultra-green, polymer-coated paper "boats," so as to cut down on non-biodegradable waste. DOE insists that "Trayless Tuesdays" will be cost-neutral -- thank goodness for small favors in these cash-strapped times -- but it nonetheless represents a sizeable expenditure of thought and effort for a bureaucracy that still needs to focus on the basics."

We can't wait to see what the Harvard prof says about the inflated city test results, evidence in our view that the Bloomberg miracle is just one more overhyped fraud. And if what we know to be true proves to be just that, than the graduation rates become another casualty of the truth-an example of how the mayor and his lackey Klein have used smoke and mirrors-plus billions of more dollars-to try to make us believe that this naked educational emperor is actually fully clothed.