Life in 409

This blog is about my quest to declutter my apartment. It focuses on clutter, decluttering, and the endless quest to separate the junk from the important stuff - at home and in life.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Food for thought

Another post having nothing to do with clutter (which, by the way, still reigns chez 409). This is probably my first semi-political post as well. You've been warned.

My older 2 kids attend public grammar school here in Queens, NY. I expect my youngest will follow suit in 2-3 years. The NYC Public schools, as you may know, are suffering from massive budget cuts. My kids' school lost roughly $1 million in funding this year. As a Title I school, it gets some monetary aid that others do not, but still - massive cuts are massive cuts.

Last fall, the schools chancellor twisted the knife even more, by eliminating bake sales, one of the major sources of fundraising in the public schools. The ban was put in place to help eliminate excess sugar and fat in the children's diets. A noble idea, but misdirected, in my opinion.

In my kids' school, bake sales were generally held by the sixth graders, to help fund their senior activities such as a class trip, dance and tee-shirts. They have had to resort to alternatives this year, none nearly as successful, especially in a school with low parent involvement and cash-poor families. These parents and families are now being asked to take up the slack by making a $50 contribution to fund their senior's activities. Not all will be able to afford it.

As of last week, however, bake sales are back on. Hurray, say the seniors. Not so fast, says the chancellor. The ban is being lifted, temporarily, for one reason: to raise money for relief efforts in Haiti. Again, misdirected in my opinion. I applaud the efforts to get our children involved in fundraising and relief efforts, particularly since NYC has such a large, Haitian community. But meanwhile, our schools are losing valuable programs such as Academic Intervention Services, extracurricular activities, and library services. Why not let the bake sales continue - perhaps after a certain threshold or timeline has been met - this time to benefit our own kids and families?