R.I.P. Bake Sales and More on Schools as Grim, Joyless Places

In a column back in 2001 or so, I once complained about how California schools would not let parents bring home-baked treats into the public school. I could not bake cupcakes and take them to my child’s class for a birthday party. The only acceptable treat had to be store bought. And now how California children must long for the day when store-bought treats were acceptable. Now parents in California are stuck with carrot sticks (not even grapes–because the kids might choke) for Winter Holiday parties, spring festivals, and birthday parties. Alas, California is not alone.

As the New York Times reports:

There shall be no cupcakes. No chocolate cake and no carrot cake. According to New York City’s latest regulations, not even zucchini bread makes the cut.

In an effort to limit how much sugar and fat students put in their bellies at school, the Education Department has effectively banned most bake sales, the lucrative if not quite healthy fund-raising tool for generations of teams and clubs.

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.

And in more school as police state action, Joanne Jacobs reports on a middle school Mom’s fight with a school over a ban on bike riding:

Janette Kaddo Marino rides three miles to the Saratoga Springs school with her 12-year-old son Adam. She thinks it’s safe.

“They really don’t have the right to tell me how to get my kids to school,” Marino told, emphasizing that she always accompanies her son and is “very safety-oriented.”

Lisa Snell is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine, School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children's Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.