Uncle Sam even puts kibosh on popcorn - The Packer

Uncle Sam even puts kibosh on popcorn

04/22/2014 01:11:00 AM
Tom Karst

TK: All these requirements in the proposed rule - spelled out in staggering detail in the regulation posed Feb. 26 - would demand about 241,000 hours of work by school officials each year, the USDA estimates. Wow.

 One comment found in regulations.gov about the proposed rule read:

 It is unclear how this will be enforced, ultimately. First, the rules are very confusing so that communicating the rules is already a problem. If this cannot be conveyed easily to a revolving door of parents/teachers/principals the information will get ignored. Principals are in control of what happens at the site level particularly in this arena; there are not enough food service employees/supervisors to manage at the site level.

Principals and teachers are overwhelmed with their own concerns (new common core standards, to name just one) that they are stretched thin, making sure parents provide information on what they are serving in the way of comp sales or collecting ingredients lists to be submitted to admin offices seems unlikely at best. And if they don't... what happens? The rules themselves are good rules but they are unenforceable, it will become a "don't ask, don't tell" sort of rule. Principals, teachers and admin have other priorities arguing with parents about what they can serve for their child's birthday party just before lunch will be low on the list... Why would teachers/Principals/Admin want to take time to enforce and police this rule and invoke the ire of parents? How does Food Service train all the folks in the rules?

Teachers and Principals don't have enough time in the day to cover the work they need to be doing as educators.On the ground, the enforcing and reporting seem utterly unrealistic to me. Food Service departments just don't have the clout, authority or manpower to train or enforce this on their own. Realistically, I don't see how this will play out successfully and I worry that the more rules there are the more they just become back ground noise - the law of diminishing returns and I am not sure that is a good thing.

 

 TK: The author of this comment has a point; how much regulation can locally schools endure? Will USDA enforce these rules? As any first grade teacher would tell you, there is not enough time in the day as it is.

So, while educators are "on board" for better nutrition at schools, there is a little pushback on the extent of federal reach into the local schools. To the chagrin of some, Uncle Sam has even snatched the popcorn bags from grade schoolers.


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