Saturday, January 21, 2006

Fat and Stupid...

In the last few days CNN’s website has reported two stories that are centered on children in this country. The first reports that advocacy groups and parents are suing the Nickelodeon TV network and cereal maker Kellogg Co. in an effort to stop junk food marketing to kids.

Wakefield, Massachusetts, mother Sherri Carlson said she tries her best to get her three kids to eat healthy foods. "But then they turn on Nickelodeon and see all those enticing junk-food ads," Carlson said. "Adding insult to injury, we enter the grocery store and see our beloved Nick characters plastered on all those junky snacks and cereals."

Where is her parental responsibility? Doesn’t she want to risk hurting her little darling’s feelings by not getting them Kellogg cereal? It does not sound to me like the marketing impacts her children as much as it does her.

The other story is how more than half of students at four-year colleges -- and at least 75 percent at two-year colleges -- lack the literacy to handle complex, real-life tasks such as understanding credit card offers, a study found. The results cut across three types of literacy: analyzing news stories and other prose, understanding documents and having math skills needed for checkbooks or restaurant tips. Without "proficient" skills, or those needed to perform more complex tasks, students fall behind. They cannot interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school. Almost 20 percent of students pursuing four-year degrees had only basic quantitative skills. For example, the students could not estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the service station. About 30 percent of two-year students had only basic math skills.

This just shows how important teaching the basics are in school. Clearly they are not being done in most cases. It reminds me of a scene from the movie Animal House where the dean tells a student, “Fat, Drunk, and Stupid are no way to go through life…”. Most of these kids are 2/3 of the way there…


Anonymous UtahDan said...

I agree! Here in Utah the land of overpopulated schools we include gym class in the calculation of the grade point average. We are dumbing down our analytical skills compared to countries like China, India, and Japan. I sure hope this is not a national problem.

2:43 AM  
Blogger Old Man Rich said...

Fat drunk and stupid has worked pretty well for me.

2:45 AM  

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