"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pass a Test, Get a Happy Meal

Today's all-consuming consumer capitalism has found its way all the way down to our children's report cards in Seminole County, Florida. If a single A gets you a Happy Meal, will three of them earn a Triple Bypass Burger? Hey boys and girls, you'd better supersize that study time!

As escalating the manufactured demand for more consumables through advertising is the only strategy to keep consumer capitalism growing, is there any reason to doubt why Americans are getting as big as heifers and steers, or that the oversized casket companies are doing a booming business?

From the NYTimes:

FAST-FOOD chains often post nutritional report cards about their product ingredients on restaurant walls. Now one is using children’s report cards to help stimulate sales.

The McDonald’s restaurants in Seminole County, Fla., and the Seminole County School Board have agreed to reward students for good grades and attendance during the 2007-8 school year with Happy Meals.

The program replaces one that for the last 10 school years had been sponsored by local Pizza Hut restaurants, according to the school district.

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade can now receive a Happy Meal from a local McDonald’s restaurant as a “food prize,” as it is described, for achievements like all A’s and B’s in academic subjects or two or fewer absences from school.

The “report card incentive,” as the program is called, is a business partnership between the owners of the McDonald’s restaurants in Seminole County and the school board, according to information published on the jackets in which the children receive their report cards.

The jackets are used throughout the school year. Teachers put report cards in them, and students take them home for their parents to sign to let the teachers know the report cards have been read.

The jackets also bear a cartoon of Ronald McDonald, the chain’s brand mascot for children, and its Golden Arches logo.

The jackets also feature photographs of Happy Meal menu items like Chicken McNuggets.

“Turning report cards into ads for McDonald’s undermines parents’ efforts to encourage healthy eating,” said Susan Linn, director of an advocacy organization in Boston, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

“It’s a terribly troubling trend,” Ms. Linn said, because “it really, clearly links doing well in school with getting a Happy Meal.” . . . .

1 comment:

  1. You'll like this too--your favorite charter chain is taking trips to the Bahamas on the public's dime: