Mindless Snacks Are to Mindless School

12 10 2006

“To a person, people will swear they aren’t influenced by the size of a package or how much variety there is on a buffet or the fancy name on a can of beans, but they are,” Dr. Wansink said.

. . . Although people think they make 15 food decisions a day on average, his research shows the number is well over 200. Some are obvious, some are subtle. . . the most fascinating material is directly from his studies on university campuses and in test kitchens for institutions like the United States Army.

An appalling example of our mindless approach to eating involved an experiment with tubs of five-day-old popcorn.tub of popcorn


Applying my handy-dandy “school-is-to-food” analogy, might this suggest that though we SWEAR our kids aren’t influenced by Lowest Common Denominator School Culture, and that we ourselves don’t care about grades, or the prestige of elite schools and scholarships, or advanced degrees, etc — we’re kidding ourselves?

School Culture influences even families who don’t send their kids to school, in some ways, but at least we don’t deny it. (We complain about it instead!)

And this is the part of the analogy I hope parents-in-the-middle can use Read the rest of this entry »

Preteen Fashion Frightens Parent

12 10 2006

“Clementine stands on a fashion precipice that I, as her mother, find terrifying.
To put it bluntly, she wants clothes that make her look older.

I want clothes that don’t.”

Take Fun Quiz (On Taking Fun From Kids)

12 10 2006

Lots of informative questions and answers! No cheating, no quitting. Report your scores back here.

Quiz starts on left menu with one question.

Here’s a sample:

Motivated in part by legal fear, what percentage of America’s 16,000 public school systems “’have either modified, deleted or are considering deleting recess’”?

If you simply must study first (that’s the kind of student I am, too) then go here to bone up. Maybe here too if you really are a grind.

LAW Can’t Think!

12 10 2006

From Scott London’s snappy review of a book I just called “my political bible” in yet another discussion about how to be both free from and connected to each other:

Howard does not offer any concrete proposals for reversing America’s growing dependence on regulation. Nevertheless, he does outline a number of guiding principles toward addressing the problem:

“We should stop looking to law to provide the final answer,” he writes. “Law should articulate goals, award subsidies, allocate presumptions, and provide mechanisms for resolving disagreements, but law should almost never provide the final answer. Life is too complex. Our public goals are too complex…. Law can’t think, and so law must be entrusted to humans and they must take responsibility for their interpretation of it.”

After writing the book, Howard founded a center dedicated to “restoring the common good” because ““our system of law is no longer reliable . . . It doesn’t have to be this way.” I heard him in a roundtable talk on this topic, a BBC world business program broadcast last month, I’ll see if I can find a link. Such smart stuff!

UPDATE – his school specific ammo here and also here.