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The Eggplant


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A simple fix for recent school woes

by Marty Fortier

Do I have to solve every freakin' social problem in this country? Jeez!

There are two big problems facing our school children today and no one seems to know what to do. First of all, due to the new "No Child Left Behind Act," schools are now required to meet certain educational standards. Sadly, many of our nation's schools, including several in Kootenai County, don't measure up. That's one big problem.

The second problem facing our kids today is the presence of sodas in school. I know it's shocking news, parents, but given the choice, little Johnny is pressing the Coke button and not the spring water button on the school vending machine. Personally I don't remember vending machines at school; but then again, we didn't have condom handouts either.

So here we are with an education "perfect storm" where the confluence of underperforming schools and sugary drinks is making our kids fat and stupid. What to do, what to do?

Well, the soda companies have come forward and announced that elementary schools should not offer their bubbly confections. Magnanimous but shortsighted.

While the N.E.A., school boards and principals around the country wrestle with the two-pronged problem of low grades and high calories, I, your humble yet brilliant correspondent, have the solution.

Think about it, soda companies. What's the best-case scenario if you eliminate the sugary drinks? That's right, kids that are slightly less fat but still stupid.

If you think about it as I have, you'll realize that, other than recess, the sodas represent something at school the kids actually like. Instead of yanking every can of Coke out of the schools, keep the drinks and add a quiz. Little Johnny can either plunk down his change for a refreshingly tasteless bottle of water, or answer a couple of questions and get a yummy Orange Crush.

Here's how it works:

1) The kid puts the money in the vending machine.

2) If he or she pushes a "bad" drink button the child is asked a question.

3) If the kid answers the question correctly, the soda is dispensed and the cost of the soda refunded.

4) If answered incorrectly, the stupid kid gets water.

Want a Coke? Do some math. A 7-Up? No problem. Just tell me who wrote the "Star Spangled Banner." For a Dr. Pepper I believe an anatomy question would be appropriate.

It's true the smart kids won't lose weight, but hey, they can get through life on their brains. On the other hand, by the time the dumb kid leaves school, he'll have slimmed down and look so good that he can become a politician or a TV news anchor.

Now, I realize there is one inherent problem with this system. But I contend we can deal with a bunch of thirsty, pissed-off teachers.

Marty Fortier barely escaped a lifetime sentence in the cutthroat world of big city advertising and marketing. He currently operates a business, writes, and referees his children's fights from his home office somewhere in North Idaho. Marty Fortier can be reached at: mbfortier@icehouse.ne

— Marty Fortier
Coeur D'Alene Press


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