One teacher’s quest for real answers to the problem of student underachievement.
When I was a kid, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge meant paying a toll each way. For decades traffic slowed (or stopped) morning and night, every workday. Then, because 30 years is enough time to think things through, a light bulb went on in the Bridge Authority and they realized they could slow traffic down in only ONE direction each day, and charge double, because those people would go HOME at night!
What else is right in front of our noses but we won’t notice for 30 years?
For instance, is there some hidden cause for the decline in SAT scores, and the far higher rate of absences, retention, violence, and vandalism? Could school meals have anything to do with it? GoodSchoolFood.org Dr. Alexander Schauss thinks so, he found that whenever prisons or juvenile halls improved nutrition, there was up to 75% less violence, theft, and other antisocial behavior. It’s time to see the obvious: when it comes to school food “garbage in, garbage out.”
If social marketing is the planning and implementation of programs designed to bring about social change using concepts from commercial marketing, U2 singer Bono might be the master of it.
Through his plan: “One campaign to make Poverty History” launched this year, Bono has been signing up his audience as members. He hoped to get a million people, he got 2 million members so far since March. During an interview with the SF Chronicle, Bono announced that: “By the next election, the One Campaign to make Poverty History will be larger than the National Rifle Association”. Perhaps one of the U2 singer’s most important steps is the recent cancellation of debts owed by a number of Third World countries to the world’s richest countries. In the past, Bono was successfully focusing on funding AIDS and malaria relief after volunteering in 1984 with his wife for six weeks in an Ethiopian refugee camp. The ultimate proof of his tremendous impact in the world is that he is seriously considered as a Nobel Peace Prize candidate.
Between the 1960s and 1980s, the percentage of overweight children in the US hovered around 6%. Since 1980, the rate of obesity in children aged 6 to 11 has more than doubled, and the rate in adolescents has tripled to 16%. Currently one child in five is overweight. The increase is in all age, race and gender groups. The main culprits are the same as those for adult obesity: eating too much and moving around too little. Almost half of children aged 8-16 years watch three to five hours of television a day. Kids who watch the most hours of television have the highest incidence of obesity, not only because little energy is expended while viewing but also because of concurrent consumption of high-calorie snacks. Other factors of obesity are: poor nutritional habits, life style, heredity.
Since obesity in kids is now epidemic in the United States, Kraft is taking a stand and addressed the issue by banning some food ads targeting children and by introducing healthier food for children (lower content of fat and sugar). Under Kraft’s new policy (at work since 2003), any product advertised on a TV show where more than 50% of the audience is under 12 (as measured by Nielson Media Research) has to meet the nutritional standards set by the company.
At the Presidio School of Management, we first heard of dialogue framing through the work of George Lakoff (Don’t Think of an Elephant). Yesterday, I just reconnected with the same concept about framing words, discussions, debates at the Bioneers Conference, during Thom Hartmann intervention: “Beyond Framing, How deep neuro-linguistic programming communicates”. He stated that to be effective in the public arena, one must understand and use the tools of defining arguments, persuade the public and eventually win elections.
I found really interesting his analysis on public identity. Hartmann noted that in the United States, our identity is one of a consumer and that notion is spreading worldwide, via consumerism. We have been branded as consumers. Contrary to many places in the world, people are first and foremost citizen, “The Defender of the Commons”. Also, Hartmann mentioned that people, as consumers, have been infantilized, pretending that “they are the center of the world”. This created individualism and de-responsibilization.
Robert Iger, the new appointed CEO of Disney, might have big shoes to fill by replacing the fallen King Michael Eisner. Most important, he needs to redirect Disney’s positioning and take into account the numerous new challenges of the ever-changing consumer market: a downturn in the core film business, the complications of expanding into foreign markets, particularly China and India-, and the urgency pressing upon all traditional media companies to reinvent their businesses for a new digital era. He is under pressure to devise new ways to drive growth.
The 54-year-old executive inherits a company whose old way of doing business has been blown up by technology. “If we sit back and rely on old technology, the consumer is going to pass us by”, Mr. Iger says, noting the music industry made that mistake. He realizes that his biggest obstacles may be the business habits of Disney’s old employees and of theater owners, mass retailers, television affiliates and others. “We need to create an atmosphere that tolerates experimentation, even if it’s at the expense of near-term economics”.
It was announced in a big marketing splash: eBay will buy Skype. The business analysts were perplex, the Skype consumers surprised. Why in the world would an online auction company acquire an online communication service provider?
Market studies, social and behavior trends studies were certainly conducted by Ebay in order to make the move. The reporting of these findings did not make it in the media, maybe by choice from Ebay, to not release information to competitors.