Saturday, April 16, 2005

Save The Children

Parents in the US face daunting challenges. Not only are there the usual childhood diseases and accidents, but there are other risks to be dealt with. Drug dealers, violent gangs and the horror of paedophilia can be a serious worry. Issues from bullying to guns in schools to pornography are rightly talked about. On top of all this, a new threat has emerged that has not received the attention it deserves. No Congressman has called for hearings and the ACLU has not threatened to sue. The members of Social Busybodies Sans Frontieres have not said a word. Conservative talk shows have remained worryingly silent on this issue. Even the European Commission on Human Rights has been schtum on this topic. It has been up to one small group of parents at Daniels Farm Elementary School in Trumbull, Connecticut to rush to their children’s defence. They, and a few other schools around the country, have faced the challenge head on. The challenge is red.

This is not ‘red’ as in The Red Menace or the Red Tide. This is not about steroid abuse on the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, or the use of red Santa suits in the public square at Christmas. This red threat is the use of red ink to correct test papers. As the parents at Daniels Farm school rightly point out, ‘red is stressful’. Not surprisingly, concerned parents at other schools as far away as Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School in Pittsburgh and Snowshoe Elementary School in Wasila, Alaska have recognised the danger to their kiddies. As Joseph Foriska, an educator for 31 years, pointed out, ‘the color is everything’. Justin Kazmark of Public School 188 in Manhattan added, ‘my generation was brought up on right or wrong with no in-between, and red was always in your face’. Apparently answering ‘2+2’ with ‘3.8731’ is close enough for PS 188.

In order to crush the menace of red in schools, the teaching profession is apparently moving in increasing numbers to purple. The manufacturers of disposable pens report that they are making more purple pens in response to demand. There are no reports yet of a decrease in the child suicide rate or a drop in first graders’ visits to psychiatrists however. It must be assumed that purple is a gentle color, a supportive color, and a reinforcer of self-worth. Writing ‘Johnny is a miserable little sod with the intelligence of an amoeba and the social skills of Vlad the Impaler’ is likely to go down better in purple than in red. Purple is much better. Green can cause envy, blue can lower the mood, pink will offend the same-sex parents, black and white have racial overtones. Yellow stigmatises the Asian kids, and orange is too much like a commercial for Florida citrus.

Robert Silberman, marketing vice president for Pilot Pen sees the threat to America’s children and is very supportive of the educational reform. ‘Teachers are taking it to heart’, he says. He might be taking the replacement of 98 billion red disposable pens before they run out of ink to heart as well. Leatrice Eiseman, founder and president of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training also agrees. So much color training, so little time.

As long as purple is the new standard for pretending Johnny is capable of counting to seven, why not expand the educational horizon? Why be limited to purple when there are mauve, magenta and puce? Johnny might learn three new words and Mr Silberman and Ms Eiseman would be very happy indeed. There’s a lesson in that for Johnny as well.


Blogger Tran Sient said...

I wonder how much tax money they spent on focus groups and child psychologists to figure this out.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Africanuck said...

It's all an insidious plot due to royalists, in my opinion.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Adam S. said...

"Johnny is a miserable little sod with the intelligence of an amoeba and the social skills of Vlad the Impaler."

Heh-heh. Perhaps if Johnny wasn't coddled, patronized, and completely sheltered from reality, he'd show some improvement.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

And here I am complaining that teacher's don't "bleed" enough on my son's papers. I must want to destroy his self-esteem!

10:56 AM  
Blogger VikiBabbles said...

Well said. I posted about this too-I've got two elementary school kids myself, and I'll tell you this-we've got a generation full of people for whom reality is a TV show they watch with their friends growing up. They'll be running for office when we're retiring (well, when I'm retiring anyway). What am I saying? They won't be running for office, they'll be sitting on the couch in their parents homes, watching television, hiding from reality.

7:36 PM  
Blogger dotbar said...

Honestly. It's things like this that distract people and sap precious energy for the really important who is gonna scrape all that old gum from underneath the desks? or who stole the polyfilla used to fill in those names scratched in the seats?

9:36 PM  
Blogger birdwoman said...

I believe that the CT folks are moving from Red pens because they are Blue staters.

just a theory.


8:29 AM  
Blogger Chris of Dangerous Logic said...

So what happens when everybody switches from red to purple? Purple becomes the color associated with 'BZZZZZT! Wrong answer!' and we move to some other color?

I think you nailed it - it's a conspiracy by the pen makers to get millions of teachers to buy new pens before they should need to!

11:46 AM  
Anonymous history of santa claus said...

Well done on a nice blog Homo Insapiens. I was searching for information on santa costumes and came across your post Save The Children - not quite what I was looking for related to santa costumes but very nice all the same!

We're all getting ready for Christmas and I've just put the finishing touches to my new site specially for kids, or rather their parents and relatives. You can go there and get Santa to send a really nice personalized letter to a youngster. It's great fun! If you have a moment, perhaps you'd enjoy taking a look: Letter from Santa .

Well, a merry Christmas to you and yours!

8:51 AM  

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