Stephen Colbert Weighs In On McDonald's Sponsored Report Cards

Stephen Colbert interviewed Susan Pagan, a mother offended by McDonalds’ sponsorship of her daughter’s elementary school report card, for his segment “People Destroying America.”

Stephen, we know you love Consumerist. It’s ok, you can admit it. That bit at the end with the Superman eye-lasers burning the McDonald’s sign, it sure does bear a flattering resemblance to our description of health advocates as “setting their outrage phasers on kill.” We don’t mind, really. We even appreciate the plug for small claims court. That’s good advice of ours. Keep reading, Stephen. We’ll keep watching.

The Colbert Report [Comedy Central]
PREVIOUSLY: McDonald’s Advertises On Elementary School Report Cards
McDonald’s Stops Advertising On Elementary School Report Cards
Stephen Colbert Weighs In On Botulism, Chinese Poison Train, Subprime Lending

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  1. snoop-blog says:

    thats right, PAGAN! funny ass sh*t! i love colbert!

    sponsored report cards are bs!

  2. TheUncleBob says:

    I love the look on that kid’s face. She knows she’s going to get beat up at school when the other kids realize it’s her mother’s fault they don’t get free Happy Meals any more.

    Anywhoo, if you send your kid to a government school, don’t be surprised when this kind of stuff comes up.

  3. Although I’m not for advertising ANYTHING on a kids report card, maybe this wouldn’t be such a huge deal if parents weren’t feeding their kids McDonalds every day anyway. If it was given only on special occasions, like a birthday dinner or in the event of a good report card, people wouldn’t have to get so bent about this shit.

  4. snoop-blog says:

    i wonder what the requirements are to be able to advertise in report cards. there seems to be nothing of educational value with giving away a free happy meal. i don’t even see it being any kind of reasonable incentive for good grades. when i got good grades, i got cash. that’s a motivator.

  5. snoop-blog says:

    this still to me is no worse than when those groups come to your kids school and try to talk them into going door to door to pawn off their overpriced crap. all so your child can win a soccer ball eraser or hacky sack. i can’t believe they can get away with that crap in school either.

  6. @snoop-blog: My work, which sells NOTHING a school-age child could want, offers a $5 gift card to anyone who makes the honor roll in town.

  7. @snoop-blog: OH GOD I remember those things…they offered a small catalog of crappy goods, and pushed magazine subscriptions.

  8. laserjobs says:

    @snoop-blog: How about those religious organizations looking for recruits in High School. Now that shoule be illegal.

  9. homerjay says:

    Are you trying to say YOU CREATED STEPHEN COLBERT????

  10. Honus says:

    @AlisonAshleigh:

    “Please buy this can of stale popcorn sir, so that my school can afford that new bus we’ve wanted.”
    “How is one can of popcorn going to get you a new bus?”
    “Because it costs 1200 dollars.”

  11. snoop-blog says:

    @laserjobs: i call those cults. i only remember colleges/army/navy, etc recruiting in my high school. i was such a shit back then, those religious groups should be glad they weren’t there.

  12. snoop-blog says:

    @homerjay: no conan created stephen colbert!

  13. Shadowfire says:

    Oh for the love of…

    I don’t see what the big problem is here! I wish this issue would just die already, but no, people feel the need to protect other people from themselves…

    Really, when I was a kid, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s, Burger King, and local arcades all sponsored different schools’ report cards. It was never a problem. Now people get their panties in a bind because of this bullshit.

    I personally never ate at any of those places. I never liked them. And I’m now fat. I know several people who ate at those places all the time, who are skinny as a damn rail. It wasn’t what we each ate, but how active we were.. I sat inside, they played outside. Now I still don’t eat that stuff, but I’m more active and thus losing weight, but fast food played absolutely no part in my problem.

    Really, if you don’t want to go to McDonald’s to get your kid their free happy meal, don’t! That’s fine. But forming protest groups? Really? …..really?

  14. no.no.notorious says:

    @AlisonAshleigh: agreed. those coupons come in handy for a birthday or something.

    seriously, suing a company for being fat? how about the company suing the customer who sues for having no self discipline?

    maybe fast food should denying customers people for being too fat…like bars do when you’re too drunk. let’s see how they “appreciate the help”

  15. no.no.notorious says:

    @Shadowfire: or maybe they accidentally ate tape worm along the way Lolz

  16. humphrmi says:

    LOL I’m sitting here watching the video, as my five year old son is sitting next to me playing on his computer. And he notices this video about McDonalds on my screen. And then he sees Pagan destroy the McDonalds sign with her laser eyes. And he asks me “Why does she want to destroy McDonalds?”

    Why, oh why indeed Ms. Pagan? :)

  17. pfeng says:

    @AlisonAshleigh: hahaha… if I took my preschooler to McDonald’s for a special treat, she’d pitch a fit (we’ve spoiled her with delicious burger places like Five Guys). That being said, she’s a sucker for idiotic cheap useless toys, so the Happy Meal concept is right up her alley.

    I have a feeling that if (when?) she comes home with a reward like this on her report card, it will probably end up being ignored until it expires — at which point we’ll be happy to instead come up with some other reward which doesn’t force US to go to McDonald’s too.

  18. @pfeng: My grandmother always cooked these outrageous old lady portuguese dinners, and all my friends would come to school with happy meal toys when I brought in leftover blood pudding. My grandfather had to sneak me out for a Mcdonalds lunch on weekends, so I always BEGGED for it for my birthday.

  19. @pfeng: Also, can I just say, while I don’t like meat in general (I have no issues with killing animals, I just hate the taste) I would much rather have a mcdonalds cheeseburger over anything from a so-called “gourmet” burger place, like red robin.

  20. Hawk07 says:

    This lady needs to get a life.

    When I was in school, we used to either get free McDonald’s or free Pizza Hut personal pizza for doing well in school.

    I feel like some of these people that get outraged just do it to be attention whores so they can be on TV and their otherwise mundane lives would seem important.

  21. brainswarm says:

    My junior high once did one of those fundraisers that was somewhat successful. They had us selling chocolate Santas and other forms of candy, and a lot of product was moved in the quest for ridiculous prizes. Me, I just bought a couple for personal consumption, because the prizes were crap. However, the school made a rather large mistake when it came to distributing. They handed out the candy during the school day, and student lockers were simply not large enough to hold all the product some of the students had ordered, and many boxes of candy ended up on top of the lockers. Add to that the fact that many seventh and eighth graders are nebulous on the concept of property rights, and the whole thing ended up as a giant sugar-fueled orgy of theft by lunchtime.

  22. yesteryear says:

    @AlisonAshleigh: !! my portuguese grandma
    would send me to school with linquica sandwiches and watercress soup -
    i totally feel your pain. but just out of curiousity – why would you
    rather eat mcdonalds over red robin? i dont eat at these restaurants
    either, but if i had to choose id go for the one where they wait on you
    and you get free refills on your french fries!!

  23. bohemian says:

    @TheUncleBob: The local Catholic HS is sponsored all over the place. Luckily the public high schools have been able to resist the advertising creep.

  24. Eric1285 says:

    Do they really want to ban advertising targeted at kids? If it weren’t for the massive capitalist marketing bombardment I received as a young child (my parents are immigrants, I learned to speak English by watching television…literally) I would not be as well versed in corporate marketing strategies and tactics as I am today. Watching ads as a kid taught me a lot about how companies work…why they spend money to advertise, why they target certain audiences, why I never saw commercials for toys on anything other than Nickelodian…there’s a lot to be learned, and we shouldn’t ban advertising just because some of the dumber kids are easily brainwashed.

  25. TheUncleBob says:

    @bohemian: Yes – but if you disagree with what the private school is doing, you can easily pull your kid out and stop funding the school.

    Try pulling your kid out of public school and stop funding it… let me know how successful you are.

  26. @yesteryear: Oh god the linguica…I can’t even LOOK at it now. That and kale soup, which should be OUTLAWED.

    Well, I haaaaaaaaaaaate big beefy meat patties, and thats what they have at red robin. They also season it with a pretty strong mix of garlic, pepper, salt, etc, and it’s a bit much. They tend to not cook it very well though on top of it. I know the calorie count is probably the same, if not worse with fast food, but I’d rather grab a small cheeseburger I can actually eat, and know how its going to taste, rather than a HUGE heavily seasoned cow leg.

    And the fries…eh. They’re always a little limp.

  27. Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged says:

    I have no problem with McDonald’s offering free food for good grades — a lot of companies do this. However, it shouldn’t be advertised on the actual report card. Why can’t McDonald’s put signs up in their stores or in their other advertisements? Is it because only regular patrons of McDonald’s would see it and they wouldn’t lure in new customers pressured by their child’s desire fueled by the advertisement on their official school document? This is an ad, plain and simple. It has no place on a report card.

  28. Sherryness says:

    I just had a few tense words with my son’s teacher about something similar to this. They send home a “reading log” every month, where you are supposed to mark off each day that you spend reading to your child for 15 minutes, then turn it in. Then they give you a certificate for a free pizza from Pizza Hut – woohoo. My problemS with this: First, it’s junk food. Second, it’s corporate sponsorship of my child’s school work. Third, I don’t need a free pizza to motivate me to read to my child. When chided via a note in his backpack for not participating, I said, “I’ve been reading to my child every day for the past 5 years.” (He is 5-1/2.) And signed it and sent it back. Don’t get me started on all the propaganda and advertising they send home in his backpack every day. One of these weeks I’m going to save it and take a picture of it to put on my blog with a rant.

  29. Paytriot says:

    Everyone is missing the obvious on this issue. Mcdonalds is basically doing the same thing the biz world has done since it started mass education. Preparing its work force. This is Seminole County Florida where this happened, The Orlando area, key word being “FLORIDA.” less than half of the students in school in Florida will graduate. By far the largest employer in Florida is the service industry, most of these kids that graduate and most of the ones who don’t will end up working for the Rathouse or Mcdonalds and its ilk. Bottom line in Florida is you have 2 choices, “Right to Work” at the fryer, or Crime. (Guess which choice seems to be more popular?)

  30. kerplunk17 says:

    When I was in elementary school we had the Pizza Hut Book It! program. If you read so many books you would get a free personal pan pizza. I loved it. It got me to read books, and a few times a year I could get my own personal pizza. My family would rarely order out, so when we did it was a fun treat.

    I don’t understand what the big deal is. If you don’t want your kids to eat the Happy Meal then don’t take them there.

  31. Kia says:

    @Sherryness:

    It’s people like you that really do just need to shut up already. Back when I was little and in elementary school we had “Book It” where the kids would get free personal pan pizzas for reading a certain amount of books.

    Now, I was always an avid reader anyway, and still am, so I hardly needed this incentive. But where do you get off whining about whatever incentive is chosen? You don’t want to use it? Fine, don’t use it. But take all your ranting and “anti commercialism” crap and shove it.

    No one likes crusading soccer moms like you. It’s that entire mentality that makes America such a crappy society. Leave the damn teacher out of it and let her do what she wants to entice children to read when their parents aren’t contributing to it.

    And guess what: It’s school, the kid’s going to have to participate in crappy stuff some times. Just don’t use the damn certificate if you don’t want it, but make him do the reading. All you’re teaching him is several years down the line, he gets a college assignment he doesn’t like, just come whine to mommy about it and she’ll take care of everything. Ugh.

  32. Sherryness says:

    @Kia:
    Because it is not OPTIONAL. I chose not to participate this whole time, and was told (via a chiding note in his backpack this month) that this was what they use to keep track of how much reading is done at home.

    I never once complained about it until it became MANDATORY – and it doesn’t even have to do with homework.

    That’s my problem with it. By the way, maybe they should have concentrated more on manners than book-reading in your particular case. Telling someone to “shut up already,” especially when you obviously didn’t read my post very thoroughly, is incredibly rude.

  33. Sherryness says:

    @Kia:
    You really do need to go back and re-read my post. It’s for ME to mark off every day when I read to my child for 15 minutes which, as I stated, I already do anyway. I don’t need a pizza as an incentive.

    I’m all for helping children understand that there is a payoff to learning, but it doesn’t have to do with handing them a pizza.

    I’m also the furthest from a soccer mom you’ll find. LOL I think I actually scare all of the other parents because I don’t care to participate in all of this stupid crap that has nothing to do with truly learning (they obviously concentrated on quantity over actual comprehension in your case).

    Somehow I managed to get through school without a doggie treat thrown to me every time I got an answer right. And you know what, I have a love for learning to this day, because I learn to satisfy my curiosity. Which is immense.

  34. TheUncleBob says:

    @Sherryness: So… you have a problem with a school making it mandatory for your kid to read outside of school?

  35. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @TheUncleBob: I believe the problem is with Big Brother wanting a record.
    What did Johnny read today? He read “Mein Kampf” and seemed to enjoy it.

    Ooooo, reading is eeeeeevil.

    Seriously, lighten up here. You all are clogging up the intertubes with these bad vibes and such.

  36. luz says:

    I do, the same way I have a problem with my college making it mandatory for me to go to the gym. If it’s so important, how about you take the $300 I pay you for every credit hour and find a way to fit it into class time?

    I’m nuts about literacy and it sucks that many parents aren’t, but you pay taxes and I pay tuition for educators to take care of this shit on their time. And I know teachers are overworked and school systems are stretched, but that’s for districts, not corporations, to handle [refrains from NCLB rant]. Dangling a 90-steer patty from a stick is kind of insulting.

    With regards to poor Sue, I’d have a real problem with it if she were asking for anything but less logos all over her kid’s world. Has she filed a frivolous lawsuit? Has she demanded that McDonald’s close? Did she have a parade? Lastly, does offering chow for grades really encourage academic excellence for its own sake any more than it encourages fixation on those yummy French Fries and adorable mini-Barbies?

  37. @Kia: And I’m sure her kid being called out as the only one not doing the assignment is going to make him happy too. Everyone else gets their free pizza, and he gets a crazy note from his mom to his teacher ranting and raving about christ knows what. Lucky kid!

    Seriously, suck it up and fill out the form. That poor kid is probably distraught that he’s not finishing ‘his’ homework, even though its his moms to fill out. Being a kid is hard enough, why make it any tougher? Its one pizza, chill.

  38. Hawk07 says:

    @Sherryness:

    If you don’t want the free pizza, give the certificate to another family that’s not as well to do so at least they can have the food.

    I can’t imagine what other aspects of your home life are like considering you’ve “bought” all the health nuts propaganda.

  39. luz says:

    (Also: I grew up reading because we had always had shelves full of cool books and no cable. Harsh but effective, IMHO.)

  40. @Hawk07: Thats actually a really great alternative, and would teach the kid a great lesson. Good idea!

  41. Sherryness says:

    @TheUncleBob:
    No, I have a problem with the school making it mandatory that I participate in a corporate-sponsored Pizza incentive. Also, if you’ll read this, it had to with me reading to him – not him reading. As I said, I don’t need a pizza to motivate me to read to my child. So now I have to mark off 30/31 X’s for a month, give it to my child to turn in, then they say, “Good dog, Fido! You get a pizza!” Then I have to try to explain to a 5-year-old why we’re throwing the coupon away.

  42. Sherryness says:

    @AlisonAshleigh:
    Right, I’ll just turn him into a sheep instead of stimulating his brain and his curiosity. “Read Book. Get pizza. Read book. Get pizza. Read book. Get pizza….”

  43. rochec says:

    God I love the Consumerist so much and that clip was great…

    Then I read what was written and immediately lost that good feeling I had. Why does every Gawker site insist on saying they some influence on these outrageous things. I’ve seen it countless times on a number of their sites.

  44. Sherryness says:

    @Hawk07:
    We have pizza, but it’s certainly not along the lines of once a month. If you’re going to reward my child, give him an orange. And one that doesn’t have advertising on it. Oh, and how about complimenting him on the fact that he loves to read and doesn’t need to be goading into doing it.

  45. strider_mt2k says:

    Mmm useless plastic toys…

    I mean…OUTRAGE! RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION DAMMIT!

  46. @Sherryness: I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the point isn’t to turn children into mindless pizza sheep, but to encourage kids who don’t like reading that much, but do like pizza (and lets face it, what kid doesn’t?) to realize reading is FUN. There are plenty of parents who DON’T read to their kids, and this way they can make sure all of the kids are getting something read to them. I’m pretty sure I started out reading because of a program like this (the reward was an ice cream party, if i remember correctly) and twenty something years later, I’m still reading 3-6 books a week.
    But GOD FORBID they feed a few kids pizza, it’s totally programs like this that cause obesity. And not, you know, parents who don’t care enough to cook (…or read a book to their kids) and would rather feed them junk every night, and plop them in front of a Wii.

  47. Eric1285 says:

    I seriously don’t see what the problem is. The parents still have the option of not allowing their children to redeem the happy meal.

    What’s more, deals such as this one are putting much needed money back into the school systems. Our public schools are so terrible that they need every penny they can get (although how they spend it is another matter).

    If parents are so upset about this, then they should work harder so they can afford to send their kids to a private school where they’ll get a real education. I’d home school my kids before I’d ever send them to public school.

  48. Televiper says:

    Personally, I don’t think the student’s report card is a place for any sort of corporate advertising. Outside the class room the parents should have a right to decide which forms of encouragement, and reward are appropriate. This is what is being said. However, I do agree that some parents have to suck it up, and teach their children that they have to do the same. It’s really the same lesson as why the neighbours have a X-Box and our family doesn’t.

  49. n/a says:

    Great superman 2 reference at the end of the show clip.

  50. TheUncleBob says:

    @Sherryness: Might I suggest taking your kid out of public school if you disagree with how the school is ran? If your biggest concern is that the school teams up with a national pizza chain to encourage kids to read, wait until you find out all the other things that are wrong with the school.

  51. timsgm1418 says:

    my kids had the Book It program and now my grandson has it. Honestly pizza is not that bad for you. When I got layed off my job, I volunteered to listen to kids read at my childrens school. The kids I got could barely read, and they were in 3rd grade! The incentive of a free pizza was sometimes the only incentive they had. I have always read to my kids, but sadly a lot of parents don’t. My kids were thrilled when they got to buy their own pizza with the certificate. We were very poor, and that was the only way we could afford to go out to eat. It was a real treat for them.
    One of the little boys I listened to could barely read the word THE.. After a few weeks he was doing better because I kept telling him how well he was doing. Sadly, I was probably the only one who ever told him that.
    My grandson & I have a weekly date at McDonalds. He gets the 4 piece nuggets Happy Meal, with apple dippers and milk. Honestly don’t see that as a horrible meal, definitely not something for everyday, but once a week, it’s not that bad.
    I say keep the incentives, it may be the only “treat” these kids ever get, especially if they come from lower income families.

  52. Sherryness says:

    @AlisonAshleigh:
    I’m not about telling other parents how to motivate their children. And I’m not saying some kids don’t need encouragement. I’m saying that mine doesn’t, and I should have the opportunity to opt out – but I DON’T. It’s a required program. You refer to a few kids who might want to participate. But it’s not about that – it’s that it’s required corporate brain-washing of my 5-year-old.

  53. Sherryness says:

    @TheUncleBob:
    I didn’t say it was my biggest problem. But in my opinion, advertising to my child, it’s a really big one. Did you all not get the the Colbert thing was tongue-in-cheek and that he is on Pagan’s side in this?

  54. timsgm1418 says:

    @AlisonAshleigh: well said…my incentive to read in first grade, was I’d go into the house and get a graham cracker for every chapter I read. My parents weren’t very good at encouraging us to do anything, so we took care of it ourselves. Fortunately it made me do better with my kids. My grandson will bring me a stack of books and sit still and listen to them all. Feels good to see him enjoying reading (he’s 5) His school has the Book It program but they also have a picture of an ice cream cone in the class, and for every 10 books they get a “scoop” of ice cream added to their cone, and a sticker for every book. I would venture to say he has the most scoops on his ice cream cone.

  55. walkofdoom says:

    I loved the Book it! program when I was a kid. It was a reason to go out to dinner one friday a month. It was a treat for my sister and I, as well as a cheap time out for both my parents. I would never trade the time at Pizza Hut for anything in the world, the memories I have of dinner with my family are priceless.

  56. @AlisonAshleigh: As a non-meat eater, you are excused from any discussion of what is a good piece of meat (assuming what is in a McCrap burger is actually meat. Lemme explain, so you don’t think I’m being a foodist.

    1- You say you don’t like the taste of meat.
    2- You then say, “I would much rather have a mcdonalds cheeseburger over anything from a so-called “gourmet” burger place”

    Doesn’t that prove that, McDonalds is the burger joint for people who DON’T LIKE MEAT? And if you don’t like MEAT, why eat a burger anyway? Christ. I will never understand some people

    Fact: If you like meat, you probably prefer a big beefy burger. You like the taste of meat. You like the juices. You don’t like to eat hockey pucks. You KNOW the difference.

    McDonald’s should really just scale down and sell fries and coke. That’s what they’re best at. Trade theory suggests they should leave the burger, fish, chicken and everything else making to someone better equipped.
    Yeah for trade theory.
    Boo for people who claim McDonald’s makes a burger superior to anything not made by McDonald’s.

  57. TheUncleBob says:

    @Sherryness: I don’t think Colbert is really on anyone’s side in this – he’s all about the funny. If anything, he’s pointing out how absurd both sides of this debate are.

    Anywhoo, I fail to see how advertising to a child should be anywhere in the top ten list of issues with your local public school – and I don’t even know what your “local” public school is. ;)

    Anywhoo, I was about to go on a rant about how advertising is everywhere etc., etc… but how you choose to raise your child is up to you. :)

  58. Eric1285 says:

    @Sherryness: You can opt out. It’s called not letting your kid redeem the coupon. Or do you shield your kid from all forms of corporate advertising? That must be difficult…

  59. Sherryness says:

    @Eric1285:
    That’s not opting out. “Opting out” is exercising your option not to participate. I don’t have that option – that’s my problem. Well, that’s one of the biggest problems. There are so many problems with this program I could probably write a couple thousand words about it.
    And not using the coupon doesn’t take away the “doggie treat” effect that this program has on kids. I suppose it gives me the opportunity to teach him about standing up for what you believe and not taking everything that’s handed to you just because it’s free.
    But I suppose another point is that it SHOULD be a non-issue. Fast food joints should not be targeting my kid while he is at school. It should be kind of a safe haven from garbage like that.

  60. TheUncleBob says:

    @Sherryness: Your first wrong move is to assume that a government school is a “safe haven”. :)

  61. stegosaurus1 says:

    Shifting sideways off of fast food for a second…

    Did you ever notice that we never have a choice of those memories that will stick in our memories forever?

    More than 50 years ago (early Jr.High, 50′s), we had to add to a list of books we’d read. I’d just read a book by Earnest K. Gann, “The High and the Mighty”.

    Teach felt compelled to ask me “Did you really read that book or just see the movie?”.

    I can’t recall what my response was, but I’m sure it would be different today!

    BTW, God bless my older sister for teaching me to read before I even entered kindergarten. The gift that keeps on giving

    Dan.

  62. Sherryness says:

    @TheUncleBob:
    I couldn’t agree with you more on that point – as I have learned this last year. He is only 5, so this is my first year navigating educational highways and byways. I’m pretty sure we will be doing something vastly different come September 2008.

  63. Eric1285 says:

    @Sherryness: Sure, I can understand that you don’t want companies targeting your kids at school. I hope you realize though that this takes money out of the school system, resulting in an even poorer education for your child.

    I think you’re fundamentally wrong in sending your child to public school as it counteracts your attempts to better your child’s life.

    My point is that public schools need all the help and money they can get. If McDonalds wants to give the school system $500k a year to print coupons on report cards, I’m all for it. Besides, the only kids who are going to die from eating too much McDonalds are the dumb ones, and nobody’s going to miss them anyways.

  64. Hawk07 says:

    It takes a lot more than a free Happy Meal or free pizza to lead to diabetes or obesity.

  65. Sherryness says:

    @Eric1285:
    My son is learning disabled and I would miss him very much if he were gone.

  66. youbastid says:

    @TheUncleBob: Notice your point. It’s a public school. Private corporations should not be allowed to create mandatory incentive programs. I’m totally behind Sherryness on this one.

  67. youbastid says:

    @Hawk07: Sure it does…but it also takes a whole lot more than a single SUV to lead to global warming. It’s not the whole problem, but it’s part of the problem – not part of the solution.

  68. TheUncleBob says:

    @youbastid: You are correct – the private corporation (that probably pays taxes into her child’s education) should not be allowed to create mandatory incentive programs.

    But should the “teacher” who’s in charge be allowed to? If the teacher isn’t in charge, who is?

  69. youbastid says:

    @TheUncleBob: Teachers have very little power, and no, they shouldn’t be allowed to either.

    Way back when I was in elementary school, my 2nd grade class had a reading rewards program. In addition to the mandatory reading, every additional book we read and wrote a short report on earned a scoop of ice cream on the last day of school. Read 10 books, get 10 scoops. That’s still OK by me, as you weren’t required to do it, and it wasn’t sponsored.

  70. Eric1285 says:

    @Sherryness: Sorry about that, no harm meant. I’ll just stop here and say that I think public schools are a disaster, but I’m all for improving them in away possible. That includes advertising deals.

    You really don’t want to hear my brand of social theory, so I’ll spare the both of us and call it a night.

  71. Televiper says:

    @Eric1285: You mean like becoming an enthusiastic member of the board of trustees, and pushing to get the school the proper funding it needs even if it involves a tax increase? There is a more critical problem when you allow private enterprise to fund public schools. Public school eventually become reliant upon those private enterprises. So what happens is school officials eventually have to start asking questions of teachers who may be touching on subjects that reflect negatively on their sponsors. McDonald’s probably wouldn’t want High School kids reading Generation-X and learning the not so flattering definition of McJob or the many other dis-corporate messages in the book.

  72. magnus150 says:

    Back in High School (bear in mind, this was only two years ago), they’d give us a free value meal for As, and an All American meal for Bs. They even advertised this with little flyers in the hallways. I personally had no issues with this, its free! I always enjoyed going and getting a big mac for free for something I was gonna do anyway. It was great! Provides rewards for students that need a little incentive. And besides, McD’s once every six weeks wont lead to morbid obesity or anything.

  73. sleepydumbdude says:

    Back when ever I was in 4th grade I remember my pizza hut giving free personal pan pizzas if you got 4 or more As. Plus Chuck E Cheese (showbiz at that time) would give you free tokens for As. Back then those were the only reasons I tried to get them.

  74. TheUncleBob says:

    @Televiper: School’s don’t need tax increases or more funding – they need to make better use of what they have. Private schools commonly do a much better job educating children, while spending less per child than public schools. Get rid of the teacher’s unions, then we can talk about reforming public schools. As long as they’re there, they’re simply going to look out for the teacher’s and no one else.

    @youbastid: So… if the teachers or administrators aren’t allowed to determine mandatory programs, who is?

  75. youbastid says:

    @TheUncleBob: Administrators are. Teachers, not so much. If it was a teacher that decided this was mandatory I would imagine the administration not being too thrilled. I don’t really have a problem with McDonald’s or Pizza Hut giving away food for good grades. I just don’t think it should be advertised in or on school property, and participation certainly shouldn’t be required.

  76. kkaabboomm says:

    i actually used to go to that school – Red Bug Elementary in Orlando – way back in the day. apparently i missed out on the hot mcdonalds goodness.

  77. stacye says:

    Did anyone else notice that he never swallowed the burger?

  78. Sherryness says:

    @Eric1285:
    No worries.

  79. MrsMicah says:

    @Melewen: I’m with you. I used my report cards to get food there occasionally (not fat, either). But I don’t like commercial advertising within schools and on actual SCHOOL documents. That’s too much. It also puts a lot more pressure on the parents to actually take the kid.

  80. crackblind says:

    What always gets me is how does Colbert get these people to actually go on camera? At this point, I find it very hard to believe anyone has no idea of how he’ll spin the story.
    Up until the end, I wasn’t sure but it does seem Mrs. Pagan is in on the joke somewhat so more power to her for having a sense of humor about something she does care about.

  81. TheUncleBob says:

    @youbastid: When it comes to making deals with outside corporations, I’d almost bet the administration was involved with the process.

    Anywhoo, participation in the Book-It Program itself may or may not be “mandatory”, but what’s to say the “read with your parents” thing isn’t the actual homework assignment – I’m sure the teacher wouldn’t force the Pizza Hut coupon on the kid if he/she didn’t want it.

    @MrsMicah: If the most pressured decision a parent ever has to make is not to take their kid to McDonald’s, then that parent is pretty darn lucky. :)

  82. humphrmi says:

    Oh wow, a lot of people take this issue pretty seriously.

    I bet in a lot of these cases, McDonald’s wouldn’t have the opportunity to advertise on kids report cards if the school districts were properly funded. I wonder how seriously those people who are complaining about schools reaching out for alternative funding take funding their own schools?

  83. Eric1285 says:

    @humphrmi: Education is of supreme importance. I think we all agree on that, which is why we are all so passionate about this topic.

    When I come to power, everyone will receive a first class education. I love this country too much to see it fall behind in my lifetime.

  84. humphrmi says:

    @Eric1285: That’s very commendable, but can I humbly suggest that you don’t have to “come to power” to ensure that everyone (at least in your own school district) receives a first class education?

    You’ve maybe done all this already, and I’m by no means saying you aren’t, but here’s the power you already wield:

    1. When your school district comes to you, a voter, to ask for a levy increase – that instead of knee-jerk reacting “NO! Don’t raise MY property taxes!” you consider their actual need, and that the investment that a higher levy makes into the value of your homes if your school districts are first class?

    2. Write to your governor, and state legislators, and tell them that education is so important to you that you will be basing your voting decisions in the next election on how well they do at securing better funding for your schools. Then tell every neighbor to do so also. And ask them to tell all their neighbors.

    3. Write to your president, US senator, and US congresspeople saying basically the same thing about federal funding of your schools.

    Again, I’m not saying you aren’t already, but I’ve found these activities to be very effective in my school district. And I hate to say it, but especially item number 1.

  85. Dalinae says:

    My only reward for reading books in elementary school was the disdain of my classmates and the dislike of my communist teachers for the thumb that stuck out. Ah, fun times, fun times.

    I wouldn’t want my child growing up feeling entitled to physical rewards for something as necessary to his/her humanity as education. Or connecting something personal and beautiful as literature with kitschy corporate Americana.

  86. Eric1285 says:

    @humphrmi: Great advice. I actually don’t do that much on the political side because I feel like trying to act on it now is a waste of my time. I don’t have the power to do what I want to do, although I do recognize that what I do now can make a difference. It’s just not a big enough impact for me to really put my effort into it.

    I’m actually working on a project for a new middle school in detroit. It’s a charter school that’s math and science focused. Very exciting stuff. The school is big into technology and new learning methods, which I love.

    I figure that when I get out of school and start really making my mark on the world, I’ll be in a better position to influence people. Nothing motivates politicians more than the promise of a large campaign donation.

    I’m actually going to be in the education industry for the next several years. Unfortunately, I’ll be operating mostly overseas, but my work will benefit students in the states by bringing top notch international students into the best colleges. One of my pet peeves here at the University of Michigan is the large numbers of incompetent students in my classes. It’s so bad that for the most part, I don’t go to classes anymore. It’s just not worth it to go to a 1.5 hour lecture when 30-45 minutes of that lecture are spent addressing a problem that I solved within 2 minutes of it being put on the board. I mean, the other day in one of my classes (a 300 level engineering course) we learned about paragraphs and sentence structures. We were then given strips of paper with sentences on them and asked to use glue-sticks to glue them in the right order. Now, pardon me if I’m mistaken, but I believe I did the same thing in 2nd grade. Why am I paying $30k a year for this? The most outrageous part was that other students in the class were getting these things wrong!

    Anyways, I’ve ranted long enough. Change will come, and you can bet I’ll be a part of it.

  87. Kia says:

    @Sherryness:

    Yes, you do have to explain why you’re throwing the coupon away. You’re a damn parent, so -parent-. Christ, I’m in my mid-20s and I could do a better job knowing what to do with a kid.

    Not. That. Difficult. Just mark off the X’s, and if you really hate the Big Bad Corporate Entity that much, reward the kid with something different.

  88. humphrmi says:

    @Eric1285: Lord, that’s sad. I remember taking Engineering in college, it wasn’t like that. It’s gotten pretty bad.

  89. Eric1285 says:

    @humphrmi: No kidding. This is the University of Michigan we’re talking about. It’s one of the most highly regarded engineering schools in the country.

    Granted, the class I was talking about was a required writing class for engineers. I guess they realized that most engineers can’t write. At all. Still, if the public school system hadn’t failed this kids so badly, they wouldn’t need to brush up on their writing skills in college, and I wouldn’t have to suffer through the class with them.

  90. dirtleg says:

    @TheUncleBob: Just to address a couple of your observations above:
    One of the reasons private schools do well in comparison to public schools is because they often don’t, or won’t, deal with problem students. If a private school has a problem, they have the option of simply throwing them out. They also have the opportunity to screen students prior to enrolling them. If a child has a history of social problems or learning disability, they can be turned away before they ever enter a class room. Public schools do not have this option, at all. They must take every student, regardless of personality, social or learning problems. They are required to evaluate these students on the same level and tests that the straight A students are evaluated. And if they do not show progress from year to year for 90% of all students in all categories of social, disabilities and ethnic backgrounds they stand to lose their funding and accreditation from the State. Many private schools do not even have handicap accessible restrooms, much less the teachers needed to educate such students.
    Do you know any public school teachers? Are you familiar with what your local public school system is required to deal with on a daily basis? Do you know the hours put in by teachers to make sure that ALL their students are learning? Sure there are bad teachers. There are also bad police officers, firemen, senators and even the occasional president. I doubt that we would hear you calling for the abolition of police or fire fighters unions or congress. Teachers are some of the hardest working least appreciated people in this country. Look into both sides of what you are suggesting before calling for the reform of the public school system. You might be amazed at the tremendous bargain that most Americans have in their neighborhood schools. If you are looking for someone to blame for failing public schools and students, in many cases look at the parents. There is a rock that no one wants to turn over.
    If the public school system were to be “reformed”, as many folks define it, you would quickly find that private schools, or voucher schools is the popular term for today, would be overwhelmed with what public schools handle routinely.
    I think I better stop now. I have probably opened myself up to some caustic rebuttals, but that’s cool. Education and schools are an emotional subject for me and I have high regard for our school system and what they provide for so many of us. Problems, sure. But on the whole, I think they do amazing work most of the time.

    Oh yeah. I am not a teacher. Just a parent.

  91. lovelygirl says:

    I don’t really see a problem in them giving free food to student that do well. I loved that when I was a kid, and the Pizza Hut’s Book It!(not sure of the name) program was offered. If you read a certain amount of books, you could get a free personal pan pizza. I LOVED those pan pizzas and I still do(although Pizza Hut doesn’t make them as good anymore). I felt proud that I could get my own food instead of my parents buying it and the nearest Pizza hut to me was around 10 minutes away, so I didn’t get to have it all the time. Parents need to show their kids that all foods, even McDonald’s are good in moderation. I still remember how happy I was eating those pan pizzas because I was an avid reader, I got them as often as possible. And I’m not overweight to this day, actually I’m kinda under haha! My mother always taught me “everything in moderation”. McDonald’s is a sometime treat, like when you do well in school or for your birthday or something. Not for several times a week or everyday.

  92. lovelygirl says:

    After reading the above comments, ITA @ TIMSGM1480!! I wasn’t a poor kid and never wanted for food, but I did feel proud to know that I could “buy” my own food. And there are kids out there that are poor and hungry and would love to be like other kids and eat the same snacks they’re eating. Don’t ya’ll remember what it was like to be a kid? And it does motivate kids to read(Book It program). It just frustrates me that other parents did not raise their children as I was raised– there aren’t “bad” foods. You eat everything. In moderation. Don’t ban fast foods or demonize them; children will just want them more. And as for advertising to children, everything in a child’s life is about advertising. Sorry to you people out there who think it’s not, you’re living in a fairy-tale world. There isn’t anything wrong with enticing kids with a free cheeseburger or something if they get a good grade. There are kids that just won’t try no matter what unless they have an incentive. Wake up people. Worry about the important things, not about if McDonald’s wants to advertise in report cards. Parents should have instilled enough values and ideas about healthy eating in their children to not have to worry about an occasional free burger and fries.

  93. voltekka says:

    Lmao, I live in Seminole county, and my little sister goes to Red Bug Elementary! This is friggin’ hilarious. I’ma see if I can find that Pagan.

  94. Channing says:

    Hey guess what. If our government wanted to spend more money on supporting these schools (I graduated from some lovely public schools myself) they probably wouldn’t need these so called partnerships. However, the sad reality of it is these schools are underfunded and overstuffed with students.