A Day in the Life of an Average Kid
A 10 year old boy living in New York wakes up to go to school. He is 5' tall and about 175-200 pounds. This is his story.
Joe finds a seat on his school bus (despite school being a 10 minute walk from his families apartment). Taking a seat in his fifth grade classroom, Joe spends the morning studying a regimented testing curriculum centered around giving his school tax benefits without him actually learning anything useful.
There is no recess, because in a vain attempt to save kids the personal self esteem crushing agony of losing a game of Hide n Seek, and to protect schools from parents with lawyers, recess is banned district-wide. Lunch is at 11:30. Joe opens his soggy paper bag to find a Twinkie, a Pepsi, and leftover pizza. He sits at a lunch table with a group of 5 other boys, all of whom are just as overweight as he is.
After class restarts from 12:00 to 3, he will be studying for next week's benchmark test. There's a benchmark next week and a State Standardized test in a month. Subjects include math, science, history, and writing. The teacher has been unenthusiastically teaching the kids to write accordion paragraphs to prepare, while reviewing math I myself learned in the third grade.
After school, he again takes the bus 2 blocks to his family home, a poorly kept 2 bedroom apartment with cable TV and a couch. His parents, both working long hours to get extra cash, are both working the 8 to 6 grind at a toy company (his father) and a conglomerate (his mother). Home alone for the next two hours, he manages to half of his homework done in those two hours, consisting of 6 separate 10 page testing study guides. Taking well deserved break, he catches tonight's latest episodes of Law and Order, Sex in the City, and Austin Powers 2 (on DVD). He stays awake until his parents arrive home at 7 (traffic) and bring home dinner: Burger King Stackers (4 patties for Dad, 3 for Joe, 2 for Mom, plus extra cheese, bacon, and no vegetables). The meal is complete with French fries and 3 Pepsi's. He stays up until midnight completing his massive amounts of homework, and crashes in bed. He awakes the next morning at 6, and the cycle continues.
Anybody think anything is wrong with this picture? Poor Joe, who may or may not be diabetic, may die before the age of 40 due to this lifestyle. This is not fictional BS. This is the real impoverished suburbanite lifestyle in lower-middle class America. Joe is also likely a member of a minority (African American, Mexican). He is grotesquely overweight, has a potential IQ above 120, but is being treated and handled as though he has an IQ below room temperature, and will likely never unlock his true potential until it is too late. He believes his life is normal, and unfortunately, he is 100% correct. This lifestyle is the new norm.
Due to a chain reaction involving the government's complete and total ignoring of stories like these, as well as the No Child Left Behind Act actually leaving plenty children behind, kids are getting fatter and more stupid. Also, some schools have imposed district blanket bans on recess and simple play, i.e. Tag, Touch Football, etc.
Memo to parents/schools/feds: THIS IS NOT RIGHT! Moreover, it doesn't have to be normal. Kids today are living in a false society where everything is just fine, while being shielded from real world problems such as fat, cholesterol, exercise, and sex (the last one will haunt them if they discover it on their own). The unfortunate members of what I will refer to as the Dystopian Generation ("Dystopia" is such a cool word) are being taught wonderful test taking skills while being assigned absurd amounts of frivolous homework, being taught stupid concepts and having their self esteem padded. They are not being informed that no major corporations gives a rat's ass about self esteem, and will not console you if you are a flaming idiot.
This false sense of "happy" is not only being fed to sub ten year olds-high school kids are equally as vulnerable. Moreover, high schools are being treated less like centers of education and more like prisons or quarantine zones, treating students as though we are all a bunch of psychotic criminals.
Bottom line: Parents, schools and the government still have time to save the Dystopian Generation. These people, who are all responsible for this weak system, must face facts: kids can learn the REAL facts of life the easy way or the hard way. Easy way: parents turn off the TV and talk to their kids once in a while. Hard way: they learn "where babies come from" at age 16, and get pregnant/get a girl pregnant. Also, schools need to give students more flexibility. They will never learn if they are shuffled from class to class without any say in what they are learning. This leads to widespread apathy, especially in teens. Parents need to be there for their kids at a young age to teach kids to care.
Did I miss anything?