Honestly, I don't see an educational crisis looming in the US of A. So what if 70% of kids can't pick Iraq out on a map? The 5% whose National Guard parents just shipped out for their third tour know where it is, and the rest have more important things to be filling their heads with.
As the patriots over at NBC's Dateline showed last night, American kids--preschoolers, even--are doing just fine, learning what's really important: how to tell the difference between a good Dreamworks/Universal/NBC/GE property like Shrek and an evil Nickelodeon/Viacom one, like Spongebob.
The kid's not in school yet, but from the moment her focal point exceeded 5 feet, I've been getting her ready for the real world. Or at least the freeways between DC and NYC. She knows her colors [blue, yellow, orange, red and um, yellow again, green...], her shapes. She can tell a 3-pointed star from a 5-pointed one. She can divide a black-crusted pie up into four equal blue-and-white pieces. She may still call her little friend from the Turnpike a Gecko Frog, but then, she thinks Cameleon is spelled without an 'H', so what can you do? You show me a Tadjikistani kid who knows half that many corporate brands.
U-S-A [Networks]! U-S-A [Networks]! U-S-A [Networks]!
Marketing to kids: Spokescharacters and their swaying power [msnbc.com via dt reader sam]
GEICO Gecko Beanie plushtoy [$6], GEICO Gecko baby blanket [$13.50] at the GEICO Online Store [geicostore.summitmg.com]