Show 38: The American Kid

Summers in the United States – and especially in Alaska - are a much anticipated and celebrated time of year. School is out, the barbecues are hot, the campgrounds are filled and we are outside as much as possible – rain or shine. These are the months when we most appreciate our freedoms and we here at Kids These Days! thought it the perfect time, too, to take a closer look at the American Kid. We hear a lot of anecdotes about the “kids these days” – that they’re dropping out of school more, that they’re not getting enough exercise, that they’re using drugs less often – and maybe you’ve heard one or all of these statements lately, but what is true and what is not when it comes to how our country’s children are really doing according to the facts?

IN-STUDIO GUESTS: To learn the facts about our country's kids, two special guests join KTD! Producer Sarah Gonzales who is hosting today, in for Shana Sheehy. Laura Speer is the Associate Director for Policy Reform and Advocacy at the Annie E Casey Foundation and has primary responsibility for the National KIDS COUNT Project, she joined us by phone from Baltimore, Maryland. Virgene Hanna is the director of survey research and a research associate at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research. Since 2001 she has directed Kids Count Alaska.

FEATURED STORIES:

• Pretty Princess Marketing - Kids are the targets of a lot of marketing. Each new kid movie comes with a whole line of merchandise, from tooth brushes to cereal boxes to bathing suits. The Disney “princess phenomenon”, especially, has been the subject of much parental hand-wringing. Contributor Jessica Cochran, the daughter of a Barbie-loving feminist economist, and the mother of a not-too-girly daughter, took a closer look at this whole “princess” thing by speaking with the people at Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood and others.

• US Students Aren't Slipping in the Int'l Education Ranks, We've Always Been in the Middle - The 2010 Brown Center Report on American Education was released in February of this year by the Brookings Institution. The report debunked a commonly held myth about where the United States falls internationally in overall education statistics – turns out our country hasn’t been descending towards the middle of the ranks, we’ve always been solidly average. Sarah Gonzales spoke with Tom Loveless, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center on Education Policy about how we’re doing in the classroom, and what may be changing in the future…

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