Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Power Panel?

Sometimes I watch the news in the morning. Often,the Today show will come on and while I'm working on something else or answering emails or paying bills, I'll have one ear on the content. It's fairly easy to do because they repeat their stories every year. All the recurrent themes about diet and relationships, child rearing, and of curse how to cook chicken and pasta, and the latest vegetarian discovery. But today, I chanced to catch a new feature. I think it's called Today's Professionals. The concept is a power panel, but essentially Matt Lauer sits down with three "professionals" and asks their opinion about a few of the current news stories.
So here's Matt with the resident doctor Nancy Snyderman, the resident lawyer, Starr Jones, and businessman Donny Deutsch. The doc is OK with me but not so sure I care what the others think. First Matt asks them about the pregnant woman who gave birth after running the Chicago marathon. They kick that one around for a few minutes, disagreeing about whether or not that was a wise thing to do. The women think so, Mr Deutsch says it's not common sense. Then Lauer reveals the results of a recent survey. "Americans were asked, would you rather your children have good grades or good manners?" He soon says that 75% of those surveyed said good manners are more important. All four on the set seem surprised but then settle down to discussing the merits of manners and grades. Only Ms. Jones goes for the grades. "I know my child will get good manners from me so that's why I say grades. Dr. Sniderman says that manners open more doors than grades. Mr. Deutsch agrees that manners are more important. But what follows is really fascinating. The proceed to discuss the issue equating grades with intelligence. At no point does anyone question the concept of grades as they apply to learning, much less intellect. Nobody questions the validity of IQ or the fact that grades are both highly subjective and often inaccurate representations of knowledge.
Surprising? No. Unfortunately, it's to be expected. Just another example of how people who purport to know what they are talking about know very little. I could write a letter, make a phone call, push harder, but it'd be to no avail. Tomorrow, Today will be just like all the yesterdays. New recipes, what men/women really want, what should I do about my 401k, a promo for a new NBC program...All this from the folks that once again bring you Education Nation...in orchestrated sound bytes.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

No comments: