Over at America's Newspaper, Paul Greenberg thinks giving kids BMI report cards is a fabulous idea. He thinks this because teaching self-esteem in public schools was a bad idea. And as it turns out, some people who are into self-esteem are anti-BMI.
Remember self-esteem? It was one of the sillier—and more dangerous—fads in educational circles, which keep going round and round. The theory was that promoting kids' self-esteem would convince them they were great. And it just might. But that's no guarantee they are great.
[Arkansas Gov. Mike] Beebe came out against schools' sending reports home about overweight kids lest we hurt their "self-esteem." What kind of report? It's called a body-mass index, which measures how fat or skinny a kid is—based on factors like height, weight, age and sex.
The theory behind the Cult of Self-Esteem is simple: First get the cart, then put it before the horse. Just feel good about yourself and achievement will follow automatically.
Self-esteem classes were a "dangerous" educational fad. Therefore, if you worry about a kid's sense of self-worth, you must be a loony leftist bent on the destruction of protestant virtue. Does it need to be said that being against self-esteem instruction doesn't entail support for everything that could plausibly damage a 9-year-old's self-image? I guess it does.
The ever-slender Jacob Sullum on BMI report cards here.