21 February, 2006

A few companies that encourage education

I was just whining the other day that our culture doesn't pay enough attention to the successes of the scientists, engineers, etc. working at the leading edge of knowledge, preferring instead to celebrate the most curious and inconsequential trivialities.

It's only fair to point out the other side of the coin: a few big-chain restaurants have programs that reward scholarship with free food. I have become aware of these through our son, who has received coupons from them for his hard work at school.

Every time I turn around, I'm being encouraged to boycott some company because of their behavior. I'm not going to suggest that you give your patronage to these companies on account of these programs — I haven't yet done so — but in this matter at least, I think their behavior is commendable.

  • Pizza Hut gives a coupon for a free personal pan pizza to students who read a certain number of books. No additional purchase is required.
  • Pizza Inn has a coupon for a free children's buffet, when one purchases an adult buffet. I think this was related to the AR celebration a week or two ago, but I don't recall for sure, and the boy is hoarding his coupons somewhere. My wife knows where it is.
(When I lived alone, I used to know where things were supposed to be. Whether they were actually there was another story; I would lose things every now and then. Now that I'm married, however, I don't even know where things are supposed to be...)
  • Chick-fil-et gives teachers coupons for a free kids' meal to children who exhibit certain virtues (or maybe "values"; I forget). In our son's case, it was (again) reading.
  • I was chatting with a worker at Krispy Kreme tonight, and she let fall that they offer a free doughnut for every A on a child's report card, up to a maximum of six doughnuts.
These might be local programs only, but I don't think so. I don't really care for the offerings of Pizza Inn or Pizza Hut, but 9-year old boys like anything that even remotely resembles pizza. So, we'll be visiting them at least often enough to redeem the coupon.

My hearty recognition to these companies! Even if I don't believe in bribing children for grades, they are sending a message at a level that children understand. Well, some children, anyway... :-)

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