Re-Branding the potato, schools, placebos (131:365)



I lucked out today. As I was coming back from the gym, I caught tail end of TED Radio Hour on NPR. As I listened to the broadcast, I was fascinated by a story about re-branding of the potato.  I thought… the potato? There is a story about Fredrick the Great who was looking for ways to feed his country. Basically, he convinced a country that the potato was “royal” and that everyone needed it. He made the potato desirable through making it the prime vegetable in the royal garden. Soon the peasants risked everything to steal the potato, and eventually began grown potato themselves. There were many unintended consequences such as they avoided famine, drove the price of bread down, and galvanized a nation.


Currently, many schools are branding and re-branding themselves. Know why? Simple stated, public schools are being vilified by reformers, and politicians who believe that they have created a more desirable form of education. Some of these education alternatives are actually succeeding because of the placebo effect. If you believe you will succeed, you might just succeed. The question remains….. a potato is a potato, or is it?

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