TODAY'S precocious youngsters are being brought up to play the achievement game. Banks with lowered counters are started for children who otherwise would have to stand on tiptoe to make deposits. There is even a new term - ``Skippies'' - for kids with independent income to invest and spend. Politics too is being brought within young people's sights.

As a result of lobbying by a fourth-grade class from Bear Road Elementary School in North Syracuse, the State of New York now has designated the apple muffin its state muffin. The law was duly passed by the Legislature - after, to be sure, some snickers. It was signed by Gov. Mario Cuomo - after some serious discourse: ``It is a lesson of commitment,'' Cuomo said, ``of participation, of working with the law to change the law to achieve what we believe in.''

Commitment in politics is having to say you believe in apple muffins?

To show their heads haven't gone to butter, the New York legislators came down hard on soft drinks and candy bars in schools, banning them until after the lunch hour. Potato chips, ice cream, and cookies, however, are still permissible.

Many New York kids are hungry at the noon hour - and night and morning too. What have they learned from this about working through the system?

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