Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sponsored by....

I was so shocked by this I had to share it here: Scholastic InSchool Backing Off Its Corporate Ties.

No, I'm not shocked that Scholastic is backing off. I'm shocked they have ties with these industries in the first place! The coal industry?! Egg producers?! The Brita water filter people?! What are they doing in the classroom and WHO decided it was okay to let them in?!

I know. It's all about $$$$$$. Schools don't have any, industries do. Children have more consumer power these days than at any other time in history. Schools get something for free and possibly some $$, industry gets a captive audience with ZERO parent monitoring. Makes sense. Except that it is so very very WRONG...

I was probably exposed to marketing at school as a child. I don't remember it. It would have had to be in print ads because when I was in elementary school there were two or three TV's for the entire school and the computer lab consisted of two PC's in the library. When I was in school, an ad would be glanced at. Now? It is a constant bombardment.

Walking through Alice's (old) school the past two years, there were several times I noticed posters on the walls advertising movies that were coming out. Other ads would come home in her backpack. The kid who sells the most for the districts fall fundraiser wins a bazillion chicken nuggets from Chik-Fil-A. A different elementary school sells ad space on their fence to local businesses (The ads face the road, NOT the playground). I've always been annoyed by these things. I would rather schools be completely separate from corporate America. I do know that the $ isn't free flowing for education, especially in this state, so I figured it was a necessary evil. I am NOT okay with it, but I don't see our schools getting the $$ they need elsewhere, either.

But, advertising disguised as curriculum?! Whoa, now. That is a HUGE step over the line.

This summer is the first time we have allowed Alice to watch any TV other than the shows on PBS. We've branched out to a very few shows on Nickelodeon. Her screen time is still very much limited and it is rare that we are not either watching with her or in an adjoining room. Part of our afterschooling this summer has been to talk about advertisements and the different tactics companies use to make you want to buy things.

Alice has gotten quite good at seeing through ads. Which is a good thing, because school starts in a little over a week.


Kate said...

Horrific, isn't it? I first learned about that from an organization called Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/). My issue-du-jour was televisions and computers in the baby rooms at my daughter's daycare, but as I read more, the sponsored curriculum scandal came up, too. Ick ick ick.

Katy said...

AH! TV in the baby room?! Wow. Do the babies get to use the computers? I'm picturing a Wii type sensor connected to their feet with a screen above their head that does things when they lie on their backs and kick. Virtual mobile, maybe? Yikes.