School Commercialism From Democratic Ideal to Market Commodity
Pizza Hut's Book It! program rewards students with pizza for meeting their reading goals. Toys R Us paid a Kansas school five dollars for each student who took its toy survey. Cisco Systems donated internet access to a California elementary school, asking in return for the school choir to sing the company's praises while wearing Cisco t-shirts.
Kids today face a barrage of corporate messages in the classroom. In School Commercialism , education expert Alex Molnar traces marketing in American schools over the last twenty-five years, raising serious questions about the role of private corporations in public education. Since the 1990s, Molnar argues, commercial activities have shaped the structure of the school day, influenced the curriculum, and determined whether children have access to computers and other technologies. He argues convincingly against advertisers' assertion that their contributions are a win-win proposition for cash-strapped schools and image-conscious companies.
From the marketing of unhealthy foods to privatizing reforms such as the Edison Schools and Knowledge Universe, School Commercialism tracks trends that are more pervasive than many parents realize and shows how we might recapture schools to better serve the public interest.
"Alex Molnar develops a merciless and systematic critique of these commercial practices, particularly those linked with the drink and food business to which he dedicates a special chapter (‘Eat, drink and be diabetic’). He shows that the financial benefit for schools if often far from what was expected. He denounces, with many concrete examples, the dangers that those practices imply for the integrity of education administrators."-- Nico Hirtt, European Educational Research Journal