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Advertising in schools

534 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Greaseball
What kind of corporate advertising do you see in your child's school? Does it bother you? What, if anything, do you do about it?

Example: The window on the door of the education office has a Dunkin' Donuts window cling on it, which faces out into the hallway where preschoolers walk by several times a day.

Since I work in this ed. office, I took down the logo (three times) and finally talked to the teacher who put it up. She thought it was funny, since all the teachers love Dunkin' Donuts coffee (er, except me). I told her I thought it was unprofessional, and while I'm happy to have the sticker displayed INSIDE our office somewhere, I didn't think we should be advertising a fast food restaurant to kids in school. We agreed to leave it down, but only because weirdo me seems to have a 'problem' with it. Whatever. I guess I am weird.

My oldest child starts kindergarten at our local public school in the Fall. Is this weirdo gonna survive??
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Corporate advertising to school children is a big issue. I think it's just about impossible for a public school student to get through school without being exposed to some advertising. Some textbooks feature name-brand products. In some schools, fast food companies have mini-franchises, rather than a traditional school lunch program. Many PTA fundraisers are simply selling corporate crap. Loads of businesses are willing to provide books, volunteers, money, whatever, but usually their logo shows up somewhere. Then there's the infamous channel one--notorious for showing commercials to a captive audience of school children. And some "educational" websites that teachers use expose children to advertising.

This really bothers me. I've complained and written letters and even made two school principals read a back issue of Mothering that has a great article on this topic. And, while serving as PTO president this year, I made sure our fundraisers did *not* involve sellling corporate crap. My co-officers share my opinion of these types of fundraisers.

So, I don't think you're weird for wanting the dunkin' donuts logo taken down.
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Daylily said

And some "educational" websites that teachers use expose children to advertising.
Internet search engines all involve either overt or covert advertising. As a librarian I have to say that this seems to me a lot like selling advertising space on the card catalog. But what do I know?

I wonder why schools are so hipped on pushing Internet searching anyway? It is a tricky source of info and children usually don't have the background judgement to evaluate what they find. Is there a hidden agenda behind the "every child must learn how to use the Internet as early as possible" mantra? It does result in lots of additional advertising exposure at school and at home, without necessarily improving the educational content.

My take would be that children need to learn first how to search a library catalog, second how to search a serials index and then and only then start learning how to search the Internet. Why give them the worst quality of disorganized information source first? Of course my first two choices don't include advertising exposure...

A librarian's rant!
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I don't think you're weird; quite the opposite. I don't understand why parents nationwide aren't in an uproar about it. Teenagers see thousands of commercial images each day without help from schools. We seem to be abandoning children to commercial interests; growing children to feed a commercial matrix. Schools are being privatized as well to become commercial in nature as well . I read that some kids holding bake sales at some schools are not allowed to sell juice or hot chocolate because they compete with the beverages sold in the school's vending machines; machines there under contract from Pepsi or Coke.

"In the marketing world they're called tinys." At just six months of age, babies are already forming mental images of corporate logos. One in four children utters a brand name as their first recognizable word."

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The marketing in our school is primarily via "gifts" by corporations to students. For example, we got a sheet every month for my first grader to list the books she'd read. If she got to 8, she was supposed to get a personal pizza from Pizza Hut. Sometimes it's a "free" bowling game for some other accomplishment.

I tried to explain my objections to this to her teacher. I think she understood, but she also explained that the vast majority of the parents love this stuff, so it continues.
And sometimes teachers are active participants in making children view ads. A typical Scholastic Bookfair is a good example of this. At dd's elementary school, during the bookfair, at each child's library period, the kids are forced to watch a Scholastic video--it's usually an interview with an author whose book--surprise, surprise--is available for sale by Scholastic. I made a huge fuss about the video, so they stopped it for a while, but instead a Scholastic representative would read passages from one of the books for sale, naturally stopping at an exciting part so the kids would want to buy the book. Dd came home from one such experience panting for me to buy her one of Eva Ibbotson's books. I didn't buy it for her, but we got it from the library, and after reading it she agreed with me that it wasn't worth what it would have cost. Sure, the school library makes money from these book fairs, but *most* of the money goes to Scholastic.

And, of course there are the Scholastic order forms that the teacher dutifully sends home every few weeks.
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Yes, those Scholastic forms...... I am fed up with the 'trash' they are selling in the name of reading. My kids always want something like the book that goes with the Spy Kids movie, even though it's terribly written, etc. I do tell them if I'm spending my money, it's going to be a "real" book, which is getting harder to find in the Scholastic flyers (one that's not tied to commercial interests, like a movie or TV show). We are certainly not anti-TV or movies around here, but it's one thing to choose a show as a family, it's another to be assailed by the gadgets that go with it.

Our school also has the Pizza Hut, bowling alley incentives throughout the year. I think this summer I'm going to make up my own instead of plugging into any that got sent home last week.
We don't have any kind of advertising at our school. And until reading this post, I didn't even know such a thing was happening! I'm glad I dropped in! I will certainly be more aware from now on. I would hate for my kids to be exposed to advertising at school.

As far as the pizza hut thing goes, I do know about it but our school doesn't participate in it. Our school doesn't offer any 'outside' rewards for school work. They concentrate on the teaching that rewards come from the child, themselves. The sense of pride they take in themselves for the accomplishments they make, etc.

As far as Scholastic goes...I, too, have noticed that there is more and more crap being sold. My kids seem to want all the junk. Our rule is that I will only purchase books and nothing else. And as far as a video/book reading during the book fair, I haven't seen that or heard anything about it at our school. I'll stay more aware of that, too. Our kids just take turns going through all the books and filling out the order forms. They love it and so do I. The books we get for the school from Scholastic have helped to build our library which is small, but growing. But I do agree that it is a shame that Scholastic has given way to selling anything but books.
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Has anyone read Fast Food Nation? Kids were getting suspended for wearing Pepsi t-shirts in Coke-funded high schools. Teachers had to allow students to consume Coke products in the classrooms, and other drinks were not to be allowed.

In my high school cafeteria there was a Taco Time. Other schools have McDonald's or other fast food.
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