Our schools are for sale and the paltry profits they generate can’t even begin to compensate for the resulting damages.
Picture these scenarios:
- A Pennsylvania high school student stares intently at her classroom’s new interactive whiteboard, trying to absorb her math teacher’s lesson. But soon she’s distracted by the logo of the fast food restaurant that paid to have the whiteboard installed – she’s thinking about artery-clogging cheeseburgers and onion rings instead of algebra.
- Rushing to his locker between classes, a student in Minnesota is confronted with a wall of advertising. Instead of a place to store his books and notes, the student’s locker and those around it have become prime marketing vehicles.
-Waiting for a school bus to pick up his young daughter, a New Jersey father is greeted by a large advertisement for a national pizza chain on the side of the bus.
Unfortunately, these scenes are all too real. In Upper Moreland, PA, fast food peddler Sonic paid to have newfangled whiteboards installed in classrooms, and school board members have just approved guidelines for corporations to purchase “naming rights” to the board’s properties. A Minnesota school board came close to approving ads on lockers and other school surfaces, but, thankfully, the proposal that would have covered 10% of available spaces in schools with sales pitches was recently quashed. And New Jersey is only the most recent of seven states to allow advertising on school buses. In fact, many other states and localities are considering selling educational space to corporations to pay for what public dollars ought to fund. From school bus ads in Guam and Philadelphia to naming rights in Ambridge, PA, and Gloucester, MA, to stadium ads in Guildford County, NC, to school website ads in Providence, RI, school administrators desperate for funds are ready to put our kids’ education up for sale.