Lessons with logos: the debate over corporate sponsorships

You are free to reproduce, distribute and transmit this article, provided you attribute the author(s), Education Canada Vol. 42 (4), and a link to the Canadian Education Association (www.cea-ace.ca) 2010. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this The Debate Over Corporate
With more Inc. than ink in k-12 classrooms, the friends – and foes – of corporate partnerships multiply Sometime back in the late ‘50’s and Everybody wants into the schools. Eli Lilly, the makers of Prozac discusses early 60’s, the first ripple of corporate with pictures of chocolate bars, textbook Submarine and Taco Bell in the cafeterias; with its Previews of Progress roadshow.
Campbell’s Soup’s offers its Prego brand clout of the so-called ‘Youth Market’, spaghetti sauce for ‘scientific’ comparison and an A-list of name brand corporations, business-education partnership that expects children on environmental protection.
to reach some 200,000 students thisyear with its motivational message ofbusiness savvy and personal self-sufficiency.
of Canada, there are as many as 20,000sponsorship or partnership initiativesunderway in Canada. In 1997 the Canadian Teachers’ Federation reportedthat, “In Ottawa alone, there are in the neighborhood of 50 partnerships, upfrom about five in 1990. The VancouverBoard of Education’s ‘Partners in By definition, a partnershipshould benefit both partnersbut to a growing chorus ofparents and educators, theylook more like Faustianbargains that turn cash-starvedschool boards into shills andteachers into corporatespokespersons. How can a school with fastfood vendors in the cafeteriaand Coke machines inevery hall expect their lessonson healthy nutrition to beheeded? urgent the school’s need – amounts to abreach of the fundamental trust betweenstudents, parents and the school.
food vendors in the cafeteria and Cokemachines in every hall expect their lessons on healthy nutrition to be heeded?Do elementary school students have themedia savvy to understand that educationalmaterials provided by corporations don’tnecessary amount to an endorsement of critics contend that the underlying logic businesses and government organizations.
brief by the Delta Teachers’ Association from 25 in 1992 to their current level of responsibility government has to meet its 1992-93 to trade free television equipment over 500.”1 This year, the top five recipient obligation to fully fund public education.” schools in the RBC Royal Bank’s ‘Partners Echoing this view is Erika Shaker, Director teen-oriented newscasts – including 2.5 minutes of commercials – in their class- some 370 business partners. By definition, Centre for Policy Alternatives. “I have a partnership should benefit both partners all the great corporate sponsors they’ve formed and allied with various ministries groups to keep YNN out of classrooms.
of the classroom is irresistible. Purchases Commercialization in Ontario Schools in policies “to preserve the integrity and millions – billions in the US. “Schools Media and the Family. “There’s no other deciding in July, 2000 to seek “a different Nader, have railed against the ‘corporate supplemental, optional classroom resource of Canada to establish ethical guidelines Pour les spécialistes du marketing, l’attrait de la unfilled Internet-related jobs, forecast to Robertson, author of No More Teachers, No More Books: The Commercialization years, a Who’s Who of high tech firms of Canada’s Schools, “dismantling the Amérique du Nord, les plus grandes sociétés – Microsoft, Taco Bell, Exxon – sont déjà des partenaires du monde l’éducation, et selon le see them as vital to relieving Canada’s actuellement pas moins de 20 000 projets et programmes de parrainage ou de partenariat au prospects of the 70 percent of high school Canada. Pour les opposants à la commercia- graduates who do not go on to university.
lisation des écoles, le fait de troquer un accès aux élèves contre de l’argent ou des produits est une trahison de la confiance des parents, des élèves specific programs, “like those of Cisco de transition école-carrière ne sont pas nécessairement un sujet controversée, ils instantly to a high quality job, but provide soulèvent néanmoins des questions sur le rôle des the skill base for a wide variety of jobs entreprises dans l’établissement du curriculum.
gasp of traditionalists refusing to yield administrators are generally enthusiastic to the forces of technological innovation about school-to-career programs, response and the marketplace, or the first prophetic perennial fear among parents, politicians of corporatism that will one day prove the on the wrong side of the Digital Divide.
money – a lot more – and no political party within a stone’s throw of power is through the ‘90’s, these fears metastasized full participation in society – only a part 1 Bernie Froese-Germain and Marita Moll, “Gift Horses or Trojan Horses? Business-education skills or life skills lurks a more funda- Education Monitor 1, no. 3 (Summer 1997).
2 “Peel Board Concludes YNN Agreement at “There are concerns about these courses Meadowvale Secondary School,” News Release,July 25, 2000.
4 http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/tln/exec_ businesses, schools, and individuals,”4 6 Heather-jane Robertson, “Shall We Dance?” Phi ‘Academies’ in 94 countries, including Delta Kappan (June 1999). Can be viewed online at http://www.pdkintl.org/kappan/krob9906.htm 7 http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/779/edu/ based skills. In addition to their regular commitment/edu_internet_ economy/reform.html D a n M c E w e n is a Toronto-based

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