And of course, corporate sponsorship often comes with strings attached and can turn schools into marketing arms of private businesses. Kids are already exposed to commercial messages almost everywhere else they go, and schools used to be a safe haven from those pressures.
Just a few years ago, the Peabody School Committee was mocked by Comedy Central satirist Stephen Colbert for its decision to sell ads on notices sent home with students at the city’s eight elementary schools, going so far as to market the idea to businesses as ‘an effective and very inexpensive way for you to reach this target market.’”
Colbert, of course, saw the folly in the plan.
“I say, why stop at school notes when there are so many other ‘ed-ver-advertunities’ out there?” Colbert joked at the time. “Why not let advertisers buy prime space on our tests? Instead of ‘What is the Pythagorean theorem, how about, ‘Which Taco Bell Gordita is the most Fresco Supreme?’”
There’s no telling what this latest idea, which the committee plans to study, will bring the city. What is certain, however, is that the time would be much better spent exploring ways to keep spending in check.