Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Policy Point Wednesday: Commercialization and Education

A recent report, released by the National Education Policy Center via the University of Colorado, Boulder, discusses the educational cost of commercialization in schools.  According to their report: "It is not in the interests of corporate sponsors to promote critical thinking: Far from it, their interest is in selling their products or services or 'telling their story.'...For this reason, sponsored messages will necessarily avoid touching on anything that might lead to thinking inconsistent with the intended message."

The report found that when there is commercial activity in schools, critical thinking is less likely to be encouraged.  In schools, teachers and administrators may avoid "biting the hand that feeds the school" by deferring to the corporate advertiser's worldview and censoring, either consciously or unconsciously, even if this worldview is not in their students' best interest.  This can happen directly, as when marketing of food products directly undermine nutrition education efforts in the school - however, even if there is no immediate marketing, educational materials from a corporation do not encourage children to evaluate its biases or to consider alternative points of view.

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood reports that 67.2% of students are exposed to advertising for foods of minimal nutritional value in their schools, and some of that advertising is disguised as corporate-sponsored literacy, character education, and fitness educational programs.  "Eighty two percent of schools have corporate ads. Advertising appears on textbook covers, on school buses, on interior and exterior school walls, gymnasiums, scoreboards, and at athletic events."

No comments:

Post a Comment