Thursday, October 4, 2007

Commercial Companies In Our Children's Schools and Minds

When we moved back to the U.S. and my daughter entered a New York City public high school, I was very surprised, and concerned, to find out that the Tampax company lectured the students on sex education and was pushing their product at the same time. A search on this subject has turned up some good articles on the onslaught of commercial companies in our schools, and the perks schools get, while corporations are pushing their products on vulnerable children in an effort to capture new consumers for their markets. Here's a look at the hundreds of corporations currently in our schools, some of the public relations firms facilitating their entry, the products being distributed to our children, the advertisers involved, how students influence their parent's consumer choices, what schools are getting in exchange, discussions on the pros and cons of this practice, and recommendations for better practices to protect our children.
  • Marketers Are Joining the Varsity by Stuart Elliott, New York Times, June 11, 2007
Athletes, if they are talented, train hard and get a break or two, can climb the sports ladder from high school to college to the pros. Madison Avenue, sensing a lucrative opportunity, is heading the other way.
Decades after marketers began selling products by capitalizing on consumer interest in professional teams, then college teams, they are becoming big boosters of high school sports.
  • Captive Kids: A report on Commercial Pressures on Kids at School
Selling America's Kids: Commercial Pressures on Kids of the 90's (Consumers Union)
Corporate-sponsored teaching materials are reaching more than 20 million students in elementary and high schools every year. Product samples and coupons are distributed to more than two million students. TV commercials and magazine ads in the classroom reach countless millions more. This report describes some current advertising messages and how they're "packaged" in order to gain entry into schools.
  • Who Advertises In Our Schools? These 234 Companies (Consumers Union)
This is a partial listing. U.S. News and World Report quotes one estimate that the total number of companies and organizations in the schools is 12,000. A few companies in this list sell equipment to schools, but the vast majority have their materials in the classroom.
(See list) at
  • RECOMMENDATIONS (from Consumers Union):