Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Scholastic Ceases In-School Corporate Propaganda Program

Way to go Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood! After more than 55,000 people signed a petition through last May, Scholastic has just announced that it will limit its “InSchool Marketing” program so that school kids are less subjected to corporate marketing propaganda via their classroom materials.

The black mark on Scholastic’s image began with coal, a lesson packet paid for by the American Coal Foundation, which contained all kinds of information about benefits of coal - but none of the nasty stuff like toxic waste and greenhouse gases. Oops.

So now Scholastic is on the retreat. According to an article in this week’s New York Times, “in addition to the coal curriculum, Scholastic distributed a program stressing the environmental wrongs of plastic water bottles, sponsored by Brita, which sells water filters. It also had a $3 million Microsoft campaign in which schools could earn points toward prizes for each Microsoft search, as well as a program featuring Playmobil’s small plastic figures. Those programs have ended, according to Kyle Good, a Scholastic spokeswoman — and last week, after a reporter inquired about them, all traces of them were removed from the Scholastic Web site, as other programs, sponsored by Disney, NestlĂ© and Shell, already had been.”

Cool! Gotta love what can happen when parents speak out. As for me, I'm not really sure why corporate marketing has any place in school curriculum in the first place, but maybe that's just me.

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