Big Corporations Run the Show
Why did high school suck? Why did you feel like you were wasting your time sitting in a classroom for eight hours? Why was your education cut short in high school? Those questions can be easily announced. It all deals with a new standard of education reform. One reason why many schools are falling down on an education bases is the whole fact that big corporations are running how schools manage their money and funds. This is one major topic that has hit the media today over education reform; should schools accept corporate funding?
Should schools accept corporate funding? Many people think that big corporations are helping school districts especially the poorer schools, but some people think that big corporations are running the schools with the way the school uses the funding money. Corporations have many tricks to make money from school funding. According to Randall Curren, “Corporations like Coca-Cola and Pepsi frequently bargain with school districts for exclusive rights to place their dispensing machines on school properties. General Mills deploys a “boxtop” scheme, whereby schools receive money for sending in boxtops collected by children at home: The scheme is advertised prominently in the participating schools by the use of posters that, of course, incorporate advertisements for the General Mills cereals to be used.” Also, teachers and schools are business agents for Scholastic catalogues because the more money the school can make from this book fair more free books that school gets from Scholastic. This corporation Scholastic appeals to kids because the more you buy from their book market you will get a “free gift” for your purchase. Big corporations use marketing skills and tools like these listed above to increase their profits. Big corporations use children, because they are so easy to manipulate and have easy access to mommies’ money.
Corporations also use exclusive agreement with means schools agree to give corporations exclusive rights to sell and promote their goods and/or their services in a school or district. In return, the school or district receives a percentage of the profits derived from the arrangement. Exclusive agreements may also entail granting a corporation the right to be a sole supplier of a product or service. (Molnar, 2000) Some examples of exclusive agreements would be Nike Athletics and Coca-Cola as listed above. Nike Athletics President and CEO Mark Parker signed a 9 million dollar school fund to Portland, Oregon Public Schools (PPS). Superintendent Phillips said, “Nike has long been a friend to Portland Public Schools. With this investment, Nike is taking its commitment to a whole new level, sharing their expertise and directly helping develop and fund innovative ideas. Its support for early childhood education and strong leadership in our schools will serve as a catalyst for success, benefiting every one of our students and the community at large.”
What most people do not know, is that Nike Athletics used that 9 million dollars as a tax break or a tax write off. When a school signs an exclusive agreement, like signing with Nike Athletics, you must wear/purchase their athletic equipment and according to Nike you must show the Nike logo. All this does is advertise the Nike product for the Nike Athletic company without paying for any advertisement fee. Another method that corporations use is incentive programs, which is a means to provide money, goods, or services to a school or district when students, parents, or staff engage in a specified activity, such as collecting product labels or cash register receipts. Some examples are: General Mills Boxtops, Campbell’s Soup’s Labels for Education and Pizza Hut Bookit!
Many people would argue that corporate funding helps schools especially low income school districts, but maybe corporations are the main reason why it seemed that your high school sucked. Because big corporations are funding schools, those corporations can manage how those schools use that money, instead of newer technology, newer issued books, and more teachers; your high school was probably like mine, same old computer year after year, books that are older than the teachers and same teachers that have been there since the high school was opened.
When will the day come when corporations will fund schools for the sole fact of funding a school for higher education instead of helping their product succeed? I think our education is more important than how successful a corporation is, or advisement for cooperation. I think it is time for a new change to our education, because it is our children that will suffer from the hands of poor education.
Alex Molnar, Giving the Kids the Business
Randall Curren, Philosophy of Education