Lawmakers in Massachusetts are proposing a ban on all advertising in schools.

Critics say (advertising) is an insidious threat to school children — responsible for everything from obesity and family stress to gender stereotyping and financial woes.

All I can think when I read this is: Massachusetts schools must be AWESOME!

While Ohio tries to figure out how to fix its unconstitutional system of school funding, Massachusetts seems to have moved on to a whole new set of issues.

And, while I’m all for fighting obesity and preventing gender stereotyping in schools- I also realize that Ohio, unfortunately, just isn’t there yet.

Ohio needs to change the way it funds schools before it can start tackling these softer issues. And we all know this isn’t going to happen until we get a Democratic majority in the General Assembly.

Until then, schools in poorer districts need to get their hands on more cash. They need money for new text books and modern science labs. They need to be able to fund physical education (which helps with the obesity) as well as music and art classes.

By law, poor schools need to have everything the rich school districts do, and if that means students have to look at the Nike logo while they are exercising, then so be it.

Why not let a company like Nike donate shoes and gym clothes to poor kids? Why not let GE sponsor the science lab?

If this is the cost of a better education for Ohio’s poorest students, then I say: just do it.

 
  • The reason we don’t need advertising in school is because once you open Pandora’s box it becomes hard to manage what comes out of it.Once you let one company advertise in schools it gets harder to say no to other companies.

  • That works for me.

    It’s in the school’s best interest to renegotiate the contracts every few years, making companies compete for the contracts.

    Obviously there should be some limits on the extent of the advertising- but I think this is a much better solution than giving tax dollars to for-profit charter schools that under-pay teachers and under-teach our kids.

  • Well the thing is if you allows a business to buys ads in schools it’s not going to be long before people like the Christian extremists will want to buy ads and take the issue to court.

    Now donations I can get behind. If Dell wants to donate a bunch of computers to schools in the hope that students will be so impressed with them that they buy a Dell to use at home. It just gets to be to much of an issue when you have the “Dell Computer Lab” that’s plastered with Dell posters.

  • The very fact that Christmas isn’t allowed in school is enough reason for me to want to completely eliminate the public education system. Then it would be up to each private school’s owners if they advertise or not, and parents would chose or will choose not to send their children to a school that advertises.

  • That’s a pretty weak argument, Matt.

    Public schools are for ALL kids- not just Christians.

    If public schools had to celebrate EVERY holiday for EVERY religion, there wouldn’t be a lot of days left for learning.

    For example, Wicca/Neo Pagan kids would have been taking yesterday off for Lughnassad.

  • I never said Public schools are only for Christians- I said public schools should be eliminated, so parents can have the choice to take their children out of the secular indoctrination of the miserable public school system.

    There is no need to celebrate Wiccan holidays- But it is important for students to learn of the Christian tradition. Our laws, and our country, were founded on Christian principles.

    But I suppose that if public schools were completely eliminated like I want them to be- A Wiccan school could probably get accreditation. Sure, they are goofy and worth mocking, but they aren’t nearly as offensive as a Madrasah would be.

  • And I never said I was against religious schools. They certainly have their place- especially in my family.

    My parents both went to catholic high school and catholic college. And they both turned out to be fine, upstanding citizens.

    But I know both my mother and my father (who is a registered republican, by the way) would not agree with your assertion that ALL kids “should learn of the Christian tradition”- any more than they would agree that all kids should learn the religious witchcraft practices of wicca.

    Seriously, do you think the concept of God sending His only Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins is any more or less ‘goofy’ than the idea that the sun and moon control our destiny?

  • The key word is “should.” Liberals want to mandate secular education, while I’m saying they “should” learn about Christianity but its up to their parents. Forcing ALL students into the church of politically correct secularism is as offensive to me as forcing students into Christianity is to you and me.

  • You never said “should”. You made no qualification. You said:

    “There is no need to celebrate Wiccan holidays- But it is important for students to learn of the Christian tradition. Our laws, and our country, were founded on Christian principles”

    You’re an idiot Christofascist fuck who wants to force your beliefs and ideology down everyone’s throat using whatever means necessary – including your oft maligned “activist judges”.

    You’re characterization that the country was “founded on Christian principles” is misleading. Imagine irony making it’s way into any of your weak Neo-conservative arguments, but lo and behold we find it! Those who came here did so to practice their religion freely and not lose their cultural heritage. It’s funny how you use these separatists now to justify your Christofascist views of suggesting that it is important that all students learn of the Christian tradition.

    Our Constitution had many influences, including the Magna Carta and the Roman Empire. To suggest that “Our laws, and our country, were founded on Christian principles” is just uninformed, inaccurate, and in my opinion a very dangerous idea.

    The United States of America was in no way founded upon Christianity.

    I’ve got nothing against Christianity, I just find very few Christians who actually practice it – including yourself.

  • This conversation was a lot more fun when it was just between Joe and me.

  • “The very fact that Christmas isn?t allowed in school is enough reason for me to want to completely eliminate the public education system. Then it would be up to each private school?s owners if they advertise or not, and parents would chose or will choose not to send their children to a school that advertises.”

    Just so I understand this right you would have the state pay for all these specialized public schools instead of just having one school for everyone? Yep, that sounds real fiscally conservative to me.

  • Private schools… especially Catholic schools accomplish much more with far fewer dollars. I can go over the number with you, boy, if you wish.

  • Actually, the cost differences between Catholic and public schools are not so huge when you compare apples to apples. The biggest cost advantage for Catholic/private schools is the same reason I switched to the public schools in my hometown – they don’t have to accommodate “special needs” students. It costs a lot of extra money to educate gifted or disabled kids, and Catholic schools just don’t do that. In fact, most Catholic schools only have a “college prep” track, and if you don’t fit in it, too bad. Gifted, disabled, and vocational kids have no seat at the table in virtually all private schools.

    And if a private school does take those kinds of kids, you’ll find costs approaching that of public schools.

  • #13: I say…I say…now that’s a good find there boy!

  • In your heated “debate” about religion in schools, you all pretty much skipped over Joe’s argument about selling out our kids. Anyone else in favor of letting advertisers have full run of the schools to turn our mini-consumers into ?ber-mini-consumers? And teaching them what our society really values?

  • #15: Yeah, we did kinda get sidetracked. I’m against ads in school. My kids are bombarded by them at home – where I can actually control via TV use – but at school I don’t have such control. I’d like to find other means of financing our schools and don’t want uber-mini’s in my house thanks!

    PS – So…you think I won the “debate”? I love winning debates.

  • Well, I’d say Matt lost the “debate,” but is that really a surprise? The brain power via Plunderbund is overwhelming 🙂

  • Kids are comfortable with marketing. They see it every day everywhere they go.

    Eating coco puffs, reading the cereal box, listening to Disney radio… it’s a full-on, all-senses, advertising experience from morning until night.

    And yes- in a perfect world we would have fully funded, commercial-free schools where kids could learn other values besides consumption.

    But we don’t have that money available.

    So… if we don’t want to raise taxes and we don’t want to cut teacher salaries and benefits (which is what going to for-profit schools would do)- then we need some other solutions.

    I’d love to hear some other ideas.

  • Well, as you pointed out earlier, we have been spending hundreds of billions of our tax dollars in Iraq…how about “redeploying” some of those funds for things like: Better jobs and social supports for parents? Better data systems for schools to monitor student progress and tailor learning? Additional funds for teacher raises – linked to their effort and performance? Additional funds for continuing education for teachers?

    Just a few ideas on how we might better spend the federal tax dollars we are already paying!

    A few new-but-already-outdated text books from an advertiser are not going to solve (or pay for!) these problems.

  • #18: Here’s an idea. Spend the money we already have differently. You wrongly present this as a choice between raising taxes or cutting teacher salary and benefits. You got set up in your language by the right there. Happens all the time.

    Why don’t we divert some of the obscene amount of money we spend on weapons systems and spend it on educating kids in a way that doesn’t have them knocking on doors every other week selling cookie dough, flowers, or tins of popcorn.

    I know. It’s bekuz da terrists might come and git our dumb asses. yahuck! I mean, have you seen the statistics on how many IEDs the new FALCON system is able to disarm? (zero)

    Ah fuck it. Why don’t we just have school sponsored by Wal-Mart? We already spend over $500/pupil there anyway. You could easily turn the greeters into crosswalk guards as they already have vests and everything!

    At lunch you could have “McDonalds-at-school” operate the lunchroom and Nike could run the gym program. Put it out for bid too as I’m sure Wendy’s and Reebok might have something to offer.

    Or we could be brave and decide that spending nearly 90% of what we did in the Cold War era on “defense” while setting unfunded mandates for schools and teachers to meet is a bad idea.

    (For the record I also think we need to shift current military spending so as to emphasize intelligence over weapons – I think modern threat analysis would support this thinking)

  • According to the the national priorities project, we could have hired
    7,792,874 additional public school teachers for one year with the amount of money spent so far in Iraq.

    And, as I recently wrote, we could have fixed all of the bridges in the US TWICE with all of the money we spent in Iraq.

    I don’t think anyone would argue that we could have spent that money better. But that money is, unfortunately, gone. Actually- it was never even here since we had to borrow so much of it.

    But School Funding is, right now, mainly a state issue.

    More importantly, it’s also a local issue- since such a big percentage of the cost must be covered (or not covered, in the case of poor districts) by local communities.

    Obviously, the best solution, as I mentioned, is to get the state to fully fund the schools. But as long as we have a republican majority in the general assembly, this isn’t going to happen.

    So what else can under-funded school districts do to help get caught up?

    A bake sale, unfortunately, isn’t going to cut it.

  • But don’t forget the No Child Left Behind means that the federal government is asserting authority with schools – which also means they are more responsible for the funding. That’s part of the debate in Washington…they can’t require states to make all kinds of changes without forking over $$$.

    For those of us who think we should have a more unified education policy in this country – and more balanced funding – NCLB really opens the door to that (even if they’ve only turned the knob so far).

  • I just read a news story that’s relevant to this topic. It’s about how children prefer the food wrapped in McDonald’s packaging over the same food in plain packaging.

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