Friday, January 31, 2003

Coercive marketing and the PTO

A lot has changed in school since I was a kid, some of it for the better, a lot for the worse. One thing that is really ticking me off is the use of children as a marketing arm for various goods and services only vaguely related to school.

For example, our local PTO routinely holds “contests” where classes that make a certain sales quota are rewarded with an ice cream or pizza party. In other words, little Jimmy and Sarah and LaToya are being used to coerce Mom and Dad into buying stuff so that the PTO can get a kickback from the ACME Over-Priced Products Company of P.O. Box, New Jersey. This is all coordinated through our local taxpayer-funded schools – attendance mandatory by law.

It used to be just Scholastic that had penetrated this market, and the books they sell are reasonably priced and closely related to education, but it’s gotten worse. For example, Wednesday (or is it Thursday?) is grocery day. Yep, every week you can have your kid schlep home groceries from school, as though his usual load of books and papers isn’t enough. Now they’re selling “discount cards” good for I don’t know what, but if 20 kids (virtually the entire class) sell one they get a pizza party. Guess who little six-year-old Tommy expects to buy this latest swindle?

This isn't just my local school district. An entire industry aimed at marketing through the public schools has cropped up. Only unlike the crops of well-educated students the schools are supposed to be producing, this industry deserves to be ploughed under and the fields salted so that it will never happen again.
posted at 10:56 AM

Going to war without France
Dean Esmay reports that the:

Line of the week comes from Jed Babbin, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense:

Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. You just leave a lot of useless, noisy baggage behind.

As stated on last night's Hardball with Chris Matthews.

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