By Sean Scarpiello
These days, schools are run like businesses and just as other businesses struggle in a poor economy, so do schools. Unlike other companies, public schools cannot file for bankruptcy and escape with the little money it still has. On the other hand, schools do have hundreds of customers that are required by law to show up every day. Administrators should take advantage of this by reaching out to large corporations for advertising. Advertising in schools should definitely be utilized in order to give your child a higher quality education at a lower price.
When the extremists hear about advertising in schools, they scare parents into believing their 2nd grader is going to be exposed to Guinness and Marlboro advertisements in their cafeteria. That will never happen because the target market for those companies are not people who still need to hold someone’s hand to cross the street. Other disparagers of the idea complain that schools will become the battlefield of Pepsi and Coca Cola. My question for them is….So? These same little kids are going to go home, turn on Sponge Bob and be bombarded with the same ads from Pepsi and Coca Cola. If your fear is that little Johnny will get fat because he drinks soda at school every day, just give him the 45 cents for milk or juice instead of the $1.50 for the Coke. Also, it is argued that parents will lose the ability to control their children’s lessons and values, because at school they will go out the door with ads everywhere. This goes back to the fear parents have that their children will develop poor eating habits because of school advertisements. How is this going to happen? Parents have 16 other meals per the week teach their children healthy eating habits. Also, the only way to hide advertisements from your child is to lock them in a closet. Everyone has been the target of advertising from every imaginable form of media. This includes everything from the State Farm Insurance billboards that line highways to James Bond’s Aston Martin.
The point of my argument is that not all school advertising is bad. For the most part, the same ads kids are seeing on their favorite TV shows will be the ones popping up in schools. Some are even being clever in their advertising. For example, companies like Disney are incorporating Mickey Mouse and company into word problems in math class (1). Everyone knows these characters already so what’s the big deal about reiterating these characters to students in order to decrease the price of education? Even if local businesses paid to put up posters on schools’ walls. Small businesses like play zones or birthday party entertainers can build reputations as schools use their money for new computers.
Companies will pay big bucks to have their advertisement posted below the school’s scoreboard. In fact, a good contract with a major soda company can get a school district $100,000 to $300,000 (1). At this point, the extremists need to back off so this country’s education system can benefit from large corporations. Then we will be able to bring higher quality education at lower prices.