Due to tax cuts and the rising costs of textbooks, some USA schools are receiving corporate sponsored education materials.
This is just as bad as you think it is.
A 1998 study by the Consumers Union found 80% of these materials to be biased.
The educational materials were found to have incomplete or “slanted” information that favored the sponsor’s products and views.
- Proctor & Gamble’s “Decision Earth” program taught that clear-cut logging was actually good for the environment.
- Teaching aids distributed by the Exxon Education Foundation said that fossil fuels created few environmental problems and that alternative sources of energy are too expensive.
A situation of corporate-sponsored-education that I found particularly dangerous, and absurd, was this one:
- A study guide sponsored by the American Coal Foundation dismissed fears of a greenhouse effect, claiming that “the earth could benefit rather than be harmed from increased carbon dioxide.”
How did this come to be?
Corporate-sponsored-education started with taxes being cut to public education.
Needing money for school supplies, administrators did what seemed like, and may have been at the time, the only option.
They worked with companies such as Lifetime Learning Systems, the nations largest marketer and producer of corporate-sponsored teaching aids.
How they pitch themselves:
The Lifetime Learning Systems sales pitch to corporate sponsors:
“Now you can enter the classroom through custom-made learning materials created with your specific marketing objectives in mind.”
“Through these materials, your product or point of view becomes the focus of discussions in the classroom…the centerpiece in a dynamic process that generates long-term awareness and lasting attitudinal change.”
What can we do?
To be honest, I have no idea what can stop corporate-sponsored teaching aids in public schools without completely dismantling capitalism altogether.
For some people that’s the obvious answer.
For others, it won’t be so obvious.
Improving the amount of tax dollars to education seems pretty obvious to me. But, that won’t stop the desire for more money. Private schooling won’t stop that either.
I’m definitely open for discussion on the best way(s) to stop corporate-sponsored-education.
Theorizing is okay, but as always, I’m looking for an actionable plan with measurable results.
So, what are your ideas? Comment below.
Sources: I learned all of this from a book called “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser.
Note: This was originally a “Toot Thread” on Mastodon, transcribed here. The original thread is no longer available.