AD and Subtract

Commercial advertising has always been forbidden by Minneapolis Public Schools. However, due to recent budget short-falls, things have changed.

Schools in Rosemount - Apple Valley - Eagan will likely begin selling advertising space on their websites this Fall. Although contrary to long-standing policy, district leaders have modified the rules in an effort to make money.

Anoka - Hennepin has similarly adjusted some rules and is considering website ads.

Desperate for dollars, districts all over the nation are abandoning policy and letting advertisers into their schools. The latest trend? Billboards on the sides of school buses.

(The "golden arches" paid the $1,600 cost of printing
Seminole County, Florida report cards -- in exchange
for a restaurant meal coupon on the report's cover.)

Advertising in and around an educational setting is obviously a disastrous idea.

For one thing, the school is essentially endorsing whatever products are being hawked. Also, ads directed at children tend to be for unhealthy snacks, fast food and trendy movies with product tie-ins to toys.

Ultimately, commercial advertising in our schools amounts to the exploitation of vulnerable, impressionable, young people. Children are daily inundated with advertising from a multitude of sources -- much of it insidiously manipulative and filled with sexist and racist images.

Instead of piling on, educators should strive to limit such influences during school.

"Students, if you're thirsty after
class . . . try an ice cold COKE!"

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