Do ads belong in schools? How about on school buses?A school district in Massachusetts is considering selling the naming rights to its buildings or parts of its buildings. Some parents are appalled, but frankly, I think it's brilliant. And Newton, MA isn't the only town to consider "selling out."
A school district in Pennsbury, PA is selling advertising space on school floors, walls, lockers, cafeteria tables, and benches to try to make up for a budget shortfall. A school district in Galveston, TX is selling advertising space on its school buses. Corvallis School District in Oregon is considering selling the naming rights to its high school theaters. And that's just to name a few.
Of course, higher education institutions having been selling naming rights for pretty much forever. UCLA has the Pauley Pavillion. Every college football bowl seems to be named for a salty snack food. A library bathroom at UPenn is being renovated, thanks to a donor's generous contribution. The only stipulation is that the wall have a plaque stating "the relief you are now experiencing is made possible by a gift from Michael Zinman."
As tacky as all this sounds, I'm all for it. The school district my kids are in is currently planning to cut all art, music, gym, and library teachers from our ten elementary schools and all foreign language and technology teachers from our two middle schools. Although the district swears that the classroom teachers will be able to teach all those things in the classroom (apparently in their spare time after jamming standardized test-taking skills into my kids' noggins), most of the parents in my district are freaking the hell out.
At this point, I'm willing to give up all concerns I may have had about exposing my kids to too much advertising. I'm far more concerned about not exposing my kids to enough art, music, literature, and physical activity.
In fact, once you get over the hideous tackiness, the possibilities seem endless! Wrap the school buses in advertising; instead of telling kids they take Bus 86, tell them they take the Outback Steakhouse Bus! This music class brought to you by iTunes! Welcome to the State Farm Insurance Math Department!
I hope our district will consider selling naming rights. Given the choice, which would you choose: Having no art class at all, or having the Michael's Craft Store Art Room? No physical education teacher, or having the teacher wear a Modell's shirt all year?
- By Joslyn Gray
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