Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SDCOE has given millions of tax dollars to its business pals; now it will sell advertizing rights to make up for some of the loss

Instead of selling exposure on public television to commercial interests, why doesn't SDCOE Superintendent Randolph Ward allow school stakeholders to produce a free and unfettered broadcast that gives voters a peek into how our schools are run?

Your company's name here . . .
County Office of Education's courtship of corporate sponsors could raise big cash – and concerns about the lessons learned
By Chris Moran,
San Diego Union-Tribune Staff Writer
June 24, 2009

For $3 million, the county Office of Education's sixth-grade camp could take a corporate name such as Cuyamaca Outdoor School presented by Mission Federal Credit Union. Or maybe Qualcomm's Camp Cuyamaca.

For $75,000, a company can present the high school girls volleyball championship on ITV, the office's cable channel. For another $75,000, a company president can appear on ITV handing over the trophies to the winning students in a video production contest...

Naming-rights deals once associated with sports and entertainment venues are migrating to public education, leading critics to warn that schools may be venturing down the wrong path.

“One of the purposes of education and of school is to promote reasoning, and advertising by its nature subverts reason, and for that reason alone has no place in the schools,” said Susan Linn, director of the nonprofit Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood at the Judge Baker Children's Center in Boston.

The county Office of Education's plan, released last week, would be the biggest corporate sponsorship of its kind in the region...

“In tough economic times, it's very difficult for parents to raise $270 for a week of their children going to school when you're coming from a socio-economic situation where that's a very difficult choice,” said county schools Superintendent Randy Ward...

That Camp Cuyamaca administrators feel compelled to seek private money demonstrates that society doesn't value public education enough, Linn said.

She said a corporate presence in an educational setting carries extra weight because it benefits from the “halo effect” of the tacit endorsement of teachers.

“It's ironic that the kids are going to be really face-to-face with marketing that is going to be inculcating consumerism, which is antithetical to environmental values” that camps try to promote, Linn said.

Officials with the Office of Education insist that the naming rights are not advertising...

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