Trusted children's publisher Scholastic is abusing its privileged position in schools. Scholastic’s InSchool Marketing division offers its services to corporations as a curriculum producer for hire. Its mission is “to promote client objectives” and “make a difference by influencing attitudes and behaviors.” Scholastic’s clients have included McDonald’s, Cartoon Network, Shell, SunnyD, Nestle, Disney and the corporate-funded Chamber of Commerce.
We know that Scholastic is listening right now. Bowing to pressure from members of the CCFC, Rethinking Schools, and environmental groups around the country, Scholastic has already agreed to stop distributing coal industry-funded teaching materials in elementary school classrooms. But Scholastic’s commercialization of children’s classrooms runs much deeper than coal.
So please, tell Scholastic: Stop pushing corporate PR in classrooms.
I am pleased that Scholastic has ended its arrangement with the coal industry to distribute sponsored teaching materials in classrooms. Scholastic’s commercialization of education, however, extends far beyond this one partnership. In addition to the American Coal Foundation, Scholastic’s InSchool Marketing clients have included, among others, Cartoon Network, Nestle, SunnyD, Disney, McDonald’s and the corporate-funded Chamber of Commerce.
I understand that you are currently reviewing your policy and editorial procedures on sponsored classroom materials. I urge you to stop the practice altogether. Since you state that only “a tiny percentage” of Scholastic’s classroom materials are sponsored, it should be easy for you to make the ethical decision. Promoting ‘client objectives’ to a captive student audience isn’t education; it’s predatory marketing.