A report from the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder, suggests that corporate partnerships and sponsorships in schools can cause educational harm.
The authors analyzed instances of school commercialism to probe into the educational effects of the school-related activities—ranging from science fairs to sponsored curricula—of corporations like Google, Nike, and Shell.
The report concludes that marketing in schools can contradict curricular messages, as when junk food is advertised while health or science classes teach students to avoid it, and that corporate-sponsored field trips and assemblies can distract from instructional time. The report also argues that the corporate presence in schools is inherently contrary to teaching critical thinking skills, as corporations have a direct interest in students’ accepting their products or messages.
A version of this article appeared in the November 16, 2011 edition of Education Week as Business in Education