chapter  11
The Exploiting Business: School-Business Partnerships,
Pages 24

At the 2000 Philosophy of Education Society Conference in Toronto, Virginia Held was invited as a distinguished speaker and she delivered an address titled “The Commercialization of the Classroom.” Philosophers of education in attendance seemed taken aback at some of the examples of commercial intrusion in K-12 schooling-and rightly so. Commercialization in schools is expanding at an alarming rate. According to the Center for the Analysis of Commercialism in Education, schoolbusiness partnerships have increased their presence in North America by 303 percent since 1990.2 Examples of school leaders entering into

exclusive contracts, renting advertising space on the sides of school buses, and providing businesses with a captive audience (and lucrative market) abound. In Colorado Springs, the director of school leadership for District 11 sent a memo reminding teachers and administrators that in order to profit from the exclusive contract the district had signed with Coca-Cola, students needed extra breaks from class to consume 70,000 cases of Coke products.3 In schools throughout the United States, Pizza Hut offers “free” pizza for students who not only complete reading assignments in order to get the “free” pizza, but who are also too young to go to the restaurant to redeem their free pizza alone (resulting in an average bill of $16.50 and profit for Pizza Hut).4 In Fresno, California, math and science lessons included the McGraw-Hill middle school textbook that used Oreo cookies, Nike shoes, and McDonald’s meals as sample lessons.5 In Georgia, Colgate-Palmolive offers dental care charts and pamphlets emphasizing “five easy steps” of gum care, replete with suggestions to buy “Colgate Junior” toothbrushes and toothpaste.6