CCFC Blog

N.J. Assembly Committee Displaying Ads on School Buses - New Jersey is the latest state attempting to close school budget gaps by selling a captive student audience to advertisers. CCFC's Josh Golin weighs in. http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/news/2010/09/njassembly.html Learning by Playing: Video Games in the Classroom – This New York Times (registration required) article looks at an educational program called Quest to Learn in New York City, which aims to turn the classroom into a video game experience. Is turning the classroom into a video game really the best way to help children learn and grow, especially when kids spend nearly every waking hour outside of school engaged with screens?...
Yesterday was a good day. Today brings this disappointing news from District 15 in Minnesota: As St. Francis District 15 students put their jackets into their lockers this fall, they could be greeted by pink jelly fish or luscious apples. It’s all part of the plan to bring more revenue into the schools. The school board Sept. 13 voted 6-1 to allow some of the lockers at six of the district’s eight school buildings to become advertising billboards for OMCM Marketing Solutions. A few thoughts: 1. One thing people often don’t realize about in-school advertising: schools usually don’t contract directly with advertisers; they use third-party placement agencies like OMCM. Not surprisingly, agencies that hope to profit by exploiting schools’...
FCC asked to block Skechers' new cartoon series - The AP covers CCFC's petition urging the FCC to rule that a new Skechers-produced children’s show is not in the public interest. CCFC’s petition finds that the show Zevo-3, scheduled to debut on Nicktoons on October 11, is a program-length advertisement and violates ad limits set by Congress in the Children’s Television Act. AP story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/14/AR2010091404586.html. Press release and petition: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/pressreleases/skecherszevo3.html San Diego school board rejects campus advertising - After hearing from CCFC members, San Diego Board of Education puts students first...
Huzzah to the San Diego Board of Education! San Diego school board members were once intrigued by the thought of allowing ads on campus to help soften the blow of budget cuts, but they turned uncomfortable once they learned more. The board voted 4-1 Tuesday to reject a plan to allow ads in hallways, cafeterias, libraries and other places on school campuses. Nine months ago, the same board directed staff to research the idea. It is hard to overstate what a courageous decision this is. San Diego schools, like so many in these difficult times, desperately need money; officials estimate the district is facing a deficit of between $141 million and $160 million next year. But rather than succumb to slick sales pitches from companies eager to...
An article in the Sacramento Bee last week raised concerns about the role of British Petroleum scientists in shaping a statewide k-12 science curriculum. BP representatives were among many experts called in to shape what and how science would be taught to California students. Having caused the worst human-made ecological disaster ever, BP certainly deserves to be the current poster child for corporate greed and corruption. But the company’s participation on a large committee shaping science curriculum is only a tiny piece of the giant problem of corporate influences on what children learn in school. For one thing, other industry representatives with a clear financial stake in how and what children learn about fossil fuels and non-renewable...
I am not a fan of any sort of  "awareness" month as I find the concept trivializes important health issues. Are we only supposed to care about heart disease, diabetes, etc, during that one month of the year? And I never see anything of substance come from the month-long activities, just the usual ineffective educational campaigns, instead of meaningful public policy reforms. Plus many issues tend to crowd themselves into certain months of the year, so it all just becomes noise.  September is one such month. Among other causes, September has been proclaimed "Childhood Obesity Awareness Month" by Congress and President Obama. When I first heard about about it, I though, oh god, please no ribbons or walks. Thankfully, no signs of either, yet...
Earlier this week, I wrote about my concerns regarding First Day, the new online Kmart infomercial webisode for tweens and teens from Alloy Media and Marketing. Well, the first episode is up and it’s even worse than I predicted. (The second episode is up too, but there’s a limit to my masochism). The takeaway? Pick your outfits carefully for the first day of school because: First day of school determines who you’re gonna be friends with, which determines if a guy is gonna like you which determines if you’ll ever be kissed, because after awhile you build it up and you get all nervous, until you’re 25 and totally unkissable. Pretty subtle message for a program developed by Kmart to promote its back-to-school clothes. The show is...
U.S. Pediatricians Decry Media's Portrayal of Sex – A new study published in Pediatrics shows that the messages media teach teens and children about sex are dangerous.  "’We want physicians to ask two media questions at every well-child visit: how much entertainment screen time per day does the child engage in, and is there a TV set or Internet connection in his or her bedroom,’ said Strasburger, professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. ‘That takes 20 seconds and may be more important than asking about childproofing or car seats or bicycle helmets.’”  The article shows that media are a powerful sex educator, and with children spending more time with media than in any other activity but...
I recently blogged about questions regarding how PepsiCo's voluntary beverage guidelines, announced in March, would be implemented in schools given that contracts are made at the local level. Now with back-to-school in full swing, I have even more questions about how PepsiCo may be using stealth marketing techniques to gain access to that coveted captive K-12 audience. Today, the company announced a new program it calls Score for Your School. From the press release: PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North America business unit kicks-off high school  football season with the "Score for Your School" program for Texans  only that invites fans to help schools win up to a $10,000 donation for  their sports programs. Beginning today, Texas fans can visit...
A Source of Solace, Not Ad Revenue – This Miami Herald article, quoting CCFC's Susan Linn, criticizes a proposal in Miami to allow advertising in public parks.  The author concludes, “To accommodate a plethora of commercial imagery in county parks is to fill them with visual pollution. The premise of the commercial culture is that buying things will make us happier. But no purchase is enough to achieve happiness. Instead, an encounter with nature—without an assault by this culture of consumerism—offers life's best gift.” http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/08/28/1796085/a-source-of-solace-not-ad-revenue.html Kids in Their Sights – Canada’s Financial Post details the global political struggle...

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