May 2011

Do All Preschools Need Screens?; Parents, Teachers, Environmental Groups Urge Scholastic to Shelve InSchool Marketing; Scholastic Pulls Coal Industry-Funded Curriculum; Preserving Commercial-Free School Buses: What You Can Do; Upcoming Events - Media Madness: The Impact of Sex, Violence, & Commercial Culture on Adults, Children, and Society; Support CCFC

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Do All Preschools Need Screens?

Today, CCFC sent a letter to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the nation's premier professional organization for early childhood educators, urging NAEYC to significantly revise its draft position statement, “Technology in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8.”  CCFC’s letter was signed by more than 70 leading advocates for children, education, and public health, including NAEYC past president David Elkind, author of The Hurried Child; Vivian Gussin Paley, author of The Boy on the Beach: Building Community through Play; and Carden Johnston, MD, past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

As it stands, the NAEYC statement says that all childhood programs—regardless of type of program or age of children served—have an obligation to use technology; that means even outdoor and play-based programs will be expected to incorporate computers and other screens into their classrooms.  Because the statement makes no recommendations about reducing, or even limiting, the amount of time children spend with screens, it undermines major public health efforts to reduce screen time to help curb childhood obesity and other child health issues. In the CCFC blog, Susan Linn explores this worrisome split between educators and health care providers. 

You can submit your own comments to NAEYC by emailing TechandYC@naeyc.org.  If you share CCFC’s concerns about the statement, please feel free to incorporate CCFC’s talking points into your comment.  And thanks so much to all of you who have already written to NAEYC to voice your own concerns. 

Parents, Teachers, Environmental Groups Urge Scholastic to Shelve InSchool Marketing

The pressure is mounting on Scholastic to shutter its controversial InSchool Marketing division.  More than 50,000 parents, teachers, and advocates for children—by far the most to ever participate in a CCFC campaign—have urged Scholastic to stop promoting corporate interests in classrooms.  Meanwhile, leading environmental groups, including Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and Greenpeace, are urging Scholastic to stop distributing teaching materials sponsored by for-profit corporations and industry.  And both the LA Times and New York Times have taken Scholastic to task for its InSchool Marketing program.

Here's how the program works: corporations pay Scholastic to create teaching materials designed to further “client interests” and create “brand awareness” and “consumer loyalty.”  The materials are packaged and distributed by Scholastic as learning opportunities for students, often touting alignment with national standards.  For example, Scholastic’s Creativity Power Push curriculum, designed to promote Nestle Push-Up Ice Cream, was packaged as meeting national standards for grades 2-4 in language arts and math.  Other Scholastic clients have included McDonald’s, Cartoon Network, Shell, SunnyD, Disney and the corporate-funded Chamber of Commerce.  To learn more about this campaign, please click here.  And to send your own letter to Scholastic, please visit: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/621/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6851.

Scholastic Pulls Coal Industry-Funded Curriculum

CCFC’s campaign to stop Scholastic from distributing all corporate-sponsored teaching materials comes on the heels of Scholastic’s announcement that it would immediately stop distributing “The United States of Energy,” a controversial fourth grade curriculum paid for by the American Coal Foundation.  The announcement came just two days after CCFC and Rethinking Schools launched a campaign demanding that Scholastic stop pushing coal in elementary schools.  Scholastic’s decision demonstrates the growing strength of our movement and is a testament to your activism.  To learn more about this campaign and why it matters so much, please click here.

Preserving Commercial-Free School Buses: What You Can Do

This spring, we told you that several states were considering proposals to allow advertising on school buses and urged you to contact your state legislators.  Thanks to your efforts, a majority of these state—Washington, Oklahoma, Florida, Rhode Island, and Idaho—have decided not to go forward with school bus ads.  So far this legislative session, only Utah has approved a measure that would allow school districts to contract with advertisers for bus ads.  Meanwhile, New York, Kentucky, and Ohio are currently considering legislation that would allow school bus advertising; if you live in one of these states, please visit our School Bus Ad Action Center to contact your legislators and get the latest updates on these unfortunate bills.

Upcoming Events - Media Madness: The Impact of Sex, Violence, & Commercial Culture on Adults, Children, and Society

A Summer Institute/Training for Educators, Students, Human Service Professionals, Activists & Parents - June 27-30, Wheelock College, Boston, MA

For the 16th year, CCFC’s Diane Levin, author of So Sexy So Soon, will lead the popular summer institute on the role that media, technology and commercial culture play in shaping children's development and behavior, as well as our overall cultural attitudes.  By focusing on the onslaught of violent, sexist and commercial images that bombard us daily, participants will: understand harm caused by this onslaught; build skills to educate and support children, youth and adults to resist the dangers; and integrate broad-based media literacy curricula and activism into classrooms and everyday life.  Click here for more info.  

Support CCFC

We rely on you because we will not compromise our commitment to children by accepting corporate funding. To make your tax-deductible donation please visit http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/donate.