September 2016

LA Teachers Union says #StopMcTeachersNights; CCFC investigates: Public comments say NO to ads in National Parks; Preserving time for play; CCFC welcomes our first Development and Communications Director; Book review: Powered by Girl; The future of "kid food"; Parenting with screen limits; Nominate your pick for Worst Toy of the Year; Recommended reading

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In this issue: 

  • LA Teachers Union says #StopMcTeachersNights 
  • CCFC investigates: Public comments say NO to ads in National Parks
  • Preserving time for play
  • CCFC welcomes our first Development and Communications Director
  • Book review: Powered by Girl
  • The future of "kid food"
  • Parenting with screen limits
  • Nominate your pick for Worst Toy of the Year
  • Recommended reading
  • Support CCFC

LA Teachers Union says #StopMcTeachersNights

This week, CCFC and Corporate Accountability International announced an exciting development in our campaign to Stop McTeacher’s Nights: United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) has passed a new policy denouncing these marketing events disguised as fundraisers. In the UTLA newsletter, Vice President Cecily Myart-Cruz plainly states that “it is wrong for corporations to use teachers to market to children.” She also urges UTLA members to “reject McTeacher’s Nights and to engage their principals and parent-teacher associations about the negative consequences of these events,” and warns local McDonald’s franchisees to not approach Los Angeles teachers. You can read about this and other developments in our McTeacher’s Night campaign in this excellent piece in Mother Jones.

CCFC investigates: Public comments say NO to ads in National Parks

Last spring, the National Park Service (NPS) proposed a new policy that would open parks to corporate advertising and asked for public comments. But NPS never made those comments available to the public. So we requested them under the Freedom of Information Act – and guess what? A whopping 78% of them oppose the policy!

That opposition is on top on the more 215,000 people who have signed petitions hosted by CCFC, Public Citizen’s Commercial Alert, and Credo Action. CCFC and Commercial Alert have sent the NPS a letter requesting specific changes to the proposed policy, and urging them to listen to the public and keep our national parks free of corporate advertising. You can read more about our efforts here. And if you have yet signed our petition, you can add your name here.

Preserving time for play

As educational mandates require academic skills at younger and younger ages, two educational experts (and CCFC Senior Advisors) are pushing back. First, in a blog published at Community Playthings, Diane Levin urges educators to question policies that subject pre-schoolers to increased testing and “benchmarks,” and calls for a restoration of play-based learning. And in the Washington Post, Nancy Carlsson-Paige looks at how attempts to close “the achievement gap” through rigorous testing have created a new inequality: the play gap.   

CCFC welcomes our first Development and Communications Director

We’re growing, and we now have the biggest staff in CCFC’s history! We are pleased to welcome our latest staff member, Jenny Gamson. As CCFC’s first Development and Communications Director, Jenny will focus on raising funds to support the financial needs of our growing organization and strengthening our messaging to help us reach new and diverse audiences. For more than 25 years, Jenny has worked in nonprofit organizations and educational institutions in a variety of capacities, including teaching, program management, community relations, event planning, and fundraising. Says Jenny, “I am excited to be working with such a passionate staff, Board of Directors, and thousands of CCFC supporters. You all should feel welcome to call, email, or meet – I am always game for a good cup of coffee!” Read more about Jenny’s journey to CCFC on our blog.

Book Review: Powered by Girl

From protests against school dress codes to organized actions against police brutality, girl activists are taking their grievances to the streets (and to the tweets). Long-time advocate, activist, and Professor of Education Lyn Mikel Brown’s new book Powered by Girl explores this suddenly-visible movement of girls agitating for change, asking: Why do girls become activists? Why should they? And how can adults help? 

The book opens by exploring media coverage of girls’ activism, where Brown argues that most media spin a “one girl vs. the world” narrative that obscures the more powerful reality: that change happens when girls and adults work together. Brown then turns to the girls on the ground, interviewing youth activists and the adults who guide them (including CCFC Program Coordinator Melissa Campbell) to lay out a theory of intergenerational change that challenges the “extraordinary activist girl” trope and calls on adults to dig deep, get uncomfortable, and trust girls to take the lead. Any adult interested in working with youth would benefit immensely from this book, and from the experience and insight of the girls and women featured in its pages.

The future of "kid food"

On September 12th, CCFC’s Executive Director Josh Golin joined advocates, food industry leaders, and Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich at the National Press Club for a roundtable about the future of “kid food.” The event came on the heels of Panera’s exciting announcement that they would not use toys, characters, or other enticements to sell their kids’ meals. Panelists agreed on the need to improve the nutritional content of the foods served to children, and Josh urged the food industry to follow Panera’s lead and target their marketing to adults instead of kids, highlighting the particular susceptibility of children in this arena. You can read more about lively discussion here.

Parenting with screen limits 

Parent and CCFC Board Member Tim Kasser explains in his recent blog, The Flexible Approach to Family Media Management, that firm but flexible rules around screen time can empower children and keep parents sane. He recognizes that “parenting with media rules is intensive,” and describes a method of gradually adding media privileges which empowered his young sons to handle their own screens as they matured into young adulthood.

Nominate your pick for Worst Toy of the Year

It’s TOADY time! As toy companies prepare a barrage of ads for the holiday buying season, we shine a light on the very worst toys marketed to kids with our TOADYs (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children). Toys that foster stereotypes, dampen creativity, invade privacy, expose young children to violence, or exploit children’s lust for branded cartoon characters make especially fitting TOADY nominees. If you have heard about a terrible toy you think is worthy of this dubious honor, please email us or post it to our Facebook page. We’ll announce the final nominees and open the voting next month.

Recommended Reading: