Over at Torontoist, I dueled with Patrick Metzger over the issue of allowing corporate advertising inside of schools.
I’m with Mr. Metzger on this one. Obviously, there should be regulation for it to some degree before it’s allowed, but in general, I think you’re underestimating schoolkids. They see advertising everywhere they go, not just on TV. By and large, I think they’re desensitized to it, and let’s be honest, public schools could really use the money. I think the positives far outweigh the negatives.
“By and large, I think they’re desensitized to it, and let’s be honest, public schools could really use the money.”
The “pro” argument in a nutshell: We’re willing to sacrifice the kids because we want the money. And we’ll justify doing so by simply denying it does any damage.
The obvious rebuttal which exposes the complete lack of cohesion in the pro argument: If kids are so desensitized to advertising, why are companies willing to pay so much money to get it in schools?
Here’s a crazy idea: why don’t we raise corporate taxes a bit, then use that money to fund the schools.
Heresy, dangermouse. Why, the entire world economy will collapse if corporations are taxed to pay for stuff that poor working-class people could be bled dry to pay for instead! Besides, why would corporations want people to be educated, anyway?
Like if you think this idea has any merit then you’re kind of, you know, openly conceding that schools need more money than they currently have. And you’re also admitting that students will be influenced by this advertising, because you’re implicitly arguing that corporations will spend a meaningful amount of money in order to place these ads in schools, which they wouldn’t do if they weren’t effective.
So pretty obviously what you should be arguing for is increasing taxes, and then, giving that money to schools. I mean I’m sure you have various arguments against that, but since all of those arguments are actually just “taxes hurt my feelings really, really hard” then maybe you should just, you know, get over that, and do what’s right for students.
I had to do my second year college exams facing a large poster for the Ashton Kutcher/Cameron Diaz movie “What Happens In Vegas”. As a result, I hate that movie completely, without ever having seen it.
How about advertisments for duelling in schools? …nah, that’s probably worse.
Seriously, though, regarding “kids are desensitized”… there’s a big difference between “some shmuck on TV wants me to buy X” and “the authority which controls my life when my parents are at work is brought to me by X”.
I’m with the con side in this debate. The issue I have is this: the funding gained by advertising won’t be enough to adequately fund or even supplement all schools equally across the board. And that’s where the idea fails right out of the gate.
Schools are supposed to have a certain minimum of equity. So that students attending them, if they apply themselves have a theoretically equal chance in applying to the next level of education and/or training they desire to gain.
The corporate world operates not on an equitable basis but on a bottom line basis – that which generates the greatest cashflow is nurtured, that which does not is neglected. No student body, school or school board should have to be subject to that type of sociopathic worldview.
@Christopher: “Sacrifice” kids? Sacrifice them to who, McDonalds? Good lord, the rhetoric. They’re already being “sacrificed” (with advertising) to that Coke vending machine on campus, and to whatever cheap food supplier is offering them a choice between hamburgers and pizza for lunch. This is a lot less harmful than either of those things.
Corporations will put advertising wherever the eyes are, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the advertising is effective. If you saw “McDonald’s” on your gym’s parquet floor every day, after a while your eyes would just gloss over it. There’s advertising all over the subway I take to work. I couldn’t tell you what any of it was about.
@UnstoppableGravy: I don’t think there is much difference. Having to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day with the words “under God” didn’t make me any more religious (or any more patriotic, for that matter). Inevitably, it was just words I had to say while I checked out the cute girl in the third row.
@ThatGuy: Schools don’t have that minimum of equity NOW. Ideally, yes, we could only embrace solutions that work for everyone equally across the board, but we don’t live in an ideal world. If you want to call that view “sociopathic,” fine, but it’s the one we’re stuck with.
This doesn’t mean I’m against higher taxes, but for schools to find alternative methods of raising money. No, not all schools will be able to do it equally, and yes, that sucks. But if the corporate sector picks up some of the load at the cost of their logo in the hallways or gym? I’m all for it. Maybe more government funds can be directed at the schools that aren’t receiving that funding. I just don’t see any reason to reject it out of hand because we believe our kids will be brainwashed to eat Big Macs.
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