You know, if our megalomaniacal government wasn’t hell-bent on continuing to dump billions of dollars down the toilet fighting wars which can’t be won, our funding-starved schools wouldn’t have to resort to sleazy corporate branding to survive. (Apparently we’ll take smart bombs over smart kids any day.) How soon before we’ll have Kentucky Fried Chicken™ Elementary School? Verizon Wireless™ Junior High? How would you like your kid to graduate from Depends Undergarments™ High School? Don’t think it can’t happen.
Welcome to the Plymouth-Canton Elementary School, presented by Comerica.
That could be the reality in the Plymouth-Canton, Mich., school district, where administrators say their budget is so tight they had to approve the selling of naming rights to their new elementary school, existing schools, athletic field and even events.
A growing number of districts nationwide have or are setting up policies on how to handle corporate gifts that are attached to a name. It has raised questions about whether commercialism has gone too far.
Universities and hospitals are experienced in selling naming rights to corporations or individual donors. Communities have gotten into the game in the last several years, with ball fields and even senior centers selling naming rights to the highest bidder.
But public schools have been slow to join, in part because of the argument that kids at publicly funded schools shouldn’t be barraged at school by advertising. Still, some schools are trying.
The trend for a few years now has been to gain corporate sponsorship in exchange for some brand loyalty: for example, Coca-Cola gives a school a bunch of money to have only Coke machines on campus. Or Nike gives funding to a school if they slap their shoe ads all over walls, lockers, textbooks, etc. It’s nothing new, but this business of naming entire schools after corporate donors is just sickening. Aren’t these companies content with sports stadiums and concert venues named after them? And what if your kid’s school receives a large chunk of money from a right-wing company like Carl’s Jr. or Wal-Mart, which then decides that all those science classes could use a good dose of religion (pardon me…intelligent design) in order to “balance things out”? Oh no, that couldn’t happen. Riiiight.
Once these companies own your schools, they may as well own the kids as well. But who cares, it’s just a good old-fashioned business decision, nothing wrong with that…