Advertising on High School Tests

I was truly amazed by the article that appeared in USA Today on December 1st – “Ads on tests add up for teacher.”  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I think it is outrageous the amount of money that teachers spend out of pocket for what should be standard supplies for their classrooms.  Those teachers who also happen to get a stipend for advising extra-curricular groups spend a good portion of the stipend on supplies and items for the group.

I am not sure that I am totally opposed to advertising in schools.  If you think about it, your child’s high school probably has a soda machine or water machine in it.  These are basically advertising for the particular product as there is seldom more than one brand in a school.  As a matter of fact, I recall reading about a Coke sponsorship for a school some years back.  The payoff for having only Coke products in the school’s vending machines was money for the school.

In the particular article in question, I understand the need for testing.  An Advanced Placement calculus class is a very difficult class.  Testing to prepare students for what they will face in May on the AP test is definitely necessary.  It is also a very page intensive subject. 

Second, the advertising is not too blatant, at least not from what is shown in the USA Today article.  The article also states that a good deal of the advertising is inspirational sayings underwritten by parents of students.  This is a triple whammy for the parents.  They pay taxes.  They will pay a fee – last time I had to write a check for an AP test it was $84 – for their child to take the AP test.  Then, they are paying for advertising on tests. 

I applaud the businesses that have taken part.  I sometimes think that we raise our children in a cocoon.  They are going to be bombarded by advertising – starting with college mailings in their junior year of high school.  If we, as parents, or the schools, as educators, do not teach our children how to deal with advertising, what are they going to do?  Live a life in debt because they will always “want” more and more, though not necessarily be able to afford it.

I believe the teacher in this particular case is doing what is necessary to keep the course on the level needed.  The advertising is helping with this and allowing the teacher to spend his money on his family or on other necessities in his classroom.

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