Corporations Power in Education?

This past weeks debate was about corporations being involved in education. As teachers we all know it takes money to teach students. The pressure to have resources to teach is incredible. Teachers often invest their own money on: learning resources, self regulation tool, and rewards. Many people believe that teachers should be reimbursed for the money they put in or that teachers should not be spending their own money on these things. If we look at the Saskatchewan budget we see that there is no extra money in the budget to help teachers with resources. Let alone even to pay their agreed upon wages. So corporations have offered a helping hand. For example Coke made a deal with a school, “Coca-Cola paid the district $4 million upfront and an additional $350,000 a year to sell its beverages in schools. The annual payments have funded field trips, gym uniforms, SMART Boards and other frills that individual school budgets may not otherwise have afforded.”

coke
Photo Credit: papadont via Compfight cc

As great as the funding is to be able to afford smart boards, field trips, gym uniforms, etc. Is it worth exposing students to more advertising of unhealthy foods? Coke saw the benefit of being able to sell its beverages for 10 years!

So if we look at this deal on the surface it seems pretty good. Both goals of education and corporations are being met.  Steve points out “The goals of education are student learning and success, through a variety of means and factors. The goals of a corporation are, by definition, profit.” Schools are getting funding for student learning and success while large corporations like Coke are getting profits from the sales of goods in schools.

But how far can corporations take this?

I think Pearson has an outright monopoly in some cases over things like standardized test. Standardized tests are used in schools to collect data. Data that drives where money is distributed and to compare one school to another. So Pearson decided develop a test to ensure students are at grade level in grade 3. This is helpful for division offices so they can see where each of there schools are at and compare. But, Pearson gets paid for each student that takes the test. Throughout the years they have made up more and more tests and continually get paid.

This leads me to think that Pearson is now making decisions on what education is important for students to know. If funding and supports are based off of test scores Pearson really gets to decide what knowledge is important. Do we really want some corporation deciding what youth learn? Are we giving corporations too much control? Or is this our only option with the government cutting budgets?

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10 Responses to Corporations Power in Education?

  1. sboutilier says:

    Some excellent points here. The coke example is definitely really informative here. Yes, coke put a pile of money into the school, but you know that they did so on the assumption of long-term gain. One of the central principles of branding is building loyalty. We’re letting corporations imprint their brand on kids so much and at such a young age that it can’t help but feel like a bit of indoctrination.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mskbrodner says:

      I completely get where you are coming from Coke definitely invested the money for their gain but my question is, do we really have any other choice? With budgets being cut and more demands being put on schools, does it matter that much that the vending machine is a Coke one?

      Like

  2. Great post Kayla. It’s important to think about how our goals align with the partners that we choose and how does all of that play out in a time of funding scarcity.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great Post Kayla. The Coke section really stuck out to me. So often kids in our school will ask why we don’t sell healthier drink alternatives to the Pepsi products. Well the answer is they helped pay for the scoreboard so we are tethered to them. Lots to think about. Thanks for Sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s interesting to consider the Coke sponsorship deals in schools and which company, Pepsi or Coke, gets the lucrative placement in schools. We have slush funds within our schools from all of this Pepsi money for all of the “extras” around making our school welcoming to students and community. Because of its nature, the “slush fund” doesn’t have the same regulations around spending as other accounts do, but should that be the case? Shouldn’t corporate money in schools face the same scrutiny that spending taxpayers dollars has?

    Like

  5. Awesome post Kayla, like the others the Coke comments also stuck with me. I believe this is the idea of selling your soul to a corporation, we know how harmful it is for our students, but money talks. It is something that we do not really talk about but is always there. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mskbrodner says:

      Thanks, I feel like the money talks is a reality in today’s world and we may need to teach students that making deals with corporations are not always black and white. We need to decide if the positives from the funds can outweigh the negatives of the branding on our students.

      Like

  6. Rosie says:

    That’s a sharp way of thninikg about it.

    Like

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