School districts across the country have been raising funds by allowing companies to sponsor classes. The new initiative allows schools to receive much-needed funding while allowing companies to incorporate ads into the classes. The sponsors can incorporate their products into the curriculum, and they receive a tax write-off.
The Smithfield, RI school district is one of the first districts to incorporate sponsored classes. Teachers feel like this initiative is a blessing and a curse. Jane Bradley who teaches 7th grade said “We now have money to fund these classes but I have to interrupt Science class every 15 minutes and recite an Ad for Monsanto. I go from teaching these kids about the dangers of chemicals and then interrupt the lecture to promote chemicals. It’s very confusing for the children. At least we were able to get new lab equipment out of the deal.”
Another teacher who asked to remain nameless said “I have to give a weekly detention to every student in my class. During the detention I have to give a 30 minute lecture about how Johnson and Johnson create safe and reliable medications. I have no choice, if I don’t give the detention, the company that sponsors my class will pull their funds. I was told that I can’t change the punishment because it’s part of the contract.”
The American Federation of Teachers has stated these new classes: “We are completely against this new initiative. We want our members to teach and not be forced to sell products on top of teaching.”
The new curriculum has already been put into place at schools across the country and will be phased in over the next five years. Students can look forward to more classes like “Why We Love Target”, “The History of McDonalds” and “How Coke Is Made”.