Sunday, November 20, 2011

Does Advertising On Report Cards Go Too Far?

Just how far is too far when it comes to advertising?

How about ads for CollegeInvest or McDonald's on your child's report card?

That's just what a Colorado school district recently decided to do to close the gap in their budget deficit. According to Lorie Gillis, Chief Financial Officer for Jeffco Schools:
"Facing $70 million in budget reductions over the 
next two years, we really do need to be creative." 
The CollegeInvest ad will generate $90,000 over a three-year period. In return, a 2-inch ad will be run at the bottom of all elementary school report cards three times a year. 

School administrators justified the advertising on the basis of the two organizations having similar missions. CollegeInvest is an arm of the state government which administers 529 college savings programs. According to Angela Baier, Chief Marketing Office for CollegeInvest: 

"We have similar missions. CollegeInvest is all about education. 
It seemed like a win-win for both of us. 
I really view it as a public service announcement because we're a
non-profit and it's helping families that obviously have children."

 While Colorado may be able to claim a loose connection to a nonprofit organization that focuses on education, other school boards have been far less concerned with making this tie, printing advertising from companies like McDonald's.
In these days of shrinking budgets, school districts have had to make some rather difficult decisions about everything from the subjects they offer to the technology they buy to classroom size to staffing.

If advertising on report cards allows a school to buy 10 more computers or to continue to teach French or to keep a few more teachers employed, is it necessarily a bad thing?

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