In an effort to save the district money, a Pocatello High School teacher decided to advertise a local pizza shop by promoting the business on paper he uses in the classroom. The restaurant provided 10,000 sheets of paper that included a company logo, and the teacher will use that paper in class over the next two years — a value of $315. The Idaho Statesman has the story:
Marianne Donnelly, chairwoman of the school board, said the ad apparently violates a district policy barring schools from directly promoting businesses. But she said the board considers the ad harmless and is not making an issue out of it.
"Give the teacher credit for creativity," Donnelly said. "There’s no question we’re in desperate financial straits."
Elsewhere, nonprofit organizations are helping teachers obtain free or discounted classroom supplies, and Web sites match educators with benefactors willing to buy materials. But Harrison’s approach has at least one critic worried the idea will spread.
"It crosses a line," said Susan Linn, a Harvard psychologist and director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. "When teachers start becoming pitchmen for products, children suffer and their education suffers as well."
Granted, the timing does seem interesting as a tax levy for more funding was recently shot down by the public, so critics argue the teacher and the school are just making a statement here. Regardless, it raises an interesting question: Should teachers be able to allow advertisements in the classroom? What if they would otherwise have to purchase classroom materials out of their own pockets?
Tell us what you think: Is this an inspirational, opportunistic educational tool, or just a matter of worlds colliding that shouldn’t, just to make a point?