Ads in Class

Travesty by Travis Williamson

It can be said without a doubt that ours is a capitalist, consumer based, marketing society. The world we live in now somewhat clashes with the world many people today grew up in. With the advances in the internet, phones, and computers students growing up in this age literally have the entire world in the palms of their hands. The average American is hit with media and advertisements thousands of times a day, and now some schools have begun incorporating some types of advertising into the hallways.

Carl Azuz, CNN Student News Anchor, said, "It's easy to understand why companies would want to advertise on your school campus: What you wear, what you play, and what you listen to are worth billions in business. And it's easy to see how schools would benefit: The money they get from allowing ads could make up for what they've lost in the recession - and help you go on more field trips, have more money for athletics, and have better after-school programs. From a business standpoint, it makes sense.

But from an educational one, it gets murky. Many would argue that a public school is a place for learning, not marketing. And they fear that commercializing campuses is a step in the wrong direction, especially when there are already ads on everything from your cell phone to your television to the signs you pass on the way to school."

Now, America is one of the few countries in the world with an educations system that is both free and accessible to all of its citizens. We are also one of the few countries in the world that allow for freedom of speech and it is the mixture of those two elements that give birth to this great conflict effecting our educational system; the conflict of whether or not it is appropriate for schools to influence children and how much and in what ways. While many people complain about corporate advertising in schools, I feel that they fail to see the benefits the schools can gain from the money, as well as the worldly connection that corporations bridge between the school and the job world.

While our educational system is one of the best in the world, it is far from perfect. Many schools all over the US have serious issues with funding and while it is the state's responsibility to maintain their schools, if they fail to do so many schools have turned to the private sector. By placing advertisements in the halls of high schools, the school can gain the much needed funds they need to spend as they see fit. While this could be construed as a reflection of the state's failure to provide funds the advantage is that government money always comes with attached strings, contrary to the money from these private sector corporations. I feel like that means the argument could be made that a school could better determine how much money it needs, better than the government. These funds allow schools to buy what they need to better educate our students. Without add placements, there are many schools that wouldn't be able to afford new computers, lab equipment, sports facilities, and all the things that are essential to gaining a proper education and building better character.

Still this doesn't change the fact that many feel that we should provide an environment free from adds and corporate influence. It is not a bad idea to have an environment were kids can think more freely, but the problem is that the world isn't a place free from adds and corporate influence. In fact, the world is very much like that and if the purpose of school is to be more prepared for the 'real world' then would it not be important to demonstrate the roll money plays in life? You can look around any city in the US and you will see adds everywhere. They're not there because they look pretty, they are in place because they provide people with money so that they can buy the things they need. It is a consumers market, we don't trade stones, we buy and sell stocks. We don't give things away for free, we work to pay for them. That is where we live, and like it or not, I feel it is important our kids understand that or honestly all that education is useless.

The ads in schools help to bridge the gap between these two worlds. These adds aren't brainwashing your kids. They are not being turned in to corporate-worshipping zombies, and their ability to learn isn't being quashed. All they do is pay for the things that no one else will in order to provide a better environment to learn.

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