2016-06-17 / Letters

A modest proposal: How far will endorsements make us go?

To the editor:

Budget cuts in education require drastic measures. We start with enthusiastic acceptance of athletic funds provided by businesses in exchange for “tasteful” advertising around our high school athletic field and gymnasium. Never mind that education should nurture independent thinking, free of school-endorsed promotion of products. After all, these are trying economic times.

But why limit exposure to such ads to our high school population? Shouldn’t we also encourage our younger children to adopt a cultural truism: Consumption is our primary function?

Once we are used to this level of training and have expanded into school corridors and classrooms, we can further reduce our school budget (and its onerous burden on taxpayers) by soliciting corporate sponsorship of textbooks, with commensurate placement of ads on front and back covers and in between. And we can certainly use homeroom time to show videos extolling the pleasures and value of sugar drinks, fast food and products promoting appealing body images. Why stop here? Why not rename our schools in honor of substantial corporate contributors to the education of our youth: Trump High School, Dunkin’ Donuts Middle School, Koch Brothers Elementary School? Sound familiar?

Or perhaps we can dispense altogether with the proposition that education should be supported by the public for the benefit of us all. We can privatize all our schools and provide scholarships for the economically challenged (if only they would work harder) in exchange for corporate-sponsored clothing and corporate murals on the outside (and inside) walls of subsidized housing.

It’s a slippery slope, but what a fun ride.

Will Fritzmeier South Portland

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