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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Return of the Blogger

Today I have a very special treat for people who have been reading edublogs for a while. One of the original FoLMeGs (Friends of Learn Me Good) has been convinced to come out of "retirement" and write a Guest Post.

Many of you remember the wildly popular Education in Texas blog which surprisingly and sadly went dark last April. I am happy to say that I have been able to keep in touch with its gregarious author, Mike in Texas, and I asked him to submit a post.

Mike's post doesn't fill us in on what he's been doing since Education in Texas or what he's doing now, but it does address a glaring hole that he observes in the national educational system -- the lack of corporate sponsorship in schools. I'm totally with him, and I've posted similar suggestions in the past!

Here is is, ladies and gentlemen, the latest and greatest scribblings from the Blogger Formerly Known as Mike in Texas. The title is, "Corporate Sponsorship, Or Maybe I Should Just Pay A Little Better Attention."


As a teacher I’m enthralled by anything that is:

1. coffee related
2. free

So it’s my good fortune to have a relative in the healthcare business, where she is inundated with items from pharmaceutical companies, including coffee cups, which she kindly passes on to me.

Many mornings I grab a last cup to drink when I get to work and I end up with several coffee cups sitting around my room, as I usually forget to bring them home.

Several days ago I was having a severe case of heartburn so I asked a student to take a coffee cup, wash it out, and fill it with water. Without really thinking about it I grabbed a cup off the shelf and sent her on the way.

About 10 seconds later my brain realized what I had done; I had just sent a 10 year old girl down the hall to fill a coffee cup emblazoned with the VIAGRA logo!!

At first I was horrified by my own carelessness but then I began to consider the possibilities of corporate sponsorship. After all, I recently read about a teacher who sold ad space on his tests. Many school districts have sold naming rights to buildings, stadiums, sports arenas or even on the sides I’ve school buses. I’ve also heard of people selling space on their bodies on EBay, so why not a little extra cash for me?

Are you listening Viagra, because I have some great ideas on how you can sponsor my coffee breaks. Who would be able to forget, “This stiff cup of Joe brought to you by Viagra!” or “Need a pick-me-up? Viagra!”

Networks are constantly inventing new ways to sell advertising during sporting events, like “Time for the Preparation H Dump Off Pass of the game, brought to you by Preparation H”. Everyday millions of school kids are taking commercial free recesses when they could be viewing a message saying, “This recess brought to you by Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs”.

Why stop with there? I have several extraneous body parts I’m hardly using.
First, there’s my bald head. Are you listening Rogaine?

Then there’s my ever expanding mid-section. As an added bonus I’ll gladly agree to eat more Popeye’s Fried Chicken to increase the surface area available for a company logo.

“Popeye’s! Over 2000 calories per meal served!”

If I happened to leave my PDA at your business feel free to stamp it with your logo before sending it back to me.

You’ll have to excuse me now, the coffee’s brewing and there’s money to be made.


margaret said...

too funny....hope your relative hooks you up with those awesome drug-rep ink pens...they write so well and are a pleasure to use (some are refillable!)

Mike in Texas said...

Thanks! Plus they provide hours of entertainment.

"Ask your Dr. if Floxmax may be right for you. Side effect may involve irritability, projectile vomiting, erectile dysfunction, explosive diarrhea, repulsive body odor . . .”

Priest said...

I realize there was more than a bit of “tongue in cheek” slant to your post. However, it did strike a cord of resonance within me on several levels. Well written piece, Dude.

Corporate sponsorship of public education is all ready a reality. In Georgia, outside of Atlanta, there is an entire school complex supported by corporate interests.

The "history" of it is that in the 1990s the major corporate interest present became disillusioned with the quality of High School grads in the local competitive job market pool and decided to take direct corrective action. From what I've been told, everything in the school is pure state of the art and teachers want for nothing.

The trade off has been that the corporation has significant input into curriculum which may or may not be a good thing depending on your perspective.

Here's what concerns me about corporate sponsorship or corporate anything for that matter. Most, if not all, corporate models are bottom line driven. The profit margin is the ultimate validator for any business practice, program, agenda, whatever.

Kindly set aside the AIG banking bail out and The GREEDY 3 scarfing up yet more of our tax dollars as these recent trends represent a new dynamic I term "Capitalist Venture with Socialist Backing".

What goes "hand in glove" with bottom line concerns is that often times the end justifies the means. This inevitably leads to a process lacking anything like balance, e.g., cut out all social concern issues in favor of a higher average GPA.

Specialization at the expense of being well rounded is also in line with the corporate model. Things are compartmentalized in corporate world with wonks not having the slightest idea how to "do" anything beyond their very narrow niche. The wonks are very fast, and very good at what they do … just don’t ask one to do anything beyond their small piece of the puzzle as they be clueless fer shure.

If the purpose of our education system is to help people grow into caring, concerned, pro-active, fully engaged, good citizens capable of engaging in sustained critical thinking in order to take on problem solving then the corporate model is toxic.

If, as a society, we want to punch out a bunch of narrow focused "Widgets" that work as advertised then the corporate model might be the best way to go.

The ultimate trade-off is one of swapping out aspiring to shoot for the stars for resignation that it is a Machiavellian Universe and therefore it is best to grab the biggest piece of the pie as quickly as possible.

As usual, it’s all about choices. Now if you will be so kind as to excuse me, my shaved head and washboard flat abs are screaming for a corporate banner, or 2, or 3, or …

Mister Teacher said...

WHOA! Priest, take a breath!! :)

Remind me never to run a post comparing student helpers to slave labor -- I might get a 25 page dissertation on the history of the Slave-Rum Triangle! :)

Priest said...

Ya mean like Maryland's MANDATORY "Volunteer Community Service" hours requirement for graduation? Yeah, I could 25 pages … or more on dat fer shure. “When the whip comes down …” :)