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View Full Version : Idaho teacher sells advertising space on tests


trickskier
03-26-2009, 08:38 AM
POCATELLO, Idaho Good morning, class, and welcome to U.S. history, brought to you by Molto Caldo Pizzeria.

In a cash-strapped Idaho high school where signs taped near every light switch remind the staff to save electricity, an enterprising teacher has struck a sponsorship deal with a local pizza shop: Every test, handout and worksheet he passes out to his students reads MOLTO'S PIZZA 14" 1 TOPPING JUST $5 in bright red, inch-high letters printed along the bottom of every page.

"I just wanted to find a way to save money," said Jeb Harrison, who teaches history and economics. "We have to sell ads for our yearbook, for our school newspaper. I don't think this small amount of advertising will change my classroom."

School officials were not wild about the idea, but Pocatello High School Principal Don Cotant relented after Harrison explained the advertisements could help illuminate such topics as the Great Depression.

"I had concerns. I didn't know what this would open up for us," Cotant said. "But we've let this happen because it makes a point about what economic hard times can force people to do."

As school districts across the country face the worst economic outlook in decades, educators who have long reached into their own pockets to buy classroom supplies are finding creative ways to cover expenses. But selling ads on schoolwork is practically unheard of.

The 12,000-student school district in and around Pocatello an old railroad town of about 55,000, where Idaho State University and a semiconductor plant are among the biggest employers is looking at a shortfall of up to $10 million next year because of expected cuts in state aid. A tax increase was voted down last month, and school officials have frozen spending on field trips, teacher training and basic supplies such as paper.

Molto Caldo Pizzeria, about a mile from the high school, agreed to supply paper for Harrison's five classes 10,000 sheets, valued at $315, and imprinted with a pizza ad. That should be enough paper for the rest of this school year and all of the next one.

On a recent day, Harrison handed out photocopies of Dust Bowl images, emblazoned with the pizza ad. The ad also appeared on an economics test he gave last week on the Depression.

"I thought it was a great idea. I mean, the levy didn't pass. We can't get enough money from the state. We've got to find some way to get it," said one of Harrison's students, 17-year-old Benjamin Simms.

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."

Earlier this school year in San Diego, Rancho Bernardo High School math instructor Tom Farber allowed students' parents and local businesses to pay $10 to print messages on quizzes, $20 for space on tests and $30 for final exams. Most parents printed inspirational messages, some started plugging their businesses. He raised $625 in one semester.

District administrators expressed concern that the practice could lead to legal problems if an ad were ever rejected, but Farber ended the practice before they could intervene. He sold his last ad in January, after making enough to get through the rest of the year.

"If the district says I can't do it, then they need to provide the money necessary for me to do my job," Farber said.

45552

thatsmrmastercraft
03-26-2009, 09:22 AM
I think the distraction or this advertising will ultimately lead to overall lower test scores. Who can give a proper amount of effort to taking a test when all they are thinking about is eating pizza?

scott023
03-26-2009, 09:23 AM
That's going too far... or is it? Everywhere you go now, arenas etc. are slapping corporate names on almost everything. This could be a grea idea, it's not like it's taking away from the kids education.

flipper
03-26-2009, 09:47 AM
hmmmmm.....pizza

flipper
03-26-2009, 09:48 AM
Does it come with free beer or anything?

TMCNo1
03-26-2009, 09:55 AM
Does it come with free beer or anything?

Teachers these days have to do what they have to do to get and keep supplies.
I've seen a few teachers here lately that I'd be glad to give money to and.........................nevermind!:rolleyes::D

flipper
03-26-2009, 10:00 AM
Teachers these days have to do what they have to do to get and keep supplies.
I've seen a few teachers here lately that I'd be glad to give money to and.........................nevermind!:rolleyes::D

.....go on.....:D

TMCNo1
03-26-2009, 10:15 AM
.....go on.....:D


I'd never make it to the final exam!:rolleyes::D

thatsmrmastercraft
03-26-2009, 10:17 AM
If Jeb were really working at this he would incorporate a free pizza to the highest score for each test. Now that would be motivation and a good lesson in economics.

flipper
03-26-2009, 10:37 AM
I'd never make it to the final exam!:rolleyes::D

:uglyhamme:uglyhamme

bbymgr
03-26-2009, 10:57 AM
This would be a great place for a "Cash Rewards" advertisement.

scott023
03-26-2009, 12:43 PM
This would be a great place for a "Cash Rewards" advertisement.

Now now... no need to go there.

Besides, school kids can't afford MasterCrafts. :D

TMCNo1
03-26-2009, 01:33 PM
Now now... no need to go there.

Besides, school kids can't afford MasterCrafts. :D

But the kids may bring home the test papers, the parents see the ads and when they get their stimulus check..............................:rolleyes::D

scott023
03-26-2009, 01:56 PM
But the kids may bring home the test papers, the parents see the ads and when they get their stimulus check..............................:rolleyes::D

With the education level being where it is in the states, I wonder how many kids are showing their parents test results ?8p

flipper
03-26-2009, 02:14 PM
With the education level being where it is in the states, I wonder how many kids are showing their parents test results ?8p

The sad part is, many parents now days don't care to even look.

X-5 Driver
03-28-2009, 03:40 PM
An interesting concept. I'm in Boise, about 200+ miles from Pocatello but this is the first I have heard of it. I work for an air ambulance service and we kicked around corporate sponsorship for our operation years ago. That would entail posting some sort of logo on our helicopters and believe it or not, it has been done elsewhere, basically making the helicopters look like something less than a NASCAR car. Who knows, maybe in this economy we will look at it again but I doubt we would have any corporate takers at this point anyway.

PapaJoe
03-28-2009, 06:19 PM
A year from now, they will wonder why thier kids are so fat.......:mad: