The Hightower Report

Throwing the Book at Scholastic Inc.

Throwing the Book at Scholastic Inc.

"The vast majority of our programs are not controversial," said the CEO of the world's largest publisher of children's educational material, "but once in a while there was a slip-up in editorial judgment."

I'll say! Like taking big bucks from big coal to produce a curriculum packet for fourth-grade teachers that was a shameless propaganda piece for – guess who – big coal. That "slip-up" by Scholastic Inc. precipitated an avalanche of anger from parents, children's advocacy groups, and environmentalists. The $2-billion-a-year corporation was buried in bad publicity and stung with fundamental questions about the integrity of its classroom materials.

It turns out that this was not Scholastic's first trip down the slippery slope of corporate-financed "education." It has also taken cash to produce books and lesson plans that served the interests of such brand-name outfits as Brita, Disney, Microsoft, Nestle, and Shell. Publishing the biased content of these funders matters, for Scholastic is able to get its materials into 90% of U.S. classrooms – which, of course, is why corporate giants want to buy-in. Indeed, Scholastic brags that it reaches young minds with curriculum-connected programs that can influence behavior and affect "brand awareness" and "consumer loyalty."

Now, however, Scholastic's behavior is being influenced. The public outcry forced it to terminate some of its industry puff pieces and announce a partial retreat on accepting corporate funds, while also setting up a quasi-independent review board to vet all materials produced in "partnerships" with industry.

This is Jim Hightower saying: To be worthy of its name, Scholastic needs to sever all corporate connections, which is why We the People must stay on its case. To keep up and speak up, go to www.commercialfreechildhood.org.


For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

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