Education Action

April 21, 2009 17:47 ET

The Future Shop of Education

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 21, 2009) - Trustees at the TDSB will vote tomorrow, April 22, on their first private and corporate sponsorship offer since amending a school board policy which restricts commercial advertising and direct marketing in schools.

Under the policy, revised last February, not only would Wednesday's ruling provide naming and signage rights in exchange for a major gift from a corporate donor, the decision would trigger the "branding" of public space with distinctive corporate colours.

The $50,000 gift on offer is computer equipment from Future Shop Inc. The donation is restricted to schools within 7 km of a Future Shop store. The school board would accept the donation in exchange for computer lab naming rights, a wall plaque and Future Shop grey & red redecoration.

Critics of the sponsorship argue that the sponsorship, which would entail a plaque at the door, and to paint the room in Future Shop colours, conflicts with the goals of our public education system.

"Parents should be aware that many corporate leaders and marketers see schools as places to market products to a captive audience," says Chris Glover, a parent with two kids in TDSB schools. "Marketers talk about fighting for 'mindshare' of children. One marketing spokesperson has said 'They're not so much children as what I like to call evolving consumers.'"

Others argue that Toronto's public education system should continue to be funded with public dollars, that don't come with strings attached.

"The goal of our public education system is to prepare young people to be citizens in a democracy, not to be consumers at any specific retailer," says Rosario Marchese. "If turning our public education system into a public/private partnership is the vision of the McGuinty government, then they should have run on that platform in the last election. If that is the direction they are heading in, then we need to have a wide public debate."

A media conference will be held in the Queen's Park Media Studio. Speakers include Chris Glover a parent activist with Education Action, Rosario Marchese, NDP Education Critic, and Professor Trevor Norris, a specialist in Consumerism in School at OISE.

Speakers: Chris Glover - Education Action 416-875-4386
Rosario Marchese - NDP Education Critic 416-325-9092
Professor Trevor Norris - OISE - U of Toronto 416-951-8738

Location: Queen's Park Media Studio
Date: Wednesday April 22, 2009
Time: 9:45 a.m.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Education Action
    Chris Glover
    416 875 4386