Teachers take on Scholastic over commercialized book orders

Back in February I wrote about the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a non-profit organization that was upset with Scholastic for the ever-increasing number of non-book gadgets being offered as part of its classroom-based book clubs.

Now the CFCFC has garnered the support of 1,262 teachers who are also perturbed by the commercialization of Scholastic's books clubs where Hannah Montana has replaced Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The group found that a full one-third of the items offered in Scholastic's catalogs aren't books -- they're toys including video games, the last thing that any teacher in his right mind wants to encourage parents to buy for students.

"Scholastic is taking advantage of its privileged place in schools," Susan Linn, director of the consumer group, told the USA Today. "Some teachers are fed up enough to say, 'Stop.' "

The complaints that these teachers have are completely valid but the timing isn't exactly opportune. With classroom budgets being cut across the country because of declining tax revenue, few teachers have the flexibility to kick Scholastic out of their classrooms -- and until that happens, Scholastic will continue to load the book orders with whatever garbage they think kids want, regardless of its educational merit.

The only solution for now is for parents to refuse to buy their kids the TV-themed crap that Scholastic is loading its fliers with because remember: If parents send the message that they want the Boxcar Children instead of SpongeBob, that's what they'll get.
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