Subscribe to this Blog
Today's Blogs
    The Checkup:

Scholastic: Too Much Marketing or Just Right?

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) is on a new mission: To get Scholastic to drop the marketing of "toys, trinkets, and electronic media, many of which promote popular brands" from its in-school catalogs. The commercial-free childhood folks have paved such a path before, in getting Scholastic to drop Bratz from those same catalogs.

Judy Newman, president of Scholastic Book Clubs, told the New York Times that "she stood by every product in the book club fliers. Many of the items identified by the campaign, she said, were books sold with small items like stickers to help engage children who 'may not be traditional readers.' "

Scholastic has received only a couple hundred from letter e-mails protesting the products in their catalogs, says Kyle Good, Scholastic's vice president of communications. In addition, the site has received dozens of e-mails supporting the product offerings from parents and teachers. "We’re now mainly getting letters from teachers who are furious with the CCFC," Good wrote in an e-mail.

A look at Scholastic's February catalogs for kindergartners and first graders and fourth through sixth graders shows far more non-book content for the older kids than the younger ones. In addition to books, younger children could buy the Fancy Nancy Purse Stationery Set, A Kidz Bop Valentine CD, a pet fairy book with a virtual pet fairy, a secret spy scope, a fishing for math game, mighty math software and a Pokemon How to Draw book with colored pencils. Offerings for the older kids included an electronic text messenger pen set, a grow-your-own crystals set, a "High School Musical" book with a necklace, paint your own dueling dragons, an ultimate band Nintendo DS game, a microscope and an Animals Ark Valentine set of two books that comes with lip gloss.

A look at the February catalog by Silver Spring parent Carol Bengle Gilbert prompted her to support the CCFC's campaign, she wrote on Associated Content:

"As a parent of three kids, two in elementary school and one in high school, I have decided to support the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood's request that Scholastic Books stop marketing non-book merchandise to children in school. My own children were avid readers long before they were introduced to Scholastic. Scholastic does not encourage them to read, it encourages them to come home from school with flyers and ask me to order make-up, stationery, and toys.
I do remember a time when Scholastic did encourage reading, back when I was in elementary school. Back then, Scholastic sold 'real books,' not spin-offs of television shows and movies created specifically for marketing purposes. How is turning reading into a marketing scheme going to encourage children to choose to read worthwhile literature? Based on my experience, it's not. Scholastic needs to not only get rid of toys but also get rid of books that are primarily advertisements for television shows. Either that or American parents need to revolt and overthrow the 60 year reigning queen of in-school book sales."

Newman, meanwhile, is not alone in her views of trying new ways to get reluctant readers engaged in books. In an interview last fall, Jon Scieszka, the Library of Congress' first national ambassador for children's books, was emphatic in his belief that parents embrace all types of new media and alternative books and stop demonizing them. "We need to acknowledge that TV, computer games and movies are different than books," he said. "But you can do all of those things. ... Reading is in all those formats."

As a mom of a reluctant reader who's just now mending his ways, I'm seeing real-world value in expanding that definition of material that engages kids to read. If I'd been a stickler for non-toy, non-commercial books, he never would have been allowed to buy that coveted Klutz Lego Contraption Kit that totally engages him -- and makes him read a bit. Nor would he have had easy reader "Star Wars" books available to read to his brother.

That's not to say that I see any reason to package lip gloss or a necklace with books. In looking at the catalogs, The toys targeted at girls had far less educational value than those targeted at boys. And that disturbs me more than Scholastic doing all it can to get kids to find value in the written word.

What's your impression of the products in Scholastic's book club flyers? Should the selection be limited to books only or are you comfortable with most of the products in them being available at your school's book fair?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  February 17, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Elementary Schoolers
Previous: Would You Breast-Feed Someone Else's Baby? | Next: Discipline Meet Allowance

Comments


Question? Why are kids being sold anything in school? What is the rationale for Scholastic? Do the schools get money? Is it because they are selling books? My instinct is that kids shouldn't be sold anything but food in school, but I'm open to the fact that there may be something I'm missing.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 17, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

"What's your impression of the products in Scholastic's book club flyers?"

Junk.

Posted by: jezebel3 | February 17, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

moxie,

"Why are kids being sold anything in school? What is the rationale for Scholastic? Do the schools get money?"

What was that quote by Blagojevich? "I've got something of value here, and I'm not letting it go for free?" Something like that.

What's in it for Scholastic? Umm, profits - it's a publicly-traded, for-profit corporation (the stock symbol is SCHL for those who care).

What's in it for the school? Money, either directly or indirectly.

Schools have a captive audience, called "students." Companies love to sell to markets like that. Schools don't usually give up their thing of value - their captive audience - for free. They want something in return.

In other words: Companies compete for the right to sell stuff in school, and quite often the bargain is to provide "free" stuff to the school - books, supplies, even cash in rare cases - in exchange for the right to sell stuff to the captive audience called students.

e.g., "for every X books your students buy, we'll donate Y books/other items to your school media center. Now go out and sell, sell, sell."

It works the same with the fundraisers - companies get the right to be the provider of giftwrap, magazines subscriptions, candy, etc. by making "donations" to encourage you to sell their stuff.

You think it's bad with elementary schoolers? Wait until high school. Can you say "class ring?" "Yearbook?" "Graduation announcements & related stuff?"

When I was in high school, it was pretty well known that the class ring sellers made annual donations to the principal and selected people in the Superintendent's office. It's not usually so open and crass these days, but the incentives are still there. You just have to find them.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | February 17, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Moxie: The school gets stuff. Basically, the teacher gets the stuff. The teacher would be able to choose books and whatever they have for the classroom - based on how much the class in total spends. That is how they get the teachers to give it out in school, etc. Basically, a bribe.
Seriously, the prices on some of the books are fantastic. And we've not bought a thing yet. I do remember feeling horrible when they'd give out the books in class and I never got any (or maybe, only was allowed to order once or twice a year, I was the third kid and how many books do you need?).
My kid's preschool does it in addition to the elem school, so if i were to order books now it would be through them. And then the preschool would get some books.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 17, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if I have seen Scholastic or not. We had one flyer come home. I only remember books being in it. We sent some money to his mother to buy a book on dinosaurs.

As much as I might despise SpongeBob or Pokemon, the spin-off books from these characters encourage my step-son to read. He is now reading a much wider variety of material than he used to and his reading has improved substantially. How can you argue with that?

Posted by: Billie_R | February 17, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Armybrat: If it wasn't one thing it would be another. Every week or so, we're asked for something else. We're asked year round for the box tops, we're asked here for this and there for that. We have the second highest per student cost in the nation (second only to...DC). Yet they still ask for money. It's interesting.
(yes, in Atlanta enrollment is decreasing, yet the budget is continually decreasing. And no one asks why - cause it's for 'the kids').

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 17, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I think Scholastic offers a great value for the money. There are lots of great books included every month (Caldecott and Newbery winners among them). If you don't want the Sponge Bob or Dora garbage, don't buy it, but I'm thankful that kids who don't have as much stimulation and money at home at least have the opportunity to own some cheap books.

I never mind giving schools box tops or baking for the teachers and staff or helping out. We demand high quality education for our kids, and that costs money -- a LOT of money. Our district is perpetually underfunded, even in Wake County with all the money and degrees and so on.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 17, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I don't see what the problem is with the catalogs. If you don't like what's in them, don't buy anything. My feeling is pretty much anything that gets kids to read is a good thing. My daughter loves Barbie and Disney princess books. They certainly wouldn't be my first choice for what I'd like her to read, but she'll spend hours sounding out the words reading them.

Posted by: dennis5 | February 17, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

atlmom - don't get me started on the correlation (or lack thereof) between cost per student and quality of education. :-)

But yes, even here in "the wealthiest county in the wealthiest state in the nation" as they like to advertise it, the schools are always asking for more donations, soup labels, "box tops for education" etc. etc. ad nauseum ad infinitum. DW and I once started keeping track of how much we're spending for the "free" public education vs. the private education, but it got too depressing.

Yes, we do donate and actively support the public schools; we're strong believers in them and we know that the money we're donating is put to good use. And when the kids were younger we did order from the Scholastic forms; we got good books at good prices. But that doesn't make the constant asking for support any less annoying.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | February 17, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I still like the articles in the Highlights magazine. Great value for only a few bucks.

As for senior pictures running $300 to $500, now that's a racket!

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | February 17, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Armybrat: you and I both know it's not 'free.' Nothing is free. Someone is paying for it (you and me, perhaps? :)).
In any event, well, the private schools do as much fundraising as the public ones do, so there you go.

In other news, it looks like I may be moving up to DC.
Can anyone help me out?
How is Alexandria/Arlington for schools? How far are those metro stops from Foggy Bottom? Would it be better to drive?
Are there good schools in the DCPS? I know they're getting better - and next year, we'll be in 2nd grade. Is it possible to send your kids to DCPS and get a good education? I know it is possible in Atlanta - I see it every day. We would love to choose the city for various reasons, but if the education isn't a good 'deal,' so to speak, that is a big priority (can't afford the district AND private school...). And, the thing about the ATL is that people dismiss the whole school system out of hand, when there are definitely good schools here. One must do one's homework, but still...

So, anyone have an opinion...? ;)

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 17, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

And, my biggie: We are all responsible for paying for schools. For a reason. Even if it's a selfish one (schools now - or prisons later). But even so, we should want people to be educated, to be in an educated society, etc.
So when people tell me: I don't have kids. I'll never have kids. Or I'm done paying for *my* kids...
I tell them that they should want society to be educated. That those 'kids' today will be helping them in years to come (doctors/lawyers/web designers, whatever). That they should want that for all....

*thank you for listening to my PSA*

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 17, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I can only speak from my memory of ordering from Scholastic as a kid (back in the '80s), but none of what Stacey describes seems out of line to me. I used to look forward to getting that catalog every month, and would save my allowance to buy as many books and trinkets as I could. I specifically remember things like unicorn-shaped erasers and other "junk" that I prized at the time.

And let's face it, a lot of the books Scholastic sold back then were trashy, too -- my favorites were two series, one about cheerleaders, another about a group of girls at boarding school. Not exactly top literature there, but I ate it up. Doesn't seem to have harmed me that much (though I do have a lingering affection for light, fluffy novels).

Posted by: newsahm | February 17, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Hey - it's better than the 'book' fair. They had much stuff, maybe 50% of it was actually books. I paid $5 for a pen, for goodness sakes!
But, my kid did buy some books. He was so excited that I came to school, and that he got some new stuff. He wanted all sorts of junk - so really - the fact that we got some books was good.
The scholastic stuff, he only gives me the catalog, then that's about it. I don't know how he feels in the classroom, as I mentioned I remember the kids getting handed stuff, and I never got anything (or rarely) and I felt horrible. I hope that the teacher just stuffs the books in their backpacks, not doing it in front of the class, but I have no idea.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 17, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Ugh. I remember Scholastic flyers when my daughter attended public school. It would show up and all she wanted were the toys. Now, she was a reluctant reader so I thought (like many other guilible parents) that the toys would entice her into reading. HAH!

The best thing I did for her was to buy an MP3 player and download audio books. It was far less expensive than buying inane cheap toys every two weeks and did far more to get her interested in reading.

She now reads far above her grade level (whatever that means) and she chooses to challenge herself. In 6th grade, she just picked up "As You Like It" to read.

Posted by: slackermom | February 17, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I'd rather just give money than be continually buying junk I don't need and contributes to the destruction of the planet. I wish you could just pay $200 at the beginning of the year and be left in peace!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 17, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

moxie: I'm with you!

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 17, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

wife and i fully agree w/ moxie. even at day-care we are getting bombarded with "buy this, buy that". enough already!!

isn't the solution simple? day-care is a 401(c) non profit. donations to such are tax-deductible. can't i just write a $500 donation check day-one and be done with it? at least it would be tax deductible.

i would love to hear how much from the various companies (books, wrapping paper, etc) actually gets to the classroom. if i spent $20 on whatever, how much of that goes to the school? anyone have any real numbers?

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | February 17, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Whacky nailed it - racket.

Posted by: jezebel3 | February 17, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Did you know that the girl scout only keeps 50 cents of the cookie money per box for her troop? The cookies are full of chemicals, the boxes are getting smaller, the prices are going up and the kids only get 50 cents out of the whole 3.50 per box.

I HATE the trash that Scholastic sells. Maybe I'm old-fashioned but I don't want my sixth grader reading books exclusively focussed on dating and 'getting the cute boy to like me' which seems to be what Scholastic specializes in. I also have a reluctant reader and she always wants the garbage toys and NO, it doesn't get them interested in reading. Thanks for the tip about the audio books, however.

Posted by: Justsaying4 | February 17, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

interestingidea1234 - that's usually very closely-held "trade secret" information. The companies don't want anyone else to know what their true prices are, or someone will undercut them. So the school/organization just gets a check at the end of the campaign. If the school's sales campaign leader really wanted to know, he/she could total up the sales and look at the size of the check, then figure "we got X% of sales" but that's about the best they can do. (If you get goods like books or supplies instead of money you can't even do that.)

The youth softball group I help run has finally found a company that will change that, at least for us. We'll be selling "spiritwear" (clothing with our logo on it) through a website. When it's set up, they tell us what their bottom-line price is. We tell them how much profit we want; they set the sales price accordingly. So if they have a windbreaker for which they want $25, we can tell them to set the price at $26 and make $1 each; or at $35 and make $10 each. It's a question of maximizing fundraising, or maximizing exposure of our program by cutting what we make per item in exchange for more girls wearing our jackets to school. But this is the first company we've ever found that's given us that option. Most of the others were terrified at the thought.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | February 17, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

15% from the girl scout cookies goes to the group?

if you buy 5 boxes, that's $17.50 of which $2.50 goes to the organization. i would much rather double my donation to $5 and do away with the cookie hassle.

although in the girl scout example, i guess there are lessons to be learned by going through the sales process.

however, in the other examples, if the 15% rule was consistent, it seems like a no-brainer.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | February 17, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

altmom, there are lots of great schools in DCPS, both neighborhood and charter. Each school is different. Each family is different. the great thing is that because of the dense population, if one school doesn't work for your family, there is very likely another one close by that will.

We are happy with our Capitol Hill neighborhood school (Brent). Our son is an avid reader and he loves school. Can't argue with that!

If I were in your shoes, before touring schools, I'd first consider what "house of worship" the family would likely attend and get information from the leaders and congregants about good schools in the "house of worship" neighborhood. The value of a school can vary so much from year to year as teachers change. But finding a minister or rabbi, et al, that your family really gels with can make the expereince of moving to and thriving in DC so much easier. And how nice would it be if not only your school but also your "house of worship" is all in walking distance?

Good luck!


Posted by: captiolhillmom | February 17, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Here ya go,atlmom1234:


http://www.dcurbanmom.com/

Enjoy!

Posted by: jezebel3 | February 17, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

please take the info/opinions on dcurbanmom.com with a grain of salt - the site is a great resource, but there are some really strong opinions.

agree that there are many different experiences in DC - none of which are universally right or wrong - just do your research and find the one that fits your needs.

for us, the prospect of going to the Oyster School in woodley park is exciting.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | February 17, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

As a parent of 2 who has been bombarded with fundraising pitches since they were 3 mos old in daycare, I am not sympathetic to Scholastic on this. I'm all for new ways of encouraging kids to read, but the tv/toy tie-ins are dreadful. My youngest was gifted a Barbie Diamond Castle book which is barely readable. There are no pronouns in the entire book, and I find myself correcting the grammar as I read it aloud. My older child is beginning to read. She notices that I'm not reading the words exactly and wants to know why. "Teaching moment" about grammar I guess, but a printed book has a feeling of authority to a child. I definitely have to work to convince her that run-on sentences and too many clauses aren't the best way to tell the story!

Posted by: Snowball2 | February 17, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather just give money than be continually buying junk I don't need and contributes to the destruction of the planet. I wish you could just pay $200 at the beginning of the year and be left in peace!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 17, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

A coworker said his school tried that one year and when it came time to make the donation, most of the people finked out. They didn't get anywhere near what they made from the fundraisers.


Posted by: dennis5 | February 17, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Dennis, you are probably right. How about essentially paying to be on a do not solicit list? At the beginning of the year, make of donation of X dollars and we will not send anything to you, call you or send anything home with your child? Maybe I'm just too practical?

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 17, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Let me add, that the problem I have with the fundraisers at our school is that there is little accounting or feedback. We don't ever seem to get a message that says "We raised x dollars. X amount will be used for new maps and white boards. X amount will be used for teacher training. x amount will go to new band uniforms. etc...." So it feels like just feeding into this big anonymous pot and frankly makes me suspicious about how the funds are used.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 17, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

i would love to hear how much from the various companies (books, wrapping paper, etc) actually gets to the classroom. if i spent $20 on whatever, how much of that goes to the school? anyone have any real numbers?

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | February 17, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse


I'm president of our parent association and every fundraising solicitation we get tells us exactly what percentage of the sales go to the school. They are all very clear that we can sell item X for $Y and the school will get $Z from each one. There is no mystery to it at all.

For example, we just finished a cookie dough sale. The dough was $14 a tub and we got 40% of that. We did a coupon book sale earlier in the year with the books costing $10 and the school got $6 from each one. It was all clearly spelled out in our contracts.

I've seen the reports on 60 minutes and wherever else about how much money these companies make off of these fundraisers, and I agree it's ridiculous. At the same time, if you do the right ones, you can make some decent money pretty easily. We made about $2,000 off the cookie dough without a doing a whole lot of work.

Posted by: dennis5 | February 17, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Dennis, you are probably right. How about essentially paying to be on a do not solicit list? At the beginning of the year, make of donation of X dollars and we will not send anything to you, call you or send anything home with your child? Maybe I'm just too practical?

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 17, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Weingarten had a column about parents paying the school for their kids to opt out of competing in the Science Fair. Works for me.

Posted by: jezebel3 | February 17, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

While I agree with your sentiments regarding the unrelated items (lip gloss,etc) - Scholastic provides schools and classrooms multiple opportunities that benefit many: 1. Introduce young people to books (even if it is thru commercial tv/media - READING IS READING). 2. KICK-BACKS to the school/classroom...if teachers and administration had unlimited budgets and resources to educate our children, they wouldn't have a need to work with FOR PROFIT companies such as Scholastic....ie - they NEED companies like this.
If you want to eliminate commerical in-reach into your schools - how about "SPONSORS" for sports teams playing fields, yearbooks, and more. FOR PROFIT business NEEDS to have a partnership role in our NON PROFIT SCHOOLS if we expect to continue to have resources, programs and tools to educate and develop the youth of tomorrow. In FACT, I'd like to see us allow advertising on the sides of buses PAID FOR by FOR PROFIT COMPANIES....why not? Marketing and advertising is not going to go away any time soon - so it becomes our job as parents and communities to teach our children responsibility in choices and needs. Now, when scholastic starts pushing violent video games, condoms, and weapons - then I think we need to reconsider.

Posted by: BabyGuy | February 17, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

interestingidea1234 - that's usually very closely-held "trade secret" information. The companies don't want anyone else to know what their true prices are, or someone will undercut them. So the school/organization just gets a check at the end of the campaign.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | February 17, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Totally not true per my previous post. Every fundraiser we do, the company states very clearly in our contract how much we get from each item sold. Not to mention that we collect the money and then send the company their share at the end.

I'm sorry, but you'd have to be an idiot to do a fundraiser if you don't know what your share will be up front.

Posted by: dennis5 | February 17, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but you'd have to be an idiot to do a fundraiser if you don't know what your share will be up front.

Posted by: dennis5 | February 17, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse


LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ArmyBrat1 participates in stuff for attention & bragging rights. Can't you tell?

Posted by: jezebel3 | February 17, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Dennis, you are probably right. How about essentially paying to be on a do not solicit list? At the beginning of the year, make of donation of X dollars and we will not send anything to you, call you or send anything home with your child? Maybe I'm just too practical?

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 17, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

From seeing the process of getting these fliers and sale packets sent out, it would have to be a pretty large donation for the school to want to deal with the hassle of figuring out which items need to go home with which kids. I agree with the theory, but the amount would have to be quite a bit more than you would raise doing the fundraisers to make it worthwhile for the school to deal with.

Posted by: dennis5 | February 17, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Our middle school always offers the option of making a donation in lieu of purchase. Depending on what they're selling I sometimes take advantage of that. Thank goodness there are no book flyers in middle school!

DD's high school seems to limit its fundraising to the sports teams - works for me. And I know the senior year stuff will be here before I know it...

Posted by: lorenw507 | February 17, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I vaguely remember the stuff from Scholastic Book Services that we were able to order from in sixth grade and I was all of 12. (Ok, VERY vaguely, as it WAS 40 years ago!) I thought it was WAY cool, except the last order that was sent got screwed up and I never DID get that Dr Doolittle book I ordered..... I was a reader from Day 1, and loved it. Anyone remember SRA Reading Labratory stories?

Posted by: Alex511 | February 17, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

dennis: "Totally not true per my previous post. Every fundraiser we do, the company states very clearly in our contract how much we get from each item sold. Not to mention that we collect the money and then send the company their share at the end."

Interesting. That's not been my experience - but congratulations on getting a better deal!

I do note that you collect the money and send the company their share, keeping your cut up front. I wish my kids' schools did that. For a lot of my kids' stuff, you can make a check out directly to the company. Or you can have it charged to a credit card (for things like magazine subscriptions), in which case you'll be billed by the company directly. The school gets their cut after all is said and done (although usually pretty quickly, because the company wants the contract again next year).

How do you do it? Do you only accept cash, or have checks made out to the school/organization? That's the only way I can see that you can take your cut off the top.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | February 17, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

We take cash or checks made out to the school. We do have one fundraiser where people can order off the company's website and pay them directly, and then the company sends us our share of those sales. But even then, our percentage is clearly stated in the contract.

We've gotten probably 40-50 solicitations from companies for fundraisers this year, and every one made the costs perfectly clear. Most had fixed prices for us to sell the items since they provided pre-printed order forms and such, and they'd say how much per item went to the school. Some just had the per-item cost to the school and then we could sell them for whatever we wanted. Either way, it's made perfecty clear to us what our costs would be.

I'm really curious to know what companies your school is dealing with that don't say what the school's cut is - and I'm even more curious why anyone from the school would agree to that.

Posted by: dennis5 | February 17, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to y'all for help...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 17, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

I understand the concern of companies attempting to market to parents through children.

However...

I must respectively disagree with the opinions of using stickers, and mainstream characters in Scholastic books.

Children spend most of their time outside of schools and recognize these characters depicted.

It is only effective teaching to be able to relate educational lessons to themes and characters that will maintain childrens attention.

And rewards such as stickers may not be easily found, or considered by parents if Scholastic wasn't able to provide them conveniently.

I applaud Scholastic for their efforts to make education easier for both teachers and the most influential educator, the parents.

Posted by: peteretownshend | February 17, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Being a Scholastic-raised girl of the 80s, I never knew of the alternatives out there, like Usborne Books and More. One of the really great things about the company is that they provide commercial-free bookfairs and reading incentive programs while fostering strong family values - they are touching the lives of children for a lifetime. Now that I'm a parent, I've learned to keep both eyes open and I'm constantly searching for the very best books for my kids.

I'd encourage each and every one of you to check out http://www.usbornebooksandmore.com/UBAMSchool.aspx to learn how UBAM can benefit your schools, libraries, and homes. Pass this information on to your fellow community members, too.

By going to the website, you can locate a consultant near you to ask questions and receive free information on any of our programs or, if you'd rather me assist you, please visit my website at http://www.encourageliteracy.com . I'd be delighted to serve you!

Posted by: encourageliteracydotcom | February 18, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Dennis, you are probably right. How about essentially paying to be on a do not solicit list? At the beginning of the year, make of donation of X dollars and we will not send anything to you, call you or send anything home with your child? Maybe I'm just too practical?

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 17, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Moxie -- I'm with you. I wish I could just pay a fee to the school and avoid all other solicitations, but I imagine " do not solicit" list would be a logistical nightmare for the teachers who are tasked with sending this garbage home. I think they are already overtaxed in actually having to send the stuff home and collect it afterwards. I would hate to add an additional "do not solicit" hoop to the whole business. I basically ignore most stuff that comes in, although we do participate in the book fair and I do buy some Scholastic items from the catalog. Other than that, I through the rest of the stuff away.

Posted by: emily8 | February 18, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"We don't ever seem to get a message that says "We raised x dollars. X amount will be used for new maps and white boards. X amount will be used for teacher training. x amount will go to new band uniforms. etc...." So it feels like just feeding into this big anonymous pot and frankly makes me suspicious about how the funds are used."

Do you belong to the PTA and go to the meetings? At my son's school, we track and report on this stuff at the PTA, but parents who don't come to the meetings or read the occasional minutes probably don't have a clue about how the money is spent.

Posted by: emily8 | February 18, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2010 The Washington Post Company