The next frontier for ads – Your geometry quiz

From that bastion of hard-hitting reporting, The USA Today, we get this piece on the pitiful state of our public schools.

So when administrators at Rancho Bernardo, his suburban San Diego high school, announced the district was cutting spending on supplies by nearly a third, Farber had a problem. At 3 cents a page, his tests would cost more than $500 a year. His copying budget: $316. But he wanted to give students enough practice for the big tests they’ll face in the spring, such as the Advanced Placement exam.

Tough times call for tough actions,” he says. So he started selling ads on his test papers: $10 for a quiz, $20 for a chapter test, $30 for a semester final.

That worries Robert Weissman, managing director of Commercial Alert, a Washington-based non-profit that fights commercialization in school and elsewhere. If test-papers-as-billboards catches on, he says, schools in the grip of tough economic times could start relying on them to help the bottom line.

“The advertisers are paying for something, and it’s access to kids,” he says.

About two-thirds of Farber’s ads are inspirational messages underwritten by parents. Others are ads for local businesses, such as two from a structural engineering firm and one from a dentist who urges students, “Brace Yourself for a Great Semester!”

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  1. James David says:

    Nauseating, it’s true, but in the midst of being sickened, I had to wonder why he decided to use such a rubric… $10 for a quiz, $20 for a chapter test, $30 for a semester final? What could possibly be bearing on the difference in price, frequency? That final is worth its weight in GOLD apparently. AAA should buy it up in a hurry!

  2. Ariah Fine says:

    Look on the bright side though, test being anxiety filled stressful activities for most students, they will hopefully create a negative association with any advertiser thus reversing the benefit of the ad!

  3. Saw a great bumper sticker one time, said something like:
    “It will be a great day when the schools get the money they need and the Air Force has to fund its next bomber with a bake sale”.
    How sad it is that the educators of our young can’t even afford the paper necessary for routine testing of the curriculum.
    I see now why the rest of the world laughs at us.

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