Teacher sells ads on Test Papers

Photo from SignOnSanDiego.com

Kevin Change said it was strange the first time he saw an advertisement across the bottom of his calculus test. But now he and his classmates look for them.

“It’s really interesting to see what it is each time,” said Change, 16, a junior at Rancho Bernardo High School.

Some are pithy one-liners, hawking the names of local businesses: “Brace Yourself for a Great Semester! Braces by Henry, Stephen P. Henry D.M.D.”

Others are inspirational quotes, like “Keep the company of those who seek the truth, and run from those who have found it – Vaclav Havel.”

What it is, is advertising appearing on the calculus exam papers issued by teacher Tom Farber — and brought to my attention by Eric Langhorst.  Sponsors pay 10$ to place an ad on a quiz, $20 for a chapter test, and $30 for a semester final.  The revenue pays for printing and basic supplies, the district having chosen to cut materials and supplies budget by 30% rather than pay for shortfalls by laying off personnel.

I think this is an incredibly creative way of addressing an incredibly sad testament of this society’s treatment of its children and its future.

Sorry, I know.  I’m supposed to be thankful today…

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15 thoughts on “Teacher sells ads on Test Papers”

  1. It’s a great practical response to the financial situation they are in at the
    moment, but who is to say that it won’t lead to it being forced on all schools
    and therefore being used as an excuse to cut school budgets further. There are
    also all kinds of moral issues about advertising in schools, not unlike vending
    machines in schools, as covered in Supersize Me. Can’t say I wouldn’t have done
    the same thing, though

  2. David,

    This isn’t o.k. The answer to our budget problems isn’t to turn our kids into more of a target market than they already are. If our schools don’t have enough paper, then we have to address the problem, rather than thinking that these kinds of marketing-driven fundraisers are the answer.

    Kids should be able to go to school without being bombarded by marketing.

    That being said, I’m going to finish writing this post on my machine with the great big glowing logo on it.


    1. Oh, I agree whole-heartedly, Chris, hence, “..addressing an incredibly sad testament of this society’s treatment of its children and its future.” It’s simply statement of educators desperation in doing what’s right, and the desperate lack of time, not just money, to figure out what it is that’s right.

  3. Wow, I am usually for creativity, but I am really quite bothered by this. It maybe the BEST solution for an individual teacher’s problem, but I sure hope it doesn’t catch on for all of us. When I was in high school, the system wanted to introduce a TV news channel to our school which would provide each classroom with a TV as long as we all watched a 5 minute or so news cast designed for teens. The parents were outraged and blocked the introduction. I would be interested in knowing what the parent reaction is to the strategy you mention.

  4. All things considered, I think that this is only slightly worse than educators being asked to spend preciously valuable time and energy writing grant proposals.

    If this practice of selling ads to fund education was to catch on, it won’t be the first time that we’ve institutionalized “begging” to pay for the education of our/your children.

  5. Let me be clearer on this matter.

    Why does anyone give tests or quizzes ever? Why do you believe this is effective pedagogical practice?

    C’mon folks. Try not labeling, sorting or failing kids via testing. You might like it!

    1. You see, this is where my day dreams keep taking me, to the possibility that authentic, networked, digital, relevant, deep, ubiquitous, and inventively guided learning might actually be cheaper than textbooks and tests.

  6. When a school is forced to advertise on anything (tests, billboards, scoreboards) to enhance revenue, maybe it is time for governmental bailout of schools like they did for AIG or they might do for GM….

  7. At first I did not like the idea of having advertisements on the tests, but I kept reading to see what it was all about. I felt that it was bringing too much politics and business material in the classroom. Teachers are there to teach not to sell things. The idea grew on me. It is a very creative way to get the money back that was lost and it helps with keeping teachers on staff. I see now that it is for the benefit of the students.

  8. I just can’t believe this is really happening out there. Advertising on ChannelOne or having a Pepsi sign on your gym scoreboard is one thing but this is a completely ridiculous. I truly can’t believe this teacher is able to find people willing to participate in having their advertisement put on a student’s test. I guess that just goes to show how far $$ can take you these days. Schools are in need of it and apparently businesses are willing to pay whatever it takes to get their slogans and logos out there. I am sure this is one of those things that will open the floodgates and eventually students will be faced with advertisements throughout their school day.

  9. Living in a district that spends $27,000 per student and where spending increases each year by $2.0 million (1,500 students, tops k-12)i find this hysterical. Folks these kids are not “our investment in the future” they are the same basic human units that they have always been. Their need for education is no more accelerated than was Bill Gates or Albert Einstein’s. I think the ads on test papers is a great innovation that might keep kids interested but cost cutting and more realistic expectations are in order.

    1. Thanks for your input on this post, John, and I’m not going to defend the actions of the teacher who’s selling ads. But I would like to make a quick point here, that you are write. We’d still get Albert Einsteins and Bill Gates, with the same education they received during the 20th century. But we would also get a vast majority of graduates and drop outs who are suited perfectly for manufacturing. The problem is, that manufacturing has gone south, so the speak. The level of awareness demanded of a global marketplace, inventiveness required during rapidly changing times, and new literacy skills required of a “wikipedia” information environment, can’t be accomplished in yesterday’s classrooms, curriculums, or by yesterday’s teachers. We are going to have to invest in retooling education just like we’ve invested in retooling virtually every other institution and industry. There’s no way around that.

      Thanks again!

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