There is no free lunch Tuesday, Feb 5 2008 

In a recent issue of the National Catholic Register, there was an article about public schools and the raising of “company kids.” 

The public schools are often underwritten by corporations facilitated by “The Learning Company “ which boasts that “school is the ideal time to influence attitudes, build long-term loyalties, introduce new products, test-market, promote sampling and trial usage — and above all — to generate immediate sales.”   With a captive audience of vulnerable youth, attitudes not only about products, but also about morality, religion, relationships, etc can be influenced in ways parents might not suspect.  How different that goal of education is from the classical view that the purpose of education is to form virtuous citizens capable of knowing what is good and being able to choose it for themselves and others. 

What we can learn from this article is that there is no such thing as a free lunch (or free computers, books, etc).  Many goods may be provided to the schools, but before they are accepted, those who approve them have an obligation to the students and parents to find out who and what are behind them.  Better yet, parents need to be involved in reviewing any offers of help from corporations which may be looking for future consumers.  Years ago a company offered an all-inclusive sex education packet at very low cost to a Catholic High School.  Foolishly, the administrators bought into it (which was irresponsible on many levels),  and before they knew it, the materials began to arrive and were distributed to all the students.  Buried in the student books were ads for contraceptives and information on how to use them.  The protests of a few parents managed to bring an end to the program, but not before the students had gotten an eye full.  And who was behind the sex education program?  One of the largest manufacturers of contraceptives, of course!

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One Response to There is no free lunch

  1. Becka says:

    The good news in that story, though, is that a few parents were able to make a difference. I think lots of people choose to do nothing because they don’t think it will do any good.

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