Between the Lines

Between the Lines

40 years of books without bosses, 1977-2017

Captive Audience

How Corporations Invaded Our Schools

By Catherine Gidney  

Captive Audience

$27.95 – Available for purchase on March 25th, 2019

White Spot, a popular BC restaurant chain solicits hamburger concepts from third and fourth grade students and one of their ideas becomes a feature on the kids’ menu. Home Depot donates playground equipment to an elementary school, and the ribboncutting ceremony culminates in a community swathed in corporate swag, temporary tattoos, and a new “Home Depot song” written by a teacher and sung by the children. Kindergarten students return home with a school district-prescribed dental hygiene flyer featuring a maze leading to a tube of Crest toothpaste. Schools receive five cents for each flyer handed to a student.

While commercialism has existed in our schools for over a century, the corporate invasion of our schools reached unprecedented heights in the1990s and 2000s after two decades of federal funding cuts and an increasing tendency to apply business models to the education system. Constant cutbacks have left school trustees, administrators, teachers, and parents with difficult decisions about how to finance programs and support students. Meanwhile, studies on the impact of advertising and consumer culture on children make clear that the effects are harmful both to the individual child and the broader culture. Captive Audience explores this compelling history of branding the classroom in Canada.

  • Paperback / softback, 248 pages
  • ISBN 9781771134262
  • Coming March 2019

Table of Contents

1 The "Discriminating and Alert Teacher"?: The Early History of In-School Commercialism
2 "Education Is Too Important To Be Left to the Educators": The Rise of School-Business Partnership
3 Tapping the Educational Market: Computers in Classrooms
4 "It’s So Pervasive, It’s Like Kleenex": Schools—The Last Frontier
5 Youth News Network or "You’re Nuts to Say No": The Struggle over Classroom Commercialism
6 "Building Brand Loyalty": Vending Machines, Fast Food Outlets, and Junk Food
7 "All We’re Trying to Do Is Help Youngsters": The Politics of Raising Funds

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