Tell Philadelphia City Council: Don’t Subject Children to Advertising in Schools

School Commercialism Brings High Costs in Exchange for Paltry Revenue

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown recently introduced a bill in the City Council to allow advertising on all school district property. Education and community groups have raised concerns about the bill and need your support.

The bill would undo a current ban on advertising on Philadelphia school property and override restrictions on billboards in residential neighborhoods. Philadelphia’s children and families could soon be a captive audience to ads promoting violence, junk food and a wide variety of corporate messages with no community review or input. By permitting advertising on school property, the school system is implicitly endorsing the products and services advertised; moreover they are opening the door to advertising based on corporate and market values rather than on civic and educational values.

Philadelphia is facing a major budget crisis, but school advertising is no easy answer. According to Public Citizen’s research, large school districts generally achieve advertising revenue that amounts to little more than is .01 percent of their school’s budget — and that’s before ad agencies take their 30-50 percent cut.

Advertising contravenes the fundamental mission of schools and undermines child development. Schools should be a space for students to think critically, creatively and independently, free from commercial messages. Philadelphia’s children and communities deserve better.

We, the undersigned, urge all members of the Philadelphia City Council to oppose Bill No. 130694 which would rezone all public school property to allow advertising.

About Commercial Alert

Commercial Alert’s mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy. Learn more about Commercial Alert.

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