I fondly remember ordering books from the Scholastic Book Club when I was a kid, and I always had a generally favorable view of Scholastic the company. Who could object to an outfit whose main reason to exist was getting kids to read?
Well, it turns out that Scholastic has other purposes besides. As Jim Hightower points out in the August issue of The Progressive magazine, Scholastic’s marketing division advertises that it can “promote client objectives” by distributing packages to schoolchildren that “make a difference by influencing attitudes and behaviors.” The “clients” here are corporations with money to pay for Scholastics’ services, and the attitudes and behaviors in question are apparently those of young kids.
In other words, Scholastic is selling its services for the purpose of politically indoctrinating children. One recent client, the American Coal Foundation, paid Scholastic to distribute a slanted package on the wonders of coal to tens of thousands of fourth-grade classrooms. (It contacted tens of thousands of additional teachers to urge them to download the alleged educational materials on line.
I’ve worked in public relations and advertising myself, and there’s a case to be made for companies promoting their point of view. But I don’t think that justifies dumping factually deficient propaganda on young children in school.
Shame on the coal industry, but especially shame on Scholastic.