Commercialism in Schools

Adopted May 2015 – Communications Commission

Students in schools are a captive audience. When engaging in commercial activities in public schools, the California State PTA believes in limiting students’ exposure to advertising.

The California State PTA recognizes that severe spending cuts to education have caused schools and school districts to seek additional sources of revenue. However, data shows that profits from advertising typically do not generate any more than 0.02% of districts’ total operating budgets.

PTA respects the rights of schools to engage in appropriate fundraising activities to help fund programs and services that benefit children and youth. According to a 2013 Common Sense Media research brief, there are so many new techniques of marketing to children that, “it is difficult for researchers to distinguish the marketing messages and quantify children’s exposure to them.”

Schools are intended to be a safe place, free from harmful influences for children. According to Common Sense Media, “There are many reasons to be concerned about advertising’s impact on young people: it often promotes products with health implications, such as fast food, soda, and candy; there are public-policy implications on issues such as privacy and fairness; some parents and advocates are concerned about the over-commercialization of childhood; children can be exposed to advertising for adult-oriented products such as alcohol, tobacco, and violent media.”

Given the fact that the extent to which the effects of commercialism are a factor in the healthy development of children, the California State PTA encourages schools and school districts to use caution and to act responsibly and in the best interests of students when allowing advertising in the schools as a way to generate funds.

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