Box Tops for Education

I went searching for some real solutions to our education problems in this country, and I am glad to say I think I found at least one solution: Box Tops for Education. Let’s face it, partnering with larger corporations like General Mills to start really funding our school systems is the future (well, actually, it’s also the present and even the past given this campaign has been alive and well since 1996). Team up with your favorite brand and enjoy a nice bowl of Cocoa Puffs while at the same time helping to fund a playground for your school.

This whole thing is deeply depressing, can you ever imagine seeing a “Box Tops for War” campaign? Out priorities are all fucked up. We’ve ghettoized public education in this country to the point that we have invited commercial interests into our learning institutions to lock in brand loyalty as a means to ensure our schools get just a little more than the bare necessities. We’ve pimped our students and their families before they even left the learning gate. How can this be a solution to anything, no less the foundation of democracy?

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16 Responses to Box Tops for Education

  1. Scott Leslie says:

    Up here in the Great White North we got you beat – soup labels for education! I could not believe when my kids started pestering me in the store to buy Campbell’s soup not because they liked the shit, they don’t – refuse to eat it, but because someone had told them to tell their parents to buy them so they could collect the labels. Wha? What’s even worse is that if you resist participating in these schemes you get ostracized as an uncooperative parent by those who buy into the logic that this is ok.

  2. Reverend says:


    Exactly, it is nothing less than crazy. I just can’t see a way around the insanity that surrounds us. I feel like Luke, Chewbacca, Solo, and Leia in the trash compactor, only thing is that three-po and R2D2 are not droids, they’re zombies!

  3. Jim – this hit home! I have a 5-year old in K2 and our school collects box tops. This is one of the many things I try to ignore in my daily life in this capitalist democracy. But, I feel your outrage. Corporations are incredibly successful at creating/building/sustaining brand loyalty. Public schools or heck – even education – not so much. I often think that in this craziness at the intersection between capitalism and democracy, we are getting 90% capitalism and 10% democracy and this ain’t no system of checks and balances – this is a capitalist cupcake with a democratic frosting/icing/dusting.

    ps – transparency around actual practices – when my son brought the ‘boxtop’ note home, we went through the cupboards looking for tops and found 3. when it comes to purchases, it’s usually generic or trader joes or something outside of the biggies unless I find myself buying granola bars at 7-11 🙂

  4. Jenny says:

    Last year I took a school finance class (towards a license in supervision and administration). Our professor, a former superintendent, talked a lot about how the future of public schools was outside funding. While I’m not completely against outside funding – there are times when that might make sense – it doesn’t seem sustainable. If we truly value education then we have to commit to funding it. So far we seem to only value it in words and theory.

  5. Andy Rush says:

    …and don’t get me started on the subject of using state lotteries to fund education.

  6. Tom says:

    You see what schools will do to get federal money . . . seems pretty clear that applies to private money as well.

    Look at how big companies come into poor areas and co-opt the educational system to create better future workers for themselves. Not a bad deal for the corporation. They add frosting to a publicly funded system. Then they look like heroes while we are funding the lion’s share of their training programs.

  7. Jami says:

    If you think box tops are a sad statement, have you heard about the new reality show doing school makeovers? It’s sort of an Extreme Home Makeover for dilapidated schools:

    I was floored when I saw the commercial for the first time. Given the similarity to Extreme Home Maker, known for fixing up homes of the impoverished and down-on-their luck, what does it say about our priorities that our public schools are in the same category.

    Our schools are a new sob story for prime time entertainment?

  8. [POLL: How many of you actually WORK in education IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR?]

    It’s an odd pairing [and old as the hills]….I’ll give you that. However, where I live, levies continually fail, programs are getting cut, and pay to play is in effect. We’ve got bigger issues than a fucking boxtop to playground program! Got any suggestions?

    I’ve been looking at my local district’s 5 year projection and we’re screwed; in the red in 3 years witout a new levy. It took 2 years to pass the most recent levy [in jan of this year] and they had to cut busing to do it. We’ve got bigger issues than a fucking boxtop to playground program! Got any suggestions?

    Oh…and box tops for war? Read “Getting in the Scrap: The Mobilization of American Children in World War II” by Robert Wm. Kirk

  9. Tom says:

    I work in K12, public sector.

    I predict doom, boxtops or no boxtops.

  10. novak says:

    who needs schools? tents are good enough! and few pedaling generators for teachers that can actually help them stay fit, while enjoying all the fresh air…

  11. Sam says:

    Let’s face it people, school is a socialist enterprise. I am sure private interests can do the job better. There is SO much waste in schools, all these teachers getting paid. All you really need is a for-profit enterprise with a giant screen with a professor that teaches all students at once; if you really want to be fancy you can group them by age. One curriculum for all students can save hundreds of millions which can be privatised.

    The real reason is simple, the government is blowing all your money pursuing empire objectives that are no longer profitable. In most third world countries the problem is the same, the military eats up all the budget and education has nothing left… This has to sink in. War is the enemy, not some people in caves that don’t have enough to feed themselves.

    Second, efficiency has made it so that there are no or very few new jobs being created. This is a new reality. We need to step up our thinking about what this means in terms of the economy. My example, though a hyperbole is perfectly possible if there is no way to raise any capital. The teachers sit at home and we hook up large screens to teach the kids at little or no cost.

  12. @Sam “Let’s face it people, school is a socialist enterprise.”

    {citation needed}

  13. Tom says:

    I’m going with most schools as fascist enterprises. Ask a student.

  14. Has the Bava been a troll magnet for long?

  15. Pingback: Edupunk’s contribution to gutting schooling « Anxious Philosophy

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