Corporate-Sponsored Public Schools

Fact Sheet
  • American Bankers Insurance Group operates a K-2 "learning center;" the building is the company's, but the books, teachers and furniture are supplied by Dade County (Miami) taxpayers, even though the school is only open to the kids of ABIG's employees. Honeywell operates a similar school in Clearwater, Florida.

  • Legislation has been passed in FL legislature providing for property tax exemption for corporate buildings that house these schools.

  • American Express funds "Academies of Travel & Tourism" for four New York City public schools where "students study geography and foreign cultures in preparation for employment in the tourist business." (Z Magazine)

  • Celebration School in Walt Disney Company -- founded town of the same name in central Florida. School operated by the Disney Company in collaboration with the Osceola County School District and Stetson University. Terry Wick, education manager.

  • Corporate Charter Schools (EMOs)

    Wall Street calls them "Educational Maintenance Organizations," for-profit firms that contract with local school districts to manage public schools. Of the 500 charter schools created in last few years, 10% are operated by private companies like: (NYT, 6/2/97)

    • Edison Project -- Headed by Channel One founder Chris Whittle. Currently operates 25 schools in 8 states with revenues of about $70 million. Expects to operate 47 schools in 24 locations by fall 1998. This will nearly double current enrollment from 12,500 to 23,000 and expand annual revenues to $127 million. (Education Week, 5/27/98.)

    • Advantage Schools Inc., Boston, MA, runs 8 charter schools in 7 states.

    • Sabis Educational Systems, Choueifat, Lebanon.

    • Education Alternatives Inc., now Tesarac, had its contracts with the Baltimore and Hartford schools cancelled.

    • Alternative Public Schools, founded by Bill DeLoache and John Eason, former investment counselors; contract to manage schools in Wilkinsburg, PA. see Nation, Sept. 8-15, '97. School board in this case represented by Landmark Legal Foundation. (see below)

    Corporate Philanthropy

    "Education-related corporate philanthropy last year ['96] added up to $1.3 billion, or 20 percent of the $6.5 billion corporations gave overall, according to Craig Smith, director of Corporate Citizen, a research group based in Seattle. A decade ago, education accounted for only 5 percent of corporate giving, Mr. Smith said. He defines the education category as 'K-to-12 education plus school-related non-profits like the PTAs or Junior Achievement.'" (NYT Education Life, 1/5/97)

    Marketing & Investment Firms Targeting Education

    • Montgomery Securities, Michael Moe specialist in investing in 'education and training market.'

    • Lehman Brothers, sponsored the first educational investment conference in 1996. Mary Tanner is their in-house specialist in educational investing.

    • EduVentures, Michael Sandler's "investment banking service for the education industry";

    • Education Industry Report, co-founded by Michael Sandler, monthly newsletter that announces mergers and acquisitions, new education markets, changes in charter school legislation and major players in government or business. EIR also analyzes about thirty publicly traded companies that constitute the 'education index.' (Nation, Sept. 8/15)

    • Youth Markets Alert, marketing industry newsletter published by EPM Communications. Gene Newman, Associate Editor.

    • Kid Connection, Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising's youth marketing unit. Julie Halpin, Senior Vice President.

    Interlocking Boards

    • Education Industry Report: David Kearns Former Deputy Education Secretary and Xerox, CEO, Michael Moe from Montgomery Securities and Dennis Doyle who works on school vouchers and charter schools for the Hudson Institute and the Heritage Foundation.

    • EDU Ventures: David Kearns.

    Sponsored Educational Materials (SEMs)

    • Lifetime Learning Systems creates and disseminates corporate-sponsored educational materials: Tootsie Rolls, etc.; Dominic Kinsley, editor in chief. Owned by Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts KKR, which also owns Channel One Communications, and P.E. TV (see below).

    • Channing L. Bette Company, Inc., publishing company develops materials marketed to schools via direct-mail catalog

    • Enterprise for Education, publishing service for utilities and energy industry, produces and distributes sponsored booklets on energy and environmental topics

    • Interactive Design & Development, IDD designs and develops computer-based, interactive, multimedia courseware and information systems; clients include Dole Foods, Lufthansa, etc. Blacksburg, VA.

    • Learning Enrichment, Inc., non-profit produces and distributes SEMs; clients include Mobil and Procter & Gamble. Bruce Barton and Clayton Westland (formerly of Scholastic Inc) founders.

    • Mazer Corporation, develops SEMs: Hershey's, etc.

    • Media Management Services, MMS develops SEMs, specializing in developing materials for the science, social studies and language arts curriculum. Also conducts market research, direct mail campaigns, special events and contests. Clients include GTE.

    • Media Options, Inc., Public relations firm, produces educational materials for corporate clients. Clients include Fortune 500 companies, predominantly in restaurant and insurance industries. Jon Harris, Vice President Chicago.

    • Modern Talking Picture Service, Develops and distributes SEMs, also conducts product sampling.

    • Youth Marketing International, Casper and Little Engine that Could materials Roberta Nusim, director.

    In-School Advertising

    Book covers, billboards in school corridors, calendars, and broadcasts --these are some of the places corporate America places ads for kids to see in school. Commercial messages also reach kids in the classroom through ad bearing and corporate-sponsored educational materials.

    • Cover Concepts Marketing Services Inc, book covers with ads to over 8,000 public schools; advertisers include Nike, Gitano, FootLocker, Pepsi. Steven Shulman, President. Braintree, MA.

    • Sampling Corporation of America. SCA distributes 'goody bags' filled with product samples, coupons and educational pamphlets. Clients include Procter & Gamble, General Mills and Hershey. Steve Kaplan, president. Glenville, IL.

    • Scholastic Inc. Offers corporations the opportunity to advertise in its Teen Network of magazines, distributed to 23 million students. Also publishes books, textbooks, supplementary educational materials and SEMs. Rick Delano, Director Education Marketing Group. New York.

    • Star Broadcasting, Radio broadcasts with local commercials solicited by students; participating schools get $5,000-10,000. Pat DiPlacido, President. Bloomington, MN.

    • Adopt-A-School, Hallway posters with corporate logos; schools get 50% of ad revenues. Jerry Coleman, President. Winter Park, FL.

    Channel One

    Eight Million students are required to watch a commercial filled current events program every day. Schools get satellite dishes, VCRs and TVs in exchange for providing a captive audience

    • Channel One Communications, Founded by Chris Whittle who sold it to K-III Communications, Inc., which is in turn a property of Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts. KKR also owns: PE TV, promotional single-sponsor TV program for schools

    Lunch Programs

    • American School Food Service Association estimates that about 13% of nation's 86,000 public schools now sell fast foodWSJ, 9/15/97

    • Some items don't meet USDA nutrition standards and thus aren't eligible for reimbursement under the federal school-lunch program.


    • Pizza Hut / Taco Bell (Pepsico)

    • Arby's

    • Subway

    Conservative Think Tanks that Shape Education Industry Policy

    • Heritage Foundation

    • Educational Excellence Network, founded as a smaller think tank within the Hudson Institute by Chester Finn and Diane Ravitch-former Education Department. officials in Reagan / Bush Administrations-to serve as "a clearinghouse and resource center" for the Institutes's projects. One Such project was The Modern Red Schoolhouse [see below], designed by the New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC), which was formed during the Bush Administration 1992 to funnel business dollars to education reform. Former Education Secretary Lamar Alexander placed David Kearns, former Deputy Secretary of Education and Xerox Chief, in charge of NASDC. (Nation, Sept. 8/15, '97)

    • Modern Red Schoolhouse is one of nine prototypes that schools can purchase for curriculum, assessment, professional development and technology 'as a learning and instructional management tool' (Nation, Sept. 8/15,'97 )


    • Landmark Legal Foundation, whose mission is to challenge "arbitrary, government-imposed barriers to entrepreneurial opportunity."

    • Fundamental Change in Education, Massachusetts. CEO, William Edgerly also on board of Pioneer Institute, which promotes charter schools in the state. Pioneer publishes the Massachusetts Charter School Handbook, and sponsors seminars bringing together entrepreneurs selling curriculum packages, management systems and assessment and evaluation programs. "Conservatives want to 'outsource' these functions as part of an effort to neutralize 'the government monopoly on education."' (Nation, Sept. 8-15,'97) Pioneer Institute founder Steven Wilson also founder of Advantage Schools, a for-profit education company whose board Edgerly chairs.

AMP Section Name:Consumerism & Commercialism
  • 187 Privatization

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