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Originally published: 2012-10-29 11:37:37
Last modified: 2012-10-29 12:07:46

Our View: School for sale?

Living in the High Country we are attuned to slippery slopes -- which makes it all the more surprising that a school in Blowing Rock would entertain an idea that teeters on the brink of a commercialization precipice.

For $250, a business can "sponsor" Blowing Rock School and receive an engraved plaque outside a designated classroom. The idea is to help shore up gaps left by state budget cuts and spread sponsorship money evenly among all classrooms for student needs.

Undeniably, businesses and corporations have sponsored gymnasiums, backboards, goal posts and scoreboards since Nike first swooshed its way into our marketing subconscious. Indeed, this is also part of the sponsorship plan in Blowing Rock, although that price is a premium $350 for a vinyl banner on a slice of the gymnasium wall.

But sponsorship of a classroom or office crosses the line into a realm where marketing to our children is no longer fun and games. Placing the name or logo of a business outside a classroom gives it weight and merit unavailable in the gym -- a merit that may or may not be warranted, but a merit, surely, that could be indecipherable to a young mind.

Blowing Rock School is not the first to attempt such marketing. Other schools in other North Carolina counties have bowed to a cable company's "morning news," complete with advertisements, in exchange for a wired school and televisions in every classroom. Myriad schools have accepted soft drink machines in student hallways as the cost of a new scoreboard.

It is a disturbing trend -- and one that should not be continued in Blowing Rock -- that is trumped by only one other trend affecting our schools: continued budget cuts to our educational programs that necessitate the scraping for dollars to fund our children's future.