Critical Social Issues in American Education: Democracy and Meaning in a Globalizing World

By H. Svi Shapiro; David E. Purpel | Go to book overview

8
Kids for Sale: Corporate Culture
and the Challenge of Public Schooling*
Henry A. Giroux

School is… the ideal time to influence attitudes, build long-term loyalties, introduce new products, test markets, promote sampling and trial usage and—above all—to generate immediate sales.

—Cited in Consumer Union Education Services,
Captive Kids: Commercial Pressures on Kids at Schools


PREPARING CITIZENS OR CONSUMERS

One of the most important legacies of American public education has been providing students with the critical capacities, knowledge, and values that enable them to become active citizens striving to build a stronger democratic society. Within this tradition, Americans have defined schooling as a public good and a fundamental right. 1 Such a definition rightfully asserts the primacy of democratic values over corporate culture and commercial values. Schools are an important indicator of the well-being of a democratic society. They remind us of the civic values that must be passed on to young people in order for them to think critically, to participate in power relations and policy decisions that affect their lives, and to transform the racial, social, and economic inequities that limit democratic social relations. Yet as crucial as the role of public schooling has been in American history, it is facing an unprece-

____________________
*
Copyright © 2000 by Henry Giroux. From “Kids for Sale” in Stealing Innocence, pp. 83–105. by Henry Giroux. Reprinted by permission of Palgrave Macmillan.

-143-

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