Why …

… does the school Scholastic book order include a book titled “A Smart Girl’s Guide to Money?” Don’t not-so-smart girls need help with their money (some might argue they need their own book even more)?  How about boys?   Is there something inherent to my gender that alters my understanding of financial concepts?  Please, explain.

… does the Scholastic book order include a video game where you can play DQ® Tycoon, pretending to serve frozen treats? Note this game is labeled for ages 10 and up (essentially 4th and 5th graders) who are typically beyond the age of “let’s pretend.”  However, no particular educational goal is mentioned — you “keep your customers happy and coming back for more.”  Cause, hey, Michelle Obama is going to lick that whole childhood obesity epidemic all by herself.

… does the Scholastic book order include a Nintendo M&M® Adventure video game (available for DS or Wii)? If I wanted to my kid to play with chocolate-covered peanuts in a delicious candy shell, I’d pick some up at the grocery store.  Hey, better to rot their teeth than their brain, right?  Besides, The Snake is allergic to peanuts.

… does the school Scholastic book order include “Itty Bitty Cupcakes and More” — a BOOKLET and baking tools? That froster and 3 frosting tips sure look fun, but what do I do when the cheap plastic snaps in half?  Don’t matter, we can just eat the frosting right out of the bowl.  ‘Cause the nurse said Johnny’s BMI is in the 98th percentile, so he’s doing great, right?  No childhood obesity here, Michelle Obama and her gang can just skate right by our house.

… does the Scholastic book order feature a book titled the “Mermaid Queen” (about the Australian inventor of  water ballet who fought for women athletes in the early 1900s) on the cover as it’s new title for Women’s History Month? While the other books on women such as Amelia Ehrhart and Michelle wiping-out-childhood-obesity-Obama are relegated to the inside?  Oh, did I mention they sandwiched these inspiring stories right next to those about Taylor Swift and iCarly?  Oh, and even better, right above the section on “Great Leaders” … none of which included a single woman.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the contribution that Scholastic provides to our elementary school and its students, the financial contribution.  And there are a ton of books and supplies provided by the Scholastic programs that teachers may not have otherwise been able to use in their classroom.  But at what point do we as parents allow one organization to have such an unanswered impact on our school and its students?  Who are the people that decide what books and products Scholastic offers?  What criteria is used?  Do you think it is the quality of the writing?  The caliber of the author?  Or the marketing contract signed last week?

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve bought Scholastic books.  I will surely buy Scholastic books in the future.  I will support my school book fair.  I just hate the slightly sour taste in my mouth after I do it.

Is Scholastic, or another similar organization, a part of your kids’ school?  How do you feel about it?

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4 Responses to Why …

  1. ms planner says:

    I have not been to a Scholastic book fair in over 30 years (I think) BUT I understand what you mean. I feel like I have to protect Missy from so much retail-wise so I can raise her the way we want to (and my background is marketing!).

    Observations like yours make me do a double-take about homeschooling.

  2. lifeineden says:

    Oh, things have come home I’m not happy about. But make no mistake, I LOVE The Snake’s school. They have been phenomenal. With all the moving we have done, he needed some extra help and he has definitely gotten it. The staff are just amazing and have done more than I EVER could at home. There is just no way I have the patience for homeschool! 😉

  3. Rebecca says:

    My twins are not in school yet, but I loooove Scholastic! I always have since I was a dorky little kid. Now that I’m a dorky little adult, I’m sure that I’ll still get excited, but I do think we’re going to have a huge filter on. There is too much out there that I am against (i.e. I would rather rip my eyelashes out than have my children read) or that I just want to teach them myself rather than having them learn out of a book. Good post though…some people don’t read those things with a critical eye (and should).

  4. magpie says:

    Thankfully, my daughter’s elementary school doesn’t do the monthly book order thing – though they do do a book sale each year. The book sale annoys me, because unless I send her in with no money, she’s apt to buy whatever crap appeals to her little brain – I have no veto power.

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