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Shape Up, Scholastic!  

 


Schools grant Scholastic unique commercial access to children because of its stellar reputation as an educational publisher.  But marketing directly to children in schools is a privilege, not a right.  Scholastic is abusing that privilege by flooding classrooms across the country with ads for products and brands that have little educational value and compete with books for children's attention and families' limited resources.  CCFC has received more complaints about Scholastic’s in-school marketing than any other company.   CCFC led a successful campaign to get the Scholastic to stop promoting the highly sexualized Bratz brand through in schools.  Here’s what we doing about to shape up Scholastic’s book clubs and book fairs.




 

STAY INFORMED

 


    

 

Take Action
 

Tell Scholastic: Put the Book Back in Book Club

Teachers: Please Sign our Petition

Share our Scholastic Petition with Teachers in your School

Join Shape Up, Scholastic! on Facebook

 

Resources

 

CCFC's Guide to Commercial-Free Book Fairs

CCFC's Review of Schoalstic Book Clubs

What Teachers Are Saying About Scholastic

 

Scholastic News
 

Teachers Snub Scholastic's Toys
(USA Today, 06/07/09)

Teachers to Scholastic: Don't Use Us to Market Toys, Make-up, and Brands to Children in School
(CCFC Press Release, 05/19/09)

Scholastic Needs To Remember Its Educational Mission
(Sun Sentinal, 02/14/09)

Scholastic Accused of Misusing Book Clubs
(The New York Times, 02/10/09)

Scholastic Corp. Criticized For Marketing Toys, Video Games in School-based Book Clubs
(The Associated Press,02/09/09)

CCFC to Scholastic: Put the Book Back in "Book Club"
(CCFC Press Release, 02/09/09)

Ditch the Characters for the Classics
(The Tampa Tribune, 09/26/08)

Scholastic Cuts 'Bratz' Products for Book Clubs and Fairs
(The New York Times, 09/22/08)

Bratz Books Expelled from US School Book Suppliers
(The Guardian, 09/19/08)

CCFC Expels the Bratz from School (CCFC Press Release, 09/17/08)

Putting the Book Back in Book Fair
(Mothering, 01/07)

Taking Consumerism Out of School Book Fairs
(Boston Globe, 11/20/06)

 

 

 
 

 

Scholastic's Book Clubs

By Scholastic’s own estimate, over three-quarters of all elementary school teachers participate in its school-based book clubs by distributing and collecting flyers/order forms from their students. In the fiscal year 2008, Scholastic’s book clubs generated $336.7 million in revenue[1]. Many parents and teachers have been unhappy with the amount of nonbooks, books with products, and media-linked material included in Scholastic's monthly catalogues.

CCFC reviewed every item in Scholastic’s 2008 monthly flyers for two book clubs, Lucky (grades 2-3) and Arrow (grades 4-6). Of the items advertised, 14% were not books, including the M&M’s Kart Racing Wii videogame; a remote control car; the American Idol event planner (“Track this season of American Idol”); the Princess Room Alarm (“A princess needs her privacy!”); a wireless controller for the PS2 gaming system; a make-your-own flip flops kit (“hang out at the pool in style”); and the Monopoly® SpongeBob SquarePants™ Edition computer game. An additional 19% of the items were books that were sold with additional toys, gadgets, or jewelry. For example, the book Get Rich Quick is sold with a dollar-shaped money clip (“to hold all your new cash!”); the Friends 4 Ever Style Pack consists of a book and two lip gloss rings; and Hannah Montana: Seeing Green comes with a guitar pick bracelet. 

A complete list of the non-book items and products sold with books can be found at http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/actions/scholasticdata.html. 

What You Can Do:

Tell Scholastic: Put the Book Back in Book Club

If you're a teacher, please sign our petition urging Scholastic to stop asking you to promote non-educational toys, trinkets, and electronic media to your students.

Join Shape Up, Scholastic! on Facebook to share strategies for countering Scholastic's commercialsim with other parents and educators, and help us keep track of what Scholastic is marketing in its book clubs each month.

 

 

Scholastic's Book Fairs

Scholastic’s book fairs generated $405.7 million in revenue in Fiscal Year 2008[2]. The items sold at Scholastic book fairs are similar to those of the book clubs.  Many parents and educators report that Scholastic has not been responsive to their complaints about the large numbers of commercialized book fair offerings.  


What You Can Do:

Scholastic has a monopoly on in-school book clubs, but there are alternatives for book fairs.  So download CCFC's Guide to Commercial-Free Book Fairs to find out how to host a commercial-free book fair in your school by using local and independent booksellers.

Join Shape Up, Scholastic! on Facebook to discuss strategies for countering the Scholastic's commercialism in Scholastic’s book fairs and alternative ways to get low-cost books to students.

 

Scholastic's Other In-School Marketing Programs

While most people know Scholastic as the leading educational publisher, few are aware that the company specializes “in the development and distribution of branded in-school and consumer marketing programs.”[3]  Scholastic also has a division called 6 & Under Custom Marketing for corporations that wish to target children in daycare centers or preschools.[4] Examples of Scholastic’s in-school and pre-school marketing include:

  • In 2003, Scholastic partnered with McDonald’s to send brandedRonald’s Reading Corners to more than 22,000 preschools and kindergartens.[5]
  • In 2005, Scholastic helped the Cartoon Network launch Tickle U, a new block of preschool television programming, by sending Tickle U classroom posters to more than 20,000 preschools.[6] 
  • In 2008, Scholastic distributed marketing materials and coupons for Children’s Claritin in elementary schools.[7]

What you can do:

Is Scholastic marketing in your classroom or your child’s school or daycare center?  Let us know by emailing ccfc<at>commercialfreechildhood.org.


 
 

References
[1]Scholastic 2007/2008 Annual Report. Avialable at: http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/ABEA-28S6DN/578726658x0x257257/26A053C0-2410-4AC7-AC60-0D1884A981B1/AnnualReport2008.pdf, p. 29.
[2]Scholastic 2007/2008 Annual Report http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/ABEA-28S6DN/578726658x0x257257/26A053C0-2410-4AC7-AC60-0D1884A981B1/AnnualReport2008.pdf, p. 29.
[3]http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:FsHpRKkMad4J:www.scholastic.com/aboutscholastic/divisions/inschool_marketing.htm+scholastic+in-school+marketing&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us.
[4]Thomas, S. G. (2007) Buy Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young Minds. New York: Houghton Mifflin, p. 201.
[5]Thomas, S.G., pp. 201-206.
[6]http://www.commercialexploitation.org/articles/featured/tickleu.htm.
[7]http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/actions/scholasticclaritin.html

   

     

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