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School Commercialism: From Democratic Ideal to Market Commodity.

School Commercialism: From Democratic Ideal to Market Commodity. Alex Molnar (Routledge).

Ardent market skeptic Alex Molnar lambastes firms like Pizza Hut and Papa John's for providing rewards to students who meet their reading goals or earn passing grades. On the one hand, this is a semihysterical volume with chapter titles like "Eat, Drink, and Be Diabetic: Using Schools to Promote Illness". On the other hand, Molnar's effort provides plenty of data, and that part of the book is more useful than the conspiracy-mongering. Many readers from across the ideological spectrum will sympathize with Molnar's concern that "commercialism has transformed American childhood and the institutions that serve children." More troubling is his suggestion that for-profit tutors, virtual schooling, and education-management organizations are destructive forces that are no different from efforts to expand school-based marketing. Ultimately, Molnar doesn't propose any solutions that are not condemnations of "corporations" and "privatization"--nor is it clear that he really believes that troubled schools can be "democratizing civic institutions" if only we can roll back contemporary commercialism.

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Publication:Education Next
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 22, 2006
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