Giving Kids the Business

The Commercialization of America's Schools


Alex Molnar

First Edition • August 22, 2001 • 240 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813391397 • $45.00 USD$52.50 CAN

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The commercialization of public education is upon us. With much fanfare and plenty of controversy, plans to cash in on our public schools are popping up all over the country. Educator and award-winning commentator Alex Molnar has written the first book to both document the commercial invasion of public education and explain its alarming consequences. Giving Kids the Business explains why hot-button proposals like for-profit public schools run by companies such as the Edison Project and Education Alternatives, Inc.; taxpayer-financed vouchers for private schools; market-driven charter schools; Channel One, an advertising-riddled television program for schools; and the relentless interference of corporations in the school curriculum spell trouble for America’s children.

Imagine that the tobacco industry may be helping to shape what your son and daughter learn about smoking. Imagine that your son is given a Gushers fruit snack, told to burst it between his teeth, and asked by his teacher to compare the sensation to a geothermal eruption (compliments of General Mills). Imagine your daughter is taught a lesson about self-esteem by being asked to think about good hair days and bad hair days (compliments of Revlon). Imagine that to cap off a day of world-class learning, your child’s teacher shows a videotape explaining that the Valdez oil spill wasn’t so bad after all (compliments of Exxon).

Anyone interested in how schools are being turned into marketing vehicles, how education is being recast as a commercial transaction, and how children are being cultivated as a cash crop will want to read Giving Kids the Business.


Alex Molnar is considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the commercialization of public education, market-oriented school reforms such as private school vouchers, for-profit schools, and charter schools. His views have been widely reported in newspaper and magazine articles, and he has been a frequent guest on radio and television programs. Molnar is professor and director of the Education Policy Studies Laboratory in the College of Education at Arizona State University at Tempe.

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