Faculty Articles

Education and Commercialization: Raising Issues and Making Wise Decisions

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Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education



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We are living in a world of commercialization—everything has a price tag and conspicuous consumption appears to be the way of the western world. The media and politicians remind us that our educational system must prepare our students to be competitive in a global economy. To discuss commercialization in education, we must place it in the current social and economic context. “…The organization of the school, as it is presently constructed, institutionalizes consumer materialism” (Boyles, 1998, p. 4). One result has been a growth in the number and types of partnerships between schools and corporations. We may disagree whether this is the way things should be, but it is the way they currently are, and this presents a challenging conundrum for educators. This article explores issues regarding commercialization and education. First, it examines the status of commercialization in the K-12 environment. The article then provides a look at reciprocal business and education partnerships, which represent a different type of relationship. Finally, it offers suggestions for dealing with this situation in colleges of education as well as in the K-12 environment.





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