State of the Union’s Economy: Ads on Kids’ Tests

The banks got a bailout, the Big 3 Automakers are begging on the streetcorner like pandhandlers, but when we force our schools to sell advertisements on kids’ tests we know we’ve sunk to a new low.

Normally, I don’t post videos or comment on the news.  But, something just hits me as smelling like a dead fish behind the couch when we have to subject our kids to new advertisement methods.  Can’t we figure out another way to make money for our schools?

The first part of this video is what I’m talking about.  I just didn’t have the time to edit it to make it shorter and cut out the rest of the broadcast.

Teachers Sell Ads on Tests, Money for Supplies from nate ritter on Vimeo.

I do have to give credit to the teacher who thought of the idea… at least it works. It’s just sad that this is what we’ve resorted to to be able to fund the teaching process.

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

6 Comments on "State of the Union’s Economy: Ads on Kids’ Tests"

  1. David Horn says:

    He was my calc teacher! Great guy. I suspect he’s partly doing this satirically to highlight the absurdity of school budgeting.

    It’s a great way of giving back locally, though. Rather than donating to my alma mater in a way where I have no idea where the money is going, I can donate specifically to my old calc teacher’s photocopy budget.

    I have the form right now. I’m going to buy an ad on one of his worksheets.

  2. nate says:

    Ah, the irony. haha..

  3. Matt Langdon says:

    I know exactly how sad it is that schools can’t afford photocopying. Putting a one-line ad on the bottom is more a show of support than an ad campaign with an ROI. I’m glad I watched the video because when I read the headline I had a much different impression of what was happening.

  4. BoBtimusPrime says:


    I think it’s safe to say that ANY ads having to be placed on a students test is an embarrassment to the education system. I think any ads, local or corporate, have no place in the classroom. The real ironic thing about this story is that ads and sponsorship in schools to help pay for education is nothing new… the only difference is now it’s starting to hit the core curriculum (Math, Science, English etc.). When I was in school the fine arts classes (Band, Choir, Dance, Art etc.) all had to seek out sponsorship from businesses, use company logos in their performance programs and accept money from companies like Zildjian, Paiste, Wenger and other suppliers of equipment, instruments and music in order to keep their programs running.

    There is nothing wrong with the headline of this article. Ads are bad no matter what. For all intents and purposes the state and local governments need to s**t or get off the pot. Either have institutions of education that are properly funded and well operated or don’t. This half-assed way of going about education is ensuring that the citizenry of this country will continue to be lopsided in terms of education.

  5. David Horn says:

    I think Matt was getting at the title implying something more like the ads that are to the right of this comment.

    Though I’m dubious of ads in the classroom, is there evidence of it affecting behavior one way or the other? Is there any prior art in similar circumstances? We can all agree there is something absurd about a school so malfunded that it can’t pay for producing exams. It seems like something Vonnegut would have cooked up and parodied. However, I would think military recruiters on campus would be more of an issue than local companies paying for photocopies.

  6. Matt Langdon says:

    Right, what I meant to say was I know full well how badly funded schools are. Photocopying is a limited privilege at the schools I know of and even gets cut off some months. The funding is ridiculous and I agree the government needs to get off it’s rear and do something about it.

    My point was that when the ads are from mothers wanting to say good luck or dentists basically donating money to their school it is less harmful than McDonalds sponsoring the tests.

    I don’t think it should be needed, but sadly it is.

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