NPR reports on a Wisconsin school district that is selling naming rights to raise the funds to build new schools. This isn't the first district to have this bright idea--they're just copying another district's lead, citing that "striking a marketing deal" may be easier than acquiring the taxes to fund school projects. I can certainly see how this makes sense, considering that three-quarters of the tax-paying population does not have children in public schools. Why should they be forced to shoulder the load?
Oh, that's right. Civic responsibility. Isn't that the reason why you and I pay medicare, welfare, and disability taxes whether or not we're old, poor, and sick? Ahh, screw it. Let the old, poor, sick, and children fend for themselves. It's not my responsibility.
Then there's also the concern of the captive audience. We're already aware as a society that what goes on in our schools is important in shaping the ideas and opinions of our nation's future. That's one element of the heated debate over evolution/creationism courses in public schools. That's why a school boards fight so hard to include/exclude courses like African-American history. It's amazing to think that you can go to school and learn as much about the businesses in your little community as the world outside your little community. But, hey, that Kaiser Permanente Fieldhouse... wow! it's great.
Of course, you don't have to spend half a million to get your company logo on the side of a large building. You can get your name plastered alongside smaller school objects (like auditorioum seating) for more reasonable amounts of money, because what good is a school if you can't sell every inch of it to corporate sponsors? One Wisconsin school official says "he'll consider most offers, as long as they don't promote tobacco and alcohol". Good to see that he has some moral conviction.
I'm sure, however, that if you want alcohol and tobacco sponsored in school you can get your name written in the bathroom stalls. You'll just have to find a student to put it up for you--if you can agree on the price.