March 23, 1999
For Immediate Release

Andrew Hagelshaw, Center for Commercial-Free Public Education 510 268-1100
California Assemblywoman Kerry Mazzoni 916-319-2087

New Math Textbook Advertises to Children
New York Times finds McGraw-Hill book promotes M&Ms, Nike and McDonalds to 6th Graders

Oakland, CA—A new math textbook distributed nationwide by McGraw-Hill is laden with commercial images, according to a front-page article in the New York Times. The book, first published in 1995 and updated this year, asks students to figure how much money they need to save to buy a pair of Nike shoes, and teaches them fractions through counting M&Ms. "Mathematics: Applications and Connections" has been approved for use in at least one school district in every state, according to McGraw-Hill. 15 states, including California and Texas, have officially adopted the book.

"This is the first time we’ve seen advertising in state-subsidized text-books. Taxpayers are now footing the bill for these companies to go after our children," said Andrew Hagelshaw, Senior Program Director of the Center for Commercial-Free Public Education. The Center is a national non-profit organization located in Oakland, CA. "A math textbook should not be another opportunity for companies to make kids brand loyal to their products."

The situation has caught the attention of California Assemblywoman Kerry Mazzoni, head of the Assembly Education Committee. Mazzoni recently introduced legislation that would ban all images that are not for a specific educational purpose. McGraw-Hill Inc. is lobbying hard in Sacramento to shoot down the bill.

Glencoe-McGraw Hill calls the commercial images in their textbook "real-world applications," arguing that the story problems use examples that children can identify with. "Apparently ‘real world applications’ means real world advertising complete with real world corporate logos," said Walter Hanna, the Executive Director of the Center for Commercial-Free Public Education. "There is no educational reason to ask kids to compare a Big Mac with a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, other than to sell them on going to eat at McDonalds."

McGraw-Hill told the New York Times they received no payment from the companies for the image placement. They failed to explain, however, why certain companies are featured while others have their logos blacked or airbrushed out.

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