August 29, 2001
For Immediate Release

Andrew Hagelshaw or Emily Heath, Center for Commercial-Free Public Education 510 268-1100
Nick Leon, California Teachers Association member 408-292-6588

Teachers Oppose Exclusive Cola Contracts
Teacher's Union membership comes out in opposition to all

Los Angeles, CA— The NEA, the nation's largest teacher's union, announced at their 2001 annual meeting in Los Angeles that they are taking a stance in opposition to any "exclusive marketing and vending contracts that commercialize public schools and target students." Their statement specifically includes the exclusive marketing contracts that Coke and Pepsi have been pushing on schools across the country over the last three years.

"This is an extremely important announcement. More and more teachers are realizing that these soda contracts are taking advantage of students to push brand name soda during school time, all the while sacrificing local control of education and student health," said Andrew Hagelshaw, Executive Director of the Center for Commercial-Free Public Education. The Center is a national non-profit organization located in Oakland, CA.

NEA New Business Item #20, passed by a vote from the over 8,000 teachers in attendance, states that "companies are being allowed to market their products to an impressionable captive audience…" and mentions a list of health problems that recent studies have shown can come from consuming soda.

"Now the public knows that teachers don't want these deals any more than parents or students do" said Emily Heath, Senior Program Director of the Center. "Teachers know the advertising messages that these contracts bring disrupt the goals of public education. It's not the role of schools to be pushing brand name products onto students."

The NEA joins a growing list of opposition to selling soda in schools. Last fall, the American Dental Association announced their opposition to exclusive cola contracts in schools. In addition, several communities around the country have recently rejected contract offers from Coke and Pepsi, including districts in San Francisco, Sacramento, Philadelphia, and Madison, Wisconsin. Several others, such as Pittsburgh and Portland, are currently struggling with the issue.

-- 30 --

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