September 21, 1999
For Immediate Release

Andrew Hagelshaw or Walter Hanna
the Center for Commercial-Free Public Education
510 268-1100

California Bills Passed to Protect Children from In-School Advertising
Ads in Textbooks Banned, Exclusive Cola Deals, ZapMe, Channel One Addressed

Oakland, CA—Two state bills to halt commercialism in schools have been passed into law in California, and may start a new national trend of laws that look to curb product advertising in schools. Assembly Bills 116 and 117 were inspired and encouraged by the work of the Center for Commercial-Free Public Education. "AB 116 and 117 both see school commercialism for what it is: taking advantage of a captive audience of students to promote particular band name products during school time," said Andrew Hagelshaw, Senior Program Director for the Center. The two bills were authored by Kerry Mazzoni, head of the California State Assembly Education Committee.

AB 116 is particularly powerful, as it bans any commercial images irrelevant to the educational message from appearing in textbooks used in public schools. The law was inspired by a sixth grade math textbook currently distributed nationwide by McGraw-Hill. The book, "Mathematics: Applications and Connections" is laden with commercial images and has been approved for use in at least one school district in every state, according to the publisher. 15 states, including California and Texas, have officially adopted the book. Story problems in the book ask 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 (see attachment for illustrations).

"We are extremely enthusiastic that we have been able to pass a bill like AB 116," said Walter Hanna, Executive Director of the Center for Commercial-Free Public Education. "A math textbook should not be another opportunity for companies to make kids brand loyal to their products. We expect that other states will follow suit and also outlaw this type of advertising in textbooks, effectively cutting off this trend before it gets started."

AB 117, just signed into law September 15 by California Governor Gray Davis, addresses the issues of Channel One, ZapMe and exclusive cola deals. AB 117 now requires school districts to hold public meetings to establish policies regarding exclusive cola contracts before they can sign anything. School Districts must also prove publicly that any electronic product or service that contains advertising is integral for the school’s education and that the district can’t afford the product or service in any other way. "We see AB 117 as an important fist step toward what is really needed to protect children- a ban on all advertising in public schools," said Andrew Hagelshaw.

New York and Louisiana are among other states that are already considering laws similar to AB 116. New York and Nevada have passed statewide bans on Channel One, while Wisconsin is currently considering eliminating exclusive cola deals from state schools. Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Texas have also made first attempts at laws concerning commercialism in schools.

See Attachment with examples from the McGraw-Hill textbook

-- 30 --

Have You Lost Your Marbles" Awards Blast Pernicious Marketing to Children while Praising Sweden's Stand

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

Western Pennsylvania IU To Sell Exclusive Pouring Rights

Coke Forced to Announce Changes in Dealings with Schools

NYC School Board Warned Against Selling Out Students

Sample School Policies on Advertising to Kids Released

Madison School Board Votes to Leave Coke Contract

House Passes Student Privacy Amendment

School Board to Vote on Commercial-Free Schools

Advertising in Schools Robs Communities of Local Control Over Education

New Math Textbook Advertises to Children

Channel One In Schools Costs Taxpayers $1.8 Billion Per Year

Scholastic Drops Golden Marble Sponsorshop After National Protest

Education Center Follows CBS News Story with Release of "Top Ten" Points in School Ads

[Top] - [Home] - [Press Room] - [Become a Member]