I just graduated from high school and admittedly, I have never felt directly connected to the Calgary Board of Education or the choices they have made regarding students. Certainly, each school has a representative on the Chief Superintendent's Student Advisory Council and while the benefits of such a council can be seen, it is regardless, not difficult to lose the thoughts of the greater student population which includes more than 100 000 students in the Calgary Board of Education alone.
This is not "Pie in the Sky", "what if" thinking. The policy is there, today and real. Agreements with corporations may be already on the works or even in place? Currently there is no mechanism for these agreements to be made public until the Corporation and the Calgary Board of Education administration decide it is time for us to know. Our publicly funded, taxpayer owned schools, branded to influence minors, right here in Calgary.
Recent trends in education funding in Alberta exhibit some worrying disparities. Charter and private schools currently attract considerably more resources than the poorest of schools in the public system, and they still get public per student funding. This has significant consequences. If we turn classrooms into just another market for ads, is there any reason not to expect that donor and advertising dollars are most likely to flow to the schools and parents who already have the greatest resources?
The Calgary Board of Education has recently opened the door to the naming of classrooms to corporate sponsorship. Naming of classrooms or programs leads to some very fundamental questions about public education and has many drawbacks. One of which is if you allow Coca Cola a five year deal on a school gym, why not another school sponsored by Pepsi? If they can sponsor a high school gym, how about a junior high? A middle school? An elementary?