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Principles for Corporate Involvement in the Schools

A Position Statement of National Council for the Social Studies

School-business relationships based on sound principles can contribute to high quality education. However, compulsory attendance confers on educators an obligation to protect the welfare of their students and the integrity of the learning environment. Therefore, when working together schools and business must ensure that educational values are not distorted in the process. Positive school-business relationships should be ethical and structured in accordance with all eight of the following principles:

  • Corporate involvement shall not require students to observe, listen to, or read commercial advertising.
  • Selling or providing access to a captive audience in the classroom for commercial purposes is exploitation and a violation of the public trust.
  • Since school property and time are publicly funded, selling or providing free access to advertising on school property involves ethical and legal issues that must be addressed.
  • Corporate involvement must support the goal and objectives of the schools. Curriculum and instruction are within the purview of educators.
  • Programs of corporate involvement must be structured to meet an identified education need, not a commercial motive, and must be evaluated for educational effectiveness by the school district on an ongoing basis.
  • Schools and educators should hold sponsored and donated materials to the same standards used for the selection and purchase of curriculum materials.
  • Corporate involvement programs should not limit the discretion of schools and teachers in the use of sponsored materials.
  • Sponsor recognition and corporate logos should be for identification rather than commercial purposes.

Endorsed by the NCSS Board of Directors in January 1991. Revised February 1999.

(Drafted in November 1990 at a conference of state education officials, civic leaders, and educators, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, School of Education.)

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