"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Washington State to Allow School Bus Advertisements?

Washington State children may have a new way to remember which bus to ride. Thanks to possible legislation, school kids might be saying, "I'm on the one with the Nike swoosh," or, "I ride the State Farm bus." These advertisements aren't restricted to the sides of the bus; the insides, too, can be plastered with the logos of corporate sponsors, a slick way to gain the attention of a young, vulnerable, and captive audience. In the end, however, school boards can reject or restrict advertisements.

One original bill simply includes provisions about advertisements. A second version includes a section that allows districts to put the American flag on the bus in addition to allowing corporate ads, a weak nod that seems to acknowledge, "Yes, we're selling out, but we can at least put up a flag to remember this is still a public school bus." The Senate report acknowledges the income from ads would be "a drop in the bucket" ($175,000), and that the very idea may be a distraction for the community. Another comment, which shows the wisdom is there, it's just not taken into serious consideration, cautions "Advertising to children on school buses is questionable."


  1. How about a bill to install seat belts on school buses?

    That would be a more appropriate conversation to be having by the states.

  2. My issue with exterior advertising is one of safety. They're painted all yellow for a reason and people still manage to miss them. The iconic image resonates in people's minds, even if they're on a cellphone, drunk, or otherwise distracted. Anything that subtracts from the iconic image will make for more near misses.

    Inside? It's not like they can get away from advertising in any other place - even the classrooms have advertising on some school papers and lunchrooms and fields and pretty much everywhere. I'd love to keep things pure, but the bus companies might make a few bucks and lower the districts cost. Or not.

    Can we really save them from the insidious advertisers at this point?