Scholastic Announces Changes to InSchool Marketing Program
Leading book publisher Scholastic Inc. has taken steps to improve and refine its InSchool Marketing program, according to a recent statement from the company. The program, which uses sponsorship from partner companies to distribute free supplemental materials to schools, will now rely on fewer for-profit sponsors and include assessment by a Partner Review Board for each sponsored lesson being considered.
The statement explains that the InSchool Marketing Program will be "focusing on working only with a carefully selected list of non-profit, corporate and government partners," which will likely reduce the number of programs by about 40% from last year. This list will be established by the newly created Partner Review Board, which is made up of a curriculum editor, a teacher, a school administrator, a child psychologist and a parenting expert. The Board was also created as a way of "strengthening the editorial review of sponsored supplemental educational content and putting additional checks in place to ensure the accuracy and impartiality of the content."
The InSchool Marketing Program came under scrutiny of environmental advocacy groups and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood in May, after its distribution of "The United States of Coal," a program sponsored by the American Coal Foundation. The groups protested that the lesson provided children with "a one-sided view of coal, failing to mention its negative effects on the environment and human health," according to a New York Times article. Scholastic then withdrew the materials, stating that it would improve the standards of evaluation for the program.
"It is our firm belief that education today needs support from all sectors- public and private- and we welcome the opportunity to make curriculum-aligned, free content available to our nation's teachers," the Scholastic statement said. "Partner programs enable schools to receive quality, free supplemental educational materials for teachers, schools and students; tens of thousands of free books and millions of dollars in scholarship and grants."
Scholastic has also taken a significant role in improving worldwide literacy, implementing such campaigns as "Read Every Day, Lead a Better Life," as well as their commission of the study, "The 2010 Kids and Family Reading Report," which analyzed childhood reading behaviors in the digital world. Book Business magazine recently named Scholastic the Publishing Innovator of the Year in book publishing for these accomplishments.
The Scholastic statement noted, "We acknowledged problems with [the coal] program and conducted a thorough review of all of our recent sponsored materials. It is noteworthy that feedback from educators on an array of different programs was overwhelmingly complimentary and pointed out to us that these programs provide valuable information for teachers and students that is not otherwise available."
"Our commitment is to ensure the highest standard of excellence in all of our materials for use in the classroom and beyond - a commitment that, over the last 90 years of hard work by our committed staff, has built our reputation as 'the most trusted name in learning,'" it concluded.