Commercialism in Public Schools: A Study of the Perceptions of Superintendents Accepting Corporate Advertising in Virginia


TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


School districts cross the country are facing tight budgets and increased demands on resources and as result have turned to commercial sources for assistance with funding gym floors, lighting for athletic complexes, athletic fields, and sports equipment (Adams 1999; Bell 2002a; Brunkow 2001; Molnar 2002). Businesses are increasingly making inroads into classrooms, particularly, in underfunded schools. In exchange for advertising space and marketing research, businesses provide money, teaching materials, technology resources, and sports equipment.

The Commercialism in Education Research Unit (CERU) at Arizona State University has monitored media references to commercialism in schools since 1990. There has been a 473% increase in commercial activity within schools since the 1990 inception of archiving (Molnar & Reaves 2001). Molnar (2003c) stated that schools are increasingly soliciting private sources for funding, particularly, at a timeframe when guidelines for school districts to follow are limited.

The purpose of this study is to examine the perceptions of superintendents regarding the impact of corporate involvement in their district. The focus will be on the district size that partners, direct and indirect advertising in schools, and acceptability and unacceptability of commercialism.

The population will be all superintendents assigned to public schools in Virginia. Contact will be made with the district by letter requesting of the superintendent to complete the survey. A survey will be mailed to superintendents of the 132 school districts in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The dependent variable will be acceptability or unacceptability of commercialism with the independent variables being district size, gender and years of experience as superintendent, and types of commercialism. Statistical tests will include descriptive statistics and One Way and Two-Way Analyis of Variance.



Schools, Partnerships, Business, Commercialism, Corporate