Scholastic

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Scholastic, Inc., based in New York City, is "the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books" as well as a range of other materials including "magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys." [1]

In 2007, sales were US $2.1 billion with profits of US $61 million. Some competitors are McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Random House. [2]

Corporate Social Responsibility

Scholastic Book Clubs donates to Save the Children’s literacy initiative, and claims to have have donated over 2.5 million books since 2001 through “ClassroomsCare”, a school-based initiative that teaches children about the meaning and rewards of reading and giving. The total number of books donated is based on the number of books read by children in participating classrooms nationwide. Scholastic Book Clubs has donated 375,000 books in 2005 in support of U.S. children served by Save the Children living in rural poverty. In addition to the ongoing support for US Programs, Scholastic has made an additional commitment to book donations to the Gulf Coast Recovery effort to children in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.[3]

Propaganda

Scholastic initially provided online links to a Discussion Guide for the Class Room: "9/11 Discussion Guide for the ABC Miniseries" "The Path to 9/11".

Available online as recently as September 6, 2006 (16:18 EST), the links were no longer available as of September 7, 2006 (06:25 EST). Richard Cranium noted in The All Spin Zone Blog that on September 6, 2006, at 21:45:45 EST, the link "[came] up to a blank search page."

"Thinking this was merely a site problem or something," Cranium "did a quick search of the Scholastic website. ... Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Bupkis."

Obviously, some time in the late afternoon/early evening of September 6, 2006, Scholastic pulled its linkage to the increasingly controversial docudrama.

At the time of Cranium's post, the PDF links were "still online, but are not linked anywhere on Scholastic's website. The main page is gone, as is the introduction, so perhaps the PDF's just haven't been scrubbed yet." The September 6, 2006, background article on the "Discussion Guide" by Media Matters for America linked to some then-active PDFs.

Judd Legum of Think Progress contacted Scholastic the morning of September 7, 2006, and was told by "a Scholastic spokeswoman, the materials are 'temporarily down' but will 'be back up later.' She could not confirm whether any changes would be made."

Cranium also noted: "It was brought to my attention via email that Scholastic has also, in recent years and months, hooked up with such notable organizations" as the American Petroleum Institute and defense contractor Northrop Grumman "to catapult propaganda of other stripes."

Controversy over materials: energy and coal curriculum

Chamber of Commerce

In 2010, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined with Scholastic Books to distribute roughly 100,000 books about the potential perils of government fossil fuel regulation to classrooms across the country, as part of its “Shedding Light on Energy" campaign. The book asks, “What do you think could happen if one of our energy sources was suddenly unavailable (e.g., power plant maintenance, government curb on production, etc.)?” Chamber officials maintain that there is no “hidden agenda” behind the question or the educational outreach effort in general, although the book is notably being distributed at a time when the Environmental Protection Agency is set to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.[4]

American Coal Foundation

In May 2011, it was reported that the American Coal Foundation paid Scholastic to help produce and place in classrooms maps and worksheets called the "United States of Energy," with much of the information from the National Mining Association, a coal-lobbying group. One widely distributed chart did not mention damage from mining or pollution. The Coal Foundation had been distributing materials on its own, then partnered with Scholastic so that 66,000 fourth grade teachers received materials to build into lesson plans.

In the Appalachian mining communities of Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, mining companies sponsor something called CEDAR, Coal Education Development and Resources, which offers teachers booklets and DVDs produced by coal-burning utility AEP and mining giant Peabody Coal. One emphasizes how Kentucky has benefited from coal mine reclamation, with little mention of any negatives of strip mining. And on the issue of coal's carbon dioxide emissions, CEDAR offers teachers a video, titled "The Greening of Planet Earth" that asserts: "As more and more scientists are confirming, our world is deficient in carbon dioxide and a doubling of atmospheric CO2 is very beneficial."

The New York Times in a May 11, 2011 article noted that materials from the American Coal Foundation fail to mention the downsides of burning coal, particularly its negative effects on the environment and human life, like the removal of Appalachian mountaintops, the release of sulfur dioxide, mercury and arsenic; the toxic wastes; the mining accidents and the lung disease.[5]

On May 13, 2011, Scholastic, Inc., issued the following statement regarding its partnership with the American Coal Foundation: "This week, Scholastic came under criticism for an 11" x 16" poster map which displays different sources of energy – coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, wind and natural gas –- not so much for the content of the poster but primarily for its sponsorship by the American Coal Foundation. We acknowledge that the mere fact of sponsorship may call into question the authenticity of the information, and therefore conclude that we were not vigilant enough as to the effect of sponsorship in this instance. We have no plans to further distribute this particular program."[6]

After the incident, the New York Times reported that the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) had long been a critic of Scholastic and their InSchool Marketing Division, which produces curriculum with corporate partners, stating: "In addition to the American Coal Foundation, Scholastic's InSchool Marketing clients have included the Cartoon Network, Claritin, SunnyD, Disney, and McDonald's. Scholastic also worked with The Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy, which is completely funded by corporate interests."[7]

"New" The Path to 9/11 Study Guide

"Media Literacy Discussion Guide. Unit Plan Overview: Students will gain an understanding of media literacy through lessons and activities that teach critical thinking/viewing skills, visual media analysis, and discussion and debate"—Scholastic, September 8, 2006. [1]

"My Arabic Library" Project

In 2004 Scholastic received $6.5 million for a "My Arabic Library" project for work in Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain, Morocco, and Libya from the Middle East Partnership Initiative.

"The program is the first major effort using classroom libraries to develop independent reading, critical thinking, and analytical skills in young readers in the region. My Arabic Library includes fiction and non-fiction titles (translated and adapted from their original English) as well as teacher training and curriculum materials. To maximize the effectiveness of the reading materials, the program also aims at engaging school principals, parents, and local communities to support early independent reading, as well as providing sustainable resources for classrooms." [2]

Lobbying

The company spent $415,500 for lobbying in 2006, using three lobbying firms. [8]

Personnel

Key executives and 2007 pay: [9]          Options
exercised
M. Richard Robinson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer    $870,000    $2,040,000
Maureen O'Connell, Chief Financial Officer    $292,000    $0
Deborah A. Forte, President - Scholastic Entertainment Inc    $726,000    $0
Margery W. Mayer, President of Scholastic Education    $711,000    $76,000

Directors:

Source

Former personnel:

Contact details

557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012
Phone: 212-343-6100
Fax: 212-343-6934
Web: http://www.scholastic.com

Resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Scholastic About Scholastic, organizational web page, accessed December 17, 2011
  2. Hoovers Scholastic Corporation Profile, company profile, accessed December 2007
  3. Save the Children oin Scholastic’s Global Literacy Campaign and Encourage a Child to Read Every Day, Save the Children organizational website, accessed December 17, 2011
  4. Josh Voorhees, http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/43844.html#ixzz14oxFHwth "Chamber: Worry about energy regulations, kids"] Politico, Oct. 19, 2010.
  5. Tamar Lewin Coal Curriculum Called Unfit for 4th Graders, New York Times/Education, May 11, 2011
  6. "Scholastic distributed coal propaganda in schools" PRI's Living on Earth, May 16, 2011.
  7. Gabrielle Canon, "Controversy Over Scholastic Sponsorships Goes Beyond Coal" HuffPo, May 22, 2011.
  8. Scholastic Corporation lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed December 2007.
  9. Scholastic Key Executives, Yahoo Finance, accessed December 2007.

External articles

External resources