Monday, October 01, 2007

New Zealand school named for corporate benefactor

My brother-in-law, who is visiting us this week, is a math teacher in an Auckland, New Zealand, secondary school.

We got to talking about school financing here — and there. The conversation led us to the Portland Tribune's Dwight Jaynes' tongue-in-check suggestion that his alma mater, Cleveland High School, sell its name to Burgerville (make that "Burgerville High"), in exchange for a major donation.

My brother-in-law didn't blink.

Consider Bairds Mainfreight Primary School in Auckland, he said. Mainfreight is a New Zealand-based international shipping company that supports the school, which serves minority kids.

I've searched the web and can't find any debate over naming the school after a corporate benefactor. Apparently it was approved by the Ministry of Education 10 years ago without question.

There is a slight twist here from the Burgerville (or Coca Cola or Twinkies) example. Mainfreight is hardly a consumer product aimed at kids. It does not cause obesity or rot teeth, just for starters. But granting naming rights to Mainfreight does open the door to others with marketing on their minds. It is at the top of the proverbial slippery slope.

And the question remains, why does Mainfreight feel compelled to have the school adopt its name? Wouldn't a simple thanks and a plaque do?

Getting back to the Tribune's Jaynes, I've written a letter to the editor with my suggestion, first posted here, that Jaynes sell his own prominent name to Burgerville (Make that "Burgerville Jaynes") and give the proceeds to Cleveland.

The letter seems to have received some attention as the editors now want me to write a "My View" guest opinion.

Stay tuned.

Labels: , ,


Anonymous Steve said...

Congrats Rick; I look forward to your op-ed in the Trib!

9:09 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home