As a parent of a school-age child, I’ve had my daughter bring home all sorts of odd corporate-related information from her school. Yesterday, I noticed a wordsearch on agriculture and conservation that had been sponsored by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the National Beef Industry Development Fund. As a United States citizen, I’m not exactly sure what these Canadian organizations hope to gain. Oddly enough, the wordsearch came as part of an exercise using glue to make silly putty.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like my daughter’s school. But every so often, the corporate intrusion makes me furious. Today, my daughter brought back a form for me to sign from Highlights Magazine, of all things.
The form, which I have scanned for you to see, tells parents that by completing the form you help “earn free classroom aids from Highlights.” Now, I’m all for free classroom aids– but I’m not for the scary privacy issues on the reverse side of the form. On the opposite side, Highlights asks for the child’s name, parent’s name, address, and phone number. Additionally, you are asked to respond YES or NO about whether you would like a subscription.
What bothers me is that the front of the slip implies that parents are to fill out the information regardless of whether they wish to subscribe. So not only does Highlights subtlely ransom parental hopes for extra educational opportunities for their children, but they use children as mules– hoofing these little Trojan horse privacy attacks into our homes. As I wrote on one such form a couple years back, I can think of many other things a school could be doing with its time than supplying Highlights with targeted mail lists.
So here’s the takeaway lesson, Highlights: GOOFUS uses vague promises of “free classroom aids” to entice parents to sign away their mailing info. GALLANT knows that it’s wrong to attach strings to a gift, and would never ask a child to be a corporate mule.