What do Rogers & Walker Gun Shop, First Baptist Church, McDonald’s, and The Tennessee Credit Union have in common? They’re picking up the tab for a local school facing budget problems—in return for naming rights, ad space, or a branch on school property. Gadfly can’t help but observe that such partnerships would have been much less palatable before the economic downturn. Indeed, should we be worried that these financial collaborations are pushing a fine line? After all, First Baptist Church’s adopted school provided the parish with the names of parents (with their consent) who were interested in an at-home visit; the church reports that thirteen families have joined the congregation. Or what about the local McDonald’s “McTeacher’s Night,” where “celebrity” teacher burger-flippers served artery-clogging fare to parents and children to raise money? But what’s the alternative? The public purse is empty, and China’s generosity worn thin. Done right—no ads for cigarettes in the cafeteria!—these financial alliances have been mutually beneficial to business and school alike.

A School Prays for Help” by Jennifer Levitz and Stephanie Simon, Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2010

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