Commercialization of Schools

March 20, 1998


Berkeley High School in California’s Bay Area is the latest school to be swept headlong into the national debate over the role of advertising in public schools.

Soft-drink giant Pepsi has offered to spend at least $90,000 at the school for the exclusive right to sell beverages in Berkeley High’s vending machines for seven years. The so-called "pouring rights" offer also includes a flashy new electronic scoreboard for the football field.

The offer has generated heated debated in Berkeley and renewed interest in the role of commercialization in public education nationwide.


  • Sarah Church, a sophomore at Berkeley High School.
  • Marianne Manilov, executive director of the Center for Commercial Free Public Education, a national organization of parents, teachers, student, school board members and administrators in 41 states working against commercialization and for public schools.