Journal of Education Policy, 24(6) pp 769-786
The literature on school commercialism, despite a number of successes in battling advertising and marketing in schools, has often seemed to only scratch the surface of corporatization of K‐12 education. While condemning corporations who seek to sell brand‐name products to kids in schools is a relatively straightforward matter, critiquing corporate efforts to promote ideologies, identities, values and agendas to children and youth is far more complicated and yet, essential. In this paper, we take the example of Junior Achievement Worldwide, one of the world’s oldest, largest, and fastest growing organizations promoting corporate interests in schools in the USA and beyond to illustrate the need to address school commercialism in a broad historical, curricular, and global context. We review the long history of Junior Achievement in the USA, its vast set of curriculum offerings in enterprise, financial literacy, economics, work readiness and life skills, and its dramatic expansion, since the late 1980s, to now reach more than eight million students every year in over 100 countries around the world.