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4. Stop McTeacher’s Nights talking points

Use these to help you talk to your community and with decision-makers about why you’re calling for an end to McTeacher’s Nights.

 McTeacher’s Nights are a thinly veiled marketing tactic that exploits the student-teacher relationship solely to benefit the corporation.

  • At McTeacher’s Nights, McDonald’s exploits school funding gaps by having teachers “work” behind the counters of a local McDonald’s in exchange for a small percentage of the night’s proceeds. McDonald’s leans on teachers and schools to recruit students and families to attend the events where trusted teachers serve students burgers, fries, and soda under the ill-deserved guise of charity.
  • McTeacher’s Nights put teachers in a terrible position. Teachers see the results of the systemic underfunding of our public schools firsthand, and are among the first in their school community to initiate fundraising events to support their students. If they participate in McTeacher’s Nights, they are leveraging their authority and popularity with students, endorsing a junk food brand, and selling students on unhealthy food. On the other hand, if they refuse to participate, they may be accused of undermining a school fundraiser.

 McTeacher’s Nights often deny McDonald’s workers direly needed shifts, and give little back to schools.

  • At many McTeacher’s Nights, a number of McDonald’s employees are told they cannot work that night shift because educators are volunteering their time to do their jobs[1].
    • Denying workers direly needed shifts and wages is part of a broader set of abusive labor practices from McDonald’s.
      • McDonald’s pays workers poverty wages and denies workers the right to unionize.
      • McDonald’s workers often rely on government assistance programs like food stamps simply to survive.
      • In May of 2018, 10 female workers filed sexual harassment lawsuits against McDonald’s[2].
    • McTeacher’s Nights operate under the guise of charity but give only a small percentage of nightly proceeds to participating schools.
      • Schools typically receive only 15 to 20 percent of the proceeds on average, often amounting to only $1-2 per student[3]. At times schools receive as little as 10 percent of the proceeds[4].
      • While McDonald’s receives free labor and the kind of marketing money can’t buy, schools receive a comparatively negligible amount of money. And students and their families end up footing the bill of diet-related diseases.

Marketing junk food in schools directly undermines the work of teachers working in the best interest of their students, especially when this marketing of junk food is having a devastating impact on children’s health, driving an epidemic of diet-related diseases.

  • The current generation of children may be the first with a shorter life expectancy than its parents, as a direct result of diet[5].

 [YOUR TOWN] can join more than 50 teachers unions and school districts that are leading the largest public call to date for McDonald’s to end McTeacher’s Nights.

  • Education institutions that are calling on McDonald’s to end McTeacher’s Nights can be found here.

 FAQs

How common are McTeacher’s Nights?

  1. Corporate Accountability and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood have tracked more than 1000 instances over the past few years, but it is estimated that more than 1000 McTeacher’s Nights occur per year at McDonald’s corporate-owned stores alone.

Don’t schools need these fundraisers?

  1. First and foremost, we should fully fund public education. McTeacher’s Nights and other junk food fundraisers are symptoms of a system where corporations exploit school funding shortfalls to promote their brands. It’s exploitation, not charity. Moreover, McTeacher’s Nights are extremely poor fundraisers. Schools typically receive only 15 to20 percent of the proceeds from the night. Schools could do much better with tried and true alternatives that promote individual schools’ parent, student, and teacher organizations.

 Why McTeacher’s Nights/McDonald’s? Don’t other corporations host such fundraisers?

  1. Not only is McDonald’s the most prolific marketer of fast food to children, but it is one of the few corporations that actively recruits educators to “work” behind the counter, exploiting the trust students place in their teachers in order to sell and promote its junk food to their students and students’ families. This is unconscionable and it needs to stop.

[1] https://www.corporateaccountability.org/blog/educator-karlana-kulseth-mcdonalds-shareholders-meeting/

[2] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mcdonalds-sexual-harassment-eeoc/workers-hit-mcdonalds-with-new-sexual-harassment-claims-idUSKCN1IN2W2

[3] http://www.eatdrinkpolitics.com/2013/10/29/clowning-around-with-charity-how-mcdonalds-exploits-philanthropy-and-targets-children/

[4] Multiple instances tracked including:  https://www.facebook.com/HuntersGreenElementary/photos/a.622459107786939/1161857860513725/?type=3&theater; ; https://www.cross-countiesconnect.com/2018/01/a-night-at-the-golden-arches/   (accessed October 11, 2018)

[5] https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmsr043743#t=article (accessed October 11, 2018)

 

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