Picture yourself as a third-grade student. Your teacher, whom you revere and trust, just wrapped up a lesson on healthy eating and nutrition. As you walk out of school, you see a poster stuck to the wall encouraging you to bring your whole family to McDonald’s the next night, where that same teacher will serve you junk food.
If you’re thinking, “Wait, what?” here’s the scoop: The reason this teacher is put in the terrible and contradictory position of advertising junk food to students is because of a predatory marketing scheme called McTeacher’s Nights. Here’s how it works: McDonald’s exploits cash-strapped schools to enlist educators to work behind the counter serving its junk food to students and their families. Through McTeacher’s Nights, McDonald’s exploits the trust between students and teachers to sell its burgers. It targets communities of color in particular for this predatory marketing. And it denies shifts for workers who rely on those wages to make ends meet. The kicker? Schools only get a meager fraction of sales from the night.
As students go back to school, McDonald’s ramps up these exploitive, predatory schemes. That makes this a crucial moment to speak out and demand that McDonald’s ends McTeacher’s Nights.
There’s a growing nationwide movement led by educators, to keep corporations from unleashing these predatory schemes in our schools. More than 50 teachers unions across the country, representing more than 3 million educators, have taken a stand against McTeacher’s Nights. And The California Federation of Teachers and the Los Angeles Unified School District (the second largest school district in the country) went a step further and passed resolutions rejecting McTeacher’s Nights.
While McDonald’s claims schools want these events, we know better. Here’s what the educators we organize alongside with tell us: McTeacher’s Nights turn their classroom into an advertisement for junk food. McTeacher’s Nights deny McDonald’s workers shifts and wages they were counting on. And McTeacher’s Nights only give schools a small percentage of the night’s proceeds, while McDonald’s benefits from teachers’ free labor.
McDonald’s gets the kind of marketing that money cannot buy, and our communities are left footing the bill for a lifetime of diet-related disease.
Let’s put an end to McTeacher’s Nights. Write to McDonald’s executives and tell them that you stand with educators and demand that they stop McTeacher’s Nights.
Together we can make it clear that we will not allow classrooms to become advertising spaces for abusive corporations.