Teacher Puts Ads on Tests to Pay for Copies

Budget cuts force test-happy prof to take drastic action
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2008 2:17 PM CST
Teacher Puts Ads on Tests to Pay for Copies
With budgets shrinking, one math teacher came up with an interesting way of paying for his tests.   (Shutterstock)

When his suburban San Diego high school cut his photocopy budget to $316, calculus teacher Tom Farber had a problem. Because he gives a lot of tests—to make sure his students have enough practice for their AP exam, he says—he racks up $500 a year in 3-cents-per-page copy costs. So he got resourceful. Farber began selling ad space on his test papers, at $10 to $30 a pop. “Tough times call for tough actions,” he says.

The plan pulled in $350, though not everyone’s thrilled with the arrangement. “The advertisers are paying for something, and it’s access to kids,” says the director of a nonprofit that fights commercialization of schools. But the principal thinks the ads are reasonable. Roughly two-thirds are inspirational messages from parents, while the rest come from local businesses. “It’s not like, ‘This test brought to you by McDonalds or Nike.’” (Read more advertising stories.)

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