Stephanie Jasky said she was shocked when she read about one of her third-grade son’s reading assignments at Wass Elementary School in the Troy School District.
It was a pair of General Motors fliers on the Chevy Volt that made statements such as “Volt can be your only car,” “awesome driving experience" and “order your Volt.” One of the fliers contained “5 Minute Talking Points” that included “Marketing Demographics” as “highly educated, tech savvy, predominately male.”
Jasky said her son told her that a teacher instructed students what to highlight on the fliers on June 3. Then the students went outside and watched a teacher drive the Volt.
“I’m angry,” said Jasky, who didn’t support the bailout of General Motors. “General Motors is Government Motors. It looks like they suddenly have a captive audience in our schools. Why else would you hand out pamphlets that say, ‘five-minute talking points’ with ‘positioning statements.’”
Troy Public Schools Spokeswoman Kerry Birmingham confirmed the Volt fact sheet was used as a non-fiction reading assignment for the third-grade class. Birmingham said non-fiction types of reading material are found on the third grade standardized tests. Birmingham also said the district introduces more non-fiction reading assignments in the third grade.
She said the Volt was part of a six-week program called “A World in Motion” that focused on careers and real world applications.
A volunteer parent who is a General Motors engineer brought a Volt to school, but it wasn’t intended as a promotional opportunity, Birmingham said. And other engineers from other car companies were involved in the program.
“Never once did I see anything that said, ‘Buy Chevy Volt,’“ Birmingham said. “This was just a way for a classroom lesson to come to life.”
Jasky is the founder of the non-profit organization Fedupusa.org. Its stated purpose is that it “brings the truth” regarding the global financial crisis.