You walk into class and see a woman with an ear to ear, tooth-filled smile and a projector set up with a slide reading something along the lines of “FIDM Career Options in Design”, and – if you are familiar with what is going to take place over the next hour – you slump down in your seat and wait. Almost annually, El Camino students, along with the rest of the San Juan Unified School District (or SJUSD), are over the course of an hour (which would normally be used for educating) encouraged to attend a private institution centered around fashion design and the entertainment industry. So, why is FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise) allowed to take a whole class period away to try and persuade us students into going to this design college?
FIDM is a college with four different campuses, all in California and consisting of 22 “creative majors” to study, which include jewelry design, theaters costume design, fashion design, and beauty industry management. The institute’s main goal is to “prepare students for careers in the Fashion, Visual Arts, Interior Design, and Entertainment industries.” While this may be well and good for a minority of students within the SJUSD, only approximately 7,500 students attend FIDM campuses a year compared to the almost 15,000 high school students in the school district – most of which view the presentation yearly while some students have seen FIDM presentations 2 or 3 times in one year. Out of these 15,000 students, about 3,500 are seniors who would be eligible to attend the institute the following year.
So how can a small, private institution that is not at all applying anything we learn in grades 9 through 12 – such as fashion design, interior design, fashion knitwear design, and much more – be given the right to advertise themselves to 15,000 unsuspecting students during class time in order to convince them to pay to go to this institute while these students are being forced by law to attend this presentation. There seems to be something not quite right about all of this. Aren’t you encouraged to go to a four year college and major in a subject applicable to the real world that can help you become a functioning member of society throughout your entire high school experience? Isn’t that the goal? So if we are giving free (as there is certainly no way that the reason behind all of this seemingly pointless waste of valuable time that could be educating students is because they are bribing paying the public school system, right?) advertisement time to an Institute of learning to try and convince students to go there, shouldn’t it be a critically acclaimed university? If the school district is selling ad space for class time then shouldn’t it be a four year, esteemed university. What about USC, the UC system, Stanford, BYU? If we are going to waste class time on a propaganda stunt, couldn’t we be encouraged to go to a university that can get us somewhere else besides a job shopping for JC Penney’s?