New Math

Californian calculus teacher Tom Farber sees a day when public schools will have corporate sponsors. For now, sponsored math tests will have to do.

Farber came up with the idea of selling advertisements on his calculus tests earlier this year, when the Poway Unified School District’s financial situation became more challenging. He threw the idea out to his student’s parents, who received it enthusiastically.

“At first, I just suggested that the parent possibly sponsor an inspirational quote that could be placed on each test,” said Farber, who has worked at Rancho Bernardo High School for 17 years. “Then I became aware of some businesses who wanted to get involved.”

The first official advertisement was from, as you might have guessed, a local orthodontist who even came up with his own advertising slogan of “Brace yourself for a great semester.”

Did it drum up business for the orthodontist? Farber isn’t sure. Yet, he is sure about one thing.

“I never thought it would take off like it has,” says Farber. “It’s a relatively simple idea that really utilizes advertising as a way to raise funds.”

Money from the ads goes directly toward the Math Department Publications fund and is used solely for the cost of printing the tests. Despite increasing demand for these advertisements, Farber said he plans to stick with his current ad rates of $10 for weekly tests, $20 for chapter tests and $30 for final exams — for now.

“More budget cuts are coming in January,” said Farber. “Who knows what will happen?”

There’s all that wasted blackboard space, isn’t there?
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