2009-05-20

Two big thumbs down for NED school assembly....

I just had to post this to share with everyone. I have had some problems with the school as it was, but I finally decided I needed to write something to let them know my discontent.

I’m writing in response to the NED (never give up, encourage others, do your best) assembly program that was brought into the elementary school on 5/19/2009. I have to say that I’m rather upset that a program was brought into the school and allowed to mercilessly advertise their merchandise and try to make an extra buck off our children and ultimately, us as parents.

This morning, my son and I had quite the talk regarding the “necessity” of having these NED show yo-yos. This talk was after the tantrum when I explained that we didn’t have the money to buy all the different types of yo-yos that the program had. When I saw that NED show was on the list of events on the monthly calendar, I actually looked up the program on the internet to see what they were about. I really like the concept but feel that instead of portraying that concept, what the kids actually gleaned from the program was the NEED to purchase yo-yos and do the tricks. But not only that, but that the tricks HAD to be done with those yo-yo’s and only those yo-yos. I asked Zachary directly exactly what the program was about and his answer: “Doing tricks with yo-yos and buying the yo-yos”. I understand that I have some special circumstances with my son; however, I fail to believe that he is the ONLY child that came away with absolutely nothing but tricks and yo-yos in his eyes from that program.

When sending our children to school, we expect them to be there to learn and be educated, NOT to be set in front of a commercial. As parents, Chuck and I limit the amount of time our children watch t.v. and which t.v. stations they watch, partially because of the amount of advertisements on many channels. We live in a society where people believe they need to have everything that everyone else has and we’re trying to teach our children that material things are not the way to happiness. Having a good education, being good to others, being a hero to the point they can as a student IS what is important.

So we send them to school, and they are inundated with more and more things to buy (scholastic book fairs, scholastic flyers, fundraisers, and now yo-yos). Then, considering the students see them and are told about buying that AT school, they feel it’s something they HAVE to have in order to be successful at school. Now, I understand the necessity of fundraisers in the time of schools losing government money and having to make tough choices, but maybe a little bit of tact would be something to consider. While the schools are having difficulty, so are many, many families in our community and the constant begging for our school-age children to have something else they saw at school is rather upsetting.

I originally thought that maybe the school paid money for this program, in which I would be very disappointed that monies ultimately deriving from us as tax-payers would be paying for such a program. However, I have a suspicion that NED programmers were asked to come into our school system specifically with the understanding that they would be hawking their wares to our children. From the NED website: “1. FREE The NED show is free when your school chooses our “no-fee option”. By giving a little of your time and by making NED items available for your students to purchase for five days following the show, you are bringing our $1,200 program to your school absolutely FREE. We also pay the state sales tax and return freight.”

In that case, shame on all of you for not seeing this as the merchandising scam that it is.

In contrast, there was a program just the day before this one for the 1st graders concerning BATS. I have no idea how much that program cost to bring to our schools, or if the bat lady did it simply so more and more people could learn and understand bats, but our son learned something from that assembly. He came home that night so excited to tell us all about bats and where they live and what they eat, etc. That is the type of programming that I would expect my child to see when being sent to school.


Again, I do like the concept of the NED program and can see the necessity and good that such a type of assembly can do for the students but feel it was gone about in a completely wrong manner. I know of a school assembly that accomplishes the same goal of this assembly (giving the students self-esteem and helping them to understand the necessity of being a hero to those around them) without the commercialism. If you are interested, I’d be more than happy to help with it.

Sincerely, Lisa

44 comments:

Matt said...

Great post, but what on earth is this bar that pops up on my screen and follows me wherever I go?

Lisa said...

I'm guessing it's part of the blogher ads? I don't know because I don't see it.

Tiffany said...

What a great letter! Good for you! You were absolutely correct to write it. My daughter is starting school this fall and I would feel the same. Just wanted to give you a pat on the back and say "Good Job Momma". Please update us if you get a response from the school, I'm interested in what they have to say.

heroworkshop said...

Safecount.net is the owner of the hovering bar.

I am horrified at the nickel and dime attitude of so many of these school presenters. As a presenter myself I'm worried that I'm being tarred with the same brush.

I guess I need to state my message right up front - you'll never be asked to pay for anything else.

Amy said...

I had the same argument with my son the morning after his school had the NED assembly. I told him he could get a yo-yo at Wal-Mart for way less than half of the cost, that I would be happy to buy him a $2.00 yo-yo there, he insisted on having a NED yo-yo so I told him he could have it if he bought it himself (he is 8) he went to his room and got his own money. The next day when it broke I was told that I was right and that he should have gotten the wal mart yo yo. I agree that assemblies like this are not good for the kids, but this time I got to teach the lesson.

Anonymous said...

We just had NED at our school, I was so angry, and then they have a topic that makes it so you can not complain, I think that is part of the scam. My daughter is in 5th graded and did not learn anything except she needed a $15 yoyo. Why do we allow this? I told my daughter that she just paid for someone to have a nice vacation and travel, and we will not be doing so this year.

Anonymous said...

As a school assembly provider, and no, I have no affiliation with NEDS, I have to defend their approach . . . at least on some level.

With budget crunches being what they are, people that provide educational programs are trying to find ways to get their message out without the schools having to find the money in a budget that has already been raped and pillaged.

Most people that provide school assemblies provide a very creative or "celebrative experience" as one principal told me that reinforces what is already being taught in the classroom and hopefully at home.

I know first hand that if you think school assembly providers are getting rich, DREAM ON! Just becasue you stand in front of millions of kids every year hardly makes you a Hollywood mogul making millions. Most do it because they want to make a positive difference in the life of kids.

Many assembly providers are former educators that wanted to have a broader impact, others have a unique ability to bring LIFE to what may otherwise be "just another boring leacture" from an adult.

I think that it is incredable that you think that assembly providers can fly all over the country, sleep in motels, eat restaurant food daily and DO IT ALL FOR FREE! You obviously don't have a clue about running your own business. IT COSTS MONEY! NEDS and other companys that either sell their products to cover their costs or charge a fee to do so, are providing a great service to the next generation.

Again, I have ZERO affiliation with NEDS and perhaps they need to change some fundimentals in their message to make sure the children understand the message, but hey . . . DON'T THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE DIRTY BATH WATER! :)

By the way, our organization is a nonprofit so, hey . . . yeah . . . We are getting rich! Ah,yeah...hardly....but I would not change a thing that I do. I have had high school and college students stop me in malls and airports across the country to thank me for the message we brought....years earlier...and they STILL remembered and embraced it. In fact, I have had young teachers tell me they heard our presentation when they were in junior high or high school and it really inspired them then and now.

So, they next time you want to be critical of people's motives, I suggest that you ask yourself a simple question. "What have I done today or this week or perhaps this month, to make the world a better place.

Footnote:
By the way...my son spent $18 of his own money on a NEDS show. My wife and I decided that if he was that excited about the presentation, then INVEST your own money so the event will stick in your mind for years! Yes, he figured out later that he too could have bought a yo-yo much cheaper at Walmart, BUT... HE said... I guess it was really good [the show] and he very clearly remembered the message. ... you can't please everyone.

PS...I don't have spell checker and I am writing this on the fly while sitting in ANOTHER airport...just inspired 10,000 kids this week. It was awesome to hear their comments and see the look on their faces!

I am remaining anonymous just to avoid you trashing me! Sorry!

Anonymous said...

My daughter's school had the NED assembly today. I completely agree with this post. It is totally wrong to use our schools as a marketing and advertising medium to our children. What a shame! I think I am going to start keeping ALL of the advertising that comes home through my child each week as documentation. We should all stand up against this!

Norm Deplume said...

I'm dealing with post-NED fallout this week, which brought me to thsi post. I'm beyond irritated at the advertising pressure brought onto elementary school children. I'm working this weekend to craft a complain letter to our school.

Johanna said...

I never heard about NED until today when my 4th grader came home from school with a junky plastic yoyo, for which she paid $6.50. A Google search brought me to this site. I am so annoyed at NED and the school right now. This group has found a way to make a buck off of our kids by convincing them that they need this yoyo. This is very wrong! I appreciate the postings from other concerned parents. So glad I am not alone. I will be writing a letter to the school.

Lisa said...

I've never heard of this NED program....until today. My 9 yr old jumped in the van at pick and was upset becuse she forgot to ask for money to buy a Ned yo-yo. She had not attended any encouraging program or presentation. Instead, she thought it was a fund raiser the 5th and 6th graders were doing. I am always supporting the school with something so I asked how much they were. She said $15 and a case was extra but didn't know that price. I told her I couldn't believe they were selling yo-yo's for that much and I was NOT paying that much for one either. She went on and on all the way home to the point of tears at having to have one. I explained it was just a yo-yo and it wasn't worth crying over.
When we were home I googled this yo-yo and found myself here. I have to say I disagree with promoting the sell of a product under the disguise of being an encouraging presentation.
My child is in the 4th grade and knows nothing of an assembly or NED presentation.....but she does know there are NED yoyo's for sale at school and it is on the 5th and 6th grade hallway. What does that tell you the message the kids are taking away.....its not something about self-esteem or encouragement.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for writing this letter. My son came home from school today and begged for $10 to purchase a NED yo yo. He was not in school the day they had the assembly (thankfully), but now he has seen the merchandise and just "cannot live without a yo yo!" I looked them up on ebay and they are more than what the school is asking, but still too much to pay for a yo yo from school. I am glad that I am not the only one that thinks this is wrong of the school.

Anonymous said...

Wow, am I glad that I found this blog. While I love the message of the assembly, there should have been no sales involved, no tables set up in the hallway when kids are coming into school to hover around and see their friends buying stuff.

I have a degree in marketing/advertising but it doesn't take one to have seen this coming when I got The NED Show! paper in both my sons backpacks a week before the 'assembly'. I thought maybe I'm the only one to feel this way but after having about 4 papers sent home in one week with each one of my sons about buying something, one being the school's fundraiser, another talking about selling 'NED' products. I'm feeling a bit ticked right now with the requests. Out of all things . . . . yo yo's.

I just bought a few on clearance (25 cents) at Giant Eagle but my son "has to have one from NED" because it "goes up automatically. Other parents said they're getting their kids one and admittingly said it's because they're "suckers" and give in to their kids. That's what these programs bank on. . . . "suckers". Parents don't want their kids to feel left out. My son said he really wanted to do his school's fundraiser as well. The choice for him is to pick between the yo yo, where no money goes back to the school, and the school's fundraiser, where every cent goes to the school. He chose the yo yo. No surprise. The school just lost out on money.

I don't buy into the "pay it forward" concept with this program. Hey, if 200 kids bought a $10 yo yo from my kids school ONLY (not counting the other 4 schools in the district), that's a lot of money to make in a short period of time. I'm sure at my kids school it was more buying them especially since they have the sale running for five days.

We try hard to teach our kids about the value of money. In the end they're still kids who want the magic yo yo that they got to watch at school, while they should be learning. In the end, it was just a cool sales program. I never heard anything else about the program from my son, just all about buying a yo yo.

So, since the parents were not given a choice to have this program in the school, for every penny the school wants to raise, my strategy is that I will give my son the choice between what the school sells for others (yo yo's!!) and what they need to raise as a school. Most likely, my son is going to pick the junk being sold through programs like this.

Just my two cents. (about all I'll have left after all the requests to buy stuff)

Anonymous said...

Our 4th grader recently attended the NED assembly. We were not informed about this assembly prior to attendance. Like many posters above, our child came home the day of the assembly explaining that they HAD TO get a yo-yo that ranged from $6.50 - $15 plus the cost for accessories. We thought that the initial marketing pull would be reduced after a day or two however the opposite occurred as basically the entire school became obsessed with yo-yo's. An area was even sectioned off at recess for the kids to play with their NED yo-yo's. I hope that the kids remember the lesson from the program and not just an informercial for NED yo-yo's where they were able to purchase and play with toys at school. After the first day some of the yo-yo's had broken and the strings were worn out - does NED have any product guarantee after the sales people leave.... At the very least, we would have liked to have been notified about this assembly prior to this event.

Anonymous said...

I work for the NED Show, and I'd just like to know who actually saw the show at their child's school? We recommend that the schools open the assembly to parents, but it's up to them to follow through with our advice. I would ask you to possibly speak with the teachers and see how they felt about the show, rather than demonizing an entire company based on a perception that is filtered (and thus strongly biased) solely based on your child.

Ideally, the yo yos would be secondary to the message in the children's minds, but there are some things that are simply out of our control. We come to schools for free if they agree to the sale, and there is no sales quota that must be met. We actually LOSE money if we bring the show to a school that is smaller than 150 kids, but I frequently go to schools that are that small, and even smaller. A scam wouldn't consciously lose money in order to bring a positive message to your children.

Please don't criticize a show you possibly didn't even see.

kristal waters said...

The NED thing sucks. I just got hit up for a yo yo and a holster for said yo yo. I asked my son what it was about and he said balloons and yo yos. Thanks. I don't have money for that garbage when I can buy a Duncan yo yo for a buck that a kid can carry in their pocket.

Anonymous said...

They can carry a NED yo in their pocket as well... And Duncan yo yos are NOT a buck. Even if you found a yo that cheap, it'd break in no time. There's a big difference between quality and "bargain."

Anonymous said...

A few months back my daughter had a NED melt down at school as she forgot to bring money. Another child had one stolen as they were made to look like the best yo yo ever. I told her that maybe for Christmas she will get one. This is how I found this blog trying to use Google to find one to purchase. Never mind and thanks for the posts. I don't feel it is completely the school's fault as they are always trying to find free ways to bring fun things to the school, but apparently the NED presentation is like a cult and gets the kids all hyped up with the "I have to have it" thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Guys, if you haven't seen the show then don't judge it. My son was able to articulate a life long message, if you ask me, $10.00 is pretty cheap for a life lesson.
I think its pretty neat to see kids interested in other things besides tv and video ganes.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I am also a school presenter.

To the anonymous presenter, no-one is suggesting presenters do it for free. You seem to be deliberately missing the point. And being non-profit certainly doesn't mean you can't get rich doing it. There are plenty of presenters getting paid $10,000 for a day at a school. One day. And they're non-profit.

To the NED representative, surely you are not suggesting that the effectiveness of your program can be judged by how many adults "get it". If kids are coming home unable to remember the content of the presentation (or haven't even seen it) you have failed. Period. To say the focus of the yo-yos is out of your control is also amazing. Don't focus on them and the kids won't. Don't sell them and you won't get parents on a forum complaining about how shallow your message is.

Parents, you should absolutely complain to the school. Schools often don't have a lot of time to focus on getting in quality programs and they need your input. A lot of money gets spent on assemblies. Make sure it is spent on things that your kids are getting value from.

Anonymous said...

I am so worried about the families who are posting on here in such a negative manner. My oldest son saw the NED show in his elementary school 2 years ago and my youngest son just saw his show yesterday afternoon!

Once I saw the amount of remarks that seem to bring down this show I immediately called my kids to me (at separate times). My question was simple, "What was the NED show about?". They both told me that this show was a "story about life skills" , and "how to treat others" and then used the acronym of "Never give up, Encourage others and" Do your best!" then , "Oh, and we got to see some cool Yo-Yo tricks."

This was even with the Oldest child who has not seen the show in 2 years. They obviously got the message as it was meant to be delivered!

I have not seen the show, but I am impressed that it made a positive impression on my kids who are typical kids who want what everyone else is getting, but they took away the right message.

I don't know your children, but it sounds like the problem may lie with the families and how they raise their kids to be materialistic. If your kids did not receive the message as it was meant to be heard, then it is not the fault of the NED show or the School .... it was with the families and how they teach their kids to listen and pay attention instead of being materialistic.

Anonymous said...

Currently it seems like Wordpress is the preferred blogging platform available right now.
(from what I've read) Is that what you're using on
your blog?

Feel free to surf to my website; View here

Linsdy parker said...

Hey i love NED show so dont be mean!!!!



Anonymous said...

Hey! So the reason they push the yo-yo sales so hard is because they present the assembly at the school for FREE. They have to make money some how so they push the yo-yo sales. The school does have the option to pay for the program but they choose the no fee option which involves parents essentially paying for the assembly.

Anonymous said...

I just finished a letter to our principal that will be circulated as a petition. HOW DARE the NED employee from 11/28/12 defend himself by saying that what the children retain is beyond the control of the presenter?? They bring the message. Calling their audience's response "highly filtered" shows just how much they respect the children to whom they present...which isn't much. Just shut up and buy a damn yo-yo, kid! And when your parents say no, never give up!!

I polled a wide variety of children from our school about what they remembered from the NED presentation. Most of them answered "yo-yos.". When I pressed further to ask what the NED folk talked about, the majority of kids shrugged and said something like, "I dunno. Be nice? Don't bully?"

The presenter who commented on 2/3/13 hit the nail on the head!! The message has failed!

Keen Candace said...

Thank you to all who have contributed to this thread. My 7 year old became obsessed with the NED yo after seeing the assembly. Kids in his class even had them stolen from their lockers. It felt like marketing. We dont see many commercials, so my son is not used to this. I am going to have a talk with the school and let them know about the negative impact this assembly/live commercial has had on our kids. On a positive note, yo yo ing is better than video games, but instead of marketing as specific product at our kids, they could demonstrate a variety of other widely available inexpensive low tech toys, of which there are many. Examples: origami, card houses, dominoes projects, yoga, meditation, hacky sack, frisbee, crafts, ping pong, poi, other simple stuff with little objects.

Anonymous said...

My 6 year old and 9 year old came home from school and the first thing out of their mouths was, "can I have $10 for a boomerang yo-yo?" Shocked and confused I asked questions. The ONLY thing either of them could tell me about the assembly was that there were cool yo-yo tricks and they could only buy the yo-yos this week. I don't care what the NED show is supposed to teach kids, they didn't do a good job of teaching them anything other than that they have to have these yo-yos. It's been three days since I told them I wasn't giving them money to buy a yo-yo and they still come home from school sad because EVERYONE else has either the boomerang or the more expensive cosmic one. I would rather my kids sit in the classroom learning than to attend an assembly showing them yo-yo tricks and marketing their products to my children. I am very disappointed in my children's school for allowing this and furious with the people at NED for advertising their show as a positive lesson for children.

Anonymous said...

My beef with this NED nonsense is that it isn't even a school fundraiser, and NED isn't "doing it for free"... the keep the first $1200 in yo-yo sales from the school and then the school gets a percentage of the remainder BUT only as a gift card to the NED store, to buy more NED branded junk.

My 6yo saw this presentation twice this school year (changed schools at winter break) and both times it was yoyos and tricks. There was NO message retained beyond that, even though he'd seen it already.

Anonymous said...

(I am in no way affiliated with the Ned show at all and I am only making this for educational proposes only)

I must say that all you people have the wrong idea. As I once was a student in front of a stage watching the Ned show, It did have a big impact on me. I remember watching a show that made me and my friends laugh and "ooooo," but still had an affect. I did buy a yoyo from the show, BUT I only bought it because it had the NED theme on it. Do your best, Encourage others, and Never give up. I still remember asking my parents alongside my brother for the money. Thye said we could have the money, ONLY if we were to pay it back in full by working extra hard round the house. If tell you kids to do that instead of just forking over the dough, it will be time they will never forget because of that hard work and determination the showed in order to get the yoyo. If they don't cooperate, then no yoyo. Don't see this as something bad, see it as an opportunity to help your children learn the values of money.

P.S. The yoyo I bought years ago still works perfectly.

Anonymous said...

I have seen the NED Show i am in grade 6 and its a trick the WHOLE THING i did not buy a yo yo i know what companys do. I saw the little kids in grade 1-4 jumping up and down saying"I want a yo-yo! " but i found a good yo-yo that does not break for 1$. Me and my friend were laughing at the show not laughing with it laughing at it because we knew that this show was a scam TRUST ME we had a to learn a WHOLE SUBJECT ABOUT marketing tricks so we knew whats going on i feel bad for grades 1-4 because they fell for a gay marketing trick

Erin Lysaght said...

For this exact reason, 5 years later I made the NED show send my daughter a FREE pink YO YO. I WOULDN'T GIVE UP or take no for an answer...just like their message! It backfired on them today.

Erin Lysaght said...

For this exact reason, 5 years later I made the NED show send my daughter a FREE pink YO YO. I WOULDN'T GIVE UP or take no for an answer...just like their message! It backfired on them today.

Kathy said...

I have found that Dennis Regling Wonder Shows science & math assembly programs are excellent for students. Rather than sell product, Dennis actually gives the schools free books for their libraries. Check him out at www.greatassemblies.com

Anonymous said...

So...I've seen the NED show multiple times and I also know a bit about yoyos. (11 world records) I will not try to defend the company or the message or anything like that. I simply want to educate people about quality yoyos. Much like anything else, you get what you pay for. If you don't know anything about yos, $15 seems ridiculous! That is actually on the bottom end. Yes, you can get a yoyo from Walmart or dollar tree, but they won't last. I have a NED yo, and it has lasted me 6 years so far. (That was the $6.50 one...FYI)
I have yos that range in cost from $6.50 all the way up to $85 and they get up into the hundreds.

Again, I am not addressing the ethics of the assembly, I just wanted people to know that $15 is not a rip-off for a ball bearing yoyo we a lifetime warranty.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Let's not kid ourselves that the "pay-it-forward" option is anything more than a Trojan horse. I'd like to meet the district that agrees to pay $1,200 per school (12k+ per district) to a yoyo performer. I have seen the performance, the performer is good, both with tricks and speaking ability, but as soon as she said "here's how much the different yoyos cost," I was immediately skeptical. The message, for almost all students, will not actually change behavior or mentality. No one disagrees that Never giving up, Encouraging others, and Doing your best are solid points of advice; but the most important thing to those kids is owning a Ned yoyo because that's what the other kids are doing, not because they're all still reveling in how strong a moral message the show had. I disagree with the show, andwould not allow it in my school if I were an administrator.

Anonymous said...

The Ned Show is trending on Reddit right now (for the same reasons you mentioned) and someone linked to your page. There is the link to where your blog was mentioned: http://www.reddit.com/r/Parenting/comments/2jzh7b/so_incredibly_mad_at_my_sons_school_for_falling/

Anonymous said...

I am a bit angry concerning the NED show and the "character education assembly". REALLY!!! The school made the decision to support this corporation and it's sales directed to elementary students. It is just about making money. The fact that my kids were victims and taken out of class to learn from some salesman about morality, and then hay, wanna buy this yo-yo. "Hey, the sales dates are from October 27th-31st". Really? The schools should not be promoting a companies marketing efforts to our kids!
Rant over, thanks for reading.

Liz welsh said...

Thank You for being so open minded about Lisa 's blog rather then negative and thank you for caring about our children's minds and the future of this world. My daughter has been introduced to NED PROGRAM 4 consecutive years (recently 3 weeks ago). She has been able to explain what NED was about K-2. This year she could only trace memory back to previous Years to explain what she had retained? She almost manipulated me into buying a Yoyo $20 +$6 kit (which the kit is suppose to come free from the teacher's, regardless of a gosh darn yoyo purchase)? I am the youngest of 8 and we (myself, siblings, and husband) went to private Roman Catholic School. I had a conversation with my mother about all of this she said "you are spending more money sending her to school which is government funded and paying more then I ever did for your yearly tuitions (yes that was 25 years ago but not cheap so mom and dad both worked 2-3 jobs for us). Not to mention we currently pay $10,506.83 in school taxes. I'm done with the fund raising stuff. We are taking 2 across country trips this year. If she(my kid) wants to sell fund raisers for school, to close neighbors and family that's on her! I'm done! I refuse to put anymore money into these subliminal scams! Btw she bought a $10 Yoyo with her money, no xtras or kit (of course because it's her money). Now she has 7 yoyo's in our house now. I got them out and had her show me the difference b/w some she was given as gifts and souvenirs for many of our volunteer work with different cancer, autism, Alzheimer's, and awareness committees we (she is young and determined to get to heaven by being involved for finding cures and grateful for the these foundations who have advocated and kept my parents, all her grand parents alive (or at least tried)? SO you know they give little fun packages. So is the NED PROGRAM OR THE SCHOOLS making the bigger profit? Fundraising in her school comes home with letters"please send cash if a check must be written please write it to "xxxxxxxxx Elementary School"I find that very mind boggling, so I only address my checks to whatever company we are dealing with for example: mandatory purchase of a flute, that check was written to the receiving music company. Sorry to ramble on , but it's exciting to find other folks who believe these are scams are very real! The other parents think I'm nuts (well they aren't completely wrong I am a little off, lol)
God Bless all of you who care for these children (directly or indirectly),
LIZ

Cathers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cathers said...

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for sharing your experience, we just had NED at our eldest daughter's school, where I'm also a school governor, over in the UK. It was arranged by a member of staff in good faith with no clue when she booked it as to the aggressive marketing and true nature of the company.

I was just about to write out a cheque for £18 (about $30) for two yo-yos (one for her little sister too) and some accessories and I was looking at their flyer and smelt a rat. something about the very noble "pay-it-forward" approach seemed off. So I did some research...

There's a great article from one of the more reputable national UK newspapers, The Guardian, here:
http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jul/20/schools-premium-yoyo-ned-show-parents

...and another from a very popular website/forum called Mumsnet:
http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/primary/793114-WARNING-Is-the-Ned-Show-coming-to-your-school

I also quoted this blog and your experience in an email to my fellow governors expressing my concerns. It was reassuring to know I wasn't alone in my scepticism. Certainly when I polled parents I knew, most had been unimpressed with the hard sales tactics - most kids had come out with the message "I want to buy a yo-yo", having forgotten the NED part within a few minutes/hours. Our school, like some of the other respondents, is very mixed in socio-economic terms, and cost would be an issue to many of the parents. A couple of parents responded by saying that had they known about the company's sales targets and marketing ploys, they would not have bought their child a yo-yo.

The company behind NED say they make no secret that they are for-profit, yet I found no evidence of this on their website. Although we are not quite so far along in the UK with the "Coca-cola" model in the US and some other countries, we do have the likes of Scholastic etc. come in and do sales. The difference is that the model is transparent, every party knows what everyone is getting out of the transactions. Nowhere on the flyer does it mention the company behind NED's commercial status.

Yo-yos are FABULOUS toys - and definitely worth getting a premium quality one, but no reason why they can't be bought from local toy shops, ToysRUs, Amazon etc., rather than through high pressure sales tactics. The addition of a "NED zone" where only kids whom have purchased NED products can enter, is totally exclusive and wholly unacceptable where schools are supposed to be promoting an all-inclusive environment.

Our Headteacher was genuinely shocked, and I'm pleased to say that the school leadership team and governors will be implementing a policy to ensure that we have more due diligence in commercial companies interacting with our school.

No-one minds companies selling products when it's transparent, it's the deceit in the approach in this case, and the way they have the children in a captive audience =that is alarming.

I hope the links I've posted will help others too. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I'll be honest...I'm a school counselor and I CONSTANTLY get calls from the NED show to come do a FREE program. I've been called about 6 different times, and today was the first time he EVER mentioned anything about having us sell yo-yos afterwards. This is what led me to this blog. I know a lot of people get mad at the school in these instances, but sometimes schools really don't know what they're getting. NED show people are very persuasive and know how to sell it (because of their positive message) Schools are always looking for free or low cost options for positive behavior presentations, and they make this one sound really good. I'm glad I decided to research it first!

Anonymous said...

I'm a professional stand-up comedian and I perform my elementary school National Assembly Program, Stand-Up For Kids, throughout the USA. My show focuses on self-esteem, life skills, and character etc. and I convey my message through the art of stand-up comedy. I proudly say that I am the only comedian in the USA who performs in public and parochial schools; I've researched this many times, but I am yet to find another stand-up comic doing what I do. Furthermore, I have also been performing adult stand-up comedy for more than 20 years.

In any event, I don't sell anything to schools, libraries, children's museums etc. Schools and other venues pay a performance fee, for which I deliver a very unique, high-energy, message-oriented show that focuses on character and being a positive, kind, loving productive member of society. Moreover, I am the only performer for Stand-Up For Kids. It is solely my creation and thus I am very passionate and grateful that I can make a positive impact on students and educators. I'm very proud that students and teachers consistently love my performances and shower me with kind words, letters, etc. about the performances and what they learned from them.

I invite you to visit my website at www.standupforkidsusa.com. For bookings, you can contact my manager, Dave Clark, at 561.768.2471. Don't worry. He won't try to sell you anything. He just schedules the dates and gives you any additional information that you may need to know. Oh, he happens to be my performance partner in our adult show as well. Anyway, thanks for your time. Perhaps your children will experience my show one day. I certainly hope so:)

Sincerely,
Michael

Jordan William Martinez said...

Okay. So I'm going both ways in this situation. I know about NED yo-yo's, and we had one earlier this week. For Elementary(Kinder-5th at my school) they have presentations, while the upper academy does not. But they sell to all of the groups. The presentation for the little ones is to persuade them to buy a yo-yo, since the presentation is directed for a younger audience. I got NED yo-yo's in my old school (transferred going to 6th grade) and the presentation, but sadly I didn't see it this year. This can be taken to ways, that NED is going for the younger ones to trick them into buying it, or that they want to teach it to them early on, so that they take this message into their older self.
Now, I remember from a presentation from 6 years ago(I was 7), and I remember these exact words;
NED, N: Never Give Up, E: Encourage Others, D: Do your best. Now, I bought it again, and I still remember to do tricks. But every time I buy one, they don't break until another kid messes with mine. And whenever I look at the wheel, it says Never Give Up, Encourage Others, and Do your best. So I look at it, and remember to be nice to the public, and try my hardest to be a better person in all. After buying the yo-yo, I saw an increase in my grades, mood(was depressed ;c), and my my respect for other people.
Another thing, if you think this was typed by a old 26 year old man, no. I'm a 7th grader, currently taking Alg 1 and Phs Sciences. I hate it that just because your a kid you can't type/write a good arguement against adults. That is stupid and biased. I, myself, think I am smarter than most teens and maybe some adults these age. I can cite sources, and use evidence correctly. So, According to a study done in a school(my school), a week after NED yo-yo's were on sale, out of 1000 students, nearly 800 remembered the message. Also, the mood BETWEEN THE ELEMENTARY KIDS was also a lot more positive and they were a lot nicer and helpful to each other. According to a study last year(also at my school), at the end of September (sales started on the 19th), that 800 went down to a sad estimated 750. WOW. 250 kids don't remember the NED thing (300 in Middle School)? Even though it was presented to only 600 kids out of 100? WOW! WE NEED TO TAKE DOWN NED! WHOS WITH ME!?
No but seriously, stop ganging up on NED. It leaves a positive impact on students, and I rarely see the other side defending them selves. Never give up! And encourage the parents that it's good! Also, Do your best to show them, that it does do good. If everyone attacks one thing, then it can't defend itself. Plus, what school wouldn't want a free 1,200 check just for selling kids yo-yo's with good morals on them? Really. You need to do a lot of things. 1. Fact check. 2. Understand their point of view without the MONEY MONEY MONEY intent. 3. Noticing that they use Yo-Yo's, a cool trick-modded wheel, to present a good moral. 4. Every time your kid looks at the cover, it reminds him of NED. 5. The story is fun and innovative, and they change it every time. I remember in 4th grade, they used Spongebob as an example, and ever since it has been imprinted in my mind whenever someone mentions or I see something like/related to the sponge, I remember the NED morals. 6. Not all kids will remember the morals. Lets face it. Kids have gotten much more, well idiotic. Have you seen World Star Hip Hop website? It's for kids to try and be cool in their school. The Dab and the Whip, things that children do, what if I told you that kids are more interested in learning to twerk and 'Hit the Folks', than school work? So, we need to raise the children better. Until you have been to a NED show, you don't know it's true meaning. You can use this for reference, but cite me. Or else I'll file a lawsuit for plagiarism. I may be a kid, but I don't mess around. (also subscribe to my YouTube Channel)

harrytommy said...

Really you blog have very interesting and very valuable information about the school assembly idea good work.
school assembly idea

 

The Insider | Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial License | Dandy Dandilion Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates