State Superintendent Urged To Halt Channel One TV Show for 37 Systems

August 13, 1998

37 Alabama school systems that
are on academic "alert" or "caution" status
are also losing one hour a week of school time to the controversial
TV show called Channel One according to a recently released Alabama
Department of Education study.

Obligation, a Birmingham-based
child advocacy organization, has called on Dr. Ed Richardson
to instruct those systems to suspend or end their contract with
Channel One until they return to normal status.

Channel One is a daily 12-minute
news show that contains commercials. Schools are loaned a TV
network in exchange for a contractual promise to show the program
and ads at least 90% of all school days. Channel One has been
criticized by most educational organizations, including the American
Association of School Administrators, the National and Alabama
PTA, the National Education Assn., the National Assn. Of Secondary
School Principals, and the Alabama State Board of Education.
In April, Senator Richard Shelby blasted Channel One as a waste
of school time and called for U.S. Senate hearings on Channel
One and other commercial exploitation of schoolchildren.

Jim Metrock, Obligation president
said, "Channel One is an advertising company and the show
is an advertising gimmick. It is reprehensible that our State
Board of Education and Superintendent continue to allow any system
in academic trouble to continue the mandatory showing of Channel

Obligation believes that by intervening
with Channel One contracts, many systems will return to normal
academic status quicker and many will avoid being taken over
by the state.

"How many more Alabama children
have to be hurt before our state leaders take on these bullies
from Madison Avenue? Cheating students out of school time injures
students. To maintain public support for public education, Dr.
Richardson must stand up against Channel One so the integrity
of our public schools can be preserved. The state has an overriding
interest in preventing the exploitation of its students and the
fleecing of its taxpayers," Metrock said.

Obligation has previously asked Dr. Richardson to urge all systems
with Channel One to inform parents

about the Channel One controversy. Schools should have to obtain
written permission from parents before

their child is committed to a minimum of 31 hours of TV viewing
during school time. Also, schools should

make copies of all Channel One programming available for parents
to check out for review.

Metrock said, "Channel One’s
content is neither necessary not incidental to a valid educational
purpose. Students are being forced directly and indirectly to
view commercial material as a mandatory part of their school
day. Some of that content, such as movie ads, is truly offensive
and some, dangerous, such as the promotion of chat rooms. The
one person that can stop this educational and financial nightmare
is Dr. Ed Richardson."

Dr. Ed Richardson’s Office 334-242-9702

Channel One Network 212-508-6800 President: David Tanzer

Senator Richard Shelby’s Office – Mark Osterle 202-224-5744