Notes From Chicago

April 18, 2006

8,000+ local school board members met at McCormick Place April 8-10

Jim Metrock:

For three days earlier this month, I manned Obligation’s exhibit
booth at the National School Boards Association’s annual conference
in Chicago. The sole purpose of the booth was to let school board
members and superintendents know that they don’t have to continue
wasting school time with Channel One News.

Some of our booth signs included: “Ask us why schools are
dropping Channel One.” “Why does Channel One’s home
state (NY) outlaw the show from all public school classroom?” “See
the ads for pro-drug movies shown on Channel One.”

Luckily, I rented a card reading machine that collected contact
information from the ID card issued to each attendee. WIthout
it, I would have been swamped and I would never have been able
to write down all the names and addresses. I did jot short notes
about what each person had to say about Channel One.

To give a flavor of how successful this booth was for Obligation,
I will give a few representative examples. I have left off some
information and changed some names to protect the schools from
harassment from Channel One.

  • Bobby a board member from OK, district enrollment 1500, “Has
    C1, wants it out.”
  • Kenney, board member, ID, 5000, “We don’t have C1.
    It is ‘stupid'”
  • Brad, board member, MI, 1200, “Has it. several teachers
    want it out.”
  • Larry, board member, OR, 10000, “C1 in MS and HS.
    ‘Conservative in liberal state.’ Wants C1 removed. Been reading
    about it. Has three daughters in system.”
  • Mary, president of state association of school boards
    for an eastern state, “Thanked me for having booth.
    Wants all my information sent to office.”
  • Betty, board member, MI, 1450, “Has some concern.
    MS has C1. HS removed.”
  • Keith, board member, MN, “Doesn’t think many Minneapolis
    area schools have C1. His district doesn’t. Surprised C1
    still exists.”
  • Frank, board member, NJ, “He voted against C1 coming
    in. District never accepted. Doesn’t know of any area schools
    with it.”
  • Thomas, board member, NM, 13200, “Wants all our
    information. Didn’t say much.”
  • Nancy, board member and teacher, eastern WA, 3000, “Knew that Seattle dumped Channel One. Rural parts of state still have C1. Wants it gone.”
  • Dot, board VP, AZ, 1640, “Has C1. ‘Concerned.'”
  • Ted, board member, IN, 2500, “Has it and wants the time back. Commercials were secondary. Time is the big problem.”
  • Jim, superintendent, KY, 3050, “Board was just talking to me on trip here about getting rid of C1.”
  • Victor, board secretary, TN, 5900, “Send info. Opposes C1, but wants to keep TVs. I gave Pizitz letter. Has in MS and HS.”
  • Susan, board member, OH, 31,400, “Have it, doesn’t like it.”
  • Wendy, board VP, 2580, “She voted C1 in. Then voted it out. Daughter had written about how bad C1 was in Northwestern U. journalism paper.”
  • Glenda, board member, NM, 880, “Never have had it.”
  • David, board member, NC, 5500, “Added 15 minutes to school day to have C1. Had no problem with C1.”
  • Debbie, board member and school media specialist, LA, 6550, “Has C1. She turns on the show whenever they show it. New HS built – C1 dropped. She has seen some stuff on C1 that made her uncomfortable. Would have no problem if C1 is removed.”
  • Don, board member, OK, 500, “Doesn’t like it. Doesn’t know how many schools have C1.”
  • Kenneth, board member, NE, “Whole district got rid C1!”
  • Michael, superintendent, IN, 9000, “He wants it out. Gone to block schedule. No time for C1.”
  • Michael, board member, IL, 6400, “Wants it out of schools. Need the time.”
  • Perry, superintendent, IN, 650, “We don’t show it. Time to end contract. Agreed with me breaching contract isn’t good.”
  • Bobbie, board member, UT 66000, “Hates Channel One. Other board member with her echoed sentiment.”
  • Franklin, board president, KS, 3300, “Channel One has harassed us. Told our people to start showing the program. Don’t like them. Want C1 out of all schools. ‘Lot of nerve to tell us how to run our school.’ Very angry.”
  • Jess, board member, OK, 1450, “No problem with Channel One.”
  • David, board member, KY, 1420, “Has C1, but assured no one is watching it.”
  • Sue, board member, ND, 10000, “Talked about pulling C1 yesterday with other board members. Pleased we had so much info on C1.”
  • Larry, board member, AR, 1380, “Wants C1 gone. all schools have it, doubt it is actual shown in classrooms.”
  • Jaydene, board member, PA, 2000, “Has it and there are no problems. Didn’t want to hear anything negative about C1.”
  • Jeff, board president, IA, 2500, “Would like to see it gone. Has read about controversy.”
  • Terrell, superintendent, NE, 1720, “It took years, but we got rid of Channel One. Wants info to keep pro-C1 teachers from asking for it back.”
  • Darren, superintendent, AR, 2833, “The ‘jerks’ came and took some TVs away. Wants to kick them out.”
  • Janice, board member, MO, 500, “Has it. Opposed. Took info for other board members.”
  • David, board member, KS, 762, “We just got C1. We don’t like it. Previous board saddled us with it.”
  • John, board member, CT, 1200, “Considering getting rid of C1 this summer.”
  • James, asst. superintendent, TX, “Have it. Rarely show it. ‘If it doesn’t improve test scores we don’t do it.’ No time for watching TV.”

Ken, superintendent, AR, 3100, “Moved it to lunch period. ‘If they bother us, we’ll give them the TVs back.’ Thinks board would vote to remove.”

This is a small sample of the responses I received. No person told me that they were honoring Channel One’s contract. No one defended the program. A handful said they had “no problem” with the program, but the overwhelming majority of people I talked to were opposed to Channel One.

Being in Chicago, I saw a disproportionate amount of board members and superintendents from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Kentucky. These states, unfortunately, have a lot of schools that still have contracts with Channel One, even though everyone I asked said the program isn’t shown often. I think we have made a huge impact on the renewal rates for C1 in these states.