Nutley Journal Editorial

September 29, 2006

Opinion from the

Channel Off

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 12:03 PM EDT

For months, the Nutley Board of Education has been discussed airing a 12-minute news program in the classroom potentially scheduled to start next school year. The news program is provided by Channel One Network.

While board members have been discussing the merits of the program, many residents have been voicing their displeasure with the notion of airing news clips in school. After hearing this debate rage on for months, we believe the board members should drop this plan and listen to the residents and parents. The board members are elected to serve the people. There is no need for a 12-minute current events news program within the classrooms of Nutley’s high school and middle school.

Channel One Network provides news and educational programs to more than 12 million students nationwide via a 12-minute news program aired daily. The newscast also has two minutes of television commercials that range from entertainment to food. The network would also provide 19-inch televisions in the high school to display its news network. There are many positives about Channel One and there likely are districts that would benefit from its programming, but Nutley is not one of them.

Nutley has one of the better school districts in New Jersey. The main goal of Channel One on the education side is to provide students with news about current events statewide, nationwide and worldwide. However, if the district feels that learning current events is a necessary part of education, then the high school, middle school and the Board of Education’s curriculum committee should find a way to include current events in everyday class lectures. We would agree that learning about current events is important for students at these levels. But, as mentioned before, there are better ways to achieve this goal.

The social studies, geography or even history classes could easily include current event topics in the course. Furthermore, teachers should already be teaching students about current events in every classroom. For example, when scientists decided Pluto was no longer a planet, that should be a discussion in all science classes, not a topic regulated to a brief sound bite during a 12-minute television news program. The decision of which current events should be taught in the classroom should be left to the teachers, not to a television broadcast. The district has the ability to create courses when it feels the lessons would benefit the students. More recently, the district added a forensic science course to the curriculum. It may be time for the district to add a current events course to meet the educational needs it seeks from Channel One.

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