A 10-minute newscast and two minutes of commercials will become part of the Riverview Junior High school day next year.
With some reservations, the Murray School District board on Wednesday night approved a proposal to sign up for Channel One television news services, provided by Whittle Communications of Knoxville, Tenn.Channel One has created controversy in the national education community, largely because of its commercial content, but also because the broadcasts take away time from the school day and follow a light "infotainment" format similar to tabloid television.
The National Education Association, the American Association of School Administrators and the National Parent-Teacher Association all oppose having Channel One in schools.
On the plus side, educators say Channel One provides students who may not otherwise watch newscasts with a link to the rest of the world, and provides material for discussion and writing in their other classes.
Another attraction is the equipment itself. The network provides 19-inch color televisions, two videocassette recorders and a satellite dish.
The Murray board decided last year to go ahead with the Channel One proposal if Riverview faculty were in favor of bringing it to their classrooms.
Riverview principal Clayne Poulsen said no teacher has spoken to him against Channel One, though some have said they were concerned about the time the programs would take from the regular school day.
Riverview does not yet have a plan for implementing Channel One programming, but Poulsen told the board that teachers at a recent faculty meeting appeared to favor beginning each school day with the broadcast. Three minutes would be subtracted from each of the the school day's seven 50-minute class periods to create the 21-minute "advisory" class, he said.
Bruce Cutler was the only board member to vote against the proposal. Board members Margaret Nelson and Sherry Madsen said they had reservations about bringing television to classrooms, but board member Earl Townsend solidly backed the proposal. Board member Laura Baker was absent from the meeting.
Poulsen will be able to preview each program before it is piped into classrooms and may eliminate any "inappropriate" programming.
The three-year contract with Whittle Communications may be broken with no penalty to the school. The Murray board will review its decision in a year.