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News and Achievements in the Fight for Commercial-Free Schools

  • A new research study finds that Channel One costs taxpayers $1.8 billion annually in lost instructional time, including $300 million in class time lost to commercials. The study was conducted by Alex Molnar of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Center for the Analysis of Commercialism in Education, and Max Sawicky of the Economic Policy Institute.

  • The Berkeley, CA, school board yields to community concerns and votes to ban advertising and logos in classrooms, instructional material, on sports uniforms and equipment, and on school facilities. The policy came in response to controversy over a proposed exclusive contract with Pepsi, which would have allowed Pepsi to place logos on sports scoreboards. Local and national media coverage played a key role in this victory.

  • Midway High School in Hewitt, TX unplugs Channel One. The school's principal decided the program was a waste of time.

  • The Grants Pass, OR, school district unplugs Channel One. Curriculum Director Steve Iverson said the district wanted to free up time "for more relevant and traditional teaching concepts."

  • Citizens in Seattle, WA, defeat in-school advertising proposal! A broad coalition of parents, teachers, students and others persuaded the school board to abandon its plans for in-school advertising. Their efforts won national media coverage in the New York Times and on "Good Morning America" and the "McNeil-Lehrer News Hour."

  • The Center works with concerned citizens in New Milford, CT, Guymon, OK, and Greencastle, PA, to keep Channel One out of their schools. Citizens convinced their school boards that educational concerns outweighed the promise of "free" TV equipment.

  • New research confirms that Channel One's primary purpose is advertising, not education. Professors at Johns Hopkins University and Vassar College and staff at the Center for Media Education conducted a content study and concluded that Channel One is little more than an advertising vehicle targeted at a "captive audience."

  • After meeting with representatives of the Center, Levi Strauss & Co. decides not to advertise on Channel One this year. Additionally, we continue to work with Social Ventures Network and Businesses for Social Responsibility in order to promote ethical school-business partnerships.

  • In Canton, OH, high school students stage a sit-in to protest forced viewing of Channel One and request an optional alternative to the commercial infotainment program.

  • Seattle citizens complete 30 Commercialism Walk-throughs to collect data for a comprehensive assessment of commercial presence in the district's schools. The resulting Report on Commercial Activities and Advertising in Seattle Public Schools provides a snapshot of commercialism in a large urban district today.

  • For a third consecutive year, the Center successfully keeps Channel One out of New York State, the program's largest untapped market.

  • In Austin, TX, parent and TV-Free America activist Brad Rockwell succeeds in obtaining the Channel One tapes crucial to the analysis in the content study. Despite a local statute that allows parental review of all teaching materials, these tapes were only obtained through legal challenge.

  • Commercialism in schools and the Center receive extensive local and national media coverage in print, TV and radio throughout the past year. Stories appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Business Week, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Houston Chronicle, and Philadelphia Inquirer. These included major editorials against advertising in schools by USA Today and the S.F. Chronicle. TV coverage included "Good Morning America" and the "Today Show," as well as ABC "World News Tonight," CBS evening news with Dan Rather, CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC.