Commercial television service Channel One has reversed its proposal to pay teachers $500 bounties if they convince their schools to sign up for the programming. Outrage from consumer and child advocacy groups led Channel One executives to recast their plan as cash payments to the schools, rather than to teachers.
Launched in 1990, Channel One provides free televisions and satellite links to classrooms in return for a commitment by principals that on each school day, students will watch at least 90 percent of Channel One’s 12-minute program. That program consists of 10 minutes of news and two minutes of commercials. About 12,000 middle and high schools are customers today.
Channel One’s bounty proposal was the latest incident in which technology vendors overstepped the boundaries of ethics and propriety in marketing to school-age children, critics say. In some cases, teachers might be prohibited from accepting such honoraria by state law, state attorneys general added.
Channel One executives defended their support of specific teachers by noting that teachers who do show the programs to their students have consistently rated the programs very highly and have not expressed concerns about overt commercialism. Channel One will confirm that any school that signs up for its service this year is eligible for the $500 payment under state law, executives added.