SBOE Spares Channel One
That was when Judy Strickland, R-Plainview, the conservative who proposed the Channel One measure, piped up. "You might include Phyllis Schlafly in that group," said Strickland, referring to the anti-abortion, anti-immigrant, anti-feminist leader of the Eagle Forum. "I know Phyllis on a first-name basis. Now, you wouldn't call her on the fringe, would you?"
As Ritts began to demur, board member Richard Neill, R-Fort Worth, piped up, "Nobody likes you, do they?" The crowd roared while Ritts sputtered that "hundreds of teachers and students across Texas like us." But this was a rare moment when activists on both the left and right agree. Liberals like Ruskin hate Channel One for giving advertisers a captive audience in the schools and teaching passive consumerism. Conservatives agree, but also think that Channel One is immoral for advertising movies with sex and violence and discussing taboo topics. Linda Striegel, a parent testifying before the board, was shocked that the Channel One Web site linked to an article that discussed whether high schools are failing gay and lesbian youth. "I didn't know that's what our schools were all about," she said indignantly. But several teachers argued that Channel One was the best tool they had for keeping kids up-to-date on world events.
The board rejected Strickland's resolution and instead adopted a milder measure encouraging parents and school districts to become informed about the concerns associated with marketing in the schools.