Education: Wooing A Captive Audience

A controversial plan to beam news -- and ads -- into classrooms

Christopher Whittle has a high-tech answer for the problem of cultural illiteracy among American students. Beginning next month, his Knoxville-based Whittle Communications firm will beam Channel One, a slick news program for teenagers, directly into schools for a seven-week test period. Whittle has provided each of the six pilot schools with $50,000 worth of television sets and satellite equipment to use as they wish. The only requirement: each day students will have to watch a twelve-minute Channel One broadcast -- including two minutes of ads.

Whittle's plan to introduce commercial television into the classroom has sparked considerable controversy. "I think it's...

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