Duluth, GA

April 27, 2006


Duluth High School


From: Jim Metrock:

I was in Atlanta on other business today and decided during my free time to call on schools in and around Duluth. Channel One Network has a major office in Duluth (Greater Atlanta).You would think Channel One would have all the schools in the area sewn up. I was, however, expecting to find the typical situation: “We have the Channel One TV system, but we don’t show their news show. Please don’t tell anybody.” But I didn’t hear that today.

All the schools I called on didn’t have Channel One. They either never had it or they have dumped it.

This is Channel One’s home territory. How could that be? Is there no sales effort here?

I went to Northview High School in Duluth. “Absolutely not,” when asked if they had Channel One.

I went to Duluth Middle School just a couple of stone throws away from Channel One’s offices. The people in the Central Office never heard of the term “Channel One.” I explained what Channel One was: A company that loans schools a TV network which they get to keep as long as they show students a daily TV show that has some news and feature stories and commercials. They found that incredible. “We wouldn’t do anything like that.,” said one administrator but to be sure they called the media person. “Nope, we don’t have it.”

One school I’ll remember for a while is Duluth High School. I drove up to what I thought was the front of the school. It wasn’t. I asked a student where the Central Office was. He waved with a “faraway” gesture and told me to get back in my car and drive down the block. The student was in a ROTC uniform which sort of tipped me off that this was not your ordinary high school. When I drove down the block and took a right I was stunned. The picture above does not do this school justice. This was more like a college campus than a high school. Across from the soaring glass atrium was a massive and modern gymnasium for the Duluth Wildcats.

I was given the name of the media specialist and told to go back to the place that I had first mistakenly thought was the front of the school. Since I was also given the media person’s direct phone number, I decided to save myself the time and just called her.

I was standing outside the glass wall when I got her on the phone. I explained who I was and why I was there and then I asked her what I knew to be a truly dumb question (but I had to ask), “Do you guys have Channel One?” I am standing in the middle of one of the most opulent public high schools I have ever visited and I am actually asking this nice lady if they have a contract with Channel One.

I knew better. Channel One isn’t a “best practice” of schools with adequate resources. If schools can say “No” to Channel One News, they usually do. Channel One generally makes their money off the backs of students in lower-income areas. (A 1998 survey by the Alabama Department of Education convincingly showed that to be true.)

“No we don’t,” she said. Thankfully, she was not offended. “When I came here we had it but we removed it about five to six years ago. I don’t think any Gwinnett County schools have it anymore.” Gwinnett County is the where Duluth is located.

Gwinnett County is an extremely rich county. On the list of U.S. counties with the highest income by median household income Gwinnett ranks 71.

I walked back to my car. Most schools have no more than five spaces, if that, for visitor parking. I parked in an unrestricted parking lot, right by the school entrance, that would admirably serve a Kroger grocery store.

I had two thoughts in my head as I walked. This is what children deserve. We as a people need to splurge, to go overboard, on spending money to educate our children. A lot of communities have the resources to better fund their public schools but don’t do it. This community has the money and the desire to spend it on their children’s educational experience. I got a little emotional, partially because of this first thought, but more likely because of the second.

I thought of all the schools I have been to with leaky roofs and trailers for classrooms. Those are the schools where you find Channel One TV sets. Those students lose an hour a week watching Channel One’s TV show. It is so unfair. These students in Duluth and across Gwinnett County, Georgia have so many resources and so many advantages and on top of all of them they have an extra hour a week of school time that the students in lower-income areas don’t have. It is all reversed. The students in Lowndes County, AL or in El Paso, TX, or Greenville, MS need that extra time MORE than the students in the richer communities.

Duluth is not only the Southern home of Channel One, it is also the home of Century Strategies. This is the Ralph Reed consulting firm that has done hush-hush work for Channel One for years. As we reported, Channel One and Ralph Reed recently escaped an embarrassing investigation into illegal lobbying of the Texas State Board of Education in 2002. The statute of limitations ran out and Reed and C1N got a break.

It was from his Duluth office that Reed masterminded his 1999 sham “Coalition To Protect Our Children” campaign in Alabama in a failed attempt to derail a U.S. Senate committee hearing on Channel One.

Channel One Network has three locations in the U.S.: a headquarters in New York City, a studio in Los Angeles (soon to be closed and moved to an undisclosed location in Washington DC), and an office in Duluth.

It is telling that Channel One is not allowed in any New York state public school, that Channel One has percentage-wise very few public schools in California, and that we couldn’t find a school with Channel One in or around Duluth.

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