Channel One News Hall of Shame: Dr. Folkemer’s unethical letter to principals (April 20, 2000)

June 24, 2012


Channel One treats principals like stooges.

Expects school administrators to do their bidding.

From Jim Metrock:

There is no school vendor that acts like Channel One. Can you imagine a building contractor in competition for a major school construction job, contacting principals asking them to lobby the school board in the company’s favor? Can you imagine a principal caught on school time working to promote the financial interests of a local business? Principals don’t work for private companies, they work for the school district.

Below is a letter written by Dr. Paul Folkemer, a former principal himself but at the time he was -and still is – an executive for the youth marketing firm Channel One.

Dr. Folkemer sounds almost frantic as he implores principals to understand the urgency of his request. Channel One needs government employees (public school principals) to use their office and their position to contact their U.S. Senators to stop a possible amendment to a bill that could adversely affect Channel One’s profits.

This letter should never have been sent. Several principals who received the letter were aghast at Channel One’s audacious request and they made sure Obligation and others knew about it.


The PDF may not be entirely readable, but the content is below.


C1 Letter from Paul Folkemer to principals 2000

Fax From: Channel One Network
To: Mr. Joe Howell  Pelahatchie High School

To: Channel One School Principals
Please Read Immediately – Important Information Regarding Your Channel One Service

April 20, 2000

Dear Principal:

As you may be aware, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) is seeking to pass legislation next week that would remove your school’s discretion in forming public-private partnerships, including your partnership with Channel One. Anti-business and anti-technology groups have campaigned hard for months with policymakers on this issue. Because educators have rejected their anti-education agenda, they are now trying to get Washington to take decision-making power out of the hands of educators.

We understand that next week Senator Shelby will introduce an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that will directly impact your ability to enter into partnerships that develop educational products for students – including your partnership with Channel One.

We need your help right now. Extremely sophisticated and well-funded political groups are lobbying Senator Shelby, arguing very directly that principals and educators are incapable of making decisions. Knowing that only students and educators actually see Channel One, they have distorted Channel One in myriad ways — even claiming that we use your classroom time to review R-rated movies and that we promote tolerance for substance abuse. They have attacked our partners and supporters, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Don’t let your elected officials be misled by these distortions. You know how responsible our programing is. You know why these groups and so many others support Channel One. The use of Channel One is a decision for schools and teachers – not Washington!

But, if you do not speak out, these distortions will go unanswered. Please fax, call, or email your Senator today and tell him or her about your school’s positive experience with Channel One – and to vote against the Shelby amendment. Your Senators care about your opinions. Your letters and phone calls will make a real difference.

For your convenience we have attached contact information for your Senator. We would also appreciate receiving copies of any correspondence you have with your Senator. Our fax number is 212-508-6803 and my email address is

Thank you for your time and attention in this important matter.

Yours truly,

Paul D. Folkemer Ed. D.
Executive Vice President for Education



Tags: ,