C.A.P.E Opposition To YNN

C.A.P.E., The Consultants' / Coordinators' Association of Primary Educators, would like to take this opportunity to lodge opposition to the installation of Youth News Network sites in Ontario schools. Some of our concerns:

Students of all ages are bombarded with advertising slogans and images throughout their waking day, with usually only the time spent in school as time away from the complete commercialization of their lives. Selling our students as a target market for advertisers is not, and should not be, the practice of schools and / or school districts.

YNN provides for advertisers a true"captive audience"of students at the same place and same time each day. This audience will be encouraged to buy products pictured in a most positive light with little or no discussion. On screen, the youthful news reporters from YNN will no doubt provide subtle promotion of their clothing and style choices. The resulting peer pressure on students, especially those who are financially unable to keep up with the YNN concept of confident, successful students, will be extreme for many adolescents.

Teachers, in their role as professional educators, make the decisions about appropriate content, resources and materials for students in their care. Leaving such choice and decision making to an outside entity - YNN - whose sole mandate is to gain from advertisers' dollars, would take away one of the fundamentals of effective teacher practice and student learning.

The notion that the content of the YNN program could form the basis of lessons in media literacy is quite misleading. Since teachers will not be able to preview the material and prepare lessons daily, it is highly unlikely that such lessons would be either practical or possible. The further imposition of the YNN content into the curriculum would be most undesirable, since it would not meet the criteria of a good media literacy curriculum, which has been carefully planned and thought through.

If YNN manages to gain a foothold at the secondary level, C.A.P.E. will continue to be concerned about the plight of teachers and younger children in the elementary schools in this province. Since C.A.P.E. members strongly support rich, engaging curriculum activities which help students learn and which embody the integrity of the learning experience, we feel that the YNN concept is inappropriate for both older and younger students.

Gabrielle O'Reilly, President
Brian Hale, Corresponding Secretary
Consultants' / Coordinators' Association of Primary Educators
Simcoe Muskoka Catholic DSB
46 Alliance Blvd.
Barrie, ON
L4M 5K3