Elementary Teachers say YNN not welcome in Ontario's public schools

TORONTO, Aug. 19 /CNW/ - At the end of the session on Wednesday August 18, delegates to the 2nd Annual Meeting of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) voted unanimously to actively oppose the introduction of the Youth News Network (YNN) to Ontario public schools.

YNN is an initiative of Athena Educational Partners owned by Montreal-based Telescene Film Group. In exchange for the use of computers and other technological equipment, YNN delivers a 12-minute program each day that must be shown to students. The commercially-produced broadcast, disguised as news, includes 2 1/2 minutes of commercials. ``The children of this province are not for sale to the highest bidder,'' said Phyllis Benedict, President of ETFO.

Delegates expressed concern about the commercials, but also about the content of the so-called news broadcast. Jim Rumbarger, a delegate from the Peel Board stated, ``In the sample program, students are being told that the Canadian dollar is low because of our debt which is caused by the high cost of our social programs. Most economists know this to be a myth. It's a question of who determines the curriculum in our schools.'' Other delegates complained that YNN takes valuable time away from teaching.

Emily Noble, a Vice-President of ETFO, spoke of the opposition to YNN across Canada. ``Provincial governments in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec have formally declared their opposition to YNN. It is time that everyone who cares about the education of Canada's children state their clear opposition to such deals. We cannot jeopardize the integrity of our education system.''

The Annual Meeting continues until Friday, August 21 at 2:00 p.m. The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) represents 70,000 elementary public school teachers and education workers across Ontario.