(LibertySociety.com) – In 2019, the Norwin School district in Pennsylvania switched to a CNN-affiliated program called CNN 10 to assist in teaching middle school students, but on February 14, the school board put a halt to the broadcasts in its schools. Prior to 2019, middle schools in the district used news information programs from Channel One to entertain and inform kids during homeroom. One parent, Ashley Egan, said the CNN 10 programming gave her child the impression he could trust CNN, a viewpoint with which she disagrees. Although the bias doesn’t necessarily come from the student programming itself, the show recommends the students visit the host’s “friends on CNN.com.”
Eighth-grade teacher Kristen Ummer believes the programming supports civic engagement in the district, but the school board voted 5-to-4 to remove TV watching during homeroom entirely. They stated the removal would give students more opportunities to socialize before school.
Bias in the Classroom
Although the school board banned homeroom teachers use TV programs in the morning, the group added a caveat. They said educators could “broadcast videos from all sources,” including ones about patriotic holidays like Veterans Day, at their discretion. Unfortunately, the board’s decision doesn’t really address the alleged bias Egan feels the school is pushing on her son. Seventh-grade teacher Megan Zobb said educators in the district already use the television to show patriotic programs, and the teachers have no interest in indoctrinating students with any bias. However, they don’t want micromanagement from the school board either, and many teachers don’t think CNN 10 programming is biased.
School board director Christine Baverso stated she wants teachers to use all sources instead of just one with a CNN affiliation. However, some questioned why their children watch TV in the classroom instead of using the morning to interact with each other.
Others ask why the board is considering politics at all because they feel the group should be unbiased regarding political issues. Considering parents’ various political beliefs, some could consider any programming biased to a degree, which is likely why the board eliminated regular morning TV watching altogether.
Does Bias Matter?
While children get most of their beliefs and views directly from their parents, school-aged children spend most of their days in school. That means their exposure to bias could have an unintended impact on their viewpoints, which may conflict with those at home — and it may be issues that they don’t necessarily understand. By eliminating TV watching during homeroom, it seems the board can satisfy parents who believe even a “subtle bias” is not appropriate in the classroom.
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