The presence of the Youth News Network (YNN) has disrupted the school community, created a climate of divisiveness, and placed schools in the service of the YNN corporation, according to a report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
The recent study conducted by the Peel Board of Education illustrates the degree to which students, teachers, and parents involved with Meadowvale Secondary School, YNN's pilot site, have been negatively impacted by the presence of commercial in-school programming. In the CCPA's report, members of the Meadowvale school community have testified to the impact of YNN on the classroom environment, student-teacher-parent relationships, and public perceptions of the school.
The CCPA report concludes that it is entirely inappropriate, and ultimately destructive to public education, to put schools in a situation where, through the "strategic philanthropy" of corporations, they operate in the corporate rather than the public interest. Schools have been systematically and chronically underfunded, and this commercial initiative is attempting to use these financial constraints to insert commercial messages and virtually unaccountable content into Canadian schools to increase corporate profits. This is a gross misuse of public classrooms, of public money, and of students' minds and wallets, says the CCPA study.
Local, provincial and national organizations, as well as the governments of British Columbia, the Yukon, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have said no to YNN. The Manitoba government has instructed its schools to end contracts with YNN after the six-month trial period has expired. The public has spoken: there is no place for this type of commercial manipulation in Canadian classrooms.