CPB: Ready to Learn Proves Value of Noncom TV Education

Armed with new data from the Department of Education, CPB Monday said it had proof that its Ready to Learn programming, which is funded through DOE, is helping millions of children to read better.

That comes against the backdrop against ongoing calls by Republicans for zeroing out funding to noncommercial radio and TV. The President opposes that, but the White House has said it is open to discussions about cuts as it works to reduce spending across the board by tens of billions of dollars.

According to CPB, a new research report on the past five years -- the program launched in 1992 -- concludes that the program helps more than 5 million children from disadvantaged families.

In 2005, the program was reworked to focus more on curriculum-based education and reading development for young children from disadvantaged homes.

CPB said that program has also been a good value, reaching those 5 million-plus kids for only a half a cent a day.

"This report demonstrates how public media directly and cost-effectively contributes to improving early literacy development of children living in poverty and provides data that prove the overall educational benefits of public media," said CPB President Patricia Harrison. "Few, if any, large-scale educational media initiatives have been as successful, and none has had a greater impact on the literacy development of children from low-income backgrounds."

"CPB and PBS turned a small investment from the Ready To Learn grant into a wealth of important new early childhood literacy resources," said Jim Shelton, assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement at the Department of Education. "We know that millions of children lack sufficient reading skills and access to quality learning opportunities, but by leveraging innovative interactive technologies, we can reach many more children with evidence-based curricula and improve learning outcomes."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.