Ready To Learn Renewed

The Ready to Learn (RTL) children's educational entertainment grant program under the Department of Education uses noncommercial media to promote early childhood math and reading skills, particularly for low-income kids.

Ready To Learn was included in the Every Student Succeeds Act, which was approved by the Senate Dec. 9 and signed into law by the President Thursday (Dec. 11).

RTL was included in an earlier version of the education bill back in April.

The Association of Public Television Stations commended the bipartisan support for RTL.  

“Since 2005, more than 80 research and evaluation studies have shown that Ready To Learn literacy and math content engages children, enhances their early learning skills and allows them to make significant academic gains, helping bridge the achievement gap,” said APTS President Patrick Butler after Senate passage. “This Ready To Learn content is currently used by 71 percent of all kids ages two to eight.”

“We’re pleased that both the U.S Senate and U.S. House have recognized the importance of continuing this highly successful, cost-effective program,” Butler concluded. “We are also profoundly grateful for President Obama's support of Ready To Learn..."

That bipartisan support has not always been the case. The President's budget, released in February, included a separate $26 million allocation for Ready to Learn, but even the President's support was a new twist.

RTL is frequently a subject of discussion at budget time, with Republicans calling for phasing it out and even the Obama administration proposing cuts last time around.

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.